How do I Use Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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To use benzoyl peroxide for acne, you should first read the directions on the product you are using. Unless your dermatologist advises you to use these products in a different manner than what your product label suggests, you should probably follow the directions on the package. In general, the benzoyl peroxide cream is usually applied in a thin layer over all the areas of the face or body that are prone to acne. Before applying it, it is important that your skin is clean and dry, and you should be careful that the product does not come in contact with your clothing because it could permanently bleach it.

When using this medication, you should first wash and dry your face thoroughly. You can then spread the cream over your face and, if you are prone to breakouts on your back, you might consider applying it on there as well. Many people make the mistake of using benzoyl peroxide only on their existing breakouts while ignoring the other areas of their skin. Putting it on all areas of your skin that occasionally break out, even if there are no pimples present, can help to prevent future problems.


If your acne is severe, you might want to apply another layer of benzoyl peroxide on your skin at night before you go to sleep. Some people can get by with using the cream just once per day, but other people need to use it more often than that. You should be careful to avoid getting the medicine too close to your eyes because it could severely irritate them. It's also important to be careful not to get it on your clothes or bedding. If you put the benzoyl peroxide on before you go to bed, you might want to consider using old pillowcases and sheets, in case they become stained.

In the event that you stop using benzoyl peroxide for acne, your acne might flare back up. Benzoyl peroxide works by killing the bacteria inside the pores that causes acne and also by cleaning dead skin cells out of your pores. Once you discontinue using it, these problems are likely to return. For some people, the severity of acne decreases over time as they age, while other people have problems with acne continuously throughout their adult years. Your dermatologist can probably help you determine how long you should continue to use this medication on your skin.


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Post 3

My sister uses a benzoyl peroxide wash and she loves it. I don't think she has any side effects because it doesn't stay on her skin.

Post 2

@anamur-- That's the main issue with benzoyl peroxide. I would say to use a lower percentage but I think that 2.5% is the lowest amount.

I use 2.5% benzoyl peroxide gel but only as a spot treatment. I apply it directly on the pimples and it treats them quickly. I've never had dry skin and peeling because of that. Maybe you should use your benzoyl peroxide as a spot treatment rather than an all-over treatment.

Post 1

I used 2.5% benzoyl peroxide as a toner after cleansing my face once a day. I did this for two weeks. It cleared up my skin and prevented new spots, but it made my skin so extremely dry that I couldn't use it anymore. Even though I used moisturizer afterward, the benzoyl peroxide made my skin peel and hurt.

I have no idea how some people use benzoyl peroxide on a regular basis. It works but the side effects are too much.

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