Fighting Adult Skin Conditions: Is There Help for Your Acne?

Mistakes to Avoid When Using Benzoyl-Peroxide Acne Medications

by Art Bishop

Face washes, creams, and spot treatments with the active ingredient benzoyl peroxide are highly effective for many patients with mild to moderate acne. Benzoyl peroxide helps kill the bacteria that cause acne and also increases the turnover rate of new skin, resulting in fewer breakouts and a more even complexion. However, there are some intricacies to using these medications effectively. For best results, avoid these mistakes that patients commonly make when using benzoyl peroxide.

Mistake: Using too much too fast.

Benzoyl peroxide is drying, and it can take your skin some time to adapt to it. If you suddenly start using benzoyl peroxide two or three times per day, your skin may become overly dry, and you'll likely experience some redness and peeling. For some patients, these effects turn them off from using benzoyl peroxide entirely. However, these side effects can usually be avoided if you slowly ease your way into using benzoyl peroxide. Whether you're using a wash, cream, or spot treatment, start off by using it just once a day, or even once every other day if you have really sensitive skin. After a few weeks, start using it twice per day. This will give your skin time to adapt, so you won't have so much dryness.

Mistake: Using more than one skincare product with benzoyl peroxide.

You don't need to use a face wash, moisturizer, astringent, and spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide. You'll end up using too much of the medication, and your skin will be dry and crusty, not soft and clear. Pick one medicated product and then use mild, non-medicated versions of other products. For example, if you use a benzoyl peroxide face wash, you should use a gentle, non-medicated moisturizer and toner.

Mistake: Being too aggressive with your skin when using benzoyl peroxide.

Even if you have pretty tough skin, using benzoyl peroxide will make it a bit more sensitive. You don't want to be scrubbing your skin with a washcloth or using harsh, exfoliating cleansers while you're using this type of acne treatment. If you do, your skin will end up sore and irritated. When washing your face, use your fingers or a very soft face cloth and rub gently. Don't poke or pick at your skin, as this may aggravate any mild irritation caused by the benzoyl peroxide.

To learn more about the proper way to use benzoyl peroxide–based acne medications, make an appointment with a dermatology clinic like Strnot Dermatology.