Fun fact: Most of the acne-fighting products available in the market today contain benzoyl peroxide. This no-BS ingredient lives up to its name. It is primarily used to kill acne-causing bacteria, P. acnes and Staph. aureus, festering on the skin. In fact, there are rarely any ingredients as effective and potent as benzoyl peroxide. BP is an oldie but a goodie, and maybe that’s why it’s every dermatologist’s and skincare junkie’s favourite acne-fighting skincare ingredient.
We are exploring what exactly makes BP such a winner with acne sufferers and how to best use it without having to dry out your skin (yes, that can happen). Here’s what we managed to dig up…
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How Does Benzoyl Peroxide Work?
This ingredient isn’t a recent discovery; it’s been around as an effective zit treatment for many years. BP is a chemical compound that kills acne-causing bacteria by an oxidizing process (it releases free radicals). It also decreases sebum production. Furthermore, it has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and comedolytic properties, making it a potent anti-acne ingredient. BP also has mild exfoliating properties to remove dead skin buildup from your skin and allow other products to work better.
What Type Of Acne Is Benzoyl Peroxide Good For?
Benzoyl peroxide works well for red, inflamed pimples. It helps dry out pustules, nodules, cysts and papules; and is quite effective in fungal acne as well. It may not be as effective for whiteheads and blackheads. For cystic acne, the evilest ones, it might be a little less effective than the rest. You can opt for an additional salicylic acid product in your routine for better results.
How To Use Benzoyl Peroxide For Acne
Benzoyl peroxide is also notoriously famous for drying out the skin. So if you have sensitive skin, you may want to take things slowly by using the lowest percentage and applying it on alternate days. A good tip is to first wear your moisturiser and then go with your BP spot treatment to avoid irritation.
The ideal percentage varies from 2.5 to 10 per cent. A higher percentage doesn’t mean it will work better, and so you should try and stick to a percentage range between 3 to 5, as a higher percentage will dry out your skin quicker. As for face washes and scrubs, stick to a range between 4 to 9. But as a thumb rule, always start with a lower strength first and gradually work your way up depending on your skin’s tolerance level.
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Precautions To Take With Benzoyl Peroxide
If you have sensitive skin, try the lowest percentage, or avoid using it altogether. If you are pregnant or have plans of having a child, don’t use it. People with facial eczema should also give this product a miss. Also, sometimes you may be allergic to BP products, so always patch test first.
Again, everyone has different kinds of acne, and it’s always good to consult a dermatologist who will help you with a more structured regime.
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