Benzoyl peroxide: the good, the bad & the ugly.

Benzoyl peroxide cleared my skin! When I used to have a lot of acne, one of the products I used then was Mary Kay Acne Treatment Gel . It is a 5 % strength formulation. I stopped using it a while ago and I haven’t had much need for it because my face has been relatively clear. Last week, I felt some acne bumps on my face and I decided to revisit this gel. I was pleasantly surprised that by the following morning, my acne had dried up.


Benzoyl peroxide as an acne treatment:

  1. Acts as an antimicrobial agent especially against the bacteria responsible for acne (Propionium bacterium);
  2. Increases cellular turnover and clears pores.

It usually comes in three strengths: 2.5 %, 5 % and 10 %


  1. It can dry out your skin. Start with 2.5 % and gradually progress to 10 % if your skin tolerates it. In addition,use a light moisturizer in conjunction with benzoyl peroxide.
  2. Causes skin irritation. Benzoyl peroxide can cause burning, peeling, itching, swelling skin reactions. If you have sensitive skin, it is best to avoid it. Or you can apply it to a small part of your face and see how your skin reacts.
  3. It can cause photosensitivity and is not suitable for use when you are going into the sun. Use it at night instead. In addition, ensure that you use a sunscreen with at least SPF15 when you do go out in the sun.
  4. It stains pillow cases, clothes and even hair!

*Do not apply benzoyl peroxide over another another acne treatment. It can worsen the effects of drying and irritation.*

Have you used any benzoyl peroxide formulation and it worked for you? Or it was just terrible?

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About the author
Dr Fomsky

Nigerian-born Dr Fomsky is a God-lover, a wife, a mom of three, a medical doctor by day. Plus she owns a Nigerian-based online hair product store called Sizzelle.
Dr Fomsky is very passionate about hair, skin and weight management. Since she's had her babies, she's been struggling to keep her weight and her tummy down!
At night, she likes to read books, write blog posts and leave comments on other blogs. She lives in Alberta, Canada and is also the author of Solving your relaxed hair breakage book .
LAST RELAXER DAY: December 15th, 2016
BIG CHOP: January 14th, 2017
Natural Hair, Unknown Porosity, Fine Hair strands, Low to Moderate Density

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10 Comments to Benzoyl peroxide: the good, the bad & the ugly.

  1. onyinye says:

    I use benzoyl peroxide @ night (so i don’t have to bother about photo-sensitivity) and it really works for me, but the itching! I calm this down with aloe vera gel as my moisturizer in the morning.

  2. Benzoyl Peroxide is fantastic for Acne, it definately gets the job done, I’ve used from 2.5 to 10%. The only problem with B.P especially for Black Skin is that it has been shown to cause hyperpigmentation, so its good to use it sparingly.

    I alternate between B.P, Salicylic Acid, Sulfur and Tea Tree Oil, I also hydrate my skin with a Honey Masque and Cucumber.

  3. Michael says:

    Please am in desperate need of this Benzoyl peroxide but i’ve checked for it at different pharmacy in Lagos still can’t find it
    Please any idea on where i can find it here in Lagos???

    • Dr Fomsky says:

      Not sure. I used to buy the Mary Kay acne gel (which contains 5% ) from a supermarket in Lekki but they are not there any more. Check Medplus or Health Plus for Neutrogena on the spot acne treatment . It has 2.5% benzoyl peroxide.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Can you use salicylic as a face cleanser and benzoyl peroxide has a gel treatment i have never tried any of this product so i really want to try it, my face is very oily and neck and i have a serious breakout face and chest

    • Dr Fomsky says:

      Hi Victoria, yes you can use a salicylic acid face cleanser in combination with a benzoyl peroxide gel treatment. However, when you combine two acne-treating substances, the tendency to dry out your skin is higher. So, tread cautiously and even though it might sound contradictory since you complain of an oily skin, you should use an oil-free moisturizer.

  5. Jay says:

    I realy need this but i stay in benue how can i get it please even if i have to order jst direct me pls

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