Is Benzoyl Peroxide enough to treat acne?


First of all, Happy New Year!

This is not only the first post for 2014 but also the first post for a few months. I haven’t posted since August as I have fallen in love. I have fallen in love with my new Grand Daughter, Delilah. The time I have spent with her is priceless and now as she getting bigger and more active I want to start again with my posts.

Thankyou to all that have been logging on and following previous posts and thank you for all the questions I have received.

So, this brings me to this weeks post, and it comes from Nikki who has been struggling with her acne for three years and has invested in a popular skin care range that contains, as one of its main ingredients; Benzoyl Peroxide.

Nikki writes: “I have been using a skin care range religously now for 3 years to treat my acne. At first it was great, my skin cleared, but now it does nothing and my acne is back. Its not as bad as it was but I am finding I still get breakout more often. The main ingredient is Benzoyl Peroxide and when I see the infomercials with all the celebrities endorsing it, their skin looks amazing and yet mine is still inflamed and irritated. Can you tell me why this is please?”

Let me start with acne and how it thrives:

What is Acne? Acne is a disorder of the Sebaceous Gland. This gland produces Sebum, commonly known as Oil and is essential for a healthy skin so never ever remove it with harsh detergent based Cleansers or Scrubs. Your skin needs sebum as a barrier against harsh environmental factors such as bacteria, fungus and viruses and do also keep the skin hydrated.

Sebum is influenced mainly by hormones and when these hormones are  imbalanced, sebum production may be altered. In the case of most acnes, it is increased in production and can also be more viscous.

This increase in production and change in viscosity may lead to sebum becoming trapped in the follicle and then solidifying which leads to a plug-like effect, not allowing any further sebum to get to the surface of the skin.

Once there is a ‘plug’ within the follicle, bacteria begins the process of acne.

  1. Follicle plug
  2. More sebum being produced
  3. Follicle swelling
  4. Follicle rupturing
  5. Inflammation
  6. White Blood Cells clean area
  7. Pus forms
  8. Pustule/Pimple formation
  9. Scarring possible

Within this process, there is a sneaky little bacteria, known as Propionibacterium Acnes or PAcnes for short. This bacteria thrives in an acne skin and loves the environment of the follicle. Dark, warm, and no oxygen.

So, how does Benzoyl Peroxide work?

It adds Oxygen to this environment within the follicle. PAcnes does not like Oxygen therefore; it cannot survive and the bacteria dies. This has an initial effect of reducing the amount of anaerobic bacteria within the follicle however, it does not have an effect on the amount of sebum being produced, which is influenced by hormones.

One ingredient I love using to treat many skin conditions but definitely the gold standard when treating acne, is Vitamin A. This vitamin acts similar to a hormone and will have an effect on the production of sebum. But that is another post.

Hopefully that has answered your question in regard to Benzoyl Peroxide, long term it is not the best for the skin as it will have an impact on other areas like the barrier so this ingredient is not going to have a long term effect with acne and therefore,in my opinion,  I would question prolonged use of products which focus on this ingredient.

Has anyone used Benzoyl Peroxide long term? What state is your skin? Has it dried your skin at all?


2 thoughts on “Is Benzoyl Peroxide enough to treat acne?

  1. Great Post Donna

    As usual so informative.
    congratulations on the birth of your granddaughter – I am sure she is so lucky to have you as her gran.

    kind regards


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