benzoyl peroxide

Considered the most effective over-the-counter choice for a topical antibacterial agent in the treatment of acne.

The amount of research demonstrating the effectiveness of benzoyl peroxide is exhaustive and conclusive. Among benzoyl peroxide’s attributes is its ability to penetrate into the hair follicle to reach the bacteria that cause the problem, and then kill them—with a low risk of sensitivity. It also doesn’t pose the problem of bacterial resistance that some prescription topical antibacterials (antibiotics) do.

Benzoyl peroxide solutions range in strength from 2.5% to 10%. It is best to start with lower concentrations because a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide product is much less irritating than a 5% or 10% concentration, and it can be just as effective.

References for this information:

Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, June 2014, issue 6, pages s66-70

American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, December 2012, issue 6, pages 357-364

Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, October 2009, issue 15, pages 2555-2562

Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, September 2008, issue 3, pages 170-176

Back to Ingredient Dictionary

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!