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Benzoyl peroxide applied to the skin is a simple, effective treatment for many forms of acne.  It reduces the number of bacteria in the oil glands and prevents whiteheads, blackheads and pimples from forming.


Benzoyl peroxide can be applied directly to pimples to dry them more quickly, but the best way to use it is to apply it all over areas of acne-prone skin to prevent acne from developing.  If it is used correctly, you can expect to see improvement in one to six weeks, with a full effect in three months.  It is often used in combination with an antibiotic such as clindamycin, to enhance the effect of the antibiotic and to prevent bacterial resistance from developing.


Benzoyl peroxide controls acne, it does not cure it.  If it works, you must continue it; if you don't, the acne will come back.  When your skin outgrows its tendency to produce acne, you can stop.  Until then, think of benzoyl peroxide as a normal part of your skin care, just like washing.


Benzoyl peroxide 5% combined with the antibiotic clindamycin is available as Clindoxyl Gel or BenzaClin Gel.  Benzoyl peroxide 3% and clindamycin is known as Clindoxyl ADV Gel.




1.   Wash the affected area with mild soap and lukewarm water.  Pat dry.


2.   Apply a thin layer of benzoyl peroxide on the affected area.  If you have acne on the face, apply the gel all over the face.  This means from the hairline down to the jawline, from ear to ear, everywhere except around the eyes and the lips.  The gel should dry in seconds and should be invisible.  If a dried powder can be seen on the skin you have applied too much.


3.   Benzoyl peroxide is supposed to dry your skin.  After 3-5 days of use, your skin should start to feel a little tight and rough, and it should start to occasionally look flaky.  It should not be so tight that it is uncomfortable for you to smile, talk or eat.  Flaking should not look worse than a light dandruff on the skin.


4.   If you have the right amount of dryness, keep on using the medication the same way.  If the skin feels too dry, if it’s uncomfortably tight, or looks too flaky, or it feels itchy or burning or looks red, use it less often, perhaps every second or third night.  If parts of your face become red or feel like they are burning with every application, stop using the benzoyl peroxide on that part of the face.




Irritation:  if your skin stings or itches when you apply the benzoyl peroxide, wait 30 minutes after you wash before you apply the medication.  This will allow your skin to produce a little bit of oil to protect itself.


Excessive Dryness:  if the skin is so tight that it is uncomfortable when you talk or smile or chew food, or if your skin is becoming darker or starting to look like a lizard's, then your skin is too dry.  Start washing with water only and stop the medication for 2-3 days.  Use a non-acnegenic moisturizer.  The skin should recover quickly.  When it is nearly back to normal, you can resume the medication, only this time, use it less frequently.  If you are worried, give us a call.


Bleaching:  benzoyl peroxide can bleach fabrics even after it is dry.  Keep it off your clothing and use white bedsheets and pillowcases.


Very, very rarely, benzoyl peroxide can cause a severe allergic reaction.  The first 3 days, apply a small amount on your forearm only.  If you develop hives, or itching beyond the area of application, or swelling of the eyes, face, lips or tongue, throat tightness, difficulty breathing, or feel faint, stop the medication right away and see your doctor.

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