Generic Name: Benzoyl peroxide Brand Name(s): .

Uses

What is Benzoyl peroxide used for?

Benzoyl peroxide is commonly used to treat mild to moderate acne. It may be used in combination with other acne treatments. When applied to the skin, benzoyl peroxide works by reducing the amount of acne-causing bacteria and by causing the skin to dry and peel.

How should I take Benzoyl peroxide?

Before using this product for the first time, check if you are allergic to it. To check, put a small amount on one or two small areas of acne for three days. If you have an allergic reaction, stop using this product and get medical help right away (see the symptoms of an allergic reaction in the Side Effects section). If you don’t have an allergic reaction, you can use the product.

There are many benzoyl peroxide products available. Many can be purchased without a prescription. Some products (such as cleansers, foam, or lotions) may require a prescription. Consult your doctor or pharmacist on the choice of the product that is best for you. If you are using the over-the-counter product to self-treat, read and follow all directions on the product package before using this medication. If you have any questions, consult your pharmacist. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, use it as directed.

Some products require shaking before use. Check your product package to see if your form of this medication needs to be shaken.

Apply benzoyl peroxide to the areas of your skin affected by acne. Avoid getting this medication into your eyes, inside your nose or mouth, or on any areas of broken skin since it may cause irritation. If this occurs, flush the area with plenty of water. Benzoyl peroxide may bleach hair or fabrics. Use carefully, and avoid contact with hair, clothing, and furnishings.

If using cleansers containing benzoyl peroxide, wet the affected area. Gently rub the cleanser into the skin for 10-20 seconds. Work into a full lather and rinse thoroughly and then pat dry. If too much drying occurs, you may need to rinse the cleanser off sooner or use it less often. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for further details.

If you are using the liquid wash, cleansing pad, or cleanser bar, use it instead of soap once or twice a day. Wet the skin before applying, gently work up a lather for 10 to 20 seconds, and rinse thoroughly. Do not scrub the skin.

If using the shaving cream, first wet the area to be shaved. Apply a small amount of the medication, gently rub into the area, and then shave.

If you are using a cream, foam, lotion, or gel, apply it to the affected area as directed, usually once or twice a day. Before applying each dose, gently wash the affected area with a mild cleanser, then pat dry. Apply a small amount of medicine to the affected area and rub in gently. Some products may require rinsing off after application for a certain amount of time. Check your product package to see if your form of this medication needs to be rinsed off.

If you are using the medicated pads or sponges, wash the affected skin with a mild cleanser, then pat dry. Wipe the pad or sponge gently onto the skin to apply the medication, usually once or twice a day to the skin as directed.

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Improvement in acne is usually seen after 3 weeks of use, and maximum benefit after 8-12 weeks of use. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than directed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase.

If your condition persists or worsens, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, get medical help right away.

How do I store Benzoyl peroxide?

Benzoyl peroxide is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Benzoyl peroxide in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Benzoyl peroxide that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Benzoyl peroxide down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Benzoyl peroxide?

This medication may make you more sensitive to the sun. Limit your time in the sun. Avoid tanning booths and sunlamps. Use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when outdoors. Tell your doctor right away if you get sunburned or have skin blisters/redness.

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Benzoyl peroxide during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this Benzoyl peroxide. This Benzoyl peroxide is pregnancy risk category C according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Benzoyl peroxide?

Skin reactions such as peeling, itching, irritation, and reddened skin may occur, especially at the start of treatment. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly. You may need to apply smaller amounts of the drug or use it less often. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with Benzoyl peroxide?

A product that may interact with this drug is: dapsone used on the skin.

Benzoyl peroxide may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Benzoyl peroxide?

Benzoyl peroxide may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Benzoyl peroxide?

Benzoyl peroxide may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Benzoyl peroxide.

What is the dose of Benzoyl peroxide for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Acne

Gel/cream/liquid/lotion/bar/foam: Start with 1 application per day, then gradually increase to 2 or 3 times per day if needed or as directed by a healthcare provider

Cloth: Wash affected areas once or twice per day, or as directed by a healthcare provider

Comments:

-Clean the skin thoroughly before applying this drug.

-If dryness or peeling occurs, reduce application to once a day or every other day.

-If going outside, apply sunscreen after using this product.

-If irritation or sensitivity develops, discontinue use and ask a healthcare provider.

Use: Treatment of acne vulgaris

What is the dose of Benzoyl peroxide for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Acne

12 years or older:

Foam: Start with 1 application per day, then gradually increase to 2 or 3 times per day if needed or as directed by a healthcare provider

Comments:

-Clean the skin thoroughly before applying this drug.

-If dryness or peeling occurs, reduce application to once a day or every other day.

-If going outside, apply sunscreen after using this product.

-If irritation or sensitivity develops, discontinue use and ask a healthcare provider.

Use: Treatment of acne vulgaris

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is Benzoyl peroxide available?

Benzoyl peroxide is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Topical gel
  • Topical lotion
  • Topical liquid
  • Topical bar
  • Topical foam
  • Topical kit
  • Topical cream
  • Topical pad
  • Topical soap
  • Compounding powder

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Benzoyl peroxide, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: January 8, 2018 | Last Modified: January 8, 2018

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