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Long term side effects of BP

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I can attest to how well BP works for me. I've tried many OTC and RX meds over the last 10 years and it is the only product that has given me consistent results. Yes, it can be drying, but I've always had oily skin so that has never been a problem for me. My concern is the free radical damage that BP causes when it oxygenates the skin. You can do research, and as you know if you're using Google, search Scholarly Articles to get fact-based results. Here is an article I found:

"Skin tumor-promoting activity of benzoyl peroxide, a widely used free radical-generating compound

<by>TJ Slaga, AJ Klein-Szanto, LL Triplett, LP Yotti, and KE Trosko

Benzoyl peroxide, a widely used free radical-generating compound, promoted both papillomas and carcinomas when it was topically applied to mice after 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene initiation. Benzoyl peroxide was inactive on the skin as a complete carcinogen or as a tumor initiator. A single topical application of benzoyl peroxide produced a marked epidermal hyperplasia and induced a large number of dark basal keratinocytes, effects similar to those produced by the potent tumor promoter 12-O-tetradecanoyl phorbol-13-acetate. Benzoyl peroxide, like other known tumor promoters, also inhibited metabolic cooperation (intercellular communication) in Chinese hamster cells. In view of these results caution should be recommended in the use of this and other free radical-generating compounds."

I know there are side effects to all medications we use, but this is nonetheless concerning. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

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Now I'm not expert at this by any means. But from what I've read the percent of BP that is used in these tests are much much higher than the concentrations that are in Dan's BP. Also, the mice and other animals that they test on are bred to be extremely cancer prone.

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is is worrying isnt it as no-one knows what long term damage these chemicals will do to us! but i guess its like that with lots of things!

take mobile phones, one minute they say they cause brain tumours, next they dont!

i do worry as i know the chemicals i use cant be good!

i currently use retin A gel which i think is great as its cleared my skin up but i do wonder how long i can keep using it for and what will happen when i stop!

i try not think about it as i would rather be clear and happy now and deal with effects if there are any in the future!

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In order to BEGIN to even think about saying one thing causes another, you need to find the original study, read it, and make sure you know who was funding/in charge of the study (lol maybe it was a salicylic acid company haha)

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wow this seems serious, i hope that cancer tmor thing dosnt happen to me.....but who know maybe of differ on test subjects....

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The following article was written by willow569 and I am posting it here with her permission.

Benzoyl Peroxide Safety

Q: Is there a link between benzoyl peroxide and skin cancer?

• Currently, no research has found a link between benzoyl peroxide use and skin cancer in humans. Two studies that investigated the link between benzoyl peroxide and skin cancer in people found no increased risk of skin cancer in people who had used benzoyl peroxide to treat acne. 1 2

• After conducting a series of studies and a doing a comprehensive review of the existing research on the link between benzoyl peroxide and skin cancer, one researcher concluded that “no epidemiological evidence exists of a carcinogenic effect of skin treatment with BPO containing gels or ointments in 5 or 10% concentrations.†3 Other experts have concluded that topical benzoyl peroxide is considered to be a safe treatment for acne and that there is no current evidence to indicate that it poses a carcinogenic or toxicological risk to humans. 4 5

• Research studies have used cancer-sensitive strains of mice to study the effects of benzoyl peroxide on tumor growth. The mice in these studies are generally pre-exposed to UV radiation or a chemical that causes the development of the tumors; then the benzoyl peroxide is applied to the mouse skin. Some of these studies have found that benzoyl peroxide caused existing tumors on the skin to grow larger, but did not cause the development of new tumors. 6 In the vast majority of studies, benzoyl peroxide was not found to cause new tumors to develop. These mouse studies are often cited on websites that are trying to sell alternatives to benzoyl peroxide as evidence that benzoyl peroxide is a carcinogen. The results of the studies and their implications may be overstated and misinterpreted by these companies.

• One article highlights the limitations of this line of research in mice for the application to safety assessment for humans: 7

o The mice used in the research are of a particularly sensitive strain – mice specifically bred to be susceptible to developing tumors.

o There are significant physiological differences between mouse and human skin.

o Other substances that are tumor promoters in mice are not linked to cancer in humans, even with long-term exposure.

o The tumor promotion is only seen under certain specific experimental conditions.

o How benzoyl peroxide is used in these studies differs considerably from how it is used in the treatment of acne and very strong BPO concentrations are often used. Studies using commercial formulations of benzoyl peroxide do not generally find the same tumor promoting effect in mice.

• The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lists benzoyl peroxide as a category III substance (safety uncertain). However, the FDA concerns were not so extreme as to lead them to recommend discontinuing the use of benzoyl peroxide medications. 9 The FDA has called for additional research on the carcinogenic potential of benzoyl peroxide. According to the FDA, this research is currently being conducted.

• The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which classifies substances based on carcinogenicity, has concluded that there is inadequate evidence for the carcinogenicity of benzoyl peroxide in humans and limited evidence in experimental animals for the carcinogenicity of benzoyl peroxide. The IARC does not categorize benzoyl peroxide as being carcinogenic; its carcinogenicity is labeled as being unknown. 10


  1. Cartwright, R.A., Hughes, B.R., Cunliffe WJ (1988). Malignant melanoma, benzoyl peroxide and acne: a pilot epidemiological case-control investigation. Br J Dermatol, 118(2):239-42.
  2. Hogan, D.J., To, T., Wilson, E.R., Miller, A.B., Robson, D., Holfeld, K., Lane, P. (1991). A study of acne treatments as risk factors for skin cancer of the head and neck. Br J Dermatol. 125(4):343-8.
  3. Iverson, O.H. (1994). Benzoyl peroxide and possible skin cancer risks in mice and humans. In Skin Cancer: Mechanisms and Human Relevance, CrC Series in Dermatology, (Mukhtar, H., Ed.) pgs 13-20.
  4. Zbinden, G. (1988). Scientific opinion on the carcinogenic risk due to topical administration of benzoyl peroxide for the treatment of acne vulgaris. Pharmacol Toxicol, 63: 307.
  5. Lidén, S., Lindelöf,B.,& Sparén, P. (1990). Is benzoyl peroxide carcinogenic? Br J Dermatol., 123(1):129-30.
  6. O'Connell, J.F., Klein-Szanto, A.J., DiGiovanni, D.M., Fries, J.W., Slaga, T.J. (1986). Enhanced malignant progression of mouse skin tumors by the free-radical generator benzoyl peroxide. Cancer Res. 46(6): 2863-2865.
  7. Kraus, A.L., Munro, I.C., Orr, J.C., Binder, R.L., LeBoeuf, R.A., Williams, G.M. (1995). Benzoyl peroxide: an integrated human safety assessment for carcinogenicity. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 21(1):87-107.
  8. Iverson, O.H. (1988). Skin tumorigenesis and carcinogenesis studies with 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene, ultraviolet light, benzoyl peroxide (Panoxyl gel 5%) and ointment gel. Carcinogenesis. 9(5):803-9.
  9. http://www.fda.gov/cder/otcmonographs/Acne...PR_19950217.pdf
  10. http://www.inchem.org/documents/iarc/vol71...nzoylperox.html

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Wynne, that is some interesting information. While I've read conflicting research, it does seem that just about everything we use there are some groups who will argue it is carcinogenic. Maximus, I've specifically chosen studies that are independent and peer reviewed. It is true, like you said, that many research findings are slanted in favor of certain companies, but I was careful to avoid this.

So, while there may be good evidence arguing against the carcinogenic effect of skin treated with BP, what about the aging of the skin caused by free radical damage from oxygenating the skin? I have yet to find evidence to argue against the effects of free radicals or that BP is a generator of those. We all know, as Dan as stated, that oxygenating the skin is what kills the acne bacteria, so it seems as this works both in our favor and against us. I alternate with BP and Retin-A nightly and use a Vitamin C serum every AM followed by a SPF moisturizer, so I hope I'm combating any damage I could be creating.

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