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I'm new here and like all of you, who's here- dealing with acne. I'm trying to look for advices on the internet, how to treat my acne, because I'm not feeling good about it anymore, after few years of dealing with it and with those black-heads on my T zone. It's like I have a false humility already... I came to this site and it looks like really great opportunity to make my acne gone forever, but I'm afraid of one thing. Dan suggests to use benzoyl peroxide, but here's what I've read about it and it makes me a bit scared to start regimen:

Usually the benzoyl peroxide is added to skin care measures in the fight with acne - it effectively eliminates acne causing bacteria- P. acne. However, it is noted that benzene peroxide promotes the formation of free radicals, and therefore its use is recommended as far as possible

reduced. In other words, the cosmetics- only after consulting your doctor or pharmacist!

If you don't know, I'll tell you that those free radicals can cause such things as heart diseases or even cancer! That's only what I'm afraid of. Can you tell me if it's really safe to start my regimen? Or maybe it's just nonsense thing I'm worried about?? I will be very glad, if someone will help me.

Thanks in advance.

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A quote from "Acne and Rosacea: Third Completely Revised and Updated Edition", 2000:

"Following application to the skin, benzoyl peroxide is rapidly metabolized to benzoic acid, a harmless chemical. Extensive use in human beings has failed to demonstrate absorption. The drug is eminently safe."

A quote from The British Journal of Dermatology, 1990:

"So far no skin malignancies after the clinical use of benzoyl peroxide has been reported. A possible relationship between the use of the compound and the occurrence of malignant melanoma has been looked at in two case-control studies, both with negative results...However, since the average latent period for skin carcinogenesis is of the order of 15-25 years, this requires further follow-up...Thus, the question of carcinogenic potential of benzoyl peroxide is as yet not fully answered, but at the present time it seems likely that this compound is safe to use."

A quote from Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 1995:

"Topical benzoyl peroxide has been used in the treatment of acne for over 30 years, with no reports of adverse effects that could be related to skin carcinogenesis. Two case-control epidemiological studies have found a lack of association between the specific use of benzoyl peroxide and skin cancer. In addition to these findings in humans, 23 carcinogenicity studies in rodents with benzoyl peroxide, including 16 employing topical application, have yielded negative results. An increase in skin carcinomas was reported in 1 study in which benzoyl peroxide in acetone was applied to the skin of SENCAR mice for a 1-year period; however, this study did not employ adequate control groups to fully understand the unusual findings, and the results were inconsistent with those of 6 other similar studies."

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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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Guest missyjean130

Hey Wynne,ya know your old siggy stating that hydrogen peroxide killed healing tissue? Does benzoyl peroxide not do this even though it's in the peroxide family?

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Hey Wynne,ya know your old siggy stating that hydrogen peroxide killed healing tissue? Does benzoyl peroxide not do this even though it's in the peroxide family?

BP does not kill healing skin. Find one of my many posts, particularly one I posted in response to duchamp about just this issue. I think I titled the thread "Hydrogen peroxide on facial skin" after the original post got edited away. So look up hydrogen +facial or something like that.

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