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Questionable Safety of the Long Term Use of BP

Hello everyone! ;)

(I am writting this with the purpose of making BP users more aware, and not to criticize Dan's products)

I have been using Dan's products for about two years now and they did help my skin dramatically. The only conern I have is the safety of BP. FDA currently marks the safety of BP as 'unknown'. There seems to be three issues that currently exist in research (that I have actually found in journal articles myself) and these few paragraphs summarize them nicely:

Skin Damage and Premature Aging

Benzoyl peroxide generates free radicals in the skin. Its effect is similar to unprotected sun exposure. The redness of the skin caused by sun exposure and Benzoyl Peroxide, are both the result of free radicals upon the skin. What this all amounts to is damage to the structure of your skin, and premature aging of the skin. The extent of the damage your skin incurs is related to how much, how often, and for how long you use products containing Benzoyl Peroxide.

Longer Healing Process

Because this ingredient generates free radicals it interferes with and slows the healing process. The red and brown marks that are a part of the acne healing process may last weeks longer when Benzoyl Peroxide is used (My skin does scar a lot more and heals slower since I started using BP. I have to be extremely careful now with any pimple to avoid scarring) .


Benzoyl Peroxide has been linked to cancer for a number of years and many research journal entries state "benzoyl peroxide is a free radical-generating skin tumor promoting agent." Performing a word search of the words "benzoyl peroxide cancer" in PubMed in the National Library of Medicine produces 102 articles from medical publications dealing with research aspects of Benzoyl Peroxide and cancer. About two-thirds of the research supports linkage between Benzoyl Peroxide and skin cancer.

"In 1995 the FDA changed benzoyl peroxide from a Category I (safe) to a Category III (safety is uncertain) ingredient and stated this action (56 FR 37622) was based on new information that raised a safety concern regarding benzoyl peroxide as a tumor promoter in mice..." Additionally, the FDA charged manufacturers with the responsibility of providing this information to consumers so they could make educated decisions. Many manufacturers and product marketers have not provided this information to skin care professionals so that consumers can be advised of the potential dangers. A more complete FDA statement is at the bottom of this page, for your reference.

Use of benzoyl peroxide to control acne may involve side effects and risks that should be considered in making decisions on acne treatment.

FDA / Benzoyl Peroxide Action: February 17, 1995

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) / Department of Health and Human Services

"Topical Drug Products Containing Benzoyl Peroxide: Required Labeling"

"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing additional labeling (warning and directions) for all topically-applied acne treatment drug products containing benzoyl peroxide. The warning advises consumers to avoid unnecessary sun exposure and to use a sunscreen when using a benzoyl peroxide product to treat acne..."

"The agency classified benzoyl peroxide from its previous status Category I to Category III status. This action (56 FR 37622) was based on new information that raised a safety concern regarding benzoyl peroxide as a tumor promoter in mice and a study that reported that benzoyl peroxide has tumor initiation potential."

"FDA evaluated these data and information and determined that the studies show that benzoyl peroxide is a skin tumor promoter in more than one strain of mice as well as in hamsters. To date, topical studies (which have shown only tumor promotion) have been of short duration (about 52 weeks). Although animal data and human epidemiology data are available, the agency has determined that further studies are necessary to adequately assess the tumorigenic potential of benzoyl peroxide. These studies are currently being conducted. The agency acknowledges that it may take several years for these studies to be completed and analyzed, and for the final determination to be made on benzoyl peroxide's safety."

What do you guys think?



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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?

1. 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

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

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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. Liden, S., Lindelof,B.,& Sparen, 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

And as far as premature aging goes, take a look at Dan. To look at him, I'd never have guessed that he was almost forty. He's been using The Regimen for years and years, and his skin is practically perfect! : )

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Thank you for your informative reply, it was interesting to read. I hope that BP is indeed safe. As we both mentioned, more studies that will examine its carcinogenic effects are yet to be done, and I really hope that they end up having negative results. To me, it is just a bit uncomfortable that there is that speculation and that BP's safety is labled as 'unknown'.

I have not seen Dan in real life, but I believe he looks great. :) I have not noticed more wrinkles or sagging myself since I started using BP, so I hope it stays that way. But I guess I won't know for sure until the years will go by :).

As for the healing process, this is the only side effect that was physically evident to me (at least from my own experience). I will still be using BP regardless, but an occasional zit has to be handeled very carefully now (I have two of my first facial scars from when I first started using BP and didn't realize its effects on healing). I also undarstand that this issue may affect only certain people, sice we all have different skin.


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all i can say is -

unbearable acne or wrinkles?

wrinkles, at least for me!

i mean i can't say that using somewhat harsh acne treatments your entire life is necessarily GOOD for your skin, but if you take care of it, and take care of yourself, cancer isn't going to be an issue in your life. if you can eventually go off the DKR, then good, because you don't have to worry about those if-y risks. i know i can, because i'm going to grow out of acne like my parents. but, if you're an adult that is pretty much positive you're going to be on the regimen for a really long time, i'd say to just slowly add in anti-aging, superbly hydrating creams and thinks like that. eye creams are a good idea too!


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