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I have been using a 10% benzoyl peroxide face cleanser that has been working for a while now but lately my skin is covered in acne. Is that cleanser too harsh on my skin? Should I switch my routine and use different products? 

 

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I would absolutely recommend switching to a cleanser with a lower percentage of BP. Everything I've heard and read (including what two dermatologists have told me) says that 10% is no more effective than say, 3-5%, it just dries your skin out more. I have found it to be true in my own personal experience as well. I used to use SO many harsh products on my face in a  desperate attempt to battle my acne and it definitely made things worse. 

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You use benzoyl peroxide in that concentration very sparingly.  The method behind BP is that it's an oxidative topical peroxide.  Hence it's reactivity produces oxidation to the epithelial layer of our dermis destroying the P. Acnes bacterium (Propionibacterium Acnes is a anaerobic bacterium; oxidation to an anaerobic species causes death).  With that being said it can be detrimental when it begins disrupting the natural microbiota that exists on our skin along with creating a mild form of oxidative damage ie. chemical burn.  Our skin needs to run it's natural course of action and bring about equilibrium among the flora to restore homeostatic functions.
I wash my face with water and a bacterial resistant silicone exfoliation pad.  Warm water, gracious tissue massage, and occasional topical treatments will control bacterial induced acne vulgaris. 

I rinse my face with water in the morning and night.  Besides using lotion to force a unnatural state of hydration via inorganic/oganic compounds, I frequently freshen my face with a handful of water throughout the day especially if I feel my skin is becoming dry and losing elasticity.

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