What Is It?
Benzoyl peroxide is a topical treatment that kills acne bacteria and dries/peels the skin, helping to keep pores unclogged.
Strength of Evidence
Average 54% reduction in acne after 12 weeks
- Kaewsanit, T., Chakkavittumrong, P. & Waranuch, N. Clinical comparison of topical 2.5% benzoyl peroxide plus 5% niacinamide to 2.5% benzoyl peroxide alone in the treatment of mild to moderate facial acne vulgaris. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 14, 35–41 (2021).
- Abdullah, M. & Mahdi, Y. G. Efficacy of “Intense Pulsed Light versus Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% Gel” in treatment of mild to moderate facial acne vulgaris in Iraqi patients. JPTCP 28, (2021).
- Webster, G. F., Sugarman, J., Levy-Hacham, O. & Toledano, O. Microencapsulated benzoyl peroxide and tretinoin for the treatment of acne vulgaris: results from a phase 2 multicenter, double-blind, randomized, vehicle-controlled study. Skinmed 18, 343–351 (2020).
- Tantipunpipat, S., Weschawalit, S. & Chakkavittumrong, P. Comparação clínica entre peróxido de benzoília tópico 2,5% e diclofenaco gel 1% versus peróxido de benzoília 2,5% e placebo no tratamento da acne vulgar facial leve à moderada. S&CD 12, (2020).
- Patiyasikunt, M., Chancheewa, B., Asawanonda, P., Noppakun, N. & Kumtornrut, C. Efficacy and tolerability of low-dose spironolactone and topical benzoyl peroxide in adult female acne: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Dermatol 47, 1411–1416 (2020).
- Lubtikulthum, P., Kamanamool, N. & Udompataikul, M. A comparative study on the effectiveness of herbal extracts vs 2.5% benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of mild to moderate acne vulgaris. J Cosmet Dermatol 18, 1767–1775 (2019).
- Kawashima, M. et al. Twelve-week, multicenter, placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, comparative phase II/III study of benzoyl peroxide gel in patients with acne vulgaris: A secondary publication. J Dermatol 44, 774–782 (2017).
- Kawashima, M., Nagare, T. & Katsuramaki, T. Open-label, randomized, multicenter, phase III study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of benzoyl peroxide gel in long-term use in patients with acne vulgaris: A secondary publication. J Dermatol 44, 635–643 (2017).
- Richter, C. et al. Reduction of inflammatory and noninflammatory lesions with topical tyrothricin 0.1% in the treatment of mild to severe acne papulopustulosa: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 29, 1–8 (2016).
- Nestor, M. S., Swenson, N., Macri, A., Manway, M. & Paparone, P. Efficacy and tolerability of a combined 445nm and 630nm over-the-counter light therapy mask with and without topical salicylic acid versus topical benzoyl peroxide for the treatment of mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol 9, 25–35 (2016).
- Jawade, S. A., Saigaonkar, V. A. & Kondalkar, A. R. Efficacy and tolerability of adapalene 0.1%-benzoyl peroxide 2.5% combination gel in treatment of acne vulgaris in indian patients: a randomized investigator-blind controlled trial. Iranian Journal of Dermatology 19, 105–112 (2016).
- Tabasum, H., Ahmad, T., Anjum, F. & Rehman, H. The effect of Unani antiacne formulation (Zimade Muhasa) on acne vulgaris: A single-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial. Journal of Pakistan Association of Dermatologists 24, 319–326 (2014).
- Kawashima, M., Hashimoto, H., Alio Sáenz, A. B., Ono, M. & Yamada, M. Is benzoyl peroxide 3% topical gel effective and safe in the treatment of acne vulgaris in Japanese patients? A multicenter, randomized, double-blind, vehicle-controlled, parallel-group study. J Dermatol 41, 795–801 (2014).
- El-Latif, A. A. A., Hassan, F. A. A., Elshahed, A. R., Mohamed, A. G. & Elsaie, M. L. Intense pulsed light versus benzoyl peroxide 5% gel in treatment of acne vulgaris. Lasers Med Sci 29, 1009–1015 (2014).
- Babaeinejad, S. H. & Fouladi, R. F. The efficacy, safety, and tolerability of adapalene versus benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of mild acne vulgaris: a randomized trial. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology 12, 790 (2013).
- NCT01188538. Anti propionibacterium(p.) acnes activity of Epiduo® gel compared to benzoyl peroxide (bpo) 2.5% gel. (2011).
- Eichenfield, L. F. & Alió Sáenz, A. B. Safety and efficacy of clindamycin phosphate 1.2%-benzoyl peroxide 3% fixed-dose combination gel for the treatment of acne vulgaris: a phase 3, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, active- and vehicle-controlled study. J Drugs Dermatol 10, 1382–1396 (2011).
- Seidler, E. M. & Kimball, A. B. Meta-analysis comparing efficacy of benzoyl peroxide, clindamycin, benzoyl peroxide with salicylic acid, and combination benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin in acne. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 63, 52–62 (2010).
- NCT00787943. Study of two different 10.0% benzoyl peroxide creams for mild to moderate acne vulgaris. (2010).
- Tirado-Sánchez, A. & Ponce-Olivera, R. M. Efficacy and tolerance of superoxidized solution in the treatment of mild to moderate inflammatory acne. A double-blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, randomized, clinical trial. J Dermatolog Treat 20, 289–292 (2009).
- De Arruda, L. H. F., Kodani, V., Bastos Filho, A. & Mazzaro, C. B. A prospective, randomized, open and comparative study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of blue light treatment versus a topical benzoyl peroxide 5% formulation in patients with acne grade II and III. An Bras Dermatol 84, 463–468 (2009).
- Bissonnette, R. et al. Randomized study comparing the efficacy and tolerance of a lipophillic hydroxy acid derivative of salicylic acid and 5% benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of facial acne vulgaris. J Cosmet Dermatol 8, 19–23 (2009).
- Thiboutot, D. et al. An aqueous gel fixed combination of clindamycin phosphate 1.2% and benzoyl peroxide 2.5% for the once-daily treatment of moderate to severe acne vulgaris: assessment of efficacy and safety in 2813 patients. J Am Acad Dermatol 59, 792–800 (2008).
- Burkhart, C. G. & Burkhart, C. N. Treatment of acne vulgaris without antibiotics: tertiary amine-benzoyl peroxide combination vs. benzoyl peroxide alone (Proactiv Solution). Int J Dermatol 46, 89–93 (2007).
- Smith, S. & Kempers, S. A study of 5.5% benzoyl peroxide microsphere cream versus 6% benzoyl peroxide gel in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Cosmetic Dermatology 19, 537–542 (2006).
- Korkut, C. & Piskin, S. Benzoyl peroxide, adapalene, and their combination in the treatment of acne vulgaris. J Dermatol 32, 169–173 (2005).
- Ozolins, M. et al. Comparison of five antimicrobial regimens for treatment of mild to moderate inflammatory facial acne vulgaris in the community: randomised controlled trial. Lancet 364, 2188–2195 (2004).
- Gollnick, H. P. M., Graupe, K. & Zaumseil, R.-P. Azelaic acid 15% gel in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Combined results of two double-blind clinical comparative studies. J Dtsch Dermatol Ges 2, 841–847 (2004).
- Milani, M., Bigardi, A. & Zavattarelli, M. Efficacy and safety of stabilised hydrogen peroxide cream (Crystacide) in mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris: a randomised, controlled trial versus benzoyl peroxide gel. Curr Med Res Opin 19, 135–138 (2003).
- Do Nascimento, L. V. et al. Single-blind and comparative clinical study of the efficacy and safety of benzoyl peroxide 4% gel (BID) and adapalene 0.1% Gel (QD) in the treatment of acne vulgaris for 11 weeks. J Dermatolog Treat 14, 166–171 (2003).
- Papageorgiou, P. P. & Chu, A. C. Chloroxylenol and zinc oxide containing cream (Nels cream) vs. 5% benzoyl peroxide cream in the treatment of acne vulgaris. A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial. Clin Exp Dermatol 25, 16–20 (2000).
- Dunlop, K. J. & Barnetson, R. S. A comparative study of isolutrol versus benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of acne. Australas J Dermatol 36, 13–15 (1995).
- Dogra, A., Sood, V. & Minocha, Y. Comparative evaluation of retinoic acid, benzoyl peroxide and erythromycin lotion in acne vulgarils. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 59, 243–246 (1993).
- Hunt, M. J. & Barnetson, R. S. A comparative study of gluconolactone versus benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of acne. Australas J Dermatol 33, 131–134 (1992).
- Hughes, B. R., Norris, J. F. & Cunliffe, W. J. A double-blind evaluation of topical isotretinoin 0.05%, benzoyl peroxide gel 5% and placebo in patients with acne. Clin Exp Dermatol 17, 165–168 (1992).
- Borglund, E. et al. Topical meclocycline sulfosalicylate, benzoyl peroxide, and a combination of the two in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Acta Derm Venereol 71, 175–178 (1991).
- Bassett, I. B., Pannowitz, D. L. & Barnetson, R. S. A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoylperoxide in the treatment of acne. Med J Aust 153, 455–458 (1990).
- Cavicchini, S. & Caputo, R. Long-term treatment of acne with 20% azelaic acid cream. Acta Derm Venereol Suppl (Stockh) 143, 40–44 (1989).
- Flückiger, R., Furrer, H. J. & Rufli, T. Efficacy and tolerance of a miconazole-benzoyl peroxide cream combination versus a benzoyl peroxide gel in the topical treatment of acne vulgaris. Dermatologica 177, 109–114 (1988).
- Mills, O. H., Kligman, A. M., Pochi, P. & Comite, H. Comparing 2.5%, 5%, and 10% benzoyl peroxide on inflammatory acne vulgaris. Int J Dermatol 25, 664–667 (1986).
- Tucker, S. B., Tausend, R., Cochran, R. & Flannigan, S. A. Comparison of topical clindamycin phosphate, benzoyl peroxide, and a combination of the two for the treatment of acne vulgaris. Br J Dermatol 110, 487–492 (1984).
- Chalker, D. K., Shalita, A., Smith, J. G. & Swann, R. W. A double-blind study of the effectiveness of a 3% erythromycin and 5% benzoyl peroxide combination in the treatment of acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol 9, 933–936 (1983).
- Burke, B., Eady, E. A. & Cunliffe, W. J. Benzoyl peroxide versus topical erythromycin in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Br J Dermatol 108, 199–204 (1983).
- Bucknall, J. H. & Murdoch, P. N. N. Comparison of tretinoin solution and benzoyl peroxide lotion in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Current Medical Research and Opinion 5, 266–268 (1977).
Low-medium side effects and adverse reactions
Acne.org's Real World Take
It’s been a staple of acne treatment for decades for a reason. When used properly it can completely clear the skin. It is widely available and affordable. Comes with side effects for the first few weeks and can bleach fabric.