Benzoyl Peroxide

Topical Antibacterial

The following side effects are expected to occur in the first few weeks of treatment, and resolve with continued use of benzoyl peroxide. Contact your doctor if these symptoms are severe and/or do not go away:

How Common (based on clinical studies)

Redness and/or warmth in the areaUp to 38.5% of all users
Skin peeling or scalingUp to 20.6% of all users
Dryness of skinUp to 19.2% of all users
Skin irritationUp to 19% of all users
Acne flare-upsUp to 15.4% of all users
Burning, stinging, or tingling sensationUp to 11.5% of all users
ItchingUp to 11.5% of all users
Soreness / Tenderness in the areaUp to 11.5% of all users
Change in skin texture (roughness)Up to 3.8% of all users
Inflammation of the eyelidsUp to 0.4% of all users

Benzoyl peroxide may cause some side effects that are serious. If you experience any of the following, contact you doctor immediately or seek emergency medical treatment:

Burning of the skin with
blistering, swelling, and redness
in the treated area
Up to 7% of users
Intense skin irritation or rashUp to 7% of users

If you experience any of the following side effects, stop using benzoyl peroxide immediately and contact your doctor or get emergency medical care right away:

  • A sudden appearance of swelling and rash (known as hives)
  • Swelling of the eyes, lips, tongue, or entire face
  • Severe itching
  • Trouble with breathing
  • Feeling dizzy or faint

Benzoyl peroxide may also cause other side effects that are not mentioned here. Contact your doctor if you experience any other troublesome symptoms when using benzoyl peroxide.

References
  1. UpToDate. Benzoyl Peroxide: drug information. Available from: https://www-uptodate-com.eresources.mssm.edu/contents/benzoyl-peroxide-drug-information?search=benzoyl%20peroxide&source=panel_search_result&selectedTitle=1~91&usage_type=panel&kp_tab=drug_general&display_rank=1. Cited October 28, 2018.
  2. Lookingbill DP, Chalker DK, Lindholm JS, Katz HI, Kempers SE, Huerter CJ, Swinehart JM, Schelling DJ, and Klauda HC. Treatment of acne with a combination clindamycin/benzoyl peroxide-Norris, 1991 (5% gel) gel compared with clindamycin gel, benzoyl peroxide gel and vehicle gel: combined results of two double-blind investigations. J Am Acad Dermatol. 37(4), 590-5 (1997).
  3. Bucknall JH, and Murdoch PNT. Comparison of tretinoin solution and benzoyl peroxide lotion in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Curr Med Res Opin. 5, 266-268. (1977).
  4. Hughes BR, Norris JFB, Cunliffe WJ. A double-blind evaluation of topical isotretinoin 0.05%, benzoyl peroxide gel 5% and placebo in patients with acne. Clinical and experimental Dermatology, 17, 165-168 (1992).
  5. 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. Current Medical Research and Opinion, 19(2), 135-138 (2003).
  6. Papageorgiou PP, Chu AC. 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. Clinical Dermatology, 25, 16-20 (2000).
  7. Gollnick HP, Draelos Z, Glenn MJ, Rosoph LA, Kaszuba A, Cornelison R, Gore B, Liu Y, Graeber M; Adapalene-BPO Study Group. Adapalene-benzoyl peroxide, a unique fixed-dose combination topical gel for the treatment of acne vulgaris: a transatlantic, randomized, double-blind, controlled study in 1670 patients. Br J Dermatol. 161(5),1180-9 (2009).
  8. Kawashima M, Hashimoto H, Alio Sanez AB, 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. Journal of Dermatology, 41, 795-801 (2014).
  9. 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. Journal of Dermatology, 44(6), 635-643 (2017).
  10. Kawashima M, Sato S, Furukawa F, Matsunaga K, Akamatsu H, Igarashi A, Tsunemi Y, Hayashi N, Yamamoto Y, Nagare T, Katsuramaki T. 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(7),774-782 (2017).
  11. Thiboutot DM, Weiss J, Bucko A, Eichenfield L, Jones T, Clark S, Liu Y, Graeber M, Kang S, Adapalene-BPO Study Group. Adapalene-benzoyl peroxide, a fixed-dose combination for the treatment of acne vulgaris: results of a multicenter, randomized double-blind, controlled study. J Am Acad Dermatol. 57(5), 791-9 (2007).
  12. Bucknall JH, Murdoch PN. Comparison of tretinoin solution and benzoyl peroxide lotion in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Curr Med Res Opin. 5(3), 266-8 (1977).