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Bad Effects of Benzoyl Peroxide

author image Jonathan Croswell
Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.
Bad Effects of Benzoyl Peroxide
Teen looking at face in a mirror. Photo Credit nd3000/iStock/Getty Images


Benzoyl peroxide is a type of alcohol only made for topical application to your skin. It is used as a medication and treatment for a number of skin problems, most notably acne on your skin. It works by drying out your skin and eliminating the oil that can cause the development of acne. It is generally safe when kept away from the eyes, nose and other entry points into your body, but there are some difficult side effects that can arise with its use.

Skin Dryness

Benzoyl peroxide is beneficial to acne treatment because of its drying effects, but this can also be harmful to your skin, causing a drying out of your skin that can become irritable. Redness and peeling can occur, in extreme cases. Allergies may also result upon exposure to benzoyl peroxide, causing rashes, hives and other possible side effects. While allergic reactions can only be treated by stopping use of the fluid, applying moisturizing lotion to your skin will help defend against dryness.

Whitening Effect

Benzoyl peroxide can cause a whitening effect on your skin and particularly your hair, if it comes in contact with your hair repeatedly. This can be problematic when applying benzoyl peroxide to the face, particularly the forehead. Benzoyl peroxide can also cause discolorations in clothes and should only come into contact with clothes when it has fully dried on your skin.

Inflammation and Irritation

When benzoyl peroxide comes in contact with mucous membranes in your body, the effect can be very negative, causing inflammation and irritation in the membranes. The eyes are the most likely membrane to experience this aggravation from benzoyl peroxide. When this happens, flushing the eye for 10 to 15 minutes is very important, and you may want to call Poison Control to be on the safe side.

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