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Creams Containing Benzoyl Peroxide

by
author image T.M. Samuels
T.M. Samuels has been a freelance writer since 1993. She has published works in "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living" and "Mature Years," and is the author of a gardening book. Samuels studied pre-medicine at Berry College.
Creams Containing Benzoyl Peroxide
Lower-strength benzoyl peroxide cream is less likely to irritate skin. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Benzoyl peroxide is a common acne-fighting ingredient in creams and other skin-care products, and it is available in both over the counter and prescription-only strengths. Many people use benzoyl peroxide without incident, though others may experience problems that require the help of a doctor. If cream containing benzoyl peroxide is accidentally ingested, seek emergency help immediately.

Reasons for Using Benzoyl Peroxide

Creams containing benzoyl peroxide are used to treat pimples, blackheads and whiteheads and may be effective after only five days of use. The substance works by destroying bacteria on the skin, and may be used with other acne products and medicines, like pimple-fighting facewash or antibiotics. Many products containing benzoyl peroxide are available from drugstores and supermarkets, making it an easy choice for controlling skin problems.

Possible Side Effects

Although many people use products containing benzoyl peroxide without trouble, the product may cause redness, peeling and dry skin in others. To control irritation, reduce the amount of cream you're using, or apply it less frequently. Serious side effects may include swelling, burning or a rash; these reactions are rare, but may occur. If you experience any of these problems, stop using the cream and speak with a doctor.

Avoiding Problems When Using Benzoyl Peroxide

To keep your skin happy and healthy when using benzoyl peroxide cream, wear a moisturizer with high SPF protection during the day, as it can cause sun sensitivity. If you're using any other topical skin medications, speak with your doctor before using benzoyl peroxide, as it can't be used in conjunction with certain medicines, like dapsone, another anti-acne treatment. Never apply benzoyl peroxide cream to broken or irritated skin and keep it away from your eyes.

Benzoyl Peroxide Tips

Store your benzoyl peroxide cream in a cool, dry place. Bathrooms are usually warm and humid, so keep it elsewhere. Avoid getting benzoyl peroxide cream on your clothes, towels or furniture, as it can bleach fabric. Use the cream for a minimum of four to six weeks before deciding whether or not it works for you, as stopping use too soon is the most common reason it fails to work.

Preventing Acne

Wash your skin every day to remove dirt, oil and bacteria which cause acne. Be sure to wash after exercising, as sweat can also clog pores, leading to breakouts on your face, back and bottom. Using makeup, moisturizers and other skin products which are labeled "non-comedogenic," as they won't block pores and cause pimples. Take time to unwind and relax, as stress can also provoke breakouts.

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