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Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5 Gel & Acne

by
author image Shannon Marks
Shannon Marks started her journalism career in 1994. She was a reporter at the "Beachcomber" in Rehoboth Beach, Del., and contributed to "Philadelphia Weekly." Marks also served as a research editor, reporter and contributing writer at lifestyle, travel and entertainment magazines in New York City. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature from Temple University.
Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5 Gel & Acne
Teenager looking at her face in the mirror Photo Credit evgenyatamanenko/iStock/Getty Images

Benzoyl peroxide 2.5 percent is one of the most recommended medications used to treat acne. Benzoyl Peroxide, or BP, is the active ingredient in over-the-counter gels including Solvere Acne Clearing Gel, Clearogen Acne Gel and numerous generic brands. BP works by killing P. acnes, the bacteria that cause lesions to develop. While 2.5 percent is the lowest dose of BP, it is the formulation that causes the least amount of side effects, such as drying and irritation.

How to Use

Benzoyl peroxide is used to treat mild to moderate acne. When you first begin to use 2.5 percent BP, you should apply it only once a day to see if your skin has a reaction. After applying the medication, allow it to absorb on its own without rubbing it in. Be sure to let it completely dry before topping with moisturizer, and do not wash it off your skin.

Benefits

A 2006 study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology by Jeffrey Weinberg indicates that BP has been among the top medications of choice for more than five decades. Unlike antibiotics, which dermatologists prescribe to people whose acne does not respond to other treatments, BP has a direct toxic effect on bacteria. BP creates oxygen, making it impossible for P. acnes to survive on the skin. Also, the body does not develop a resistance to BP.

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Strengths

There’s only one significant difference between the three strengths of benzoyl peroxide, which are 2.5, 5 and 10 percent. The mildest formulation is 2.5 percent. This is the amount that experts including the Mayo Clinic suggest using. Daniel Kern of Acne.org says 5 percent and 10 percent BP gel can be more drying. If you’ve used 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide and have not seen an improvement after four to six weeks, consider trying 5 percent BP gel.

Side Effects

Most of people can use BP gel safely and without side effects. The most common reactions are drying or peeling skin, tingling or stinging. If you experience any severe side effects, including burning, blisters, itching, rash or swelling, you should call your doctor.

Warnings

When using benzoyl peroxide, according to MedlinePlus, avoid known irritants like abrasive cleansers, products with alcohol, skincare products that are drying and direct sun. Only use other skin medications under the direction of your doctor. Children under the age of 12 should only use 2.5 percent BP as directed by a physician.

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