What is benzoyl peroxide?

Benzoyl peroxide is a topical medication used for treating acne (pimples). It is active against Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium which has been associated with acne.

Why is benzoyl peroxide used?

  • Benzoyl peroxide is used for the treatment of acne.

Is benzoyl peroxide available as a generic drug?


Do I need a prescription for benzoyl peroxide?

Do I need a prescription for benzoyl peroxide)?


What brand names are available for benzoyl peroxide?

  • Proactive, Neutrogena On-The-Spot Acne Treatment, Clearasil, Clearskin, Clear Start, Benzac AC (Gel, Wash, and others), BPO (Creamy Wash Complete Pack, Gel and others), Desquam-E, Clean and Clear Advantage 3-in-1 Exfoliating Cleanser, Brevoxyl, Triaz, and ZoDerm are just some of the brand names for benzoyl peroxide.

What are the side effects of benzoyl peroxide?

Common side effects include:

Possible serious side effects include:

  • Hypersensitivity reaction
  • Increased sun sensitivity

What is the dosage for benzoyl peroxide?

  • The affected area should be thoroughly washed.
  • Benzoyl peroxide cream, lotion, or gel should then be applied sparingly once, twice, or three times daily as needed.
  • Topical cleansers should be used to wash the affected areas once or twice daily.
  • The frequency of use should be decreased if excessive dryness or irritation occurs.

Which drugs or supplements interact with benzoyl peroxide?

  • Combining benzoyl peroxide with other topical acne treatments such as dapsone (Aczone) can lead to excessive dryness and irritation of the skin.

Is benzoyl peroxide safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

What else should I know about benzoyl peroxide?

What preparations of benzoyl peroxide are available?
  • Cream: 2.5, 5.5, 6, 7, and 10%
  • Gel: 2.5, 4, 5, 8, and 10%
  • Lotion: 2.5,3.5, and 7%
  • Wash: 2.5, 3, 3.7, 4, 4.25, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10%
  • Foam: 5.3, 5.5, and 9.5%
  • Bar: 10%
How should I keep benzoyl peroxide stored?
  • Benzoyl peroxide products should be stored at room temperature between, 15 C and 25 C (59 F and 77 F). They should be kept away from excess heat and moisture.
How does benzoyl peroxide work?
  • Benzoyl peroxide works through several mechanisms. It kills the bacteria and promotes the growth of new skin cells. It also dries the skin. Increased cell growth leads to replacement of the pimple-containing skin with new skin.

Medically Reviewed on 3/18/2019



“benzoyl peroxide (Rx, OTC).” Medscape.