Benzoyl peroxide is an organic compound in the organic peroxide family. It consists of two benzoyl groups joined by a peroxide group. It is one of the most important organic peroxides in terms of applications and the scale of its production. Benzoyl peroxide is used as an acne treatment, for bleaching hair and teeth, for improving flour, for polymerising polyester and many other uses.
In order to prevent acnes, you need to treat your whole face with 2.5% benzoyl peroxide solution, not just the blemishes themselves. Benzoyl peroxide solution (available in most drugstores) will kill bacteria over the entire surface of your face, not just the pimples you can see. That is the best way to prevent new pimples from appearing.
The typical concentration for benzoyl peroxide is 2.5% to 10% for both prescription and over the counter preparations that are used in treatment for acne. Higher percentages are available but most people will not need it. Most clinical studies have shown that 2.5% benzoyl peroxide is just as effective as 5% and 10% but much less irritating. Some people are sensitive to benzoyl peroxide and this sensitivity is characterised by burning, itching, peeling or possibly swelling. If severe redness and peeling, extreme burning, itching, swelling and/or rash occur, discontinue use at once and contact your dermatologist immediately.
It is good idea to start with a lower strength of benzoyl peroxide (usually 2.5%) to allow your skin to become acclimated to the benzoyl peroxide treatments. Move up to a higher strength if sensitive to it and results are not seen after several weeks.
If you are using benzoyl peroxide to treat your acnes, your skin will most likely be dry and in same cases a little flaky. Applying a good oil-free moisturizing lotion daily will help you keep your skin in balance and maintain normal healthy looking skin.
Higher concentrations of benzoyl peroxide are used for hair bleach and teeth whitening. Benzoyl peroxide, like most peroxides, is a powerful bleaching agent. Contact with fabrics or hair can cause permanent color dampening almost immediately. Even secondary contact can cause bleaching. For example, contact with a towel that has been used to wash off benzoyl peroxide-containing hygiene products.
Jack Breitbart of Revlon laboratories first developed the use of benzoyl peroxide for treating acne in the 1920s. It is typically placed over the affected areas in gel or cream form, in concentrations of 2.5% increasing through the usually effective 5% to up to 10%. Research suggests that 5 and 10% concentrations are not significantly more effective than 2.5% and 2.5% is usually better tolerated. It commonly causes initial dryness and sometimes irritation, although the skin develops tolerance after a week or so. A small percentage of people are much more sensitive to it and liable to suffer burning, itching, peeling and possibly swelling. It is sensible to apply the lowest concentration and build up as appropriate. Once tolerance is achieved, increasing the quantity or concentration a second time and gaining tolerance at a higher level usually gives better subsequent acne clearance. Benzoyl peroxide works as a peeling agent, increasing skin turnover and clearing pores, thus reducing the bacterial count there as well as directly as an antibacterial.