Benzoyl peroxide, the product that is used to treat acne is formed from distilled toluene (distilled from petroleum and passed through 3 more chemical reactions). This benzoyl peroxide breaks in benzoic acid and oxygen when it is applied on the face. It is one of the earliest products used by doctors to treat various kinds of skin infection since it is known to clear the blocked pores and has anti-inflammatory reactions.
Benzoyl peroxide is used to treat acne because it takes away the nutritional value of the bacteria to thrive and reproduce. The life of any bacteria is 48 hours so within this time, if benzoyl peroxide is applied a few times, then the bacteria gets washed off the skin. Since ages raw benzoyl peroxide was used to treat pimples even when no gel was formed from it. The action occurs slowly so you can also treat blackheads and whiteheads formed due to the acne growth. Benzoyl peroxide does not often cause any burning sensation or itchiness when applied but if you have a darker skin tone, apply sun screen before applying this on your face.
How Does Benzoyl Peroxide Kill P. Acne Bacteria?
The main reason for acne developing on your skin is due to the P. acne bacteria settling down on your skin. As the sebum is more, the pores on the surface of your skin get blocked and oxygen dies away. Thus the inflammation occurs with the accumulation of sebum and keratin cells. When benzoyl peroxide is applied on your skin, toxic free oxygen compound settles on your skin. Such amount of rich oxygen is harmful for bacteria to thrive. Since our skin has repair mechanisms, the oxygen does not cause any burn on our skin but the outer layers of the bacteria get ruptured. The P. acne bacterium thus has to spend more energy to keep the integrity of its outer layer. Since the life of this bacterium is only for 48 hours, loss of energy leads to no reproduction and hence almost 100% of the bacteria get cleared from your skin. In the meantime, our body keeps releasing anti-inflammatory substances to dissolve the bacterial remains.
How Long Does It Take for Benzoyl Peroxide to Clear up Acne?
Benzoyl peroxide does not show a quick result. When you first start applying it, the condition of the acne will worsen; the affected areas will turn red and then peel off. After about 4 weeks to 6 weeks you will start noticing a change occurring on your skin which is positive. You must not stop applying benzoyl peroxide then. Even when your skin gets cleared, keep applying it regularly to keep you skin acne free. You must know that the product does not give you a good skin but only fights acne, yet if you stop applying it then acne can grow back on your skin being much worse than before.
You must use benzoyl peroxide in small amount so that the product fights the bacteria but your skin does not get addicted to it. In this way you can keep the acne from growing back on your face again. If you want to get the best result of using benzoyl peroxide, you should first wash your face with soap or facial wash and dry it up softly with a dry towel 15 minutes before applying the product. After you apply it, keep it for a few hours before you rinse it away. Slowly you can increase the time you leave benzoyl peroxide on the affected areas of your skin to an extent that after some days you do not have to wash it away. While you wash your face or any of the affected area, use a mild soap, a clean towel and lukewarm water.
- Zeichner, J. A., Baldwin, H. E., Cook-Bolden, F. E., Eichenfield, L. F., Fallon-Friedlander, S., Rodriguez, D. A., … & Stein Gold, L. F. (2017). Emerging Issues in Adult Female Acne. Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 10(1), 37–46.