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The Power of Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne

Acne is one of the most common skin challenges in the U.S., and it’s not just limited to teenagers. In fact it impacts all ages, races and genders. Nearly 60 million Americans have active acne and 20 million are at risk of developing scar tissue as a result. What’s your defense?

One effective defense is benzoyl peroxide (BPO), a chemical in the organic peroxide family that has been used in acne treatment formulas for more than 80 years. It works as a bleaching and peeling agent and is antimicrobial, increasing cell turnover, reducing the bacterial count, clearing up existing acne and preventing future breakouts.

Benzoyl Peroxide is white or off-white needle shaped water-soluble crystalline powder that offers the following benefits for blemished and impure skin:

  • It peels skin similar to salicylic or resorcinol reducing blockages.
  • It kills the bacterium Porpionibacterium acnes (P.acnes).
  • It has inflammatory properties reducing pain and discomfort associated with many lesions.
  • It is a bleaching agent and oxidizes pigment that has discolored from inflamed breakouts.
  • It eliminates fatty acids/oils in the skin.

The Science

Peroxide is a compound that has an oxygen-oxygen bond. That is, it has two oxygen atoms bound together. Look at the structural formula at the top of the page. The molecule is symmetrical, with two identical parts joined at their oxygen atoms with an oxygen-oxygen bond.

Familiar peroxide is hydrogen peroxide. It has two oxygen atoms bound together, and each of those atoms in turn is bound to a hydrogen atom.

Peroxides make good bleaches. The oxygen atoms combine with dyes to make the dyes colorless. This process (called oxidation) can kill germs

Cautions When Using BPO

Although this ingredient is considered safe and has no known risks or side affects that are long-term, use and balance are important.

Over-use may cause skin sensitivity and irritation – always have acne clients use Epidermal Growth Factor in any daily program.

Continual use may cause free radicals that contribute to degradation of skin. The solution is monitored use, spot treating and applying an antioxidant serum to skin.

While benzoyl peroxide is extremely beneficial, you also have to be aware of the other ingredients typically combined with it in most blemish control formulas.

Knowing What to Look For

Many cosmeceutical formulas use parabens as preservatives, and for their bactericidal and fungicidal properties – making them common in acne treatment solutions. These however, can cause skin irritation, contact dermatitis and Rosacea, not to mention the link to certain types of cancer.

Additionally, in many cases acne has been known to become resistant or immune to some BPO preparations, rendering the acne-fighting solution useless. This is where ingredient levels and formula combinations become important.

Our new Blemish Complex (BPO Rx) is a paraben-free benzoyl peroxide formula that fights bacteria, calms, hydrates and works as an anti-inflammatory. This balance is essential to acne control. Four key ingredients make up this advanced formula:

Benzoyl Peroxide – When applied to affected areas, this ingredient releases oxygen deep inside clogged pores to breakdown the skin and sebum. It heals, prevents incidents of scarring, and diminishes P. acnes (propionibacterium acnes) bacteria – the bacteria linked to acne, and degradation of skin and proteins.

Allantoin – Derived from fresh plant roots, this is a keratolytic agent that increases hydration in the extracellular matrix and enhances the desquamation of dead cells in the top layers. It increases cell proliferation, promotes wound healing and supports smooth, moisturized skin. It also soothes, protects and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) – This gel-like, natural substance improves skin hydration, and aids in wound healing and inflammation. It contains carbohydrate polymers and antiseptic agents to boost immunity and accelerate the healing process.

Acrylate Crosspolymer – A film-forming agent that leaves a pliable and continuous protective shield on the skin. It produces a water-binding property that leaves the skin moisturized and smooth.

The balance of these four ingredients is supportive to blemish control and proper skin health. Our recently released Blemish Complex - BPO Rx is a super-charged power blast of antibacterial support that not only clears skin, but also nourishes it. It combines the necessary soothing and calming qualities, with the right balance of bacteria fighting and sebum reducing support. To learn more, download our white paper in the Science Behind RA.

Rhonda Allison

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