A Patient's Guide to Acne
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Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is the most commonly used acne treatment. It reduces bacterial count and unclogs oil glands. It is available in many forms like creams, gels, or lotions, and in different concentrations.


Benzoyl peroxide is so commonly used as an acne medication because it has little side-effect, and is very effective in reducing the symptoms of mild to moderate acne. Like many acne treatments, however, it the medication takes a long time to take effect. Patients need to be reminded not to expect immediate results as this leads to disappointment and reduced compliance.


Irritation, redness, and drying are the most common side-effects. It can also bleach hair and clothing. This is most common when first applying the medication. To mitigate these side-effects:

  • Avoid applying more than instructed in an attempt to treat acne faster.
  • Apply medication when your skin is dry.
  • Use gentle cleansers and light moisturizers.

Brand names

  • BenOxyl® 5%, PanOxyl® Aquagel 2.5% and 5%, PanOxyl® Bar 5%, PanOxyl® 5% Gel, Panoxyl® 5% Wash, PanOxyl® 4% Creamy Wash, Solugel® 4% - Stiefel
  • BenzacAC®, BenzacW®, BenzacWwash® - Galderma
  • Benzagel® - Novartis
  • Clearasil® - Procter & Gamble
  • Dermoxyl® - ICN
  • Desquam® - Westwood
  • Clean+Clear® - Johnson & Johnson
  • Spectro AcneCare Deep Pore Vanishing Lotion (BP 5%) and Spectro AcneCare Vanishing Lotion for Sensitive Skin (BP 2.5%) - GlaxoSmithKline
  • Acetoxyl® Gel (2.5% and 5%) - Valeo Pharma


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