Welcome to Mid-County Dermatology, your trusted destination for effective acne treatment in St. Louis. Our experienced team of dermatologists and skin care professionals is dedicated to helping you achieve clear and healthy skin. We specialize in providing personalized acne treatment options that address your unique needs and concerns.
Our dermatology team at Missouri Baptist Medical Center stays at the forefront of offering the most effective acne treatments available. Our use of tried-and-true benzoyl peroxide, a powerful acne treatment, is part of our commitment to delivering exceptional results. By targeting the underlying causes of acne, such as excess oil production and bacterial overgrowth, we can help you achieve clearer and healthier skin. Our St. Louis dermatology team has put together this article to help explain what benzoyl peroxide is and how it can help you treat your acne.
What is benzoyl peroxide?
Benzoyl peroxide is a topical medication that comes in the form of creams, gels, lotions, and washes. It works by killing the bacteria responsible for causing acne, reducing inflammation, and preventing clogged pores. Benzoyl peroxide is available in different concentrations, typically ranging from 2.5% to 10%.
How does benzoyl peroxide work?
Benzoyl peroxide goes through a process in the skin, mainly in the upper layers of the outer skin, where it turns into benzoic acid and free oxygen radicals. This makes the skin more acidic and disrupts the membranes of bacteria and other microorganisms. Benzoyl peroxide has a broad-spectrum effect, meaning it can fight against many types of microbes, and this effect can last for up to 48 hours, even when conditions are favorable for bacterial growth. It also has a positive impact on the skin by slowing down certain processes involved in skin cell growth and DNA production.
Studies have shown that benzoyl peroxide can reduce the activity of oil-producing cells in the skin, although there is some debate about whether it directly decreases the production of oil. When benzoyl peroxide is used, it can lower the levels of certain fatty acids in the oil on the skin. This is thought to happen because benzoyl peroxide fights against bacteria that contribute to the production of these fatty acids. Additionally, benzoyl peroxide is believed to have a flushing effect on the hair follicles, which can help with managing acne.
What are the benefits of using benzoyl peroxide for acne?
Effective against Acne-Causing Bacteria
Benzoyl peroxide is known for its ability to target and eliminate the bacteria responsible for causing acne, particularly Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). By reducing the population of these bacteria on the skin, benzoyl peroxide helps prevent new breakouts from occurring.
Inflammation is a common characteristic of acne, leading to redness, swelling, and discomfort. Benzoyl peroxide has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the redness and swelling associated with acne lesions. By calming the inflammation, it promotes the healing process.
Prevents Clogged Pores
One of the main factors contributing to acne development is the clogging of skin pores. Benzoyl peroxide works by penetrating into the pores and clearing out excess oil, dead skin cells, and debris. This action helps prevent the formation of new comedones (clogged pores) and reduces the risk of acne breakouts.
Helps Remove Dead Skin Cells
Benzoyl peroxide has exfoliating properties that aid in the removal of dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. By sloughing off these dead cells, it helps keep the pores clear and prevents the buildup of debris, which can contribute to the development of acne.
Controls Excess Oil Production
Excess oil production is a common factor in acne-prone skin. Benzoyl peroxide helps regulate sebum (oil) production by reducing the activity of the sebaceous glands. By controlling oil production, it helps prevent the pores from becoming clogged and decreases the likelihood of acne breakouts.
What are the side effects of benzoyl peroxide?
Potential side effects include dryness, irritation, increased skin sensitivity, and rare allergic reactions.
To counteract dryness, moisturizers and hydrating products can be used.
Individuals with sensitive skin should start with a lower concentration (2.5%) and avoid combining benzoyl peroxide with potentially irritating products.
Most people tolerate benzoyl peroxide well, and the benefits often outweigh the mild and temporary side effects.
Allergic reactions are rare but should be taken seriously. Discontinue use and seek medical attention if any signs of an allergic reaction occur.
What precautions should I take when using benzoyl peroxide?
To ensure the safe and effective use of benzoyl peroxide for acne treatment, it is important to:
Avoid contact with eyes and lips to prevent potential irritation.
Limit sun exposure and protect your skin with sunscreen and protective clothing due to increased sensitivity to sunlight.
What are some alternatives to benzoyl peroxide for acne treatment?
While benzoyl peroxide is a commonly used ingredient for acne treatment, there are alternative products available that can be purchased at CVS, Walgreens, Target, or Walmart. These alternatives offer different mechanisms of action and can be effective for individuals who may not tolerate or prefer not to use benzoyl peroxide. Here are a few examples:
Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid is a popular alternative to benzoyl peroxide. It helps unclog pores, exfoliates the skin, and reduces inflammation. It is available in various forms, including cleansers, toners, spot treatments, and facial masks. Examples of salicylic acid products available at these stores include Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment, and Up&Up Salicylic Acid Acne Medication Cleansing Pads.
Retinoids: Retinoids, such as adapalene and tretinoin, are derivatives of vitamin A and are known for their ability to unclog pores, regulate cell turnover, and reduce acne formation. Adapalene gel (0.1%) is available over-the-counter under brand names like Differin Gel, while prescription-strength tretinoin creams can be obtained with a prescription.
In conclusion, when it comes to combating acne and achieving clear, healthy skin, residents of St. Louis have access to effective treatments provided by skilled dermatologists at Mid-County Dermatology. Benzoyl peroxide stands as a powerful option for acne treatment, addressing key factors such as acne-causing bacteria, inflammation, clogged pores, dead skin cells, and excess oil production. We recognize the importance of personalized care and tailoring treatment plans to each individual's needs. Schedule a consultation with our experienced St. Louis skin specialists today and take the first step towards a renewed sense of confidence and improved skin health.