Benzoyl peroxide usually takes about 4 weeks to start working. It can take up to 2 to 4 months for the treatment to have its full effect. What can I do if benzoyl peroxide does not work? Speak to a doctor if your skin does not improve with benzoyl peroxide, or if acne is making you feel very unhappy.
Benzoyl Peroxide Pros
It kills bacteria. Benzoyl peroxide works quickly (as soon as five days!). As an added bonus, benzoyl peroxide prevents antibiotic resistance.
Try a spot treatment or pimple patch
You've probably seen these emergency pimple treatments at the drugstore — usually an extra-strong solution of salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or benzoyl peroxide. And yep, they can actually get rid of pimples overnight.
During the first 3 weeks you are using benzoyl peroxide, your skin may become irritated. Also, your acne may seem to get worse before it gets better. If your skin problem has not improved within 4 to 6 weeks, check with your doctor.
Around eight to 10 weeks after you start using the product, your skin should be much clearer. You'll still have the odd spot or two. If the treatment didn't work as well as you wanted, it's a good idea to visit a dermatologist. A prescription treatment might work better.
Benzoyl peroxide is good for all types of acne, including cysts, blackheads and whiteheads, but it's particularly great at treating inflammatory cystic acne.
The best way to make a zit go away fast is to apply a dab of benzoyl peroxide, which you can buy at a drug store in cream, gel or patch form, says Shilpi Khetarpal, MD. It works by killing bacteria that clogs pores and causes inflammation. You can buy it in concentrations ranging from 2.5% to 10%.
Apply a hydrocolloid acne patch
“The patches are often made out of hydrocolloid materials that are super absorbent to help flatten the cyst. In addition, some of these acne patches contain active ingredients such as salicylic acid or tea tree oil that treat the pimple while concealing it.”
It can even remove dark spots and pimples or acne scars. The key difference between any benzoyl peroxide product and other topical antibiotics for acne like clindamycin is that our bodies do not build up an antibiotic resistance to the product.
Benzoyl peroxide works in two ways: it kills the bacteria that help cause acne, and it has a drying effect that makes it easier to wash away excess oils and dirt. As it does help unclog pores, it might be what you're looking for!
Hormonal changes, including those caused by menopause, menstruation, pregnancy, and certain medical conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), can be triggers for cystic acne.
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If you have blackheads and whiteheads, salicylic acid alone should work well to clear out your pores. If your acne tends to be inflammatory, such as papules and pustules, opt for benzoyl peroxide to stop outbreaks at the source. For sensitive skin, start with salicylic acid, since it's less likely to cause irritation.
Benzoyl peroxide, like all treatments, takes time to work. You may need to wait eight to 10 weeks, sometimes a bit more before seeing a noticeable improvement in your skin. As tempting as it may be, don't slather on more medication, or apply more often than directed.
Benzoyl peroxide may not be safe for sensitive skin. It's more drying than salicylic acid, so it can lead to more severe irritation.
1 If you're just beginning with your benzoyl peroxide treatment, start using moisturizer now, even before you notice any uncomfortable dryness. You may be able to stave off the worst of it. If you've already succumbed to benzoyl peroxide-induced dryness and flakiness, slather on moisturizer as often as necessary.
Acne is caused by a combination of hormones, oil, and bacteria. When oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria clog the follicles, sebum can't escape the pores. This leads to acne.
CeraVe is the #1 dermatologist-recommended moisturizer brand for acne*, and our new Acne Control Cleanser with 2% salicylic acid is formulated to clear acne, reduce blackheads and improve the appearance of pores, while purifying clay helps absorb excess oil.
These serious side effects are rare and happen in less than 1 in 1,000 people. Stop using benzoyl peroxide if: the skin that you're treating becomes swollen. you get blisters on your skin.
Acne in the jawline region is caused by sebaceous glands producing excess oil (sebum) due to hormonal stimulation. This sebum gets trapped in the follicle leading to clogged pores. Bacteria will then start to proliferate in the clogged pore because there is no oxygen in there to control the bacterial growth.
Cystic acne is a type of inflammatory acne that causes painful, pus-filled pimples to form deep under the skin. Acne occurs when oil and dead skin cells clog skin pores. With cystic acne, bacteria also gets into the pores, causing swelling or inflammation. Cystic acne is the most severe type of acne.
What does hormonal acne look like? Whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, cysts and nodules are all common hormonal acne symptoms. Normally, whiteheads and blackheads do not cause pain, inflammation or swelling, but if they do, then they are most likely forming into cysts and pustules.
Consider any medicines and skin care products you already use. Some may make your skin more sensitive, such as prescription retinoid creams or products containing retinol or benzoyl peroxide. Exfoliating while using these products can trigger acne breakouts or excessive dryness.
Skin purging typically looks like tiny red bumps on the skin that are painful to touch. They are often accompanied by whiteheads or blackheads. It can also cause your skin to become flaky. The flare ups caused by purging have a shorter lifespan than a breakout.