Benzoyl Peroxide is a chemical that is very common in acne treatments both over-the-counter as well as prescription. The fact that this ingredient is
in so many products, which are heavily promoted in advertisements has numbed the public to the blatant side effects that Benzoyl Peroxide has. We are going to discuss in this article four major problems that benzoyl peroxide creates in the skin, and we will also suggest a potent all natural alternative.
The first thing that benzoyl peroxide does which is tremendously dangerous is the fact that it produces free radicals in the skin. Free radicals are also created when we spend time in the sun unprotected. Free radicals damage the skin by causing premature aging, decreasing the skin’s ability to heal, damaging the overall health of the body, and that’s not even the worst part. The worst part about creating free radicals in your skin is the links between free radicals and cancer. Can you believe that major name brands promote their acne products that contain benzoyl peroxide, knowing that they could be indirectly contributing to cancer? It’s shocking, but it’s true, and the FDA made a point of telling the world about this in the late 1990’s.
The FDA statements about benzoyl peroxide are the second major problem with using products which contain it. In the late 90’s benzoyl peroxide was rated by the FDA as a “category I” ingredient, meaning that it was safe to use. However, after researching a little further, they discovered the serious side effects of the free radicals that it caused in the skin, and changed the rating from Category I to Category III, which is “Safety is unknown”. Because it is used in cosmetic products which don’t require the same regulations be followed, acne product manufacturers have been able to continue selling products that contain benzoyl peroxide. Why wouldn’t they just change from using Benzoyl Peroxide to using a better ingredient without all the side effects? It costs more, that’s why.
A third very important reason to avoid benzoyl peroxide is that the free radicals in the skin make the skin’s ability to heal irritation and wounds SLOW down. In other words, what should take a few days to heal, might take weeks or longer. In the case of acne, the skin is often red and irritated as a result of the acne breakouts. This redness and irritation needs to be HEALED by the skin, in order for it to go away and become less noticeable. Skin that has been treated with benzolyl peroxide, however, fights off the redness and heals itself at a much slower pace than untreated skin does. This is why many people who use a benzoyl peroxide treatment report that their skin actually looked worse and more irritated after a week or so of use. So, even though the bacteria is being killed by the benzoyl, the irritation and injury to the skin is healing so slowly that the skin looks worse than it did before.
The last reason we will discuss why benzoyl peroxide should be avoided is the over-drying of the skin that it causes. The skin loses its ability to produce natural oils and healthy moisture within it. This means that the skin often flakes and increases in irritation, because it doesn’t have the necessary moisture to stay healthy looking. So, although the benzoyl peroxide might be killing the acne causing bacteria, the skin is now flaky, dry, and also more red and irritated.
So what can you do to get rid of acne without all these nightmare side effects? The first thing to do is use an acne treatment that INCREASES the skin’s ability to remove toxins, and contains ingredients which INCREASE moisture and health. You still need to make sure the acne treatment is able to kill the bacteria that causes acne, however there are some ingredients out there which CAN kill the bacteria, and do it in a safe manner with no side effects. Resveratrol, is one example that was recently discovered in an Oxford University Study. While this is not the only natural ingredient that can kill acne bacteria, it is a very exciting development, due to the potency with which it works, and the overall benefits to the skin.