Active Ingredients: Benzoyl Peroxide

Reyanna Ng Beauty Expert
Active Ingredients: Benzoyl Peroxide

What is Benzoyl Peroxide?

We’ve all heard of the ingredient benzoyl peroxide, especially if you suffer or suffered from acne. But what makes it so well-known and used in almost all acne targeting products? Benzoyl peroxide’s main job is that it is a bacteria-killing machine. It kills the bacteria in and on the skin to prevent any acne from forming.

 Benzoyl peroxide is an organic peptide that oxidises activity on the skin, meaning that it releases oxygen on the skin to kill bacteria. Benzoyl peroxide is also anti-inflammatory, comedolytic and keratolytic, it opens up the pores and relieves any inflammation associated with breakouts.




  • Benzoyl peroxide contains anti-bacterial properties making it highly recommended for individuals suffering from inflamed cystic acne or papules, as it targets and kills the bacteria underneath the skin.

Exfoliates the skin

  • Similar to chemical exfoliates, benzoyl peroxide can clear up pores by shedding off dead skin cells and excess sebum, leading to less clogged pores and buildup that can lead to acne.
  • Comedolytic, inhibits the formation of comedones which are blemishes that are formed when sebum and skin cells are trapped in the pore, examples are blackheads and whiteheads.
  • Keratolytic, used to treat skin conditions where the epidermis (top layer of the skin) produces excess skin causing bumps to form and skin to stick together, making it harder to remove them and more buildup of skin, bacteria and oil to occur.


  • Benzoyl peroxide is particularly effective for cystic acne because of its ability to lessen the inflammation on the skin caused by acne breakouts. Inflamed skin tends to lead to a weaker skin barrier, making it easier for the skin to be irritated and infected.


Benzoyl Peroxide vs. Salicylic Acid

A common question is whether benzoyl peroxide is better than salicylic acid, and vice versa. However, they both target different skin concerns, though they seem similar. To put it simply, salicylic acid’s main job is to remove oil and cell buildup, targeting non-inflamed acne like white/blackheads, rather than targeting bacteria. Salicylic acid is also more suitable for those with sensitive skin.


What to note?

  • Although benzoyl peroxide treatments can be purchased over the counter, it is best to consult a doctor regarding what concentration level is best suited for your skin and acne type. Remember all skin is different.
  • Benzoyl peroxide can cause dryness and irritation as it works to clear dead skin cells and bacteria. Therefore, we advise to slowly introduce benzoyl peroxide products to your skin wither by starting with a lower concentration or limiting the times of application. We suggest no more than twice a day.
  • Those with sensitive skin may not be suitable with benzoyl peroxide as your skin is more prone to irritation and other skin reactions. Expecting mothers should also avoid.
  • Avoid using benzoyl peroxide together with vitamin C as benzoyl peroxide may affect the efficacy of the vitamin C. So, if you are using a vitamin C product during the day, use benzoyl peroxide at night.
  • The same goes for mixing benzoyl peroxide and retinol as they both deactivate each other, rendering them useless and may even irritate the skin more.


Products we recommend 

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo

la roche posay effaclar duo acne spot treatment

A top choice and go-to acne spot treatment, this duo spot treatment contains micronised benzoyl peroxide (5.5%) and Lipo Hydroxy Acid to treat acne deep in the skin. Lipo hydroxy acid helps provide cell exfoliation that clear away excess oil and cell debris. This product is non-drying, oil-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic and suitable for sensitive skin.

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