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(Benzoyl Peroxide)


Topical treatment for acne and skin wounds. Benzac (Benzoyl Peroxide) is a very popular topical acne treatment you can get over-the-counter or by prescription that may be better for people who don't want to take pill medication. Just be careful because it can bleach your hair, clothing and other fabrics.Treats bacterial infections. Vibramycin (Doxycycline) is good for treating many bacterial infections. It is also available as generic. However, it can make birth control pills less effective. You also have to protect yourself against sunburn.
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Reviews & ratings
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4.57544757033248Benzoyl peroxide
Reviews for Benzac (Benzoyl Peroxide)
of people say Benzac (Benzoyl Peroxide) is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Vibramycin (Doxycycline)
10% vs. Benzac (Benzoyl Peroxide)
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Side effects

The Benzoyl peroxide FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Benzoyl peroxide side effects »

The Doxycycline FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Doxycycline side effects »
How it works
Benzac (Benzoyl Peroxide) is a topical acne medicine. It seems to fight the bacteria responsible for producing acne in oil (sebaceous) glands, and dries out acne-affected areas. Also, it speeds up growth of damaged skin from serious breakdown, injury, or disease.Vibramycin (Doxycycline) is a tetracycline antibiotic. It stops bacteria by preventing them from reproducing and repairing themselves.
Type of medication
Acne agent
Prescription or OTC
Prescription only
Available as
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Lotion
  • Liquid
  • Topical solution
  • Pill
  • Delayed release capsule
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
Risk factors for serious side effects
    • Using other medicines or products that irritate the skin
    • Eczema
    • Extreme temperatures (hot or cold)
      Detailed Benzac (Benzoyl Peroxide) risks & warnings »
      • Age 8 years or younger
      • Using oral birth control pills
      • Long antibiotic treatment period
          • Women of childbearing age
          • Women of childbearing age
          • Overweight or obese
          • Taking isotretinoin (Accutane)
          Detailed Vibramycin (Doxycycline) risks & warnings »
          Pregnancy category
          NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

          The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

          See the FDA package insert
          DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

          Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

          See the FDA package insert
          No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
          No specific food-related info.
          • Has to be taken with plenty of water and food and you have to stay upright for 30 minutes afterwards to avoid stomach irritation.
          • Take with plenty of food and liquids.
          Kidneys and liver
          No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
          No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
          No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
          No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
          Upsides and benefits
          • Benzoyl peroxide is used to reduce bacteria on the skin, which "calms" the skin down (lowers the inflammatory response) in acne.
          • Helps stop blemishes from forming when oil and skin cells become trapped in pores.
          • Although Benzoyl peroxide can irritate the skin, a true skin allergy is rare.
          • Can be used in combination with acne pill medicine if your doctor thinks you need it.
          • It's available in non-prescription strengths, easy to buy at any drugstore and pretty cheap compared to prescription pills to treat your acne.
          • Available in generic.
          • Available in different forms: tablet, capsule, and suspension.
          • Used to treat many types of bacterial infections.
          • Less resistance seen in bacteria to this antibiotic. Your doctor may run tests to see which antibiotics will kill the bacteria causing your infection.
          Downsides and risks
          • Higher strengths (concentrations) can cause skin irritation and may appear as redness, peeling, abnormal dryness or stinging, tightening, or burning sensations.
          • It's rare, that a serious allergic reaction would occur, but it's a good idea to test a small area of skin before using on any larger or sensitive areas.
          • Not the best choice if you're pregnant. Benzoyl peroxide is categorized as pregnancy Category C (weigh risks vs benefits) as compared to similar topical medicines that are in Category B (likely safe).
          • Can cause bleaching of hair and clothing.
          • May not work as well when used by itself over long period of time.
          • You'll need to stay out of the sun or apply a sunscreen if you have to be outdoors.
          • Can't be used in pregnant women and children under 8 years old.
          • Makes your skin more sensitive to the sun.
          • Has to be taken with plenty of water and food and you have to stay upright for 30 minutes afterwards to avoid stomach irritation.
          • Can make birth control less effective.
          • Can cause diarrhea.
          Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
          • Acne can take several weeks to show up in the skin so it's best to use for 2-3 months before you decide it doesn't work.
          • Studies showed it didn't matter what strength people used, they all took about the same time to work.
          • Higher strengths greater than 2.5% may not work any better but might cause more side effects.
          • Using a moisturizer that doesn't block your pores (non-comedogenic) may help lessen common side effects of skin dryness and peeling.
          • Taking good care of your skin is an important part of treating acne. Lightly wash with warm water and non-soap-based or gentle cleanser.
          • Take the medication exactly how your doctor tells you to.
          • If you're using birth control pills, this medication can make them less effective.
          • Wear sunblock if you have to go out into the sun since your skin can become more sensitive to sunburn.
          • Can cause diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
          • Space out any vitamins by at least two hours.
          • Take with plenty of food and liquids.
          • Don't take any medications with bismuth (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate) while taking this medication.
          • Don't lie down for at least 30 minutes after taking this medication.
          Learn more
          More about Benzoyl peroxideSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          More about DoxycyclineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert