Compare Benzoyl peroxide vs. Renova

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

(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 acne and sun damage. Renova (Tretinoin) isn't a cure for fine lines and wrinkles, but it's clinically proven to improve them.
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Reviews & ratings
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4.57544757033248Benzoyl peroxide
Reviews for Benzac (Benzoyl Peroxide)
of people (All ages) say Benzac (Benzoyl Peroxide) is worth it
say it works well
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391 reviews
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Reviews for Renova (Tretinoin)
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Side effects
Benzoyl peroxideRenova

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

More about Benzoyl peroxide side effects »
  • Severe local irritation 6%
More Renova side effects »
How it works
Benzoyl peroxideRenova
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.Renova (Tretinoin) is a vitamin A derivative. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it seems to make skin cells renew faster and better.
Type of medication
Benzoyl peroxideRenova
Acne agent
Prescription or OTC
Acne agent
Prescription only
Available as
Benzoyl peroxideRenova
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Lotion
  • Liquid
  • Topical solution
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
Used for (click to learn more)
Benzoyl peroxideRenova
Risk factors for serious side effects
Benzoyl peroxideRenova
    • Using other medicines or products that irritate the skin
    • Eczema
    • Extreme temperatures (hot or cold)
      Detailed Benzac (Benzoyl Peroxide) risks & warnings »
      • Using other medicines or products that irritate the skin
      • Eczema
      • Extreme temperatures (hot or cold)
        • Allergy to fish or fish products
          Detailed Renova (Tretinoin) risks & warnings »
          Pregnancy category
          Benzoyl peroxideRenova
          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
          CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

          Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

          See the FDA package insert
          Upsides and benefits
          Benzoyl peroxideRenova
          • 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.
          • You only need to apply it once a day, usually in the evening.
          • Most people who reported having skin irritation said that it was mild.
          • Part of a complete program to help you take better care of your skin.
          Downsides and risks
          Benzoyl peroxideRenova
          • 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.
          • It may take up to 6 months to see the full benefit for facial wrinkles.
          • Not a good choice for women who want to become or are pregnant
          • Can change the color and texture of your skin if used long-term.
          • You need to be careful about avoiding any sunlight or artificial tanning while using it.
          • It doesn't work for deep wrinkles.
          Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
          Benzoyl peroxideRenova
          • 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.
          • Works best as part of a complete skin care program (including SPF) to protect your skin from sun damage.
          • Renova doesn't permanently erase or improve significant skin changes such as deep wrinkles.
          • Apply a very small amount (pea-size) on entire face once a day at bedtime.
          • You'll need to use Renova regularly for at least 3 to 4 months before you see improvement. Once you stop, the improvement may slowly disappear.
          • Renova wasn't studied in people with skin cancer or serious damage from the sun (actinic keratosis) so it's not known if this would benefit.
          • Not safe to use during pregnancy. Even though Renova is applied to the skin, a small amount is absorbed and harmful to your unborn baby.
          • Some medicines you take by mouth can make you more sensitive to sunlight and combine with effects of Renova. Check with your doctor or pharmacist before you take any new medicines.
          Learn more
          More about Benzoyl peroxideSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          Have you used Benzac (Benzoyl Peroxide)?
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          More about RenovaSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
          Have you used Renova (Tretinoin)?
          Worth itNot sureNot worth it