Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic availableDrug class: Dermatologic

Benzac

(Benzoyl Peroxide)

Prescription or OTCLower-cost generic availableDrug class: Dermatologic
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Topical treatment for acne and skin wounds.

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Our bottom line

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.

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Upsides

  • 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.
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Downsides

  • 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.
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.

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Side effect rates for Benzac (Benzoyl Peroxide)

Risks and Warnings for Benzac (Benzoyl Peroxide)

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  • Benzac (Benzoyl Peroxide) can bleach hair, fabrics and carpet. Be careful to avoid hairline when applying to face. Wash your hands after using to avoid staining or discoloring fabrics and clothing.

Common concerns from people taking Benzac (Benzoyl Peroxide)

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Pregnancy
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  • 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).