Compare benzoyl peroxide vs. Accutane

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

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Benzac (benzoyl peroxide)

Prescription or OTC

Accutane (isotretinoin)

Prescription only
Treats acne.

Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) is the most effective over-the-counter treatment for mild acne.

3.4/ 5 average rating with 394 reviewsforbenzoyl peroxide
Treats severe acne.

Accutane (isotretinoin) works well against severe acne but has a lot of serious side effects. You will need to discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

3.6/ 5 average rating with 101 reviewsforAccutane
Upsides
  • Available over-the-counter from many brands.
  • Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) comes in many different forms and combinations with other acne products.
  • Works well to clear your skin when other medicines have not worked for you.
  • Most people experience clear skin after just one course of treatment. Clear skin can last for some time even after you've stopped taking Accutane (isotretinoin).
  • You only have to take Accutane (isotretinoin) once or twice a day.
Downsides
  • Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) increases your skin's sensitivity to the sun and may also cause dryness or stinging.
  • Be careful when applying Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) to large areas since it can bleach hair, clothing, and pillow cases upon contact.
  • Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) needs to be combined with other medications to effectively treat severe acne.
  • Accutane (isotretinoin) can raise your blood sugar levels. Your doctor may have to monitor your sugar levels more frequently.
  • If you play sports a lot, you may be at higher risk of bone fractures.
  • You'll have to see your doctor every time to get a refill of Accutane (isotretinoin) because of the high risk of birth defects.
  • Can cause serious bowel problems. Talk to your doctor if you experience loose stools, blood in the stools, or bad belly pain.
  • Can damage your liver. Your doctor will do regular blood tests to make sure it's healthy.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Cream
  • Lotion
  • Liquid
  • Gel
  • Foam
  • Soap
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
394 reviews so far
60%
saidit'sworth it
29%
saiditworked well
9%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Benzac (benzoyl peroxide)?

Leave a review
101 reviews so far
53%
saidit'sworth it
43%
saiditworked well
36%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Accutane (isotretinoin)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Benzac (benzoyl peroxide) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Accutane (isotretinoin) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Bleaching
  • Skin irritation
    • Using other medicines or products that irritate the skin
    • Eczema
    • Extreme temperatures (hot or cold)
  • Allergic reaction
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Harm to fetus
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • History of depression or other psychiatric condition
  • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
    • Obesity
    • Increased alcohol
  • Serious skin reaction
  • Bone fractures
    • History of childhood osteoporosis or bone conditions
    • Anorexia nervosa
    • Taking anticonvulsant medicines
    • Taking corticosteroids
    • Problems with vitamin D breakdown
    • Longer-term therapy with Accutane (isotretinoin)
  • Eye problems
    • History of eye problems
See more detailed risks and warnings