Acne-Prone Skin Skincare

The Best Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Products of 2017 – The Ultimate Guide

The Best Over the Counter Benzoyl Peroxide Products – Most mild to moderate cases of acne can be treated effectively with drugstore cleansers and ointments.

The strongest and most effective over the counter acne treatments contain benzoyl peroxide.

 

Contents

How Does Benzoyl Peroxide Work?

Benzoyl peroxide works to both prevent and treat inflammatory acne (cysts, red pimples, and zits) and non-inflammatory (blackheads and whiteheads).

It has major acne-fighting actions:

  1. It’s a very effective anti-bacterial agent – by releasing free radical oxygen, which is lethal to the p. acne bacteria, and benzoic acid, which prevents further infection.
  2. It has anti-inflammatory and comedolytic effects – it resolves and prevents the formation of new comedones (blackheads and whiteheads).
  3. It’s a lipophilic (oil-loving) exfoliant – most products are water-soluble and can only affect the skin’s surface (remember oil and water don’t mix). Benzoyl peroxide is capable of diving into an oil-filled pore and clears it of clogs and sebum. This is what makes it an effective face wash as well.
  4. It can promote wound healing – by attracting macrophages and histiocytes (types of white blood cells that protect the body from infection) into the wound.

It comes in varying strengths (2.5–20%) and can be found in creams, gels, cleansers, and lotions

Before including this in your regimen, however, you need to be aware of its possible side effects including:

  1. Extreme skin dryness – If you use it as a spot treatment, the skin surrounding the spot will start to flake off. If you use it all over the face, your skin can start to crack and peel off in blotches (Sounds scary, I know! But stay with me here)
  2. Redness and skin irritation

Now for the catch-22: dry skin can clog pores and irritated skin practically guarantees breakouts in acne-prone skin.

The solution?

Use a gentle cleanser before application to avoid further irritations and after application, use a non-comedogenic moisturizer to counter the side effects and restore the skin’s pH.

 

How to Use Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne Treatments:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide Creams, Gels, Lotions, & Ointments
    1. Use a gentle cleanser before application.
    2. On a clean, slightly damp skin; apply on the affected area either as a spot treatment or an all-over lotion. Quick tip: A slightly damp skin is more permeable that skin that’s completely dried.
    3. Follow-up with a hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic moisturizer right after. This is to prevent excessive drying or irritation and restore skin balance. Some of the higher end brands have formulations that already contain moisturizing ingredients to calm and soothe the skin, but I personally still feel the need to double down on the hydration (I have oily skin).
  • Benzoyl Peroxide Face & Body Wash
    1. Massage gently on the skin for at least 20 seconds.
    2. Follow with a hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic moisturizer.

Use a gentle cleanser before application to avoid further irritations and after application, use a hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic moisturizer to counter the side effects and restore the skin’s pH. Benzoyl Peroxide also penetrates more effectively on a well-hydrated skin.

Important Notes:

  1. It’s important to acclimatize or let your skin adjust when introducing any new product, especially if you have sensitive skin. Your safest bet is to start with the lowest % strength, using it once every other day. Gradually increase usage to 2-3 times daily or as needed as you go on. You can work you way up in % or frequency when you feel like your skin needs and is prepared for it. If any dryness or peeling occurs, reduce the frequency or % strength.
  2. If used in the daytime, always complement with a non-comedogenic sunscreen. BP can cause photosensitivity in some, which makes your skin particularly vulnerable to sun damage.
  3. For best results, do not use hydroquinone and benzoyl peroxide at the same time. Hydroquinone is a brightening/whitening ingredient. You can check the label of your other products if you’re not sure.
  4. Lastly, just because I can’t emphasize it’s importance enough, always follow up with an effective moisturizer. This is a very, very crucial step — after applying a benzoyl peroxide product, let is absorb for a few minutes and follow up with a gentle and deeply hydrating moisturizer. Moisturizing is truly not optional if you want to have clear and healthy skin. We want the benefits of benzoyl peroxide, not any of its side-effects. Be sure to find a moisturizer that is gentle and won’t irritate your skin (opt for formulations for sensitive skin). Also, check that it is lightweight and non-comedogenic so as to not further aggravate your acne. BP has also shown to penetrate more effectively on a well-hydrated skin.

You also need to set your expectations when using over the counter products like these. I’ve had acne since my teens until well into my twenties and have tried almost every acne product I can get my hands on in hopes of finding that miracle product that will end my suffering. (I know this sounds overly dramatic but when you’ve had acne for more than a decade, ‘suffering’ and ‘agony’ really isn’t an exaggeration. 🙁 )

Benzoyl peroxide has been very effective for me but it is by no means a cure-all. If you’re suffering from persistent acne, it’s best to undergo a program that will help you get to the root of the problem and address the causes. Acclaimed programs like Mike Walden’s Acne No More and Acne Remedies Guide can be a great start.

If you’re suffering from severe acne, it’s best to undergo a program that will help you get to the root of the problem and address the causes. Acclaimed programs like Mike Walden’s Acne No More and Acne Remedies Guide can be a great start.

Benzoyl Peroxide creams, gels, lotions, face washes–which should you choose?

Below are our selection of the best over the counter benzoyl peroxide products in the market today. At first glance, leave-on acne products seem to be more effective as they stay on the skin longer. However, efficacy is still down to the strength of the product, how well it’s formulated, and how receptive your skin is to it.

When choosing a product, you’ll need to consider the following:

  • You need to assess your skin’s current condition to determine the strength %. (Is your skin resistant enough for a 5%? 10%?)
  • With reference to leave-on product’s thickness and consistency; gels are usually the most lightweight and preferred by oily skin, followed by lotions and creams. This is not a hard and fast rule, however. Some lotions can be formulated to be more absorbent than gels. Creams are commonly thick and used for dry or dehydrated skin.
  • Another very important factor is your lifestyle and preference. One of the main reasons why people go off a skin regime is because they think of it as a chore. You should be able to enjoy the experience and the product itself to an extent so you’re able to use it on a regular basis. 🙂

Video: What is Benzoyl Peroxide? by Dr. Schultz, MD

Our recommendations for the best over the counter benzoyl peroxide are based on our comprehensive analysis of the product’s formulation, claims, value for money, and consumer reviews. We make an effort to be as objective as possible and give advice in good faith; however, our reviews may still contain conjectures and opinions based on our research and personal experiences.

It’s important to know that as with any product (especially cosmetics), what may be perfect for you may not be right for the next person. So as much as we want to guarantee that these will be everyone’s next holy grail, results can still be affected by individual factors like your current skin condition, the environment you’re in, use of the product, reaction to your other skincare, and so on. For best results, make sure to choose a product that is suited for your skin type and skin issues.

This website is for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Product or service details are collected directly from the manufacturer and other reputable sources during the time of this review. Extended research and studies are cited in the Resources section. We try to keep on top of new formulations when we can, and update our data accordingly.

At the end of every review, there will be a link for you to check current discounts and other customer reviews on Amazon. These, along with some other links that redirect you to third party sites, are affiliate links where we earn a small commission if you do decide to make a purchase. This is at absolutely no extra cost to you and will help in maintaining the quality of the site.

This website is our passion project, and our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. The choices we make take extensive research (which we actually enjoy because we’re weird and nerdy like that), including data from credible academic papers and user sources available.

Bottom Line: We objectively review a laundry list of top performing products, pick the best ones based on our results, and present them to you with all the key info so you can choose the most suitable one for your skin. If you decide to buy something, we earn a commission that helps cover site costs like hosting, design, research materials, etc. You don’t have to of course, thank you for visiting us nonetheless. 🙂

Editor’s Choice: The Best Benzoyl Peroxide Creams, Gels, & Lotions


These are our choices for the best benzoyl peroxide creams, gels, and lotions. These are based on formulation, our experiences, value for money, specifications, and consumer reviews over the years.

We’ve tabulated it in a ‘cheat sheet’ below so you can easily go over the key points. Click the ‘Read Review’ button for a more comprehensive analysis.

For best results, please make sure to choose what is most suited for your skin type and condition.

Brand / Product NameBenzoyl Peroxide StrengthAdditional BenefitsBest for  
Paula's Choice Clear Acne Treatment Regular Strength Lotion for Moderate Acne2.5%Soothing plant extracts (minimize skin peeling & dryness). Sets to a soft, invisible, matte finish.All skin types & ages struggling with mild to moderate acne.
2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Dr Song Acne Gel Treatment Lotion2.5%Simple, affordable benzoyl peroxide lotion. 100-day money back guarantee.All skin types. Resistant skin.
Acne.org 16 oz. Treatment (2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide)2.5%Pharmaceutical-grade & triple milled for extra penetration. Preventive acne treatment.All skin types. For overall face treatment.
Glytone Acne 3P Treatment Gel5%Patented time-released micronized benzoyl peroxide. Non-whitening matte finish.All skin types especially dehydrated, oily or dry skin.
PCA SKIN Acne Cream5%Lactic acid (gentle exfoliation). Tea tree oil (antibacterial).All skin types especially those prone to dry patches.
Glo Skin Beauty Therapeutics Clear Anti-Blemish Treatment5%Aloe vera & Rosemary (anti-inflammatory, antioxidant). Glycerin (hydration).All skin types especially those prone to redness.
M.A.D Skincare Blemish Repelling Gel5%Green tea, licorice (antioxidant). Epilobium Fleischeri extract (oil control, pore minimizing)Oily to Combination skin.
Jan Marini Skin Research Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Lotion 10%10%Highly micronized BP combined with specialized emollients for maximum delivery & minimum side effects.Normal to Oily Skin.
10% Generic for Oxy-10 Balance Acne Treatment Medication Maximum Strength Gel10%Simple, affordable benzoyl peroxide gel. All skin types. Resistant skin.

Editor’s Choice: The Best Benzoyl Peroxide Face Washes & Cleansers


These are our choices for the best face washes with benzoyl peroxide. They are based on formulation, our experiences, value for money, specifications, and consumer reviews over the years.

The ‘cheat sheet’ below are for you to easily scan for key points. You can click on the ‘Read Review’ button if you would like a more detailed review.

For best results, please make sure to choose what is most suited for your skin type and condition.

Brand / Product NameBenzoyl Peroxide StrengthAdditional BenefitsIdeal Skin Type  
Control Corrective Medicated Pumice Wash2.5%Deep cleaning with jojoba ester granules. Eliminates bacteria, oils & cellular debris. No parabens, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, phthalates, triclosan.All skin types; Resistant, Acne-prone or with visible blemishes.Read Review
GlyMed Plus Serious Action Skin Wash2.5%Soothing, anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera.Unbalanced and problematic Acne-Prone skin.Read Review
AcneFree Acne Cleanser2.5%Patented continuous-relief micronized benzoyl peroxide.All skin types; Acne-prone skin.Read Review
Proactiv Skin Smoothing Exfoliator
2.5%4-in-1 multi-functional daily face wash with glycolic acid and exfoliating beads. Non-greasy, sulfate-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic.All skin types; Resistant, Acne-prone skin with dull, uneven texture.Read Review
Vivant Skin Care BP 3% Exfoliating Cleanser3%All natural, renewable, and biodegradable cellulose buffing beads. Non-comedogenic, cruelty-free.Combination to Oily skin; Acne-prone skin with large pores and prone to scarring.Read Review
PCA SKIN BPO 5% Cleanser5%Benzoyl peroxide + phytic acid (exfoliant). Moisturizing, soothing botanical extracts. No synthetic dyes, cruelty-freeAll skin types; Resistant, Acne-prone skin with dull, uneven texture.Read Review
Beauty Facial Extreme – Benzoyl Peroxide 5% Acne Cleanser for Face & Body
5%, 10%Formulated for face & body. Paraben-free, fragrance-free, cruelty free.Acne-prone skin on the face, body, and back.Read Review
5% Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash by Harris Pharmaceuticals
5%, 10%Simple, affordable benzoyl peroxide face wash.Normal, resistant, acne-prone skin.Read Review
Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories B Prox Anti-Blemish Face Wash10%Detoxifying mineral-rich clay to absorb excess oil and refine pore size. Plant extracts to reduce sensitivity and soothe redness & irritation. Dermatologist tested. Paraben-free. Non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic. (Very) Oily, Acne-prone skin with large pores.Read Review
PanOxyl Acne Foaming 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash10%Simple, affordable benzoyl peroxide face wash.Normal, resistant, acne-prone skin.Read Review
Humane Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Acne Treatment Body & Face Wash10%Highest EWG safety rating of 1. No parabens, SLS, fragrance, or animal testing; Formulated for face & body;Acne-prone skin on the face, body, and back.Read Review

Editor’s Choice: The Best Over the Counter Benzoyl Peroxide Products


We’ve arranged the product listing below in ascending order, based on medication strength.

If you’re new to BP, you can start with a 2.5% and work your way up. Your choice of formulation, i.e. face wash, cream, lotion, etc. depends on your preference and current skincare routine.

Take the list for a spin and remember, choose products that are most compatible with your skin type and needs. 🙂

Step 1: 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Products

When using as a topical treatment ie. creams, lotions, gels, etc.; always start with the lowest concentration to allow your skin to adapt to the medication.

This is one of the key steps that most people easily overlook, which causes the misconception that the product isn’t working whereas it was just used incorrectly.

Use a small amount once a day, every other day for the first two weeks and gradually increase dosage in the succeeding weeks. You’ll then need to observe your skin for any stinging or severe redness. This usually means you need to step back lower either the dosage or frequency of use.

Paula’s Choice Clear Acne Treatment Regular Strength Lotion with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide for Moderate Acne

Paula’s Choice specializes in correcting skin concerns including acne, rosacea, and skin-aging. The brand prides itself in having non-irritating formulations that are also clinically effective. All their products are 100% fragrance-free, colorant-free, and cruelty-free.

This ultra light lotion is part of their CLEAR line aimed towards acne-prone skin at any age. It combines 2.5% benzoyl peroxide with soothing plant extracts to help minimize skin peeling and dryness. That said, I still find this moderately drying so I would recommend using this in conjunction with a hydrating moisturizer.

You can use it as a daily spot treatment on inflamed acne, as well as over areas where you usually break out as a preventive measure.

This is oil-free and sets to a soft, invisible, matte finish; perfect for wear under makeup especially those with oily skin.

Also available in 5% strength for more severe breakouts.

Best for: All skin types and ages struggling with mild to moderate acne; Oily skin, Under makeup

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Dr. Song Acne Gel Treatment Lotion

If you’re looking for a simple and affordable BP treatment; this one’s for you. For the price of a fairly large bottle, it comes in at a much better value than even drugstore staples. They also have a 100-day money back, hassle free guarantee for any issues.

This gel lotion has minimal ingredients which help reduce possible sensitivities or allergies. However, since it’s quite a simple formulation, it also comes with all the side effects of BP. You’ll need to have resistant (i.e. not sensitive) and hydrated skin to assist in making the product work for u. Make sure to also ready your moisturizer to manage the dryness and irritation.

Overall, a simple and great value alternative to drugstore and high-end BP treatments.

Best for: All skin types; Resistant, Acne-prone skin

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

Acne.org 16 oz. Treatment (2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide)

One of the few that is used not just as a spot treatment, but all over the face. It is step 2 of Acne.org’s famous 3-Step System. Below is a video from the developer himself on how to apply the treatment. Recommended if you have constant breakouts in large areas.

This benzoyl peroxide is pharmaceutical-grade and triple milled so it penetrates the skin better than regular formulations. The gel base absorbs quickly and goes on smooth without clumping with other moisturizers. It also doesn’t turn white when you perspire.

This size should last for 2-4 months on The Acne.org Regimen.

Pharmaceutical grade, pH balanced, fragrance-free, and dye-free.

Best for: All skin types, overall face treatment

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

Video: Applying Acne.org Benzoyl Peroxide on The Acne.org Regimen

Control Corrective Medicated Pumice Wash

This BP cleanser comes with circular jojoba ester granules to gently but effectively exfoliate pore-clogging oils and debris. The 2.5% benzoyl peroxide then kills any acne bacteria on the skin.

This process of physical exfoliation also prepares the skin to be more receptive to moisturizers, serums, and other topical products that comes after. This is because you’re essentially removing the top layer of dead skin that would otherwise keep the product from thoroughly sinking in. Two birds in one (pumice) stone! XD

Speaking of pumice, the grains are very fine so it can hold up to its claims of not being harsh or abrasive. However, as with any cleanser that contains exfoliants, you might want to skip this if you have very sensitive skin or have cystic acne lesions. A better choice for you might be a combination of gentle cleanser + leave-on benzoyl peroxide instead.) That’s going to be physically less strenuous on the skin.

If you have oily, resistant skin that’s prone to breakouts; this may be a great fit for you.

Does Not Contain: Parabens, Synthetic Dyes, Petrochemicals, Phthalates, Triclosan

Best for: All skin types especially Oily & Acne-Prone skin with visible blemishes; looking for a deep cleansing BP face wash to remove excess oil

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

GlyMed Plus Serious Action Skin Wash

This cleanser blends the anti-acne power of benzoyl peroxide and the soothing, anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera.

This combination helps restore the skin’s healthy balance that would otherwise be extremely thrown off by BP. Aloe vera is one of the oldest medicinal plants known and has the same pH as human skin so it’s extremely healing and protecting.

It doesn’t do deep cleaning though, so if you have oily skin; you might be better off with a cleanser that doubles as an exfoliant. If you have normal skin that’s prone to breakouts, this should be right up your alley.

Best for: Unbalanced and problematic Acne-Prone skin; looking for an extra soothing, anti-inflammatory BP cleanser

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

Acnefree Oil Free Acne Cleanser

This product has been reformulated a while back. It now has better texture, no more menthol, bit thinner, and no more beads.

It also has a patented continuous-relief micronized benzoyl peroxide. This means that the molecules of the BP is smaller than average, making absorption faster and goes in deeper to treat acne. This feature is usually found in the more high end lines so I’m a bit surprised that it’s in a more affordable brand.

It claims to reduce sebum but I can’t see anything in the ingredients or formulation that specifically addresses oil control so I’d take this with a grain of salt.

Overall, its their continuous-relief micronized benzoyl peroxide that makes it stand out among its peers. If you’re looking for a more an effective and affordable BP cleanser, you can’t go wrong with Acnefree. (Don’t forget to moisturize after! This can be super drying and irritating.)

Best for: All skin types with Acne-prone skin; looking for an affordable 2.5% benzoyl peroxide face wash

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator

This daily face wash is a 4-in-1 multi-functional marvel that comes in an airy and cushiony cream. It works as: a deep cleanser, a benzoyl peroxide medication, a glycolic-acid toner, and a mild exfoliator. Surprisingly, it doesn’t contain the usual irritators that comes with most multi-purpose cleansers. This has hardly any fragrance.

Exfoliation is done two-fold as both physical and chemical for a thorough deep clean. Glycolic acid works to loosen any dead skin cells so the tiny exfoliating beads can gently slough them off. This helps unclog pores and helps renew the skin for a smoother texture and healthier complexion. The 2.5% benzoyl peroxide is exclusively micro-crystalized for deeper penetration.

The dual exfoliation comes as double-edged. This means the potential for over exfoliation for sensitive skins is two-fold as well. If you’re giving this a try, make sure not to scrub too hard to avoid this.

Non-greasy, Sulfate-free, Paraben-free, Non-comedogenic.

Best for: All skin types; Resistant, Acne-prone skin with dull, uneven texture

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

Vivant Skin Care – Benzoyl Peroxide 3% Exfoliating Cleanser, 8 Ounce

A little bump up in concentration at 3%, but not too far off.

It has all natural, renewable, and biodegradable cellulose buffing beads to help deep clean and flush out any impacted debris in the skin. It also helps refine pores and accelerate cell renewal to clear out acne with minimal scarring.

Non-comedogenic, Cruelty-free.

Best for: Combination to Oily skin, Acne-prone skin with large pores and prone to scarring

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

Step 2: 5% Benzoyl Peroxide Products

If the 2.5 formulation is no longer cutting it and you feel like you can opt for a stronger concentration, you can step up to 5%. After going through 2.5%, your skin should have acclimated to the medication, making it safe for you to use this daily.

This works best on large, inflamed cystic acne.

There was a study that showed significant reduction in the p. acne bacteria after only 2 days of application of a 5% BP gel, with a clinical improvement as early as 4 days. Take this as a possible outcome if you have the right product that works well for your skin condition.

If you can also avoid picking on the bump, it should eventually flatten and not leave any physical scarring. 🙂

Glytone Acne 3P Treatment Gel

This physicians-only product line holds some of the most popular and well known exfoliating skincare. Glytone is a staple in clinics worldwide because of their innovative and customized approach to formulating with the highest free acid values (i.e. unlike other brands, their acids are not compounds or diluted down).

Glytone in-office treatments are usually prescribed with at-home regimens to work synergistically. This maximizes product efficacy and skin tolerability, giving you visible, long lasting results.

This treatment gel is part of Glytone’s Acne Clearing Set. It has a patented time-released micronized benzoyl peroxide, which means the product is able to mimic the body’s physiological dosage. This gives it a more natural rhythm and makes the skin more receptive to it. This type of delivery system ensures maximum absorption while minimizing potential irritation.

Its innovative hydro-gel formulation hydrates the skin and fends off dryness while continually fighting acne throughout the day.

Non-whitening matte finish. Non-irritating formula. Fragrance-free. Oil-free. Non-comedogenic.

Best for: All skin types especially dehydrated oily or dry skin; looking for spot treatments, those who don’t have exfoliating products in their regimen; under make-up

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

PCA SKIN Acne Cream

The spot treatment version of the PCA SKIN BPO 5% Cleanser.

Instead of phytic acid however, the exfoliant that comes with the cream is lactic acid. This is the gentlest type of AHA among all the alpha hydroxy acids, and is the most moisturizing.

It also has tea tree oil in the mix, one of the most established botanicals that heal acne and promotes clear complexion.

Best for: All skin types; looking for spot treatments, those who don’t have exfoliating products in their regimen.

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

Glo Skin Beauty Therapeutics Clear Anti-Blemish Treatment

Use as a spot treatment for current breakouts and to prevent future flare-ups. It disappears into the skin and can be used under makeup.

Along with a good dose of acne-fighting 5% benzoyl peroxide, it has aloe vera and rosemary to help prevent reduce inflammation and redness. These also help in the healing and repairing skin that was damaged by acne. Glycerin is added as well and works in tandem with aloe vera for added hydration.

If you have skin that’s prone to redness, you can start with a small amount and use it every other day to let your skin adjust. Make sure to follow-up with a good moisturizer as well.

Best for: All skin types, skin prone to redness and irritation

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

M.A.D Skincare Blemish Repelling Gel Benzoyl Peroxide 5%

A non-drying, lightweight gel cream that absorbs quickly into the skin. It delivers a potent blend of benzoyl peroxide, licorice, green tea, and Epilobium Fleischeri extract.

Epilobium Fleischeri extract is an innovative ingredient that is very effective to reduce sebum on oily skin. It also reduces inflammation and appearance of pores. Great for the T-zone and areas you need to minimize pores.

Green tea and licorice have antioxidant properties to help keep your skin look and feel younger.

No parabens or chemical colorants.

Best for: Oily and Combination skin

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

PCA SKIN BPO 5% Cleanser

PCA is brand known for their corrective and potent formulations using alpha hydroxy acids. Exfoliants improve the health and appearance of skin by promoting cell renewal and prevent buildup of dead skin cells.

This daily cleanser has a unique combination of 5% benzoyl peroxide and phytic acid (exfoliant) to eliminate existing and preventing future breakouts.

Gluconolactone is a calming, moisturizing ingredient that promotes a clear complexion. Botanical extracts soothe irritated and inflamed blemishes, allowing skin to heal.

Free of potential irritants like synthetic dyes and fragrances. PCA SKIN® does not perform or condone animal testing.

Best for: All skin types; looking for face treatments, those who don’t have exfoliating products in their regimen

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

Beauty Facial Extreme – Benzoyl Peroxide 5% Acne Cleanser for Face & Body

USP grade BPO wash that’s clinically proven to be non-irritating and safe for all skin types.

It’s formulated for use on the face and body, perfect if you also have acne on the back or other parts. Using BP daily can help not only in fighting current breakouts but also prevent acne bacteria from building up before they start.

It comes in a big bottle with a dispensing pump for convenience in the shower. Very creamy and lathers pretty well.

Paraben-free and Fragrance-free. Cruelty free and not tested on animals. 30 Day Money Back Guarantee.

Also available in 10% benzoyl peroxide formulation.

Best for: Acne-prone skin on the face, body, and back; looking for a BP face wash with a convenient pump

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

5% Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash by Harris Pharmaceuticals

This is the most popular ‘generic’ BP facial wash, with good reviews across the board.

I can’t quite get a hold of the ingredients from the manufacturer, but I did get a list from one of their distributors. It’s essentially a cleanser formulation + 5% BP. Pretty straightforward, so it should hold up to standard if you don’t have particular sensitivities or allergies. Just always make sure to follow up with a great moisturizer because this will very likely dry your skin without it.

Best for: If you have resistant skin and you’re looking for an affordable solution without the bells and whistles, you can give this one a go.

Also available in 10% strength.

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

Step 3: 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Products

The 10% concentration is the strongest you can get without a prescription.

Move onto this if you can consistent, inflamed acne or would like to keep breakouts at bay.

Jan Marini Skin Research Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Lotion 10%

Jan Marini Skin Research (JMSR) is one of the world’s leading professional skin care brands, carried by physicians worldwide. They are known for their award-winning and innovative formulas.

This product is quite unique as the benzoyl peroxide in this lotion is highly micronized and combined with specialized emollients (moisturizers). This ensures maximum delivery of your 10% BP (which is also the max % you’ll be able to get OTC, so max 2x!) while minimizing its side effects of dryness and irritation.

To use, cover the affected area starting every other day to 1-3x daily.

Also available in 5% strength.

Best for: Normal to Oily Skin

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

10% Generic for Oxy-10 Balance Acne Treatment Medication Maximum Strength Gel

Oxy-10 was previously a prescription topical medication for acne.

This is a very strong, straight up BP leave-on gel. This means that you’ll have to do due diligence in dealing with the side effects that come with using benzoyl peroxide like dryness, redness, and irritation.

Good news is, you can pretty much cover this with a good hydrating and non-comedogenic moisturizer. Look for one that has extra calming and soothing ingredients.

The consistency is a little thicker than the usual gel but it still dries quickly and shouldn’t slide off even in your sleep.

The package comes with several tubes which should last you a very long time.

Check for discounts & other customer reviews on Amazon

Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories B Prox Anti-Blemish Face Wash

DCL’s anti-acne formulation is a multi-tasker that aims to eliminate the cause, reduce the side effects, and prevent acne from coming back.

The 10% BP washes away acne-causing bacteria, while its detoxifying mineral-rich clay and plant extracts work to absorb excess oil and refine pore size. This helps prevent any future breakouts–a critical feature if you have oily skin.

It also has an Advanced Algae Complex that helps diminish the sensitivity that often accompanies the use of aggressive acne treatments; and Canadian Willow Herb to help visibly and dramatically reduce redness and soothe irritation.

All in all, a power packed product for those who would like their BP treatment done to the next level.

Dermatologist tested. Paraben-free. Non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic. 

Best for: All skin types especially oily skin with large pores

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PanOxyl Acne Foaming 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash

Another dermatologically prescribed product, this foaming wash would work well for normal skin.

Looking at the formulation though, there are a number of potential irritants present. If you have sensitivities or allergies to certain cleansers, I would stay clear of this one. It can also be drying, so always follow up with a very hydrating moisturizer.

Best for: Normal, resistant skin. If you’re looking for an affordable, standard BP face wash; this PanOxyl foaming wash may be the right fit for you.

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Humane Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Acne Treatment Body & Face Wash

The only brand amongst all mentioned to has an EWG rating. This means that it is environmentally friendly, there are no harmful chemicals used, and there is very low chance of irritation or allergic reactions to any of their line.

Highest EWG safety rating of 1. No parabens, SLS, fragrance, or animal testing. 100% hassle-free guarantee.

Best for: Acne-prone skin on the face, body, and back

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Frequently Asked Questions:


 

Does benzoyl peroxide bleach skin?

No. Benzoyl peroxide bleaches hair and clothing, but does not bleach skin. If you’re using leave-on BP at night, you can use white sheets. If you use it on the body, you can wear white undershirts. For face washes and body cleansers, you can use white towels to avoid any discolorations.

 

How long does benzoyl peroxide take to work?

It depends on the strength and formulation of the products, as well as the severity and cause of your acne.

A 6% benzoyl peroxide cleanser has been shown to reduce p. acne strains after 3 weeks of daily washing for 20 seconds.

Some studies have also shown reductions in the p. acne bacteria in only 2 days after a 5% benzoyl peroxide gel application. Clinical improvements have shown as early a 4 days.

What is consistent however, is the increase in skin irritation with higher strengths of benzoyl peroxide. It’s crucial therefore to match treatments with a soothing and hydrating agent either within the product formulation or on a follow-up moisturizer.

Resources:

Acne.org. (2017). Acne.org Products – Cleanser, Benzoyl Peroxide, Moisturizer & More.

Adapalene/benzoyl peroxide clearly superior in facial acne. (2007). Inpharma Weekly, &NA;(1617), p.14.

Alvarez, O. (1983). Benzoyl peroxide and epidermal wound healing. Archives of Dermatology, 119(3), pp.222-225.

Bojar RA., Cunliffe WJ, Holland KT, et al. The short-term treatment of acne vulgaris with benzoyl peroxide: effects on the surface and follicular cutaneous microflora. Br J Dermatol 132(2):204–8 (1995 Feb).

Cohen, H. (1975). Benzoyl Peroxide Gel in Acne Treatment. Archives of Dermatology, 111(11), p.1535.

Colman, G. and Roenigk, H. (1978). The Healing of Wounds in the Skin of Piglets Treated with Benzoyl Peroxide. The Journal of Dermatologic Surgery and Oncology, 4(9), pp.705-707.

Del Rosso, J. and Zeichner, J. (2016). Advances in Acne Management, An Issue of Dermatologic Clinics. 1st ed. Saintt Louis: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Evidence for the Use of a Benzoyl Peroxide Wash in Acne. (1984). InPharma, 441(1), pp.15-15.

EWG. (2017). EWG.

Gloprofessional.com. (2017). glo minerals Makeup & glo therapeutics Skincare | gloProfessional

Glytone-usa.com. (2017). Glytone USA

Harrispharmaceutical.com. (2017). Generic Dermatologicals – Harris Pharmaceutical.

mad-skincare. (2017). M.A.D. Skincare.

Panoxyl.com. (2017). PanOxyl | Acne Treatment with Benzoyl Peroxide Formula.

Pcaskin.com. (2017). Skin Care Products.

Paulaschoice.com. (2017). Paula’s Choice – International: Paula’s Choice Skin Care & Cosmetics.

Proactiv.com. (2017). Dermatologist-Developed Acne Treatment|Proactiv® Official Site

Reviews:



The Best Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Products of 2017 - The Ultimate Guide Overall rating: ★★★★★ 4.7 based on 4 reviews
5 1

Massive selection, great info

★★★★★
5 5 1
Wow, what a list! I almost gave up on benzoyl peroxide because it leaves my skin red and sensitive. I'll try your advice and use the one with aloe vera every other day. Thanks!

★★★★★
5 5 1
I just bought the PCA face wash and cream. You think it's alright to use them both at the same time? I just moved to a new city and I've been breaking out horribly. 🙁

★★★★☆
4 5 1
I've been using the Humane body wash and it's been great so far. I just find it too drying if used daily so I follow up with a Cetaphil moisturizer.

★★★★★
5 5 1
DCL is a godsend for oily skin. It absorbs all the oil from my pores like a magnet. It's like a clay mask in a cleanser!

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