The Best Benzoyl Peroxide Creams, Gels, & Lotions for Acne Spot Treatments

The Best Benzoyl Peroxide Moisturizers, Creams, Gels, & Lotions for Acne Spot Treatments

The ultimate list of the highest-rated Benzoyl Peroxide moisturizers, creams, gels, and lotions for the face & body. 2.5%, 5%, & 10% concentrations for different types of acne-prone skin.
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The Best Benzoyl Peroxide Moisturizers, Creams, Gels, & Lotions for Acne Spot Treatments – One of the first line of treatments against mild to moderate acne is benzoyl peroxide (BPO). (1) It helps not just with fighting skin infections but also with healing the wounds left by acne. (2, 3)

BPO is also considered an alternative to antibiotics, which our body can develop a resistance for. (4)

It’s available in many forms including face washes, moisturizers, creams, gels, and lotions.

Disclosure: We independently research, test, and only recommend materials that we truly feel will deliver value to you. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more.

  • Benzoyl peroxide creams – Usually thick in consistency and used as spot treatments. Perfect for use on occasional blemishes.
  • Benzoyl peroxide moisturizer or lotion – As opposed to spot treatments, this can be used to cover entire areas of the face where you have the most breakouts. Applying BPO to acne-prone skin is also used as a preventative measure for future breakouts.
  • Benzoyl peroxide gels – lightweight and easily absorbed, gels are great for oily skin and use for under makeup.
  • Benzoyl peroxide face washes – If leave-ons are too strong for your sensitive skin, face washes are also a great option. They come in contact with the skin when it’s most permeable (when wet), allowing it to be absorbed–but only for a short period of time. We’ve collated the best benzoyl peroxide face washes here as well if this is an alternative you’re interested in.

How long does benzoyl peroxide take to work?

It usually takes anywhere between 4-6 weeks to see results.

And because it’s so important it bears repeating—please don’t forget to always pair your benzoyl peroxide with a non-comedogenic moisturizer to reduce any dryness or redness. You won’t be able to use it consistently if it irritates your skin

Video: What is Benzoyl Peroxide? – Acne Treatment | Ask Saint Peter’s by Susan Brill, MD

Editor's Choice:

The Best Benzoyl Peroxide Moisturizers, Creams, Gels, & Lotions

Choosing the right anti-acne products is very important in your overall treatment. Despite benzoyl peroxide being proven to be one of the most clinically effective medications in correcting acne, it has a tendency to be irritating and poorly tolerated by the skin. This causes people to ultimately discontinue its use.

Benzoyl peroxide products have come a long way though, and what was once strictly medicinal has now crossed over to being cosmetic as well. That means these products are not only concerned with treating acne but also making sure that the skin is left balanced.

Deciding on the right formulation that’s most suited for your skin type and current condition is essential for a successful treatment. When choosing from the products below, make sure to refer to the Best for: line and choose the ones that most applies to you.

Best for: All skin types, Mild to moderate acne; Oily skin, Under makeup

Touch Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5% Acne Treatment Gel Cream

Our Review:

This is a lightweight and fast-absorbing clarifying gel that contains micronized benzoyl peroxide–an exceptionally milled BPO. This is less than 10 microns and penetrates pores more effectively than traditional benzoyl peroxide particles.

It only has 7 ingredients and designed for two main functions: deliver BPO efficiently to attack acne causing bacteria and protect your skin from irritation.

Free from alcohol and oil.

Non-comedogenic.

It’s weightless on the skin can be worn under makeup. Great for facial and body acne as well. Works against all types of blemishes.

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

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Best for: All skin types, Mild to moderate acne; Oily skin, Under makeup

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

Our Review:

This benzoyl peroxide face lotion is Part 3 of the brand’s renowned CLEAR 3-step skin perfecting system:

  1. Step 1: Pore Normalizing Cleanser – unclogs pores and impurities without drying the skin
  2. Step 2: Anti-redness Exfoliating Solution with 2% Salicylic Acid – visibly reduces redness and clears breakouts
  3. Step 3: Daily Skin Clearing Treatment with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide – disrupts the causes of acne and prevents future breakouts

This very light lotion also has soothing botanical extracts to calm any redness in the skin usually caused by using BPO. It can be used twice a day to control excess oil while helps hydrate the skin to reduce any peeling or dryness.

It sets to a concealed matte finish, perfect for wear under makeup.

Results: Clinically proven to work deep inside pores to gradually eliminate acne.

96% experienced smaller post-acne markings
80% observed clearer, smoother complexions
80% noticed overall healthier looking skin

Also available in 5% strength.

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

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

2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Dr. Song Acne Gel Treatment Lotion

Our Review:

A simple BPO lotion, very similar to the TOUCH 2.5% Acne Treatment Gel Cream. It has gel-like consistency but isn’t clear and doesn’t leave a residue like your generic BPOs.

It also contains just 7 ingredients, minimizing the chances of sensitivities to common skincare ingredients.

To use, apply a thin layer of a quarter-sized amount to the affected area. Start once a day to test, and increase to up to three times daily as needed.

Free from fragrances, parabens, and animal testing.

Offers a 100-day money back guarantee.

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

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Best for: All skin types, Overall face treatment

Acne.org 16 oz. Treatment (2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide)
Video: Applying Acne.org Benzoyl Peroxide on The Acne.org Regimen

Our Review:

This is part of the acclaimed Acne.org Regimen that has helped thousands achieve clear skin. The kit comes with a gentle cleanser, this pharmaceutical-grade and triple milled BPO, as well as a powerfully hydrating moisturizer.

This is available in a single and a double-size. The sizing is great if you have acne-prone skin because it’s meant to be used for the entire face not just for curing but preventing future bouts of acne. The large bottle size is also ideal for body acne.

The texture is gel-based and goes on clear unto the skin.

It’s triple-milled processing ensures potency in the application of the product. This also makes it spread easily and will not clump with moisturizers.

Best for: All skin types, overall face and body treatment

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Glytone Acne 3P Treatment Gel

Best for: All skin types, Dehydrated oily or dry skin; Spot treatments, Under make-up

Glytone Acne 3P Treatment Gel

Our Review:

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 & customer reviews on Amazon

PCA SKIN Acne Cream

Best for: All skin types; Spot treatments

PCA SKIN Acne Cream

Our Review:

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 & customer reviews on Amazon

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

Best for: Oily and Combination skin

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

Our Review:

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

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Glo Skin Beauty Therapeutics Clear Anti-Blemish Treatment

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

Glo Skin Beauty Clear Skin Spot Treatment - Acne & Pimple Spot Treatment, 0.5 fl. oz.

Our Review:

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

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La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Acne Treatment with 5.5% Benzoyl Peroxide

Best for: Spot treatments, Acne blemishes, Blackheads, Whiteheads

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Acne Treatment with 5.5% Benzoyl Peroxide

Our Review:

This is step #3 of the award-winning Effaclar Dermatological Acne System by La Roche-Posay. This acne spot treatment uses 5.5% micronized benzoyl peroxide and their micro-exfoliating lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA).

It helps clear whiteheads, blackheads, and reduces the severity of acne blemishes.

Results can be seen as fast as 3 days, and has been proven to reduce acne by 60% in 10 days.

Dermatologist-tested. Paraben-free. Fragrance-free. Oil-free.

Awards:

  • 2017 The Knot Beauty Awards: Face
  • 2017 InStyle Best Beauty Buys
  • 2017 Teen Vogue Online Acne Awards/Spot Treatment – Benzoyl Peroxide
  • 2015 InStyle Best Beauty Buys
  • 2015 Nylon Best Spot Treatment
  • 2014 InStyleBest Beauty Buys
  • 2014 Nylon Beauty Hit List
  • 2012 All You Best Beauty Buys
  • 2012 Nylon Beauty Hit List: Best Acne Aid
 
Best for: Spot treatments, Acne blemishes, Blackheads, Whiteheads
 

Jan Marini Skin Research Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Lotion 10%

Best for: Normal to Oily Skin

Jan Marini Skin Research Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Lotion 10%

Our Review:

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

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Jan Marini Skin Research Age Intervention Duality – 10% BP

Best for: Adult acne on all skin types

Jan Marini Skin Research Age Intervention Duality – 10% BP

Our Review:

For severe breakouts, this treatment cream by Jan Marini addresses even the most stubborn adult acne. It contains ultra-micronized benzoyl peroxide, highly concentrated all-trans-retinol, green tea extract, and advanced hydrators. Anti-aging peptides and antioxidants minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in the process.

In a 3-month independent physician study, 100% of subjects experienced a reduction in acne lesion count. Continuous improvements we seen through its 4-week completion.

Best for: Adult acne on all skin types

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

Best for: Looking for a drugstore spot-on gel

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

Our Review:

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.

Active Ingredient: 10% Benzoyl Peroxide

Best for: All skin types, Resistant skin, Affordable alternative

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Product Comparison Table:

The Best Benzoyl Peroxide Moisturizers, Lotions, Creams, & Gel

Brand / Product Name:Product Image:Jump to Review:Benzoyl Peroxide Strength:Added Benefits:Best for (Skin Type & Condition):
Paulas Choice Clear Acne Treatment Regular Strength Lotion with 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide for Moderate AcneRead Review2.5% Soothing plant extracts (minimize skin peeling & dryness). Sets to a soft, invisible, matte finish.All skin types, Mild to moderate acne
2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Dr. Song Acne Gel Treatment LotionRead Review2.5%Simple, affordable benzoyl peroxide lotion. 100-day money back guarantee.All skin types. Resistant skin.
Acne.org 16 oz. Treatment (2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide)Read Review2.5%Pharmaceutical-grade & triple milled for extra penetration. Preventive acne treatment.All skin types. For overall face treatment.
Glytone Acne 3P Treatment GelRead Review5%Patented time-released micronized benzoyl peroxide. Non-whitening matte finish.All skin types especially dehydrated, oily or dry skin.
PCA SKIN Acne CreamRead Review5%Lactic acid (gentle exfoliation). Tea tree oil (antibacterial).All skin types especially those prone to dry patches.
M.A.D Skincare Blemish Repelling Gel Benzoyl Peroxide 5%Read Review5%Green tea, licorice (antioxidant). Epilobium Fleischeri extract (oil control, pore minimizing)Oily to Combination skin.
Glo Skin Beauty Clear Skin Spot Treatment - Acne & Pimple Spot Treatment, 0.5 fl. oz.Read Review5%Aloe vera & Rosemary (anti-inflammatory, antioxidant). Glycerin (hydration).All skin types especially those prone to redness & inflammation.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Acne Treatment with 5.5% Benzoyl PeroxideRead Review5.5%Multi-award-winning Effaclar Dermatological Acne System. 5.5% micronized BP with micro-exfoliating lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA), proven to reduce acne by 60% in 10 days.
Spot treatments of acne blemishes, blackheads, & whiteheads.
Jan Marini Skin Research Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Lotion 10%Read Review10%Highly micronized BP combined with specialized emollients for maximum delivery & minimum side effects.Normal to Oily Skin.
Jan Marini Skin Research Age Intervention Duality - 10% BPRead Review10%Ultra-micronized benzoyl peroxide, highly concentrated all-trans-retinol, green tea extract, advanced hydrators, anti-aging peptides and antioxidants.Medium to severe Adult Acne on all skin types.
10% Generic for Oxy-10 Balance Acne Treatment Medication Maximum Strength GelRead Review10%All skin types. Resistant skin.Oily skin with open and large pores on cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin; Combination skin with oily T-zones

How do you use benzoyl peroxide moisturizers, creams, gels, or lotions?

Benzoyl peroxide can be a very effective solution to acne, but only if done correctly. There are many horror stories out there of BPO causing excessively dry and red skin among others but, unless you’re allergic or have sensitive skin, this usually only happens if you don’t use BPO as prescribed.

Within your skincare routine

It’s best to apply any form of topical or leave-on medication after cleansing and moisturizing the face. This ensures that your skin is well hydrated and ready to receive active ingredients into the skin.

Using a non-comedogenic moisturizer with benzoyl peroxide can be very effective in avoiding its most common side effects. This includes extreme dryness, irritation, redness, or hyperpigmentation.

Application

If you only have the occasional pimple, you can use it as a spot treatment. Apply a pea-sized amount directly into the blemish.

If you have acne-prone skin, benzoyl peroxide can not only be effective in treating inflamed acne but also help prevent any more for erupting. Because of this, you can maximize its use if you apply it on the entire region or area in your skin where you get most breakouts. For most people, this would be the T-zone, cheeks, forehead, or chin.

Frequency

Start with once every other day until you build enough skin tolerance to be able to apply the cream or lotion twice a day, morning and night.

Consistency is key—you need to be able to use the benzoyl peroxide on a regular basis to reap its anti-acne benefits.

Dose, Strength, or Percentage

If you’re just starting to use benzoyl peroxide, it’s best to start with the lowest possible concentration. Once you build skin tolerance, you can move up in strength depending on your needs.

That said, there was a study performed that benzoyl peroxide in 2.5% concentrations (the lowest commercially available) is equally as effective as 5% and 10% in reducing inflamed acne. It also caused less side effects like extreme dryness, redness, and symptoms of burning that its higher percentage counterparts. (5)

  • 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.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide Topical: MedlinePlus Drug Information. (2018).
  • 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.
  • DM, F. (2018). How patients experience and manage dryness and irritation from acne treatment. – PubMed – NCBI.
  • Evidence for the Use of a Benzoyl Peroxide Wash in Acne. (1984). InPharma, 441(1), pp.15-15.
  • Kawashima, M., Sato, S., Furukawa, F., Matsunaga, K., Akamatsu, H., Igarashi, A., … Katsuramaki, T. (2017). Twelve‐week, multicenter, placebo‐controlled, randomized, double‐blind, parallel‐group, comparative phase II/III study of benzoyl peroxide gel in patients with acne vulgaris: A secondary publication. The Journal of Dermatology44(7), 774–782. https://doi.org/10.1111/1346-8138.13798
  • Glymed Plus. (2020). GlyMed Plus.
  • Gloprofessional.com. (2020). glo minerals Makeup & glo therapeutics Skincare | gloProfessional
  • Mad-skincare. (2020). M.A.D. Skincare.
  • Panoxyl.com. (2020). PanOxyl | Acne Treatment with Benzoyl Peroxide Formula
  • Pcaskin.com. (2020). Skin Care Products
  • Rugbylaboratories.com. (2020). Home | Rugby® Laboratories.

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Samantha Welch
Samantha Welch
Samantha Welch is an esthetician and professional makeup artist. As a teen embattled with acne, her mission to have perfect skin has turned into a lifelong passion for skincare and beauty. In 2006, she co-founded HealthyBeautiful to create a space where she can share her experiences and channel her love for all things beauty. She believes that through education and resources, everyone can make informed choices that can change their lives.