BENZOYL PEROXIDE (Topical)

Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S.—

  • Acne-Aid Vanishing Cream
  • Acne-Aid Aqua Gel
  • Ambi 10 Acne Medication
  • Benoxyl 5 Lotion
  • Benoxyl 10 Lotion
  • Benzac AC 21/2 Gel
  • Benzac AC 5 Gel
  • Benzac AC 10 Gel
  • Benzac AC Wash 21/2
  • Benzac AC Wash 5
  • Benzac AC Wash 10
  • Benzac 5 Gel
  • Benzac 10 Gel
  • Benzac W 21/2 Gel
  • Benzac W 5 Gel
  • Benzac W 10 Gel
  • Benzac W Wash 5
  • Benzac W Wash 10
  • 5 Benzagel
  • 10 Benzagel
  • BenzaShave 5 Cream
  • BenzaShave 10 Cream
  • Brevoxyl-4 Gel
  • Brevoxyl-8 Gel
  • Brevoxyl-4 Cleansing Lotion
  • Brevoxyl-8 Cleansing Lotion
  • Clean & Clear Persagel 5
  • Clean & Clear Persagel 10
  • Clearasil Maximum Strength Medicated Anti-Acne 10 Tinted Cream
  • Clearasil Maximum Strength Medicated Anti-Acne 10 Vanishing Cream
  • Clearasil Maximum Strength Medicated Anti-Acne 10 Vanishing Lotion
  • Clear By Design 2.5 Gel
  • Clearplex 5
  • Clearplex 10
  • Cuticura Acne 5 Cream
  • Del-Aqua-5 Gel
  • Del-Aqua-10 Gel
  • Desquam-E 2.5 Gel
  • Desquam-E 5 Gel
  • Desquam-E 10 Gel
  • Desquam-X 10 Bar
  • Desquam-X 2.5 Gel
  • Desquam-X 5 Gel
  • Desquam-X 10 Gel
  • Desquam-X 5 Wash
  • Desquam-X 10 Wash
  • Exact 5 Tinted Cream
  • Exact 5 Vanishing Cream
  • Fostex 10 Bar
  • Fostex 10 Cream
  • Fostex 5 Gel
  • Fostex 10 BPO Gel
  • Fostex 10 Wash
  • Loroxide 5.5 Lotion
  • Neutrogena Acne Mask 5
  • Noxzema Clear-ups Maximum Strength 10 Lotion
  • Noxzema Clear-ups On-The-Spot 10 Lotion
  • Oxy Balance Deep Action Night Formula Lotion
  • Oxy 10 Balance Emergency Spot Treatment Cover-Up Formula Gel
  • Oxy 10 Balance Emergency Spot Treatment Invisible Formula Gel
  • Oxy Balance Emergency Spot Treatment Invisible Formula Gel
  • Oxy 10 Balance Maximum Medicated Face Wash
  • PanOxyl AQ 21/2 Gel
  • PanOxyl AQ 5 Gel
  • PanOxyl AQ 10 Gel
  • PanOxyl 5 Bar
  • PanOxyl 10 Bar
  • PanOxyl 5 Gel
  • PanOxyl 10 Gel
  • Student's Choice Acne Medication
  • Triaz
  • Triaz Cleanser

In Canada—

  • Acetoxyl 2.5 Gel
  • Acetoxyl 5 Gel
  • Acetoxyl 10 Gel
  • Acetoxyl 20 Gel
  • Acnomel B.P. 5 Lotion
  • Benoxyl 5 Lotion
  • Benoxyl 10 Lotion
  • Benoxyl 20 Lotion
  • Benzac AC 5 Gel
  • Benzac AC 10 Gel
  • Benzac W 5 Gel
  • Benzac W 10 Gel
  • Benzac W Wash 5
  • Benzac W Wash 10
  • 2.5 Benzagel Acne Gel
  • 5 Benzagel Acne Gel
  • 10 Benzagel Acne Gel
  • 2.5 Benzagel Acne Lotion
  • 5 Benzagel Acne Lotion
  • 5 Benzagel Acne Wash
  • 5 Benzagel Liquid Acne Soap
  • Clearasil BP Plus 5 Lotion
  • Clearasil BP Plus Skin Tone Cream
  • Dermacne
  • Dermoxyl Aqua 5 Gel
  • Dermoxyl 5 Gel
  • Dermoxyl 10 Gel
  • Dermoxyl 20 Gel
  • Desquam-X 5 Gel
  • Desquam-X 10 Gel
  • Desquam-X 5 Wash
  • Desquam-X 10 Wash
  • H 2 Oxyl 2.5 Gel
  • H 2 Oxyl 5 Gel
  • H 2 Oxyl 10 Gel
  • H 2 Oxyl 20 Gel
  • Loroxide 5 Lotion
  • Oxyderm 5 Lotion
  • Oxyderm 10 Lotion
  • Oxyderm 20 Lotion
  • Oxy 5 Regular Strength Cover-Up Cream
  • Oxy 5 Regular Strength Vanishing Lotion
  • Oxy 5 Sensitive Skin Vanishing Lotion
  • PanOxyl Aquagel 2.5
  • PanOxyl Aquagel 5
  • PanOxyl Aquagel 10
  • PanOxyl Aquagel 20
  • PanOxyl 5 Bar
  • PanOxyl 10 Bar
  • PanOxyl 5 Gel
  • PanOxyl 10 Gel
  • PanOxyl 15 Gel
  • PanOxyl 20 Gel
  • PanOxyl 5 Wash
  • PanOxyl 10 Wash
  • Solugel 4
  • Solugel 8
  • Xerac BP 5

Generic name product may be available in the U.S.

Category

  • Antiacne agent, topical
  • Keratolytic, topical

Description

Benzoyl peroxide (BEN-zoe-ill per-OX-ide) is used to treat acne.

It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Some of these preparations are available only with your doctor's prescription. Others are available without a prescription; however, your doctor may have special instructions on the proper use of benzoyl peroxide for your medical condition.

Benzoyl peroxide is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Topical
  • Cleansing bar (U.S. and Canada)
  • Cream (U.S. and Canada)
  • Gel (U.S. and Canada)
  • Lotion (U.S. and Canada)
  • Cleansing lotion (U.S. and Canada)
  • Facial mask (U.S.)
  • Stick

Before Using This Medicine

If you are using this medicine without a prescription, carefully read and follow any precautions on the label. For benzoyl peroxide, the following should be considered:

Allergies—Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to benzoyl peroxide. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as preservatives or dyes.

Pregnancy—Studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in either humans or animals. However, benzoyl peroxide may be absorbed through the skin.

Breast-feeding—Benzoyl peroxide may be absorbed through the mother's skin. It is not known whether it passes into the breast milk. However, this medicine has not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Children—For children up to 12 years of age: Studies on this medicine have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of benzoyl peroxide with use in other age groups. For children 12 years of age and older: Although there is no specific information comparing use of benzoyl peroxide in children with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children 12 years of age and older than it does in adults.

Older adults—Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults. Although there is no specific information comparing use of benzoyl peroxide in the elderly with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in older people than it does in younger adults.

Other medicines—Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your health care professional if you are using any other topical prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine that is to be applied to the same area of the skin.

Other medical problems—The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of benzoyl peroxide. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Dermatitis, seborrheic or
  • Eczema or
  • Red or raw skin, including sunburned skin—Irritation will occur if benzoyl peroxide is used with these conditions

Proper Use of This Medicine

It is very important that you use this medicine only as directed . Do not use more of it and do not use it more often than recommended on the label, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. To do so may cause irritation of the skin.

Do not use this medicine in or around the eyes or lips, or inside the nose, or on sensitive areas of the neck . Spread the medicine away from these areas when applying. If the medicine gets on these areas, wash with water at once.

Do not apply this medicine to windburned or sunburned skin or on open wounds, unless otherwise directed by your doctor .

This medicine usually comes with patient directions. Read them carefully before using the medicine.

To use the cream, gel, lotion, or stick form of benzoyl peroxide:

  • Before applying, wash the affected area with nonmedicated soap and water or with a mild cleanser and then gently pat dry with a towel.
  • Apply enough medicine to cover the affected areas, and rub in gently.

To use the shave cream form of benzoyl peroxide:

  • Wet the area to be shaved.
  • Apply a small amount of the shave cream and gently rub over entire area.
  • Shave.
  • Rinse the area and pat dry.
  • After-shave lotions or other drying face products should not be used without checking with your doctor first.

To use the cleansing bar, cleansing lotion, or soap form of benzoyl peroxide:

  • Use to wash the affected areas as directed.

To use the facial mask form of benzoyl peroxide:

  • Before applying, wash the affected area with a nonmedicated cleanser. Then rinse and pat dry.
  • Using a circular motion, apply a thin layer of the mask evenly over the affected area.
  • Allow the mask to dry for 15 to 25 minutes.
  • Then rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat dry.

After applying the medicine, wash your hands to remove any medicine that might remain on them.

Dosing—The dose of benzoyl peroxide will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label . The following information includes only the average doses of benzoyl peroxide. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

  • For acne:
    • For cleansing bar dosage form:
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and over—Use two or three times a day, or as directed by your doctor.
      • Children up to 12 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For cleansing lotion, cream , or gel dosage forms:
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and over—Use on the affected area(s) of the skin one or two times a day.
      • Children up to 12 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For lotion dosage form:
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and over—Use on the affected area(s) of the skin one to four times a day.
      • Children up to 12 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For facial mask dosage form:
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and over—Use one time a week or as directed by your doctor.
      • Children up to 12 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For stick dosage form:
      • Adults and children 12 years of age and over—Use on the affected area(s) of the skin one to three times a day.
      • Children up to 12 years of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed dose—If you miss a dose of this medicine, apply or use it as soon as possible. Then go back to your regular dosing schedule.

Storage—To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Store away from heat and direct light.
  • Keep the cream, gel, or liquid form of this medicine from freezing.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

During the first 3 weeks you are using benzoyl peroxide, your skin may become irritated. Also, your acne may seem to get worse before it gets better. If your skin problem has not improved within 4 to 6 weeks, check with your health care professional.

You should not wash the areas of the skin treated with benzoyl peroxide for at least 1 hour after application.

Avoid using any other topical medicine on the same area within 1 hour before or after using benzoyl peroxide . Otherwise, benzoyl peroxide may not work properly.

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, it is especially important to avoid using the following skin products on the same area as benzoyl peroxide:

  • Any other topical acne product or skin product containing a peeling agent (such as resorcinol, salicylic acid, sulfur, or tretinoin);
  • Hair products that are irritating, such as permanents or hair removal products;
  • Skin products that cause sensitivity to the sun, such as those containing lime or spices;
  • Skin products containing a large amount of alcohol, such as astringents, shaving creams, or after-shave lotions; or
  • Skin products that are too drying or abrasive, such as some cosmetics, soaps, or skin cleansers.
Using these products along with benzoyl peroxide may cause mild to severe irritation of the skin. Although skin irritation can occur, some doctors sometimes allow benzoyl peroxide to be used with tretinoin to treat acne. Usually tretinoin is applied at night so that it doesn't cause a problem with any other topical products that you might use during the day. Check with your doctor before using any other topical medicines with benzoyl peroxide.

This medicine may bleach hair or colored fabrics .

Check with your doctor at any time your skin becomes too dry or irritated. Your health care professional can help you choose the right skin products for you to reduce skin dryness and irritation.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common or rare

Painful irritation of skin, including burning, blistering, crusting, itching, severe redness, or swelling; skin rash

Symptoms of overdose

Burning, itching, scaling, redness, or swelling of skin (severe)

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

Less common

Dryness or peeling of skin (may occur after a few days); feeling of warmth, mild stinging, and redness of skin

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your health care professional.

Additional Information

Once a medicine has been approved for marketing for a certain use, experience may show that it is also useful for other medical problems. Although these uses are not included in product labeling, benzoyl peroxide is used in certain patients with the following medical conditions:

  • Decubital ulcer (bed sores)
  • Stasis ulcer (a certain type of ulcer)

Other than the above information, there is no additional information relating to proper use, precautions, or side effects for these uses.

Revised: 07/29/1998

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