Skip to Content
Here’s what to ask a doctor about hereditary angioedema

Benzoyl peroxide foam

Generic Name: benzoyl peroxide (BEN-zoe-il per-OX-ide)
Brand Name: BenzEFoam

Benzoyl peroxide foam is used for:

Treating acne

Benzoyl peroxide foam is a keratolytic agent with antibacterial actions. It works by causing mild drying and peeling of the skin, and by killing sensitive bacteria.

Do NOT use benzoyl peroxide foam if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in benzoyl peroxide foam

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using benzoyl peroxide foam:

Some medical conditions may interact with benzoyl peroxide foam. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with benzoyl peroxide foam. However, no specific interactions with benzoyl peroxide foam are known at this time.

Ask your health care provider if benzoyl peroxide foam may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use benzoyl peroxide foam:

Use benzoyl peroxide foam as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet is available with benzoyl peroxide foam. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Prime the container before the first use. To prime the container, shake well. Gently tap the bottom of the can 3 times on the palm of your hand or another solid surface. Remove the cap. Hold the can upright over the sink. Press down on the actuator for 1 to 3 seconds, until the tab breaks and foam appears. If foam does not appear within 3 seconds, repeat the entire process.
  • Gently wash the affected area with mild soap and water, rinse with warm water, and pat dry before each use.
  • Shake well and tap the bottom of the container 3 times on the palm of your hand or another solid surface before each use.
  • To use benzoyl peroxide foam, hold the can upright. If you are treating face acne, spray an amount the size of a marble into your hand. If you are treating back or chest acne, spray an amount the size of a walnut into your hand.
  • Apply the foam to the affected area as directed by your doctor. Rub in completely.
  • Wipe any excess foam off of the can after each use.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water after each use.
  • If you miss a dose of benzoyl peroxide foam, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not use 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use benzoyl peroxide foam.

Important safety information:

  • Certain acne products that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can rarely cause serious and sometimes life-threatening allergic reactions or severe irritation. Before first use, you may need to follow certain steps to make sure you do not have an allergic reaction. Use benzoyl peroxide foam as you were told by your doctor or read the package label. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
  • Benzoyl peroxide foam is for external use only. Do not get benzoyl peroxide foam in your eyes, on the inside of your nose or mouth, or on your lips. If you get it in any of these areas, rinse right away with cool water.
  • Do not apply benzoyl peroxide foam to skin that is inflamed, damaged, irritated, or sunburned. Do not apply it to an open wound.
  • Several weeks may pass before you see improvement in your acne. Continue to use benzoyl peroxide foam for the full time recommended by your doctor. If your acne does not get better or if it gets worse, check with your doctor.
  • Do NOT use more than the recommended dose without checking with your doctor.
  • Talk with your doctor before you use any other medicines, special cleansers, aftershave, or cosmetics on your skin.
  • Do not use benzoyl peroxide foam for other conditions at a later time.
  • Benzoyl peroxide foam may cause you to become sunburned more easily. Avoid the sun, sunlamps, or tanning booths until you know how you react to benzoyl peroxide foam. Use a sunscreen or wear protective clothing if you must be outside for more than a short time.
  • Benzoyl peroxide foam may cause bleaching. Avoid contact with hair, fabrics, or carpeting.
  • Benzoyl peroxide foam should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 12 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using benzoyl peroxide foam while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use benzoyl peroxide foam, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

Possible side effects of benzoyl peroxide foam:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Dry skin; mild irritation, itching, peeling, redness, or stinging.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; dizziness; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); severe or persistent burning, irritation, itching, peeling, redness, or tenderness of the skin; swelling of the skin; very dry skin.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include flushing or excessive scaling, redness, or swelling.

Proper storage of benzoyl peroxide foam:

Store benzoyl peroxide foam at room temperature, between 59 and 77 degrees F (15 and 25 degrees C). Do not freeze. Avoid temperatures above 120 degrees F (49 degrees C). Store away from heat and direct sunlight. Do not puncture, break, or burn the canister, even if it appears to be empty. Keep benzoyl peroxide foam out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about benzoyl peroxide foam, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Benzoyl peroxide foam is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take benzoyl peroxide foam or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about benzoyl peroxide foam. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to benzoyl peroxide foam. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using benzoyl peroxide foam.

Review Date: August 8, 2016

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Hide