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Inova 4/1 (topical)

Generic name: benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid (topical) [ BEN-zoe-il-per-OX-ide-and-sal-i-SIL-ik-AS-id ]
Brand names: Cleanse & Treat, Cleanse & Treat Plus, Inova 4/1, Inova 8/2
Drug class: Topical acne agents

Medically reviewed by on Jun 29, 2022. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is Inova 4/1 (topical)?

Benzoyl peroxide has an antibacterial effect. It also has a mild drying effect that allows excess oil and dirt to be washed away.

Salicylic acid is a peeling agent that causes shedding of the outer layer of skin.

Inova 4/1 (for the skin) is a combination medicine used to treat severe acne.

This medication is not for use in treating mild forms of acne. The strength of benzoyl peroxide contained in this medication is higher than that used in many over-the-counter acne products. Severe skin irritation can result from improper use of this product.

Inova 4/1 may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.


This medicine can cause a rare but serious allergic reaction or severe skin irritation. Stop using this medicine and get emergency medical help if you have: hives, itching; difficult breathing, feeling light-headed; or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or aspirin.

To make sure Inova 4/1 topical is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have any allergies or other medical conditions.

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Inova 4/1 will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

It is not known whether benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid topical passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Inova 4/1 should not be used on a child younger than 12 years old.

How should I use Inova 4/1?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Inova 4/1 can cause a rare but serious allergic reaction or severe skin irritation. Before you start using this medicine, you may choose to apply a "test dose" to see if you have a reaction. Apply a very small amount of the medicine to 1 or 2 small acne areas every day for 3 days in a row. If there is no reaction, begin using the full prescribed amount on the 4th day.

Use only mild skin cleansers or those your doctor has prescribed.

Apply the medicated pad to clean, dry skin twice per day or as directed by your doctor. Do not rinse off the medicine unless it causes severe skin irritation just after applying.

Do not share this medication with another person, even if they have the same symptoms you have.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep each medicated pad in its foil pouch until you are ready to use it.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Apply the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while using Inova 4/1?

Do not take by mouth. Inova 4/1 topical is for use only on the skin. Avoid getting this medication in your nose or mouth. If this does happen, rinse with water. Do not use this medicine on sunburned, windburned, dry, chapped, irritated, or broken skin.

If this medication gets in your eyes, rinse with water.

Avoid using other medications on the areas you treat with Inova 4/1 unless your doctor tells you to.

Avoid using skin products that can cause irritation, such as harsh soaps, shampoos, or skin cleansers, hair coloring or permanent chemicals, hair removers or waxes, or skin products with alcohol, spices, astringents, or lime.

Inova 4/1 side effects

Inova 4/1 can cause a rare but serious allergic reaction or severe skin irritation. These reactions may occur just a few minutes after you apply the medicine, or within a day or longer afterward.

Stop using this medicine and get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives, itching; difficult breathing, feeling light-headed; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using Inova 4/1 and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe skin irritation after using the medicine;

  • scaly or peeling skin;

  • redness or swelling of treated skin; or

  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.

Common side effects of Inova 4/1 may include:

  • dry skin or mild irritation;

  • dizziness; or

  • ringing in your ears.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Inova 4/1 (topical)?

It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on topically applied Inova 4/1. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

More about Inova 4 / 1 (benzoyl peroxide / salicylic acid topical)

Patient resources

Other brands

Cleanse & Treat, Cleanse & Treat Plus

Other formulations

Related treatment guides

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.