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Benzoyl peroxide / hydrocortisone topical Side Effects

For the Consumer

Applies to benzoyl peroxide / hydrocortisone topical: cleanser kit, lotion

Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Dryness; mild irritation or stinging.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur while taking benzoyl peroxide / hydrocortisone topical:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; dizziness; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); acne-like rash; burning, cracking, or itching of the skin; excessive hair growth; extreme dryness; inflamed hair follicles; inflammation around the mouth; irritation, redness, peeling, or tenderness not present before you began using benzoyl peroxide/hydrocortisone lotion; swelling; thinning, softening, or discoloration of the skin.

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to benzoyl peroxide / hydrocortisone topical: topical kit, topical lotion


Local side effects are the most common with benzoyl peroxide and have included excessive drying and contact dermatitis.

Local adverse effects of hydrocortisone may include burning, itching, or irritation, dryness, folliculitis, hypertrichosis, acneiform eruptions, hypopigmentation, perioral dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, secondary infection, skin atrophy, striae, and miliaria especially if applied to denuded skin or with occlusive dressings.[Ref]

Skin on the face, axillae, and groin appear to be most susceptible to the adverse, long-term effects of topical steroids.

Topical corticosteroid use may inhibit local immune response rendering the skin more susceptible to infections. Folliculitis has occasionally been reported.

Perioral dermatitis or rosacea-like dermatitis has occurred in patients treated with potent topical corticosteroids who are of seborrheic skin type. This condition may flare temporarily upon discontinuation of topical steroids, prompting patients to continue their use. If topical corticosteroids are discontinued, this flare and the initial dermatitis generally resolves over a few weeks.[Ref]


Hypersensitivity reactions have included allergic sensitization in 1% to 5% of patients treated with benzoyl peroxide.[Ref]


Endocrine side effects of topical corticosteroids are rare. Glucose intolerance and hyperglycemia may be induced by corticosteroids. These drugs can rarely suppress the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. This suppression is more likely when higher potency topical steroids are used over extensive areas and when occlusive dressings are used.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Vanoxide-HC Acne Lotion (benzoyl peroxide-hydrocortisone topical)" Dermik Laboratories, Collegeville, PA.

Not all side effects for benzoyl peroxide / hydrocortisone topical may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

More about benzoyl peroxide/hydrocortisone topical

Consumer resources

Other brands: Vanoxide-HC

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