Benzoyl Peroxide Skin Damage

Benzoyl peroxide, an ingredient used in many acne products, generates free radicals and skin damage. It promotes skin damage in a manner similar to unprotected sun exposure. The redness caused by the application of benxoyl peroxide to the skin is a visible demonstration of "oxidative stress" or free radicals causing skin damage to the components and chemistry of the skin. Repeated unprotected sun exposure causes skin damage and premature skin aging which promotes the potential of skin cancer. Repeated application of benzoyl peroxide has been found to have the same result. The extent of skin damage from benzoyl peroxide is determined by the concentration of the benzoyl peroxide, the frequency of application and the duration of its use.

Benzoyl peroxide is used in acne products because it effectively kills P. acnes, the bacteria which causes acne. On the other hand, benzoyl peroxide generates free radicals that interfere with and slow the skins healing process. The red and brown marks that are a part of the acne healing process may last weeks longer when benzoyl peroxide is a regular part of the daily acne products regimen

Numerous other ingredients used in Skintactix acne products very effectively kill P. acnes without the side effects of benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid is a safe acne ingredient that kills P. acnes just as effectively as benzoyl peroxide. Cinnamon bark extract also kills P. acnes bacteria and has the additional benefit of reducing the skin's sebum production, which promotes acne. Excess sebum causes whiteheads & blackheads which can lead to more severe acne.

Benzoyl peroxide has been linked to skin cancer for a number of years and many research journal entries state "benzoyl peroxide is a free radical-generating skin tumor promoting agent." Performing a word search of the words "benzoyl peroxide cancer" in PubMed in the National Library of Medicine produces 102 articles from medical publications dealing with the research aspects of benzoyl peroxide and cancer. About two-thirds of the research supports linkage between benzoyl peroxide and skin cancer.

"In 1995 the FDA changed benzoyl peroxide from a Category I (safe) to a Category III (safety is uncertain) ingredient and stated this action (56 FR 37622) was based on new information that raised a safety concern regarding benzoyl peroxide as a tumor promoter in mice..." Additionally the FDA charged manufacturers of acne products and acne treatments with the responsibility of providing this information to consumers so they could make educated decisions. Many manufacturers and product marketers have not provided this information so consumers can be advised of the potential dangers of skin cancer. A more complete FDA statement is at the bottom of this page, for your reference.

Use of benzoyl peroxide in acne products and acne treatment may involve side effects and risks that should be considered in making decisions on acne treatment. Skintactix has given particular attention to providing effective acne products and acne treatment without benzoyl peroxide with as good or better results than those that use benzoyl peroxide.

FDA / Benzoyl Peroxide Action: February 17, 1995

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) / Department of Health and Human Services "Topical Drug Products Containing Benzoyl Peroxide: Required Labeling" "The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing additional labeling (warning and directions) for all topically-applied acne treatment drug products containing benzoyl peroxide. The warning advises consumers to avoid unnecessary sun exposure and to use a sunscreen when using a benzoyl peroxide product to treat acne..."

"The agency classified benzoyl peroxide from its previous status Category I to Category III status. This action (56 FR 37622) was based on new information that raised a safety concern regarding benzoyl peroxide as a tumor promoter in mice and a study that reported that benzoyl peroxide has tumor initiation potential."

"FDA evaluated these data and information and determined that the studies show that benzoyl peroxide is a skin tumor promoter in more than one strain of mice as well as in hamsters. To date, topical studies (which have shown only tumor promotion) have been of short duration (about 52 weeks). Although animal data and human epidemiology data are available, the agency has determined that further studies are necessary to adequately assess the tumorigenic potential of benzoyl peroxide. These studies are currently being conducted. The agency acknowledges that it may take several years for these studies to be completed and analyzed, and for the final determination to be made on benzoyl peroxide's safety."

As you examine various acne products and acne treatment, look for benzoyl peroxide as an ingredient and determine if you can get equal or better acne products without benzoyl peroxide and the potential of skin damage or skin cancer.