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Benzoyl Peroxide VS Salicylic Acid: Which Acne Fighting Medicine is Better?

Benzoyl Peroxide VS Salicylic Acid: Which Acne Fighting Medicine is Better?

There are two main active ingredients in most acne fighting medication. They are Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid. What's the difference between these two active ingredients? Is one better then the other? 

Let’s discover the difference.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxideBenzoyl peroxide for acne treatment is typically applied to the affected areas in gel or cream form. As an anti-bacterial, it primarily kills the bacterium that causes acne. It commonly causes initial dryness and sometimes irritation, although the skin develops tolerance after a week or so.

It works as a peeling agent, thus increasing the skin's turnover and clearing pores. Since it’s an anti-bacterial, the bacterial count found on the skin is lessened as well.

Another factor that makes this treatment so effective is its ability to help rid the follicle of excess dead skin cells. Clearing the pore of cellular debris will lessen the chance of pore blockages, or comedones. So, Benzoyl peroxide helps prevent breakouts before they start.

Benzoyl Peroxide dries up existing skin blemishes. Research indicates that products with concentrations over 2.5% aren't much more effective and they're usually much harsher on the skin. Benzoyl Peroxide was one of the first acne treatments to become widely available.

Are there side effects? When using Benzoyl Peroxide you may experience some initial dryness and irritation. Normally the skin will develop a tolerance to the product after a week or two of use. A small number of people will be much more sensitive to this agent and can suffer some burning, itching, peeling and even swelling after application.

Be carful when applying Benzoyl Peroxide before going to bed, near the neck and chest, near your hairline and eyebrows, and even when washing the agent off of your face since bleaching can occur.

If the skin starts to feel too dry you should cut back on your use of Benzoyl Peroxide. Excessive drying of the skin can make acne worse. Also, when first starting out with Benzoyl Peroxide, you should begin by using the product on alternating days so that your skin has time to adjust.

Salicylic Acid

Topical salicylic acid is used to help clear and prevent pimples and skin blemishes in people who have acne.

Topical salicylic acid treats acne by reducing swelling and redness and unplugging blocked skin pores to allow pimples to shrink. It treats other skin conditions by softening and loosening dry, scaly, or thickened skin so that it falls off or can be removed easily.

It works as a peeling agent to treat and prevent acne by causing your skin's cells to shed more easily, preventing the pores from clogging up and allowing room for new skin cell growth.

The Salicylic Acid penetrates the oil-filled pores and then exfoliates any dead skin cells that have built up inside. This helps to reduce irritation and inflammation, while also breaking down whiteheads and blackheads.

Are there any side effects? The most common side effect is dryness, though this is normally very mild. If the skin appears scaly however, you should apply a light oil-free moisturizer following the application of the product containing Salicylic Acid.

The skin can also become irritated for some who use products with this agent. If you experience some mild irritation after using Salicylic Acid you should use the product less frequently. If the irritation is severe or continues even with infrequent application you should stop using the product completely.

Some products don't work well with Salicylic Acid, leaving the skin excessively dry or irritated. These products should be avoided and include harsh soaps/cleansers, alcohol-containing preparations, other acne treatments containing peeling agents (resorcinol, sulfur, tretinoin, or Benzoyl peroxide), drying cosmetics or soaps, medicated cosmetics, and other topical skin medications.

The Verdict

Apparently both Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid work effectively as a way to treat and control mild to moderate acne cases.

They both work as peeling agents and have similar effects on the skin. The main different between the two agents is that Benzoyl Peroxide works as an antiseptic, though those same antiseptic properties makes the peroxide more aggressive and harsher on the skin.

Different skin types will react differently to both acne fighting agents so it is really a person choice here.

See all related benzoyl peroxide / salicylic acid related products and information >

Warning: Never Combine Hydroquinone with Benzoyl Peroxide or Resorcinol >

See more on Benzoyl Peroxide >

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