Is Salicylic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide Better for Acne Treatment? | Question for the Derm

March 11, 2021
Is Salicylic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide Better for Acne Treatment? | Question for the Derm

Salicylic Acid vs. Benzoyl Peroxide

Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are two well-known acne-fighting agents. Both ingredients work and have clinical efficacy.

Salicylic acid chemically exfoliates the skin, unclogging the pores by aiding the skin in the natural shedding process of dead skin cells. In this way, salicylic acid allows other acne treatment topicals to penetrate the pores more deeply.

Benzoyl peroxide is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial. This powerful ingredient oxidizes on the skin to destroy pore-clogging bacteria while decreasing skin inflammation and removing excess sebum.

The American Academy of Dermatology and the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology is the gold standard where dermatologists examine topical ingredients, study drugs, and research the clinical effect of skincare products. A large retrospective study and a cohort study held by the AAD and JDD found that when you look at the clinical effect of salicylic acid alone and benzoyl peroxide alone, benzoyl peroxide is superior at reducing acne papules and had better efficacy. If both ingredients were to receive grades in acne-clearing school, salicylic acid earned a B, and benzoyl peroxide earned an A+.

Research on the chemical differences between these two acne-fighting agents has shown that salicylic acid opens the pores and has a bit of a sloughing, exfoliating effect. However, benzoyl peroxide is superior for treating acne because it has an anti-microbial effect and a better antioxidant effect. Its chemical makeup targets acne-prone skin more than salicylic acid, which is not as specific in its mechanism against acne. Skincare companies continue to market salicylic acid specifically for acne, when in reality the ingredient has limited efficacy for acne treatment.

The Science Behind Our Benzoyl Peroxide  

Benzoyl peroxide has received a negative reputation- this powerful acne-fighting ingredient can lead to irritation and dryness. To combat these negative effects, Dr. Zenovia’s acne topicals are formulated with ultra-micronized benzoyl peroxide and infused with a blend of antioxidants and emollients including aloe vera, green tea, and cucumber extract so that the skin won’t react to the higher percentages of benzoyl peroxide.

“Benzoyl peroxide is too powerful if it’s delivered alone or has cheap raw materials, but by mixing ultra-micronized benzoyl peroxide with a powerful phytoestrogen known as Geinstein, the skin is protected and soothed,” Dr. Zenovia shares. Our benzoyl peroxide will not bleach darker skin tones. Dr. Zenovia recommends letting the product dry fully for at least 30 seconds before moving on to the next step in your skincare routine.

Note from Dr. Zenovia: Mild and non-inflammatory acne can be treated with over-the-counter topicals containing active ingredients such as Benzoyl Peroxide. However, it is important to consult a board-certified dermatologist for more severe acne cases such as cysts or if acne persists after trying at-home treatments for a few months.

Benzoyl peroxide is highly effective at helping to get rid of dead skin cells and excess oil. Such effects may lead to skin dryness and peeling. I, therefore, recommend gradually introducing this ingredient into your routine and building up the frequency of usage over time. If excessive dryness or irritation occurs, reduce application and use a rich moisturizer for hydration.

Incorporating Benzoyl Peroxide into Your Skincare Routine

The best way to incorporate benzoyl peroxide into your skincare routine is by using a BP cleanser and spot treatment daily.

Dr. Zenovia’s 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Cleanser deeply penetrates the skin to remove buildup from clogged pores and eradicate blemishes. As a wash-off treatment, it is infused with a powerful, yet gentle dose of ultra-micronized 10% benzoyl peroxide to eliminate any possible irritation.

For targeting blemishes on the skin, Dr. Zenovia’s 5% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Spot Treatment is a clinical-grade hormonal acne solution that clears flare-ups whenever they strike while helping to reduce any redness or irritation. This spot treatment is formulated with medical-grade Bakuchiol and Aloe Vera to help soothe acne-prone, sensitive skin.


Related Article: How to Get Rid of Cystic Acne