Benzoyl Peroxide vs. Salicylic Acid

If you have the skin with acne, you may see that it requires more than just a little soap and warm water.  Chances are, you are familiar with all types of treatments. You have probably stumbled over more than one over the counter choices, including benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Figuring out which one is better is tough, but figuring out one that is better for YOU is somewhat easier. First, you may already have some preconceived notions of which one you like better, but maybe this will help clarify as to why you have a preference.

While most topical acne treatments and systems contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, some contain both. There are advantages to both. First, benzoyl peroxide has been called the “quintessential acne treatment”. It works to reduce the bacteria that causes acne breakouts. Benzoyl peroxide is especially useful when your acne is red and inflamed. It works so well because of its “peeling” action. It will exfoliate all the way down into your pores, getting rid of the “root” of your acne and peeling away the dead skin cells. Benzoyl peroxide is found in both over the counter treatments as well as prescription acne treatments, it is a matter of how much bp is inside of your product.

Salicylic acid is a better choice for cell turnover, meaning that it is great for renewing surface skin and “healing”. It is also useful if you suffer from blackheads, whiteheads or “closed comedones”. Salicylic is ideal for children and young adults that are dealing with breakouts, or for those who have a sensitivity to benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid works similar to benzoyl peroxide, but it is more gentle on the skin.

In this battle, you don’t really have to pick sides, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid work great together. For instance, consider your issues and your skin’s sensitivity. Then, pick a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide and then use a lotion with salicylic acid, or vice versa.

For the record, the side effects for both ingredients is the same, dryness, peeling and mild irritation. If you DO use them together, it could double your side effects, so definitely keep that in mind. If you are also battling dry or irritated skin, maybe dial it down. Both salicylic and benzoyl work best on MILD acne. If you are dealing with something more intense, you should most definitely get with a dermatologist or a doctor to figure it all out.

Hope that helps!


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