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Which Treats Acne Better: Salicylic Acid Or Benzoyl Peroxide?

by Studio APS 02 Nov 2022
Which Treats Acne Better: Salicylic Acid Or Benzoyl Peroxide?

Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are two of the most popular acne-treating substances. They are both widely accessible over-the-counter (OTC) medications that help clear mild acne and stop new outbreaks. Read on to discover more about each ingredient's advantages and drawbacks, how to utilise them, and the products you should try.

Benefits Of Each Ingredient

Both components help to get rid of dead skin cells, which can clog pores and cause acne.

1. Salicylic Acid

For blackheads and whiteheads, salicylic acid is the best treatment. Regular use of this ingredient could also stop comedones from developing in the future.

2. Benzoyl Peroxide

The American Academy of Pediatrics claims that benzoyl peroxide is the most potent acne treatment substance that can be purchased over the counter. Traditional red, pus-filled pimples respond well to it. Benzoyl peroxide helps eliminate acne-causing germs beneath the skin in addition to eliminating extra oil and dead skin cells.

The Side Effects

Both products are regarded as safe although the adverse effects of each constituent vary. They are also thought to be safe to use when pregnant. An aspirin allergy prevents the usage of salicylic acid. When first used, these substances could make you feel dry and irritated. Although they are uncommon, allergic reactions are possible. If you have severe oedema or have difficulties breathing, you should get emergency medical help.

1. Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid removes excess sebum (oils) from your pores. It can, however, remove too much oil and leave your face excessively dry. Other probable adverse effects include:

  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Peeling skin
  • Stinging or tingling

2. Benzoyl Peroxide

Sensitive skin may not be safe while using benzoyl peroxide. It can cause more intense irritation since it is more drying than salicylic acid. Before using, discuss the following conditions with your doctor if you have any of them:

  • Eczema
  • Seborrheic dermatitis
  • Psoriasis

Apply with care and carefully wash your hands after usage since this substance has the potential to stain your hands, hair, and clothing.

How To Select The Ideal Option For You

Your choice of product will depend on:

1. Acne Type

Whiteheads and blackheads can be treated effectively using salicylic acid. Moderate pustules respond effectively to benzoyl peroxide.

2. Severity Of Breakouts

Both chemicals can take several weeks to fully take effect, and they are both meant for minor outbreaks. However, benzoyl peroxide might be useful as an immediate spot therapy.

3. Activity Level

Sweating might transfer benzoyl peroxide to your clothing and discolour it if you are active during the day. You can think about using similar products solely at night or switching to salicylic acid.

4. Complete Skin Health

Salicylic acid is gentler than benzoyl peroxide and might not irritate delicate skin as much.

5. Underlying Medical Condition

Even though these chemicals are sold over the counter, this does not imply that they are secure for use by everyone. If you are unsure whether you have an underlying skin condition, check with your doctor. If you have diabetes, liver illness, or kidney disease, you should also consult your doctor.

Application Method

Never perform each stage of your skincare routine with a salicylic acid- or benzoyl peroxide-based product. For instance, if you use a cleanser with salicylic acid as an active component, be sure your toner or moisturizer doesn't contain the same substance. The chemical might dry out your skin and make your acne worse if you use it in every step of your program. Additionally, remember to use sunscreen each day. Unprotected sun exposure can exacerbate acne even though these acne components don't cause sun sensitivity like retinoids and alpha-hydroxy acids do. It can make scarring and skin cancer more likely for you.

1. Salicylic Acid

The concentrations in topical dosages for creams, washes, astringents, and other OTC treatments typically range between 0.5 and 5%. You can take salicylic acid both day and night. It can also be used as a spot treatment in the middle of the day because it is so gentle.

2. Benzoyl Peroxide

Start with a 2.5 per cent concentration of benzoyl peroxide when choosing a product because it causes less drying and irritation, and move up to a 5 per cent concentration if you find little improvement after six weeks. Starting with a mild wash and progressing to a gel-based version as your skin becomes acclimated to the substance is an option. After six weeks, if you still don't see effects, you can increase the concentration to 10%. A maximum of twice daily use of benzoyl peroxide is allowed. Apply the cream in a thin layer all around the afflicted area of the skin after cleansing and toning. Before putting on your moisturizer, give the product a moment to dry.

If you've never used benzoyl peroxide before, start with only once daily. Work your way up to using them in the morning and at night. Apply benzoyl peroxide only in the mornings if you use a retinoid or retinol treatment at night. The discomfort and other negative effects will be avoided.

Is It Safe To Use Both At Once?

Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid may be used concurrently in your treatment regimen. Even at separate times of the day, using both treatments on the same area of the skin increases your chance of experiencing extreme drying, redness, and peeling. Using both substances for various forms of acne is a safer strategy. For instance, benzoyl peroxide can be used as a spot treatment alone, whereas salicylic acid may be a suitable all-over way to treat and prevent breakouts.

Wrapping Up…

Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide may provide relief and help clean up blemishes even if there isn't a known treatment for acne. After six weeks, if you haven't noticed any improvement, you might want to consult your dermatologist. They might suggest more potent therapies like retinol or prescription retinoids.

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