Clear Comfort: 3 Tips to Avoid Dryness, Irritation, and Sensitivity When Zapping Zits with Benzoyl Peroxide

Posted on August 27, 2015 by Rachel Duran

Woman's hands using cosmetic cream

Rachel DuranSpot treatments with benzoyl peroxide are often more effective than prescription drugs. But this powerful ingredient also has a reputation for drying and irritating skin. Of course, if using it makes your skin uncomfortable and you don't use it consistently, it can't do its job. But with these three quick tips, you can get great results while keeping your skin feeling great. 

1. Get the Right Products 

In fact, take a quick inventory of your entire skincare routine. Have a quality, gentle product for the three basic steps:

  1. Cleanse: Keep it incredibly gentle. The Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (not the facial cleanser) is great and the version from Whole Foods 365 is even better.
  2. Treat: We're partial to our own Acne Control Complex, which features a low but effective dose of benzoyl peroxide. Plus its other ingredients are natural and counter dryness and irritation.
  3. Protect: Don't leave the house without sun protection. CeraVe AM is tough to beat: it provides great, lightweight sun protection, amazing antiaging properties, and it even has niacinamide, which might help clear your skin faster. Their PM version is nice, too.
2. Start Slowly 

It's a good idea to test things on your skin and then introduce it slowly over time.

The "Drug Facts" that come with benzoyl peroxide product suggest, a sensitivity test. "Apply product sparingly to one or two small affected areas during the first 3 days. If no discomfort occurs, follow the directions as stated." 

If you do experience some sensitivity, wash the product off and wait a day or two to apply again. Then try using a small amount every other day until you no longer feel irritation. 

Once your skin has adjusted to the new product, spend a couple of weeks building up to daily use. Even if after your skin adjusts, it may become sensitive again. If you introduce additional products, expose your skin to sun, cold, heat, or wind, or it just becomes dry or irritated again, you may need to cut back use of benzoyl peroxide and let your skin readjust again. 

3. Be Consistent 

We know that most people aren't perfect. We don't wash our faces, use SPF, or use our acne products as regularly as we should. It's just the nature of humans. But if you really want good skincare habits, you can make it happen.

From setting cell phone reminders to spreadsheets that list all of your daily goals, there are lots of "life hacks," tips, and tricks to help you define and meet your goals. It's up to you to try different things until you find what works for you!

  • Rachel Duran is an editor at Arithmetic
  • About Us: Arithmetic is a new skincare company focused on helping adults achieve clear, healthy skin

Posted in acne, acne control complex, acne cream, adult acne, allergy, beauty tips, benzoyl peroxide, benzoyl peroxide irritation, blemishes, breakouts, clear skin, dryness, irritation, natural, pimple medication, pimples, sensitive skin, sensitivity, skincare tips, soothing, tips, topical acne treatment, treatment, zits


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