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Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, keratolytic, wound healing

Important Chemical Components:

Benzoyl peroxide, an organic compound in the peroxide family, is metabolized to benzoic acid within the skin.

Origin Classification:

Synthesized in the laboratory

Personal Care Category:

Acne therapy

Recommended for the following Baumann Skin Types:

OSNT, OSNW, OSPT, OSPW (but only by those with the Type 1 subtype, S1, of the four BST sensitive skin types). Should be avoided by very dry types and S4 sensitive skin allergic types because they often have an impaired barrier and are irritated by benzoyl peroxide.


Benzoyl peroxide (BPO) is one of the two most common ingredients in over-the-counter (OTC) acne treatments.1 It is also found in many prescription drug acne therapies. Both OTC and prescription versions have been shown to be effective in the treatment of acne.2 BPO was originally derived from chlorhydroxyquinoline, a component of coal tar.3 Currently, BPO is usually prepared by treating hydrogen peroxide with benzoyl chloride.


BPO is used for many purposes including bleaching flour and as a catalyst for chemical production of resins.4 There are conflicting reports about the history of the medical use of BPO but Merker provides a thorough historical review in his 2002 article in the International Journal of Dermatology.5 BPO seems to have first been used as a topical agent in the management of various skin lesions, especially burns, by Loevenhart in 1905.5 The first description of BPO in the treatment of acneiform eruptions dates back to 1934 and, in 1958, Fishman was credited as the first to suggest BPO as a viable treatment for acne.6 In the 1960s, it was used as a treatment for leg ulcers and decubitus ulcers, and its regular use in acne therapy dates back to 1979.1 But Pace is credited for publishing his results using BPO, identifying it as the main active ingredient in a chlorhydroxyquinoline ointment, for acne in 1965, and developing a commercially available product with Werner Stiefel.7,8 This began a flurry of patents to improve BPO for use in acne. Richard DeVillez found that BPO would dissolve in dimethyl isosorbide and remain stable with increased skin penetration.9 Won and colleagues developed a porous styrene-divinylbenzene polymer structure, which is now known as microsponge technology.3,10 In 1980, Fulton patented the use of BPO and glycerin to treat acne.11 In 1983, Klein and Fox (Dermik Laboratories) improved the stability of BPO by adding dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate.12 In 1985, Flynn and colleagues patented the use of the combination of BPO and silica to remove excess skin oils found around acne lesions, which was launched in the Oxy acne product line.13 In 1985, Klein filed the first patent for BPO in combination with erythromycin, an antibiotic (Benzamycin, Dermik Laboratories).3 In the last few decades many ...

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