Every new acne patient invariably leaves our Philadelphia office with the follow products: a great face wash, a great sunscreen, and… a bottle of Benzoyl Peroxide.
Our acne sufferers adhere to their prescribed skincare regimen so devoutly, that we often find ourselves shipping our products to them across the globe. However, it’s easy to understand why– after trying everything else to fix their acne, they want to stick with what works.
This BZP (my Benzoyl Peroxide abbreviation) devotion in Philadelphia is not at all unusual– in fact, BZP it is the single most commonly prescribed ingredient for all acne treatments. However, the reason it is so effective at curtailing acne is because of it’s innate drying capabilities. BZP dries acne out by reducing the amount of oxygen in the skin, which thereby reduces the acne causing bacteria and infections.
It is this amazing drying capability that has earned BZP its reputation as the ultimate acne fighting cream, however, some doctors are starting to wonder about a possible darker side to BZP’s magic. With all of this excessive drying taking place, is BZP inadvertently causing premature aging?
The rule of aging usually goes something like this; anything that dries the skin out, usually causes the appearance of more fine lines and wrinkles, thereby making the skin look older. Since BZP is by nature drying out the skin, reason lends that it would, therefore, be prematurely aging the skin.
However, if BZP is being applied properly*, the uncomfortable, tight, dry, burning feeling shouldn’t occur. Even anti-BZP California dermatologist Debra Luftman, MD admits that if the right moisturizer (i.e. a formula appropriate for your skin type) is used regularly, the skin will bounce right back to normal.
BZP is now available in all sorts of strengths and formulas, so no matter what your skin is like– there is a formula to help keep your skin pristine and clear.
The one BZP precaution you do want to take to prevent premature aging is the avoidance of sun exposure. (We recommend all of our patients use their BZP at night so as to bypass this complication altogether.) The light and heat of the sun amplify Benzoyl Peroxide’s drying effects and can leave you with severely dried out, sun damaged skin. (Some experts even think that BZP cancels out the effect of SPF, which lends more reason to skip BZP application during the day.)
When used correctly, Benzoyl Peroxide is a must have in your anti-acne arsenal (if you look at the ingredients of the products you are currently using, you may be surprised to see you are already employing the benefits of this hard-working pimple buster.) Make sure to moisturize your skin properly, and enjoy your clearer skin– Benzoyl Peroxide is not causing any premature aging.
If you have any Benzoyl Peroxide experiences or questions you would like to share, please let me know.