Benzoyl Peroxide Cream, Gel or Lotion

Benzoyl peroxide is a medication that comes as a skin cream, gel or lotion. It treats mild to moderate acne. Follow the directions on the label before use and apply it gently to your skin.

What is this medication?

BENZOYL PEROXIDE (BEN zoe ill per OX ide) treats acne or rosacea. It works by decreasing inflammation and killing or preventing the growth of bacteria on your skin. It belongs to a group of medications called antibiotics.

This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.

COMMON BRAND NAME(S): Acne Medication, Acne-10, Acneclear, Benprox, Benzac, Benzac AC, Benzac W, Benzac-10, Benzac-5, Benzagel, Benzagel-10, Benzagel-5, BenzaShave, BenzEFoam, BenzEFoam Ultra, BenzePrO, Benziq, Benziq LS, BP Cleansing Lotion, BP Gel, BP Topical, BPO, Brevoxyl-4, Brevoxyl-8, Clean&Clear Persa-Gel, Clearasil, Clearasil Ultra, Clearasil Vanishing, Clearplex, Clearplex X, Clearskin, Clinac BPO, Del Aqua, Delos, Desquam-E, Desquam-X, EFFACLAR, Enzoclear, EPSOLAY, Lavoclen-4 Acne Wash Kit, Lavoclen-8 Acne Wash Kit, NeoBenz, NeoBenz Micro, NeoBenz Micro Cream Plus Pack, NeoBenz Micro SD, Neutrogena Acne Cream, OC8, Oscion, PanOxyl, PanOxyl AQ, PanOxyl Aqua, PanOxyl-10, PanOxyl-5, RE Benzoyl Peroxide, Riax, Seba, Seba-Gel, Soluclenz Rx, Theroxide, Triaz, Zoderm, Zoderm Cream, Zoderm Gel

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What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:

  • Large area of burned or damaged skin
  • Lung or breathing disease (asthma)
  • Skin conditions or sensitivity
  • An unusual or allergic reaction to benzoyl peroxide, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • Breast-feeding

How should I use this medication?

This medication is for external use only. Do not take by mouth. Wash your hands before and after use. If you are treating your hands, only wash your hands before use. Do not get it in your eyes. If you do, rinse your eyes with plenty of cool tap water. Use it as directed on the prescription label at the same time every day. Do not use it more often than directed. Use the medication for the full course as directed by your care team, even if you think you are better. Do not stop using it unless your care team tells you to stop it early.

Apply a thin film of the medication to the affected area.

Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.

Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.

NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.

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What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medication?

  • Adapalene
  • Isotretinoin
  • Salicylic acid or sulfur-containing products
  • Topical antibiotics, such as clindamycin or erythromycin
  • Tretinoin

This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.

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What should I watch for while using this medication?

Visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. It may be some time before you see the benefit from this medication. Do not use other products that dry the skin. Examples include abrasive cleaners or products with alcohol in them. Do not use other acne products on the same areas of the skin as this one unless your care team tells you to use both. Avoid eating or drinking foods or drinks that may make skin redness, flushing, and blushing worse. Examples include spicy foods, alcohol, hot coffee, or hot tea. This medication can make you more sensitive to the sun. Keep out of the sun. If you cannot avoid being in the sun, wear protective clothing and sunscreen. Do not use sun lamps or tanning beds/booths. This medication may cause white fabric to turn yellow. Wash yellowed fabrics with laundry detergent.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?

Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:

  • Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Burning, itching, crusting, or peeling of treated skinSide effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
  • Mild skin irritation, redness, or dryness
  • Sensitivity to light

This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Where should I keep my medication?

Keep out of the reach of children and pets. Store at room temperature between 15 and 30 degrees C (59 and 86 degrees F). Do not freeze. Protect from light and moisture. Keep the container tightly closed. Avoid exposure to extreme heat.

Get rid of medications that are no longer needed or have expired:

  • Take the medication to a medication take-back program. Check with your pharmacy or law enforcement to find a location.
  • If you cannot return the medication, check the label or package insert to see if the medication should be thrown out in the garbage or flushed down the toilet. If you are not sure, ask your care team. If it is safe to put in the trash, take the medication out of the container. Mix the medication with cat litter, dirt, coffee grounds, or other unwanted substance. Seal the mixture in a bag or container. Put it in the trash.

NOTE: This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.

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Note: Introduction and Additional Common Questions written and medically approved by Cleveland Clinic professionals.

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