Most of today’s widely used acne treatments use a harsh chemical — benzoyl peroxide (BP) — as the active ingredient. While still approved by the FDA, benzoyl peroxide has been banned by the European Union in all over the counter skin care products as well as in any food product. Benzoyl peroxide is a powerful bleaching agent and if there is an alternative that works why would anyone use it?
BP has been linked to cancer for a number of years and many research journal entries state “benzoyl peroxide is a free radical-generating skin tumor promoting agent.” Performing a word search of the words “benzoyl peroxide cancer” in PubMed in the National Library of Medicine produces more than one-hundred articles from medical publications dealing with research aspects of benzoyl peroxide and cancer. About two-thirds of the research supports linkage between BP and skin cancer.
“In 1995 the FDA changed benzoyl peroxide from a Category I (safe) to a Category III (safety is uncertain) ingredient and stated this action (56 FR 37622) was based on new information that raised a safety concern regarding benzoyl peroxide as a tumor promoter in mice…” Additionally the FDA charged manufacturers with the responsibility of providing this information to consumers so they could make educated decisions. Many manufacturers and product marketers have not provided this information so consumers can be advised of the potential dangers.
Despite its toxicity, benzoyl peroxide remains the most widely used over the counter acne treatment in the United States.
Why Benzoyl Peroxide Is Really Bad
- Dries out most skin types, and in some cases excessive dryness and flaking.
- Stains your towels, even after you’ve washed and rinsed your face and hands.
- Can bleach your eyebrows and hair.
- Can cause increased redness and irritation.
- Removes the top layer of skin, which also decreases the sun protective effect (roughly SPF 3), making you more susceptible to sun damage.
- Benzoyl peroxide used to be labeled as a category 1 acne treatment product by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), then they changed it to a category 3 product which means the safety is unknown. At this point in time, it still remains under that category.
- Repeated sun exposure or BP use generates free radicals that damage the skin’s structure and cellular DNA, resulting in premature aging of the skin.
- Because BP generates free radicals it interferes with and slows the healing process. The red and brown marks that are a part of the acne healing process may last weeks longer when BP is a regular part of the daily regimen.
- The product is tested on animals.
Acne preparations made of benzoyl peroxide may contain various other chemical ingredients. Glycolic acid is a photo sensitizer and may be toxic to gastrointestinal system, nervous system and kidneys. Triethanolamine can form carcinogenic nitrosamine compounds on the skin or in the body after absorption. It may also elicit immune reaction in form of allergic dermatitis or asthmatic attacks. Diisopropanolamine may release carcinogenic nitrosamine compounds.
We encourage people to choose all-natural solutions to battling acne, such as ZAPNE. Learn more about this all-natural, effective acne medication.