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Acne Treaments: Is Benzoyl Peroxide Or Salicylic Acid Better

Benzoyl Peroxide vs. Salicylic Acid: Which One Is Better For You?

Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are both excellent acne fighters, and definitely the most affordable treatments on the market. Almost any chemist acne treatment is going to have one or the other. But it's impossible to tell from the bottle which product is going to help clear up your specific acne. If you end up with the wrong one, it can actually make things worse. To help you determine which product you actually need, we've put together a quick comparison. Ready to know which one you need once and for all? Then just keep reading.

Benzoyl peroxide

When you use benzoyl peroxide, what you're actually getting is benzoic acid and oxygen, because the product breaks down on contact with your skin. The oxygen helps kill P. acnes, the bacteria that contributes to acne. Benzoic acid causes skin to peel and dry, exfoliating out the plugs of dead skin and sebum that inflame follicles, causing bumps. Benzoyl is sold in concentrations up to 10 percent, but studies show that concentrations of 2.5 percent are just as effective and much less irritating than stronger ones, so that's what we'd recommend you use.

Benzoyl is a powerful product that can penetrate pores deeply, but it can also be very drying. If the spots you're seeing are deep under the skin, red, and/or pus-filled, benzoyl is probably a safe bet because you need both bacteria killing and deep-down exfoliation. Clearasil Ultra Extra Strength Acne Treatment Cream ($14.49) is one of the most popular benzoyl treatments, and the Proactiv system is also benzoyl-based. If you've got sensitive skin and light acne, though, think twice before you pick this one up because you can actually exacerbate the problems you're having if you over-apply.

Salicylic acid

For the sensitive type and people plagued by blackheads, salicylic can be a life saver. Salicylic acid, like benzoic acid, is a good peeling agent, though it's gentler and lacks the oxygen to help kill acne bacteria. If you have lots of blackheads and spots but no deep, closed comedones, salicylic is the best choice for you. Burt's Bees Anti Blemish Spot Treatment ($19.99) is mostly salicylic acid-based. Salicylic won't be as sensitising and is less likely to dry you out. Again, don't overuse it — doing too much actually makes things much worse.

Image Source: Shutterstock
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14978751 14978751 3 years
Both ingredients are traditional harsh ingredients with numerous side effects as premature aging, semi-permanent dry skin etc. The decision is between bad and bad. Now a days there's a third choice/product which is 100% natural, has only ingredients which are recognized by the skin and does not have any side effects.
Mia14443756 Mia14443756 3 years
Personally I like salicylic acid as it is generally kinder to sensitive skin. Did you know you can also use natural sources of salicylic acid from strawberries, tomatoes and willow bark powder. These are especially potent and healing when combined with honey, turmeric powder and tea tree oil, I use them all the time in my recipes. (I wrote The Complete Acne Book all about natural acne treatments at home). Salicylic acid helps to remove dead skin cells and oil buildup while other more antibacterial ingredients deal with acne bacteria!
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