Benzoyl Peroxide is a topical OTC BHA treatment that is FDA-approved for the treatment of acne vulgaris. It has antibacterial properties and mild sebostatic and keratolytic effects.
This means that it helps to slow down oil production in the skin and it mildly exfoliated dead skin cells.
However, since acne-prone skin tends to have bigger pores, a common question I get is what does benzoyl peroxide do to your pores themselves?
What Does Benzoyl Peroxide Do To Pores
Benzoyl Peroxide helps to unclog pores and return them to their normal size.
Benzoyl peroxide will not directly shrink your regular pores and make them smaller. However, in people with oily or acne-prone skin, pores are generally bigger and open. The bigger the pores are, the more oil and become trapped, and the bigger clogs can get.
Sometimes, dermatologists and skin care professionals can refer to clogged skin as “congested skin”. This usually refers to bumpy skin with clogged pores that can lead to acne.
How Do Pores Get Clogged
Our pores end up being blocked up by not only oil (sebum), but also bacteria, inflammation, and dead skin cells. These results in blackheads, whiteheads, open/closed comedones, and even folliculitis (infected hair follicles) in some areas.
Video: What Is Congested Skin And How To Treat It
How Does Benzoyl Peroxide Work
When benzoyl peroxide is applied to the skin, it:
- Kills bacteria,
- Reduces inflammation,
- And unclogs the pores by breaking up and lifting the oil and dead skin cells out of them.
As the pores are no longer clogged and inflamed, they eventually start to shrink back to their normal size. Constant use of benzoyl peroxide helps to control the amount of oil being produced and secreted through the pores and prevents any more clogs. This helps the pores to retain their normal size.
Click here to read about Benzoyl Peroxide For Oily Skin: What You Need To Know
Video: How Benzoyl Peroxide Works
How To Use Benzoyl Peroxide For Clogged Pores
The easiest way to use benzoyl peroxide on your skin for pores is as a wash or soap. However, it can also be used as a topical gel, cream, lotion, serum, pad, mask, peel, etc.
Since you have pores EVERYWHERE, it is much easier to spread around and use a wash or soap than to use a gel, cream, or serum. You can cover more surface area. The product is also absorbed faster and easier into the skin.
You should definitely check out my article on Benzoyl Peroxide Soap: Benefits, Side Effects & Best Ones
Benzoyl Peroxide is usually available in concentrations from 2% up to 10%. Each kind of formula will have specific instructions on how often you can use it to provide the most benefits and least side effects. However, remember that all skin is different so you may need to adjust your routine based on your skin’s reaction until you get it right.
Check these articles out to read everything you need to know about using benzoyl peroxide:
Salicylic Acid Or Benzoyl Peroxide: Which Is Better For Pores
Both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are BHAs that unclog pores and reduce oil production on the skin. However, the best one for you will ultimately depend on your skin.
Since clogged pores lead to acne, how well either of these treatments works will depend on the kind of acne you have.
Generally, salicylic acid is best if you have whiteheads and blackheads. However, benzoyl peroxide is better if you have inflammatory acne (pus-filled, bacterial). The condition of your pores will depend on your treatment’s ability to keep your pores clear and acne-free.
Click here to read about how to choose between the two:
Best Recommended Benzoyl Peroxide Products That Unclogs Pores
I love and prefer to use benzoyl peroxide washes and soaps. I find that these are better for my skin, which is sensitive and oily, with big pores EVERYWHERE.
So, it’s much easier, more effective, and economical for me. If you have similar skin, these favorites of mine might help you too!
1- Differin Benzoyl Peroxide Daily Cleanser
Differin’s 5% micronized benzoyl peroxide penetrates deeply into pores to kill bacteria and absorb superfluous oil. However, what I liked about it is that it also supplies a light moisturizer to assist your skin in regulating itself and avoiding unpleasant dryness.
You can Click here to check out the Differin Benzoyl Peroxide Daily Cleanser on Amazon.
2- CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser
CeraVe was particularly designed to be very gentle on the skin. It contains three different ceramides to maintain a healthy and undamaged skin barrier, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and relaxing niacinamide, in addition to the acne-fighting benzoyl peroxide.
Click here to see the price for the CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser on Amazon.
3- PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash
Many experts strongly suggest using PanOxyl cleanser to treat body acne on the back, chest, and buttocks. This is because it is very straightforward to apply to all of these larger surfaces, thanks to its great foaming action.
It has 10% benzoyl peroxide, which some individuals may find too harsh for their faces but which the body frequently tolerates rather well.
If you prefer to use soaps instead of washes, click here to read all about those and to see some great recommendations: Benzoyl Peroxide Soap: Benefits, Side Effects & Best Ones
Side Effects Of Using Benzoyl Peroxide
Benzoyl peroxide can cause skin purging, irritation, and allergic reactions.
If you have never used benzoyl peroxide before I recommend seeing a dermatologist first. If used incorrectly (too often or in too high concentrations) your skin can become too dry and irritated.
Benzoyl peroxide allergies are also possible so you should do a patch test to see how your skin will react before using the treatment on your face and other large surface areas.
Click here to read everything you need to know about Benzoyl Peroxide Allergy: How To Spot & Treat.
Skin purging is also a regular, expected reaction for people who are using benzoyl peroxide for the first time or after a long time.
Click here to read about Benzoyl Peroxide Skin Purge – Everything You Need To Know.