Benzoyl Peroxide Soap: Benefits, Side Effects & Best Ones

Benzoyl Peroxide Soap Benefits, Side Effects & Best Ones
Benzoyl Peroxide Soap Benefits, Side Effects & Best Ones

If you struggle with face and body acne like me then you have probably heard of benzoyl peroxide. It is most commonly available as topical creams, ointments, serums, and face washes.

But what about benzoyl peroxide bar soap? Let’s talk about how effective it is, whether it is safe for the skin, and how to best use it. 

Is Benzoyl Peroxide Bar Soap Safe For The Skin

Once used correctly, Benzoyl Peroxide is safe for the skin whether it’s used in a bar soap or other formulations. 

When it comes to soap specifically, they are usually well tolerated, especially in people who struggle with bacterial acne.

However, while benzoyl peroxide bar soaps and other treatments are safe for most skin, avoid getting them into your eyes, nose, or mouth, and avoid using them on broken skin. This can irritate the area. If this happens, flush the area with clean water to wash it off. 

Also, keep in mind that benzoyl peroxide may bleach your hair and fabrics so be careful when using it close to your hair and hairline, and with your towels, clothes, and other fabrics.

Benefits Of Using Benzoyl Peroxide Bar Soap 

When used on the skin, benzoyl peroxide:

  • Exfoliates the skin
  • Removes oil, dirt, and grime from the pores and tightens them click here to learn more about the Effects of Benzoyl Peroxide on Pores
  • Kills acne-causing bacteria so it will help to treat and manage acne breakouts and flare-ups
  • Gradually tones the skin and lightens hyperpigmentation and dark spots can be used to help lighten dark armpits.
  • Bar soap is more affordable and lasts longer than liquid face washes and cleansers (but they all work on the skin well). 

Some other great soaps to consider:

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How Benzoyl Peroxide Works

Benzoyl peroxide exfoliates the skin, deep cleans the pores, and has bactericidal properties that work on bacteria that build up on the skin and in the hair follicles. 

Benzoyl peroxide exfoliates and cleans the skin by loosening the bonds holding old skin cells to the skin. It also breaks up dirt and oil on the skin and inside the pores, making it easy to wash off, and it increases the rate of skin cell turnover in the skin. 

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Video – How Benzoyl Peroxide Works

Will Benzoyl Peroxide bar soap bleach the skin?

Benzoyl peroxide contains peroxide (as the name suggests) which has bleaching properties, but it is not used as a bleaching agent. The bleaching effect is more of a gradual side effect. 

Click on this linked article to read about how benzoyl peroxide bleaches the skin and what you can expect: Does Benzoyl Peroxide Bleach & Lighten Skin: Actual Truth 

One of the best soaps to lighten your skin is Kojic Acid Soap click here to learn more.

How To Use Benzoyl Peroxide Bar Soap

Benzoyl peroxide soap can be used like regular soap (externally anywhere on the body except for your private parts) or as a spot treatment for specific areas of skin

Using The Soap

  1. Simply wet the area and rub the soap directly on the skin. 
  2. You only need a little. Most of these soaps are very foamy and form a nice lather.
  3. Gently massage the area with your hands and let the soap sit on your skin for 1-2 minutes (not longer). 
  4. Rinse the skin off well and gently pat dry. 
  5. Apply your moisturizer and SPF. 

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How Often Should You Use the Soap

Some people can use benzoyl peroxide soaps every day (especially people with active acne breakouts) while others have to use them less frequently.

You may even find that you start out using it daily but eventually, when your skin has improved, you may only need to use it a few times a week. It all depends on how your skin reacts.

If you have never used benzoyl peroxide before, I recommend starting with the lowest possible concentration, used at a low frequency to see how your skin will react to the treatment. A good suggestion is to start by using a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide soap 1-2 times per week. 

You can increase the frequency and concentration gradually if you do not see adequate differences in your skin. 

If you increase the frequency of use and the concentration of your benzoyl peroxide soap, and you start having side effects like irritation, adjust your routine until you find one that works for you (ie. maximum results with little or no side effects). 

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What are the safe concentrations of Benzoyl Peroxide in soap?

The FDA-approved concentrations of benzoyl peroxide are 2.5%, 5%, and 10%. 

Different concentrations will work differently for each person. If you have sensitive skin, or if you have never used benzoyl peroxide before, your safest bet is to start with the lowest concentration.

Things To Consider Before Using Benzoyl Peroxide Bar Soap

  1. First, identify the problems that your skin has and how sensitive your skin is. Consult your dermatologist for help with this if you are not sure what is going on with your skin. 
  2. Determine how much benzoyl peroxide you will need depending on your skin type and what you are trying to treat (acne, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, folliculitis, etc). 
  3. While using benzoyl peroxide soap, remember to moisturize your skin well afterward, and always use an SPF. Using benzoyl peroxide on your skin regularly and not moisturizing will leave your skin dry after a while. Click here to read more about Moisturizing After Benzoyl Peroxide: Tips to Follow

Best Benzoyl Peroxide Bar Soaps

1- 111MedCo 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Cleansing Bar

This soap uses the power of 10% benzoyl peroxide to exfoliate the skin, cleanse the pores, and get rid of bacteria.

It has no added fragrances, dyes, parabens, lanolin, or formaldehyde, and it is a biodegradable formula that is also triclocarban-free. The soap comes with detailed instructions on how to use it. 

You can Click here to check out the 111MedCo 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Cleansing Bar on Amazon. 

2- Dermaharmony Benzoyl Peroxide BPO Cleansing Bars

This benzoyl peroxide soap bar is available in a 5% concentration and a 10% concentration. The BPO in the name indicates that this is a non-soap formulation. Both strengths of this bar are great for mild to moderate acne.

When applied to the skin, benzoyl peroxide (BPO) works by reducing the amount of acne-causing bacteria and by causing the skin to dry and peel. It is recommended that you moisturize well when using this bar. 

Click here to see the Dermaharmony 5% Benzoyl Peroxide BPO Cleansing Bar

Click here to see the Dermaharmony 10% Benzoyl Peroxide BPO Cleansing Bar

Side Effects Of Using Benzoyl Peroxide Bar Soap

The most common side effects associated with using benzoyl peroxide soap and other topical preparations are skin lightening, skin purging, irritation, and allergic reactions. 

Benzoyl peroxide is an active ingredient that penetrates deeply into the skin. Therefore, it is best to start slowly with this treatment, especially if you have sensitive skin. 

As mentioned earlier, skin lightening is a gradual side effect of using benzoyl peroxide. Click here to read my article about it: Does Benzoyl Peroxide Bleach & Lighten Skin: Actual Truth 

Skin purging, however, is a more immediate side effect of using benzoyl peroxide. It essentially speeds up the rate at which your skin cells are turned over.

When this happens, the clogs and build-ups that are deeper down in the skin are pushed to the surface faster than they would have been normally, which feels and looks like a breakout. Click here to read my article on Benzoyl Peroxide Skin Purge – Everything You Need To Know 

Irritation can be caused by using benzoyl peroxide too often, in too high concentrations for your skin, or both. Signs of irritation include itchiness or rashes, burning, redness, swelling, pain or discomfort around the area, and the area will feel hot or warmer than elsewhere on the skin.

If you notice these signs, and if they continue to get worse, stop using benzoyl peroxide and seek medical advice.  

On the other hand, while rare, benzoyl peroxide allergies are still a possibility. An allergic reaction to benzoyl peroxide will most likely present as allergic contact dermatitis. Click here to read more about Benzoyl Peroxide Allergy: How To Spot & Treat

Can you use Benzoyl Peroxide soap when pregnant and/or breastfeeding?

Yes. Experts suggest that using limited amounts of benzoyl peroxide during pregnancy and/or when breastfeeding is generally safe. 

I recommend that you speak to your obstetrician and doctors if you are considering using this treatment during pregnancy. They can guide you best on what concentrations and frequency of use are safest for you and your baby. 

Additionally, while it is highly unlikely that benzoyl peroxide soap will get into your breast milk, a small amount will remain on your skin after a bath. So check with your doctor first. 

Other Conditions that Benzoyl Peroxide Can Treat

Benzoyl peroxide is also very helpful in the treatment of bacterial folliculitis and other skin conditions. The off-label indications for benzoyl peroxide include:

  • Inflammatory forms of rosacea 
  • Folliculitis including gram-negative folliculitis, non-infectious folliculitis, and drug-induced folliculitis (acneiform eruptions)
  • Pseudo-folliculitis barbae
  • Progressive macular hypomelanosis 
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Perforating diseases
  • Pitted keratolysis

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