What are the side effects from using benzoyl peroxide to treat acne?

Dr. Cynthia Washington
Family Medicine

Benzoyl peroxide is commonly used to treat mild to moderate acne.  It works by reducing bacteria known to cause acne.  Side effects that may be experienced by individuals applying benzoyl peroxide to the skin consist of itching, irritation, reddened and peeling skin. If you experience these symptoms, please contact your doctor for further advice.  Serious allergic reactions may occur that warrant immediate medical attention which consists of swelling of the face, tongue or throat, severe dizziness and trouble breathing.  If you experience these symptoms, please call 911 for medical assistance.