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2.5% benzoyl peroxide burned when I applied - should I keep using?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
So, I haven't used a benzoyl peroxide treatment for my acne in a very long time. I tried tea tree oil, but got frustrated with the lack of results after a couple of months and started using a sulfur-based cream by Clearasil. The stuff seems to work ok, but it smells terrible and I can only use it at night. So, I decided to try benzoyl peroxide for daytime.

Today I applied it all over my face (not a huge amount, but just enough) & felt an unpleasant stinging sensation for about 20 min. after using it. Then the stinging went away. Also note that I applied moisturizer about 5-10 min. after the benzoyl peroxide, and primer/foundation after that. (Have not switched moisturizers in 2 years, same w/ primer, and have been using this foundation since April)

Should I keep using it and tough it out, or will that be worse for my skin? I really hate using the sulfur stuff because of its smell, but it doesn't burn at all.

ETA: Also tried salicylic acid a couple of years ago, and did not get a good response from my skin (made things worse, not better).
post #2 of 12

Re: 2.5% benzoyl peroxide burned when I applied - should I keep using?

If this happened to me, I wouldn't use the benzoil product anymore.
Sounds like you had an allergic reaction.
post #3 of 12

Re: 2.5% benzoyl peroxide burned when I applied - should I keep using?

oh heck no!!! i have seen the result of serious chemical burns, and the lifelong results are not worth it.
post #4 of 12

Re: 2.5% benzoyl peroxide burned when I applied - should I keep using?

I would stop if I had a reaction like that too.
post #5 of 12

Re: 2.5% benzoyl peroxide burned when I applied - should I keep using?

This does not sound healthy at all. I would just throw it away. It depends on the brand though, even though its probably like 10% benzoyl peroxide, it may just be the brand. If you are doing treatments at night time, I would not be using one during the day. Your skin might be sensitive from the over night treatment. Tea tree oil, on the other hand is homeopathic, so I could see why you are frustrated. Sometimes we need more than homeopathic remedies to cure things, just like how tea tree works for some peopel with dry itchy scalp and flakes, and others it just makes it worse. There are brands out there that may not be as harsh. Just so you know, everytime I used clearasil in the past, it always made my eyes burn and water, even though I did not apply it next to my eyes. I switched to clean and clear, and it has the same active ingredient, however the formula of it did not do the same. When I would sweat clearasil would get into my eyes and make it hurt so bad. When I sweat using clean and clear, it would never get into my eyes, so I believe it was going into my skin as it is supposed too. Clean and clear also makes an acne spot treatment, called advantage that will burn, but you only apply it to the areas needed where a pimple is. It is made up of Salicylic Acid, which is similar to benzoyl peroxide. This is also in face wash as well. Another remedie you may want to try, is using witch hazel astringent, after washing your face with really warm water to open up your pores. Take a cotton ball and put some astringent on it, then hold it and press gently on the areas where you have pimples. This is going to help bring it to the surface and dry it up. Then do your face with an astringent. Depending on how much you want to spend, clinique believe it or not has mild face wash, and treatment. Make sure to use a moisturizer that is not oil based.

I know you mentioned you tried Salicylic Acid before in the past, but also as we age our bodies change, so what once did not work then may work now. What type of skin do you have, oily, dry, combo? Also is this prescription? Is it acne? Or just some pimples?
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Re: 2.5% benzoyl peroxide burned when I applied - should I keep using?

Thanks for the responses. The biggest reason I'm asking is because the acne.org regimen FAQs state that people might experience irritation to begin with, but that if they stick with it, the irritation will subside after a few weeks as the skin gets used to the product.

I'm not sure if I'm allergic to the product or if my skin is just very, very raw from all of the crap I've been putting on it. Or a combination of both.

Actually, I am using Neutrogena On the Spot because I couldn't find Clearasil that was a <10% formula.

Background info: I'm 21 y/o. My skin is fairly sensitive, which is why I'm extremely hesitant to try salicylic acid again. My skin started flaring up around the time I turned 18 and hasn't gotten any better. Before I started using the sulfur treatment, I'd get breakouts on every part of my face every day. I still have a few breakouts here and there (in all areas of my face, not just T-zone), and LOTS of scarring (the red, surface kind...not the horrible pit kind of scraring). My skin gets oily VERY quickly throughout the day, but can be dry and flaky if I haven't moisturized well enough. I actually remove my makeup with olive oil & moisturize with Clinique, which does contain mineral oil. I don't believe either can clog pores, though.
post #7 of 12

Re: 2.5% benzoyl peroxide burned when I applied - should I keep using?

Well, if it hurts more than usual, it may be bad. Also if you have sensitive skin, thats probably why you are feeling more pain. However, it may dry out your skin fast. I would try rubbing gently an astringent on the spots. Maybe you should just stick with the treatment, and not put anything on during the day until your skin is finally used to it. I am allergic to sulfur products, So i myself have to be very careful when I treat my spots. I can't use proactiv because of the level of sulfur in some of the products. Maybe you should try proactiv though, have you tried that yet?
post #8 of 12

Re: 2.5% benzoyl peroxide burned when I applied - should I keep using?

I remember when I used BP it "tingled" for a couple of minutes after I put it on, but it did not burn for 20 minutes.

Make sure you're ONLY using the BP with a gentle cleanser & moisturiser (skip all the other treatments) & only use it on problem areas or spots, not all over your face.

If it continues I'd stop using it.
post #9 of 12

Re: 2.5% benzoyl peroxide burned when I applied - should I keep using?

Peroxide is definitely going to sting for a few minutes after application. As long as you’re not experiencing any redness on your skin, I’d suggest you give it a try for a few days before taking a decision.
post #10 of 12

Re: 2.5% benzoyl peroxide burned when I applied - should I keep using?

I agree with kellstar, just use it on the areas that need it.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Re: 2.5% benzoyl peroxide burned when I applied - should I keep using?

I haven't tried Proactiv because I've heard a lot of things about how bad it is for sensitive skin (it's 2.5% benzoyl peroxide for the cleanser, and then 2.5% for the moisturizer as well).

I'll try using it as just a spot treatment. The reason I used it all over my face is because I do have emerging breakouts/clogged pores on pretty much any area of my face, plus I'd been doing that with the sulfur treatment. What it might be is that my skin is raw from the sulfur or something, and the benzoyl peroxide applied to raw skin stings horribly? idk, I will try it again today as a spot treatment and see what happens.
post #12 of 12

Re: 2.5% benzoyl peroxide burned when I applied - should I keep using?

Ahhh I see. Perhaps you should give your skin a rest. Maybe one weekend (or a few days longer if possible) stop all treatment other than a gentle cleanser & moisturiser, then resume again at the end of that period.

2.5 is the lowest BP as far as I know, does anyone know any way to dilute it further?

I know exactly what it's like having skin like this, so I completely empathise with you - stick in there! BP was the ONLY thing that worked for me & gave me freedom again.

FYI: The brand I used was called Benzac (water based Benzoyl Peroxide) by Galderma.
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