The Ingredient Chronicles: Benzoyl Peroxide

Chances are, if you’ve ever tried an acne treatment product, you’ve used something with the active ingredient benzoyl peroxide.acne ingredient benzoyl peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is an active ingredient used in many prescription and over-the-counter acne treatments. It kills p. acnes, the bacteria that causes acne. By killing the bacteria, you eliminate a major cause of frequent breakouts. Some experts classify benzoyl peroxide as a topical antibiotic, but many dermatologists use benzoyl peroxide to help enhance the performance of other topical antibiotics like clindamycin and erythromycin. Because benzoyl peroxide is primarily used to kill bacteria, it is most effective on inflammatory acne.

Although we don’t fully understand the mechanisms of how benzoyl peroxide works, we do know that it seems to kill bacteria by adding oxygen to the skin. When benzoyl peroxide is applied to the skin, it breaks down into two parts- oxygen and benzoic acid. Since the p.acnes bacteria thrives in an oxygen free environment, adding oxygen to the skin essentially kills off the bacteria.

I’ve heard many people complain that benzoyl peroxide seems to stop working. I used to think that you could develop a resistance to benzoyl peroxide, as consistent use would eventually cause more resistant bacteria (think: MRSA and other super bugs). But while researching this article, I’ve learned that, while there is concern about resistant p. acnes bacteria, benzoyl peroxide appears to be the solution, rather than the cause. Many researchers feel that the resistance comes from ingredients like clindamycin and erythromycin, and that benzoyl peroxide lessens that likelihood.

Benzoyl peroxide has some other functions that can be helpful for acne control. It also works as an exfoliant, helping to unclog pores and reduce the appearance of blackheads. I feel that benzoyl peroxide is not as effective at unclogging the pores as salicylic acid, so if you have a lot of blackheads, you may want to introduce that ingredient into your routine.

Benzoyl peroxide comes in all forms. You can find it in cleansers, spot treatments, moisturizers, and serums. If you’re using a wash, you can leave the cleanser on your skin for a few minutes as a mask. If using a serum, it can be applied all over the skin or just on spots. You can even just treat the areas of the face that break out the most often. You can find it in strengths from 2.5% to 10%, though many studies have shown that higher percentages are no more effective than lower ones, but higher percentages often cause more adverse reactions, such as redness, flaking, and dryness.

Though this ingredient can be very effective, like many ingredients, benzoyl peroxide has its downside. I find that many of my clients react adversely to benzoyl peroxide, more so than other common acne treatments. I’ve even found that people can use benzoyl peroxide for years before suddenly developing adverse reactions. Because of this, I like to recommend that you limit your usage as much as possible. If you have been using it twice daily, try cutting your usage down to once a day once your skin starts to clear. If you remain breakout free, try going to every other day. Eventually, you may be able to stop using benzoyl peroxide entirely. Or you find that you need to stay on a routine that uses benzoyl peroxide just a few times a week.

It’s also important to remember that benzoyl peroxide includes…peroxide. This means that it will bleach clothing, sheets, and towels. It is one of the biggest complaints about benzoyl peroxide, but it’s also the easiest to fix. You can get some cheap white pillow cases or towels to use. If you’re applying it to the body, apply it at night and wear inexpensive white tee shirts to sleep. Also keep in mind that if you’ve tinted your brows or lashes, benzoyl peroxide may cause the tinting to fade faster.

If you’ve been using benzoyl peroxide and you’re suffering from adverse reactions, I have a few ideas. First, try using a lower percentage. Research shows that lower percentages are just as effective as higher ones and equally effective. Less isn’t always more when it comes to skin, so don’t worry about backing off a little. Next, try using the benzoyl peroxide less frequently. If you’re using it twice a day, try once. Once a day, try every other day. If cutting the number of applications down doesn’t work, try a light weight, oil free moisturizer underneath your benzoyl peroxide product. Finally, if these tips don’t work, try something that stays on the skin for a shorter period of time, like a wash just a few times a week. You’ll still get the bacteria eliminating benefits without as much irritation.

A final thought to keep in mind. Benzoyl peroxide and retinol don’t mix. If you’d like to use both ingredients, make sure that you use one in the morning and one at night. It will help to minimize irritation, as well as maintaining the integrity of the individual ingredients.

 

 

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What I’m Loving Now: Summer Essentials

Summer is upon us, and it’s time to switch up products in your skin care routine. I love summer, but it definitely requires some makeup and skin care product tweaks. Since I love to be in the sun, my summer essentials center around ones that protect my skin from UV damage by amping up my sunscreen but allow me to indulge in sidewalk cafes and afternoons in the park. Here are some of the things I rely on to keep my skin healthy in the summer.

Sunscreen is so important in the summer. And for sunscreen, the key is bareMinerals SPF 30 natural sunscreenin reapplication. So how do you reapply like you should without messing up your makeup? I love the bareMinerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen. There are lots of touch-up sunscreen powders on the market, but I like this one because the brush is soft, and the sunscreen comes in several tinted powders to prevent that blue cast that mineral sunscreens are infamous for. Another bonus of touch-up sunscreens like this? You get a mattifying bonus if you’ve gotten a little shiny.

Korres Yoghurt Cooling Gel After-SunThe KORRES Greek Yoghurt Cooling Gel is one of my summer essentials. If you’ve ignored my advice about reapplying your sunscreen and gotten a nasty sunburn, this is one of my favorite rehabilitation products. It’s lightweight, anti-inflammatory, and hydrating. It has a cooling sensation when you apply it, so it takes the heat out of the burn. And yogurt has natural healing properties to repair damaged summer skin.

 

I like lighter textures in the summer, so I usually iS Clinical Hydra Cool serumswitch my skin care routine to use just a serum underneath a sunscreen. Skin that’s been in the sun is usually skin that’s dehydrated, so I try to get as much hydration as I can. One of my favorite hydration serums is the iS Clinical Hydra-Cool Serum. It’s light, super hydrating, and even includes a brightening agent to control summer pigmentation.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye liner, Zero

 

 

Sweaty summers make me switch to waterproof eyeliners. The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil is one of my all time favorite eyeliners. I’m a black eyeliner kind of gal, so my favorite color is Zero, but sometimes it’s fun to wear a bright turquoise like Deep End or funky purple like Vice.

Sircuit Cosmeceuticals Savior Problem Skin Cleanser

Summer increases oil production, and that increases the tendency to break out. Even my super dry skin can get too greasy and break out in the summer, so I keep it under control by using a salicylic acid wash a few times a week. My favorite is the Sircuit Skin Savior problem skin cleanser, which breaks down oil and helps unclog pores, as well as having a light cooling effect from a touch of menthol.

These are a few of my favorites. What are some of your summer essentials? Tell me in the comments, or join the conversation on Facebook.

 

 

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Just The FAQs: Do I Have To Wash My Face At Night?

You’ve got a lot on your plate. You’re tired when you get home. You start to unwind and, before you know it, you’re falling asleep and can do i have to wash my face at nightbarely stumble to bed. So starts the great nightly debate: To wash or not to wash?

Here are a few reasons why the answer is a resounding yes, you must wash your face!

  • It prevents break outs. If you wear makeup, you must remove it. Even light powders can trap excess oil and dirt on your skin, creating a favorable environment for bacteria. Washing removes this bacteria and lets you start fresh with clean skin … and avoid future breakouts. And no, makeup removing wipes don’t count. Even they can leave residue on your skin.
  • It prevents aging. Even if you don’t wear makeup, your skin still needs to be cleaned of excess oil, sweat, and pollution. [Tweet this!] Pollution is a big factor here. All those free radicals in the air land on your skin and wreak havoc. Your cells oxide and thus hasten the aging process. Cleansing can neutralize some of these adverse affects.
  • It prepares the skin for your fancy creams and serums. If you’ve invested any money or effort at all into your skin care routine, you want to apply those products to fresh skin. Removing all make up, dirt, and sweat reveals the healthy skin underneath. Applying your products to this skin means that they will absorb better, meaning you’ll get the results you’re looking for.
  • It reminds you to use the aforementioned fancy creams and serums. Skin care doesn’t stop acne or prevent aging if it only sits in a drawer. [Tweet this!] It must be applied to the skin regularly in order to see results. If you remember to start your routine, you’re more likely to finish it. And your future self will thank you for her radiant glow.
  • It helps you sleep better. Research has shown that having a bedtime ritual relaxes you and can yield a better night’s sleep. Train your brain that when you start your skin care routine, you’re getting ready for a peaceful night’s sleep. The habit will help your mind to unwind faster, meaning that you’ll be getting better beauty sleep while your skin repairs.
  • It guarantees you a few quiet minutes to care for yourself. You spend all day taking care of other people. Don’t you deserve five quiet minutes to invest in the future of your skin? [Tweet this!]

No one is perfect. I’ve inadvertently fallen asleep with makeup on before as well. I’ve used makeup removing wipes in a pinch. But I promise that building this habit is worth it. I’ve offered tips on maximizing your skin care time before, so check them out if you haven’t. And check out one of my personal favorite cleansers as well! On days when you’re really not feeling motivated, remind yourself that you are worth the five minutes that it takes to care  for your skin and yourself.

 

 

Speak your mind! Do you wash up every single night? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

What I’m Loving Now: Purity Made Simple by Philosophy

As an esthetician, I want my skin clean before I go to bed. As a sleepy girl, I don’t want to spend a lot of time actually doing it. I recently rediscovered one of my true cleansing loves on a recent shopping trip, and I can’t remember why I stopped using it.

Purity Made Simple by Philosophy is one of my favorite all-purpose cleansers. It removes makeup in a flash, even stubborn waterproof mascara and eyeliner. It is considered appropriate for all skin types, but extremely dry skins may find it a little on the over-drying side. I am very dry, so I use this more often in the summer when my skin tends towards more oiliness. I also look to this when I’m wearing more makeup than usual, and I want to really be sure that my skin is super clean before bed. I always make sure to follow immediately with a moisturizer that is right for my skin type. And since a little bit of cleanser goes a long way, this product is also a good value.

 

Who will love this: People who love makeup but hate spending a lot of time taking it off

Who should avoid this: People with extremely dry skin

This product was purchased by me for my own personal use.

 

 

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