This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

How Benzoyl Peroxide Harms Your Skin and What to Use Instead

How Benzoyl Peroxide Harms Your Skin and What to Use Instead
Photo by cottonbro Woman putting benzoyl Peroxide cream on her face

Photo by cottonbro from

Accelerates Skin Aging:

Dryness & Dehydration

Even low dose forms of topical benzoyl peroxide cause dryness to the skin which in turn can lead to flaking and dehydrated skin cells...AKA that haggard look we are all trying to avoid (source).


The chemical also causes irritation, redness and itchiness which can increase inflammation in the skin actually making acne worse in the long run (source).

Weakens Protective Barrier

Benzoyl peroxide is such a strong exfoliant that it breaks down the top layers of skin allowing free radicals to more easily penetrate the skin. Excess free radicals lead to increased fine lines and wrinkles, slow down cellular turnover and the wound healing process. In other words, you skin is not able to produce young healthy skin as easy with a heavy free radical load. Along with this, the broken down skin is now more photosensitive and likely to experience sunburn (source).

Kills Good Skin Bacteria

By now, the topic of our gut microbiome is becoming common knowledge. Did you know, however, that your skin has a microbiome of bacteria too? The microscopic bacteria living on our skin play a critical role in skin health. Just like the overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut can lead to a range of health issues, so too can an overgrowth of bad bacteria on the skin leads to acne, redness, irritation, rosacea, rashes, eczema, adult acne and photosensitivity. There must always be a balance of both bad and good bacteria on the skin to keep it healthy.

While powerful antibacterial agents like benzoyl peroxide kill acne causing bacteria on the skin, it also kills all the good bacteria on the skin as well! Fun fact…the European Union recognizes the many hazards caused by benzoyl peroxide and has actually banned it completely from being used in all over-the-counter skin care products (source).

What to Use Instead

If you have been in to see us at Facial Lounge for a custom, vegan, organic and non-toxic facial, then you know that our first suggestion to address skin issues is always diet first. While specific diet recommendations are unique to each individual, there are some general suggestions that you can try to see how your skin and body respond.

1. Cut out dairy

2. Cut out gluten

3. Cut out added sugars

4. Cut out processed foods as much as possible

5. Up your daily water consumption (most of us are walking around chronically dehydrated)

We suggest starting with just one. For example, cut out dairy for 2-3 weeks and keep note of how you feel as a whole and any changes in your skin. Next, cut out gluten and repeat the same process while still avoiding dairy. This allows you to more easily identify which substance is causing you the most trouble and adjust your lifestyle accordingly.

And of course, we always recommend working with an integrative medicine practitioner to address whole-body health and any hormone imbalances that all play a role in skin health.


Deep & Clean Refining Serum

Try switching out your benzoyl peroxide for our Deep & Clean Refining Serum. This serum gently exfoliates skin without using abrasive and synthetic chemicals. While gently exfoliating to clear excess sebum and dead skin (which in turn clears and prevents clogged pores), our Deep & Clean Refining Serum uses a compound from the fragrant wildflower, Meadowsweet (Spirea ulmaria). Dermatologist-tested, this molecule has been found to strengthen an element of the skin’s natural defense system: cathelicidins. A reduction in oil production and other imperfections is also seen.

These natural antibiotics preserve skin’s ecosystem, helping to maintain the balance of healthy flora on the skin's surface and in pores.

Targeting imperfections and pore imbalances is a patented, fast-acting, purifying blend of the most active fractions of New Zealand and Australian Tea Tree oils. Specifically developed to balance hostile flora deep within pores in just five minutes, this dermatologist-tested blend calms redness as it cools the skin. Unlike regular Tea Tree oil, this blend won’t oxidize or cause irritation and does not contain common allergens from the Tea Tree family.


Red & Blue Light Therapy

A treatment we recently added to our service menu are red light therapy and blue light therapy. Red light therapy works to reduce inflammation, ease pain, increase collagen production, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, tighten skin and increase cellular energy.

Blue light therapy gently kills acne-causing bacteria on the skin without destroying the good bacteria that are so essential to skin health. Light therapy treatments can be added on to a custom facial or booked separately!

Good article on acne: