Benzoyl peroxide is an acne treatment that treats the actual bacteria that causes acne. It works well on red and inflamed acne. Benzoyl peroxide is available over the counter at your local drug store.
Salicylic acid works quite differently. Instead of treating bacteria, it helps your skin by accelerating its cell turnover rate, making it a great choice for those with blackheads and/or closed comedones.
Salicylic acid is also great for those sensitivity to benzoyl peroxide (such as kids).
Recommendation: Try using them both together (you can find many acne treatment products that contain both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid).
You could use two different skin care products containing both active ingredients separately. For example, try using a cleanser with salicylic acid, followed by a benzoyl peroxide skin cream.
Pros and Cons of Salicylic Acid
Salicylic Acid Cons
- People may suffer skin irritation on first use.
- Have to repeatedly use it or else acne may revert back to the condition it was before using salicylic acid.
- Makes skin vulnerable to the sun.
- For some it can cause headaches, dizziness, tiredness or nausea.
Salicylic Acid Pros
- Removes dead skins cells and clears out pores while encouraging the top layer of the skin to peel (part of the normal skin replacement cycle). This helps prevent uneven shedding of your skin.
- Goes inside the pore to clear out the oil and reduce your chance of getting zits and blackheads.
- Helps open plugged hair follicles, unclog skin pores and helps to prevent skin lesions.
Pros and Cons of Benzoyl Peroxide
Benzoyl Peroxide Cons
- Skin dryness.
- Tenderness, itchiness, rashes, swelling and other skin sensitivity irritations.
- Hydrogen Peroxide will bleach clothing.
- Allergies. While allergy symptoms are uncommon with benzoyl peroxide, they can happen.
Benzoyl Peroxide Pros
- If you have cystic acne, marked by isolated clusters of large pimples (each large pimple with multiple tiny heads), then benzoyl peroxide should be tried first.
- Absorbs excess oil and prevents future breakouts.
- Benzoyl Peroxide is one of the best OTC treatments for killing acne bacteria.