Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid (we’ll just call it BP and SA from here on out), are two of the most widely used active ingredients in acne treatment products today. If you read the label of the products you have at home or available at your neighborhood drug store, chances are they contain either one of these ingredients.
Those who are for BP and SA claim that these ingredients are extremely cheap and have the ability to work miracles (when it comes to getting rid of acne). On the other hand, those who are against BP and SA, argue that the side effects are waaaay too severe to even think twice about letting these chemicals touch your skin.
Let’s dive right into it…do BP and SA actually eliminate acne?
Yes, in terms of getting rid of acne they often work. But how do they work? Why do they work? What is it about these ingredients that eliminate acne?
In order to fully grasp how BP and SA eliminate acne, you have to understand what causes acne. (for all of you Nerds reading this that are like us, you’ll probably be interested in this part. for those that aren’t…welllllll you should read it anyway )
Acne is caused by the excess growth of P. Acnes, a common bacteria found in everyone’s pores. When your pores get clogged, it creates an oxygen-depleted environment where P. Acnes can thrive and multiply. This triggers an inflammatory response in your body, resulting in the breakout and discomfort we are all too familiar with.
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way and you understand what causes acne (you have understand at least, I mean I just explained it like a scholar) – let’s get into how BP and SA eliminate acne.
BP and SA’s approach is pretty intuitive – they eliminate acne by killing off the P. Acnes bacteria. BP does this by attacking your pores and allowing oxygen to flood into them. While SA achieves this by wiping them out with its acidity.
…BUUUUUUUT! (ahhhh yes, there’s always a but)
Here’s the catch, BP and SA don’t just kill off the P. Acnes bacteria, they wipe out your ENTIRE facial ecosystem! AND this is only a temporary fix – actually I wouldn’t even call it a “fix” since it breeds more problems than it solves (we will get to this later) – meaning that using acne treatments that contain these ingredients don’t prevent future breakouts.
Here’s why wiping out your entire facial ecosystem is not only bad, but potentially harmful as well. Living in your facial ecosystem are not only the bad bacteria but also the good bacteria, which are essential when it comes to fighting off the P. Acnes bacteria, having healthy skin, and helping prevent future breakouts.
By wiping out all of the essential bacteria that reside on your facial flora, you experience side effects such as: redness, flakiness, dryness, itchiness, and overall sensitive skin. It’s no coincidence that the use of BP is banned by the European Union.
Using BP and SA to treat your acne is equivalent to burning down an entire garden just because you want to get rid of the weeds.
As for now, try to avoid products that contain BP or SA. Instead try eating a more healthy diet. Cut out foods that are high in sugar and eat more foods that are rich in antioxidants and nutrients. Wash your pillowcases and towels often. Try to stay stress-free. The most important thing you should know is that…
…being acne-free is a lifestyle!