According to the "Physicians Desk Reference," it is important to use sunscreen when using benzoyl peroxide, an active ingredient in many over-the-counter acne medicines. Kidshealth.org underscores the importance of this and adds that benzoyl peroxide can be drying to the skin. People with acne are sometimes hesitant to apply lotions and other products to their skin, fearing that they may exacerbate breakouts. However, keeping your skin hydrated and protected from the sun can often help when non-irritating, non-comodogenic products are used.
Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds. It is important to always have clean hands when caring for acne-prone skin, as surface bacteria can make acne worse. Dry hands well with clean towel.
Deposit whatever normal amount of benzoyl peroxide lotion you normally use into the palm of one hand. Add a dime-size amount of Cetaphil moisturizer with sunscreen and blend lightly with a cotton swab.
Apply the lotion mixture to your face and neck gently, in a light, circular motion with your fingertips. Avoid the areas surrounding your lips and eyes, which should not come into contact with with benzoyl peroxide. Blend the lotion mixture into skin until it is just absorbed, being careful to not rub the skin too hard or for too long.
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- Cleaning your skin gently each day in the morning and at night can help to discourage acne. When drying your face, always use a clean towel to gently blot your skin dry and avoid rubbing it. Keeping your skin hydrated with a non-comodogenic moisturizer, one that does not block pores, can help alleviate the skin dryness associated with benzoyl peroxide. Many kinds of moisturizer and sunscreen may be appropriate; it's a good idea to ask your doctor which products are best for you.
- Although benzoyl peroxide can be purchased over the counter, it is a medicine and not without possible side effects. It is essential to never mix medications, even ones purchased over the counter, as doing so can be dangerous. This is true of skin-care medications as well. For example, mixing salicylic acid, which is another over-the-counter acne medication, with benzoyl peroxide could adversely affect some people and should not be done without the advice of a physician. Similarly, use caution when blending a lotion containing benzoyl peroxide with facial moisturizers and sunscreens without consulting your doctor first, as certain other ingredients may also interact adversely with benzoyl peroxide.
Based in Princeton, N.J., Elizabeth Moore has written health-related patient education materials since 1992. She is a registered nurse with more than 15 years of clinical experience. Moore earned an Associate of Applied Science in nursing from Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing.