Acne, caused by bacteria in the skin and often aggravated by an overactive immune system, is usually extremely irritating as an adult, when one is not only fighting the ravages of time, but also the ravages of adult pimples. Although it is recommended as an antiwrinkle treatment by the FDA, benzoyl peroxide is effective against acne, too. However, it can also dry out the skin and potentially make the skin prone to aging more quickly.
Peroxide can age the skin prematurely by drying it out, making wrinkles more visible. The over-drying of the skin can cause redness and irritation of the skin by not allowing it to heal properly. Leslie Baumann, MD in the AARP online magazine says that doctors are now suggesting less harsh acne creams for this reason, citing claims that less dry skin may actually heal more quickly than completely dried-out skin. Additionally, researcher C. Lynde at the Lynde Centre for Dermatology discusses the justified uses of moisturizing cream for skin conditions involving inflammation in the 2008 Journal of Drugs in Dermatology.
Benzoyl Peroxide and the Sun
Benzoyl peroxide, when used without sunscreen, can make the skin more prone to sun damage than without its use. When on the skin, the use of peroxide drains the skin of its intrinsic antioxidants, and fewer vitamins are present in the skin to block free-radical damage by the sun.
Oxidation and Aging
The process of oxidation is one of the primary processes of aging in the body, so a cream that is an oxidative agent, such as benzoyl peroxide, eventually ages the skin of its long-term users by causing DNA damage and protein cross-linking within the skin.
The use of oxidative creams may mask what is truly wrong in the body, and, therefore, help to prolong a hidden condition. An example of a hidden condition that prematurely ages the body is the wrong diet that causes allergies and pimples, which can also potentially harm the immune system by clogging the gut with poorly digested foods.
Unresolved stressors in the lifestyle, such as bad relationships, may cause the over-expression of inflammatory hormones, which can cause pimples in the body. Untreated stress has also been shown to influence conditions such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes and heart disease. An article in the journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences discusses the links between diet, stress and metabolic disorder. The authors say that poor diet in combination with chronic stress can cause medical issues such as weight gain and a higher risk of diabetes.
- Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Drew Herron