How to Use Salicylic Acid & Benzoyl Peroxide

by Maggie Hira ; Updated September 28, 2017

Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are two of the most popular acne treatments. Salicylic acid is a chemical exfoliant that treats pimples, whiteheads and blackheads by absorbing deep into pores to clean out dirt, oil and bacteria. It is often used as spot treatment to cure active acne lesions. Benzoyl peroxide works by destroying the P. acnes bacteria that cause pimples. It is best used as a preventative treatment to heal acne before it starts. Together, these two treatments are powerful allies in the fight against acne.

Use a salicylic acid cleanser on a daily basis to treat acne. Every morning, massage the cleanser onto damp skin and allow it to be absorbed into your pores for about a minute before rinsing off. If you have active pimples or clogged pores, this treatment is the best answer for your problem skin.

Apply a light oil-free moisturizer under your makeup. Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can be extremely drying, so hydrate your skin properly.

Wash your face with the salicylic acid cleanser again later in the evening. Pat your face dry thoroughly with a soft towel.

Apply about a quarter-sized amount of the benzoyl peroxide treatment all over your face and neck, focusing on the oily T-zone or anywhere else you are prone to getting breakouts. Allow the benzoyl peroxide to dry slightly before going to bed. Leave on overnight.

In the morning, remove the benzoyl peroxide treatment with lukewarm water and a washcloth to scrub off the residue. Follow up with the salicylic acid cleanser from Step 1, and repeat the entire process all over again. Continue this treatment routine until your acne has sufficiently cleared.

Tips

  • Be patient--it may take up to two to three weeks until your skin clears completely.

About the Author

Maggie Hira has been writing professionally since 2006. She has written for numerous websites and print publications, including "LA.Direct Magazine" and The Budget Fashionista. Hira holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.