Updated May 17, 2014.
Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com’s Medical Review Board.
Question: Am I Allergic to Benzoyl Peroxide?
How do I know if I’m allergic to benzoyl peroxide?
True benzoyl peroxide allergies are not quite as common as people believe. Some people think they are allergic to benzoyl peroxide but are actually experiencing normal side effects of benzoyl peroxide treatment.
Benzoyl peroxide does cause dryness, redness, and peeling to some degree. So, how do you know if you are truly allergic to benzoyl peroxide or if you’re simply experiencing common side effects?
Symptoms of benzoyl peroxide allergy include:
- Swelling of the skin, lips, or tongue
- Severe redness, burning or itching
- Rash or hives
- Serious skin irritation, peeling, or cracking
These symptoms will continue to worsen until you stop using benzoyl peroxide.
Typical benzoyl peroxide side effects are less severe than an allergy, and usually aren’t anything to worry about. Using a moisturizer daily will go a long way in controlling normal side effects, but won’t help at all if you are allergic to benzoyl peroxide.
If your side effects are severe enough to make you believe you are allergic to benzoyl peroxide, stop using it right away and give your doctor a call.
Be careful when choosing and using other acne medications too, since benzoyl peroxide is a common ingredient in acne medications (both over-the-counter and prescription) and many skin care products made for acne. Always read those ingredient lists before using any new product!