How to clear up acne with hydrogen peroxide

How to clear up acne with hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic and bleaching agent. It kills many types of microorganisms, including bacteria. Many people have tried hydrogen peroxide for acne because of its antibacterial and drying properties. However, there is no evidence to prove that it can clear acne.

In some cases, hydrogen peroxide could make acne or scarring worse. There is also a lack of evidence to show that it’s safe to use as an acne treatment. People who have moderate to severe inflammatory acne may need to avoid it.

Keep reading to learn more about using hydrogen peroxide for acne, including acne types, its effect on scarring, and the risks.

How to clear up acne with hydrogen peroxide

Share on Pinterest Hydrogen peroxide is not a safe way to treat acne.

There are two main types of acne:

  • Non-inflammatory acne: This includes blackheads and whiteheads that are not swollen or inflamed. The lesions are usually small and do not have redness or pain.
  • Inflammatory acne: This includes red and sometimes painful acne pimples, pustules, and cysts. Inflammatory acne breakouts are often deeper in the skin than noninflammatory acne.

There is no evidence that hydrogen peroxide can help either type of acne. People who choose to use it, particularly those with moderate to severe inflammatory acne, must take great care when using hydrogen peroxide.

There are several risks to using hydrogen peroxide as a form of acne treatment.

Irritation worsens inflammatory acne

Hydrogen peroxide can irritate the skin, which may be detrimental to skin that is prone to acne.

Research suggests that inflammation is an important factor in acne development, and irritation can cause inflammation. This can worsen the discomfort of inflammatory acne by increasing redness, itching, and pain.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) advise people not to use any product that will dry out or irritate the skin, as it can cause irritation and lead to more breakouts.

It could delay healing of current acne

Research suggests that hydrogen peroxide may reduce infection, but it is harsh on the skin, causes irritation, and may delay wound healing in some instances.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, products containing concentrations of 3–5% peroxide, which are readily available in many stores, can cause skin irritation. At even higher concentrations, hydrogen peroxide will cause even more irritation.

Dangerous on wounds

In rare cases, using hydrogen peroxide on wounds can cause an oxygen embolism, which is life-threatening. This happens when a blood vessel becomes blocked by an air bubble.

What about non-inflammatory acne?

People who have mild cases of non-inflammatory acne can try hydrogen peroxide without a high risk of making inflammation worse.

However, they should ensure they dilute all hydrogen peroxide solutions to a 1% concentration by adding distilled water. For example, if the hydrogen peroxide has a concentration of 3% concentration, dilute I part hydrogen peroxide to 3 parts water.

Stop using it if dryness, irritation, or other side effects occur.

People should also avoid getting hydrogen peroxide on clothing or fabrics, as it may bleach or stain them.

Acne — especially inflammatory acne — often causes damage to the deeper layers of skin, which can lead to scarring. Managing acne with the right treatment can help a person prevent these scars.

In most cases, a healthcare provider will prescribe an acne treatment designed to minimize breakouts, inflammation, and scarring.

Unfortunately, hydrogen peroxide could actually make acne scarring worse for some people. An older study in the Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care states that hydrogen peroxide may interfere with the formation of fibroblasts.

Fibroblasts are cells that help form collagen, which is an important connective tissue in the skin. Without collagen, skin cannot heal properly and rebuild itself, which could increase the risk of scars.

Benzoyl peroxide is a well-known acne treatment that kills bacteria and causes bleaching in the same way as hydrogen peroxide. However, although they release oxygen to kill bacteria, the two chemicals have a few key differences.

Benzoyl peroxide is stable

Benzoyl peroxide has skin-peeling and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help clear acne. It’s also oil-soluble, which means it can penetrate the skin’s oil to work inside the pores. These properties, combined with its antibacterial ability, can help prevent acne breakouts in multiple ways.

Manufacturers typically stabilize benzoyl peroxide by combining it with other ingredients that stop it from breaking down on the skin.

Hydrogen peroxide is unstable

An article in the Journal of Cosmetic Science states that exposure to light and air makes common hydrogen peroxide unstable, reducing its effectiveness. Once a person applies it to their skin, it starts to lose its ability to kill bacteria.

However, using products that contain stabilized peroxide may have potential as an acne treatment. One study found that using a gel containing a stabilized hydrogen peroxide product at 1% concentration combined with adapalene showed good results when used to treat acne.

It is important to note that this stabilized formulation is very different from the standard 3% hydrogen “brown bottle” peroxide sold in stores. It is milder and keeps its effectiveness when exposed to light and air.

Hydrogen peroxide kills certain types of germs and bacteria. As such, it may be useful in disinfecting surfaces, utensils, and tools.

There is no research advocating the safe use of hydrogen peroxide as an acne treatment. However, people with mild, non-inflammatory acne who want to try it can use a diluted 1% strength. Hydrogen peroxide may not be as helpful as traditional acne treatments.

People with inflammatory acne should avoid hydrogen peroxide since it can cause irritation and may make scarring worse.

People with inflammatory acne should use proven acne treatments that are more gentle on the skin and help with healing.

People with acne should also see a dermatologist if their treatment is not working. A healthcare professional can suggest treatments that can help prevent the scarring and limit the emotional damage that acne can cause.

How to clear up acne with hydrogen peroxide

Although common, acne is one of the worst skin conditions you could deal with. Not only does the skin condition look unappealing, but it is also a sign of poor health. While most people with acne are constantly on the lookout for remedies, finding one that works fast and efficiently can be a difficult task. That’s where hydrogen peroxide for acne comes in.

What Does Hydrogen Peroxide Do For Acne?

Acne is caused when your skin produces excess sebum (the natural oil that helps keep your skin moisturized and healthy). When there is too much sebum on your skin, some of it ends up clogging your pores along with dead skin cells and bacteria. This leads to the formation of a pimple.

Hydrogen peroxide loses its extra oxygen atom when applied to the skin. This oxidization process creates an unfavorable environment for the bacteria that cause acne, killing them and giving your skin a chance to heal. Peroxide also works as a peeling agent, which helps exfoliate your skin, exposing newer and healthier skin. It prevents further breakouts by drying out the oils on your skin.

While hydrogen peroxide is an extremely efficient spot treatment for acne, it must be used with caution. Using it too often can damage your skin.

How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide For Acne

I’ve put together a list of the 7 different ways you could use hydrogen peroxide to treat acne.

NOTE: Ensure that the hydrogen peroxide solution is not stronger than 3%. If you have extremely sensitive skin, consult a dermatologist before you try any of these remedies.

Most of these remedies will make your skin feel tingly, but if this becomes painful, wash your face with cold water immediately and consult a dermatologist.

Ever woken up the day before a big date, only to find a huge zit on your face?

I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there at some point, whether it was before a hot date, picture day, or some other important day where you had to look your best.

We’re always told to leave our acne pimples alone, but it’s pretty difficult to resist popping them when they crop up at the most inconvenient times. And it’s all well and good to go out and buy acne products, but they usually don’t work immediately, and if they do, they’re usually expensive.

Thankfully, there’s a quick and easy remedy you can try at home: hydrogen peroxide. And since you likely have a bottle of the stuff in your bathroom cabinet, it won’t cost you anything!

How does it work?

First of all, the thing to remember is that hydrogen peroxide is a temporary acne solution. It doesn’t address the root cause of your acne, but only treats the symptom, and in fact using hydrogen peroxide too much will dry out your skin and potentially cause peeling.

Putting that aside, hydrogen peroxide works because it kills the bacteria on your skin that’s fostering those ugly pimples in the first place. It also oxygenates your pores, which helps prevent future pimples by creating an environment where those nasty bacteria can’t live.

How do you apply it?

It’s easy! Just follow these four steps:

  1. Before applying hydrogen peroxide to your acne, first clean your face with a mild soap or cleanser. Once all dirt and oils have been removed from your skin, pat dry with a towel.
  2. Soak a cotton ball or Q-tip in the hydrogen peroxide, and apply it to your individual acne pimples. You can also apply it to the rest of your face to help prevent future breakouts, but be warned—doing this too often can result in drying out your face, and it is NOT a permanent solution.
  3. Sit back and let the peroxide do its work! It’ll start bubbling up, killing those bacteria and drying out those pimples.
  4. Once the bubbling stops, rinse your face with water.

Cautions

Watch the hair. Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, so if you have long hair, make sure you’ve pulled it away from your face before you start splashing hydrogen peroxide on it!

Stronger is not better. When buying hydrogen peroxide, you want a bottle that’s diluted to around 3%. Using more highly concentrated versions can burn your skin and increase scarring!

Skin damage. As mentioned earlier, hydrogen peroxide can dry out your skin, which leads to premature aging (wrinkles), so make sure to use sparingly. Purportedly, it’s been said that hydrogen peroxide actually kills skin cells and prevents new ones from forming, which may increase the likelihood of acne scar development.

The verdict?

Hydrogen peroxide is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to treat acne if you’re in a bind. But it’s definitely not a permanent solution, and with the harsh effects it can have on your skin its best only to use it in emergencies.

If you’re dealing with regular breakouts, the best thing to do is figure out what’s causing them in order to make them go away. Covering up the symptoms is only temporary—it isn’t a real solution. If you have acne, there is a good chance that you are deficient in a few different vitamins. The best way to deal with vitamin deficiencies that lead to acne is here.

But if you’ve really got that hot date tonight, then bring out the bottle!

What are your thoughts on hydrogen peroxide and acne?

February 21, 2020 • By Haley Walden

  • Hydrogen peroxide is a common home remedy for acne.
  • Hydrogen peroxide kills acne-causing bacteria and encourages the skin to peel.
  • The side effects of hydrogen peroxide for acne include possible irritation, blistering, and burning.
  • Using hydrogen peroxide near your hairline or eyebrows can have a bleaching effect.
  • Safer alternatives to hydrogen peroxide include benzoyl peroxide and retinol.

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is an inexpensive, common household disinfectant and antiseptic with bleaching properties. It’s often used to clean minor wounds.

Some people believe hydrogen peroxide can fight acne breakouts. While hydrogen peroxide does have many acne-fighting properties, it may not be the safest bet for your skin.

Should You Use Hydrogen Peroxide on Your Skin?

Hydrogen peroxide kills the acne-causing bacteria on your skin and can dry up excess oil (sebum) on the skin’s surface. Bacteria and an overproduction of sebum can both contribute to breakouts.

While it’s true that hydrogen peroxide kills live cells, including bacteria, it can also kill beneficial skin cells. Some of these beneficial skin cells–fibroblasts–are meant to aid in wound repair and the health of your connective tissue.

Hydrogen peroxide is a long-established home remedy for cleaning out minor wounds because of its antibacterial properties. However, there is not much evidence that hydrogen peroxide can actually kill bacteria inside a cut or a scrape. Instead it could irritate healthy skin cells.

In order to properly repair itself, skin needs its fibroblasts to be in working order. If these cells are damaged, healing will be hindered. This increases your risk of developing acne scars.

One study showed that hydrogen peroxide can hinder fibroblasts from repairing the skin, which delays the process of wound healing.

Another type of skin cell called a neutrophil actually produces hydrogen peroxide. Research has shown that people with acne also have more hydrogen peroxide in their neutrophils than people who don’t have acne. This indicates that hydrogen peroxide may actually be related to inflammation.

Will Hydrogen Peroxide Clear Acne?

Hydrogen peroxide can help to dry out excess sebum and encourages exfoliation of the upper layer of skin. This could help to minimize the appearance of pimples and pustules. However, while hydrogen peroxide might help clear acne in the short term, it might actually cause damage to your skin when used long-term.

Although many people believe hydrogen peroxide can clear acne, there is no scientific evidence that it’s effective or safe. Hydrogen peroxide may actually irritate or burn the skin if its concentration is too high. It could also keep the skin from healing properly and make potential scarring worse.

How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Acne

Before using hydrogen peroxide to treat acne, check with your dermatologist. They’ll be able to provide more insight into whether this home treatment is appropriate for your skin type and condition.

Check the label before you begin. Hydrogen peroxide usually comes in a concentration of three percent. It should be diluted to one percent before it’s applied to the skin.

To use hydrogen peroxide for acne after your regular cleansing routine:

  1. Mix 1 Tbsp of hydrogen peroxide with 3 Tbsp water
  2. Dip a cotton ball in the diluted hydrogen peroxide solution
  3. Swipe the cotton ball lightly over your skin
  4. Wait for five minutes
  5. Rinse your face with lukewarm water
  6. Pat dry with a soft washcloth
  7. Follow with your moisturizer of choice
  8. Continue your regular skin care routine

Using hydrogen peroxide on the face

Use caution when applying hydrogen peroxide to your skin. It can bleach your hair, so keep it away from your eyebrows and your hairline. Also, keep the solution away from your eyes, as it could irritate them.

Should you use it on a popped pimple?

While hydrogen peroxide does kill harmful bacteria, including the bacteria that causes acne, it can also irritate a wound and slow healing. Because of this, it’s best not to apply hydrogen peroxide to a popped pimple.

Popping a pimple creates a small, open wound on the skin. Therefore, putting something like hydrogen peroxide on a popped pimple could slow the healing process and encourage a scar to form.

Side Effects

The primary side effect of using hydrogen peroxide for acne is skin irritation. Hydrogen peroxide can cause irritation, blisters and burns, especially in an undiluted or higher concentration. It’s also possible to have an allergy to hydrogen peroxide, so patch-test your skin before use.

If put into an open wound, the oxygen bubbles hydrogen peroxide creates can potentially cause an air embolism, which prevents blood from flowing and can result in death. However, it’s unlikely to experience this side effect from using hydrogen peroxide for acne.

Why does hydrogen peroxide turn white on the skin?

Hydrogen peroxide turns white because of a chemical reaction that occurs when it comes into contact with the skin. The solution oxidizes, and the resulting oxygen bubbles create a white, foamy appearance.

Cautions

It’s possible that using hydrogen peroxide for acne could irritate the skin and cause scarring because it interferes with wound healing. It can also cause skin irritation and burns if used at too high of a concentration.

Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, particularly when it comes in contact with skin and hair. Proceed with caution if you are darker-skinned, and keep it away from eyebrows, eyelashes, and your hairline.

Individuals with sensitive skin or an allergy to hydrogen peroxide shouldn’t use it on their skin. Additionally, hydrogen peroxide should never be ingested and should be kept away from the eyes.

Safer Alternatives

Instead of using hydrogen peroxide for acne, a more effective acne treatment is benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide is available in multiple over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription formulations, including facial cleanser and spot treatments. It’s best used as a treatment for mild to moderate inflammatory acne.

Another safer alternative for acne is retinol, a vitamin A-derived topical medication that’s available in OTC and prescription formulations. Retinol encourages gentle removal of dead skin cells and regulates sebum production.

Takeaway

Using hydrogen peroxide for acne may be an inexpensive home remedy, but it could also harm your skin. Hydrogen peroxide can be harsh on skin and can cause irritation, burns or blistering. It can also inhibit the wound-healing process and encourage acne scars to form.

Talk to your dermatologist before applying hydrogen peroxide to your skin. If you choose to use hydrogen peroxide for acne, dilute the solution with water (3 Tbsp water to 1 Tbsp hydrogen peroxide) and rinse off before continuing your skin care routine.

It may be safer for you to use OTC acne medications such as benzoyl peroxide or retinol instead of hydrogen peroxide.

If you experience irritations or signs of an allergic reaction after using hydrogen peroxide for acne, contact your dermatologist.

December 07, 2020 5 min read 0 Comments

Can Hydrogen Peroxide Be Used To Treat Acne?

Many of you may have figured that since hydrogen peroxide is anti bacterial, that it can be used on acne too right? Well, before you try using hydrogen peroxide on acne, first let’s discuss if it’s safe to use hydrogen peroxide to treat acne.

In this article, we’ll be talking about what hydrogen peroxide is, what it’s used for, and if it’s safe for treating acne or not.

WHAT IS HYDROGEN PEROXIDE?

Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid that is used as an antiseptic.

Hydrogen peroxide is normally being used as a disinfectant and it kills bacteria through an oxidation process. This means it has antibacterial uses and has amazing acne fighting capabilities if you have whiteheads for some people.

You can find hydrogen peroxide in commercial supermarkets/groceries at its varying concentrations, with the most common at 3%.

However, it may also contain inactive ingredients that may cause allergic reactions or other problems.

The downside is that Hydrogen peroxide can also damage your own cells too including our fibroblasts which are essential to heal and repair skin.

Facts about hydrogen peroxide:

  • Your white blood cells produce hydrogen peroxide to signal an immune response to kill bacteria.
  • According to a recent study by Harvard Medical School, “the body uses hydrogen peroxide to sound the alarm when a tissue has been injured. As a direct result of this hydrogen-peroxide red alert, white blood cells come to the aid of the wounded site.”

Is Hydrogen Peroxide Good For Acne? What Experts Say

There are a lot of negative effects brought about by hydrogen peroxide when it comes to acne. Some say that hydrogen peroxide can be a potential aid in treating zits while some say that it could bring more harm than good.

Hydrogen peroxide would be a short term result and wouldn’t work for blackheads or deep cystic acne. You need to get to the root cause of acne.

According to some people, hydrogen peroxide also has amazing acne-fighting capabilities. Unfortunately, it may not be the miracle cure you’ve been searching for.

While hydrogen peroxide could aid in reducing acne and acne causing bacteria, the downside is that is also damages the healthy tissue in skin and inhibit the wound healing process. This could result in a increased chance of acne scarring which may be permanent.

Although Hydrogen peroxide, on the other hand, is an effective disinfectant , but it doesn’t have a similar track record in terms of treating acne breakouts. In fact, “there is no proof that it can safely and effectively treat acne.” – Jeanine Downie, board-certified dermatologist

Hydrogen Peroxide could cause more irritation to skin especially when used together with other common acne treatments. The additional irritation can lead to increased inflammation and breakouts.

Another study found a link between the hydrogen peroxide naturally produced by the body and acne inflammation. People who had inflamed acne had higher amounts of naturally produced hydrogen peroxide compared to the control group.

Once, the group was given something to stop the hydrogen peroxide production by their white blood cells, the inflammation calmed down in their acne.

How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Treat Acne

If you have some inflammatory acne and want to try using hydrogen peroxide on it here’s a general guide. Before using hydrogen peroxide in treating your acne, it’s best to consult with your dermatologist first should you feel the need to use this. Never ever use this product without even consulting your trusted dermatologist.

To use hydrogen peroxide on your skin, you’ll want to dilute it to a 1 percent concentration. Be sure to read the label carefully.

How to use hydrogen peroxide:

  1. Dilute hydrogen peroxide to a 1% concentration (if treating acne or skin).
  2. How to dilute: For 3% hydrogen peroxide, mix 3 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Once the mixture is ready, use a cotton swap and apply it over the acne.
  4. Rinse it off after 5 minutes and pat dry. You can repeat this up to two days, but if you don’t see improvement discontinue use.
  5. Use an oil-free moisturizer if skin feels dry.

People who choose to use it, particularly those with moderate to severe inflammatory acne, must take great care when using hydrogen peroxide.

Side Effects Of Using Hydrogen Peroxide For Acne

When misused, hydrogen peroxide may bring about a lot of negative side effects on your skin.

Possible side effects of hydrogen peroxide include:

  • Skin irritation
  • Serious skin burns and blisters
  • Redness
  • Allergic reactions
  • Can be fatal if injected into the body or an open wound as it could create oxygen bubbles that block the blood flow and lead to embolisms.
  • Dangerous when inhaled or swallowed .
  • Diluted hydrogen peroxide can still have rather damaging and drying effects on skin
  • It could damage your eyes

Research suggests that inflammation is an important factor in acne development , and irritation can cause inflammation. This can worsen the discomfort of inflammatory acne by increasing redness, itching, and pain.

What Are Better Alternatives For Treating Acne?

Using hydrogen peroxide on acne blemishes is a short-term solution that can have long-term consequences such as acne scarring. Keep your skin’s health in mind and weigh the different options when it comes to treating your acne.

There are at least 3 better alternatives for treating your acne:

1. Benzoyl peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is a popular acne-fighting ingredient but as mentioned in a previous article, it has some negative side effects.

In addition to removing excess oil and dead skin cells, benzoyl peroxide uses oxygen to help kill acne-causing bacteria beneath the skin.

While benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria and can be effective in removing excess oil and dead skin cells, it can irritate the skin by causing dryness, redness, burning, and stinging.

If you have sensitive skin, benzoyl peroxide is not the acne treatment for you.

2. Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid best known for its role in clearing breakouts, and is gentler on the skin than benzoyl peroxide.

3. Alpha Hydroxy Acid

AHAs help unclog pores and reduce inflammation, and can even help prevent new breakouts from forming by keeping pores clear and visibly reducing the appearance of pore size. There are different concentration and formulations for alpha hydroxy acids so any skin type can use alpha hydroxy acids as long as you have a productthat works for you.

Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to use hydrogen peroxide on your skin at all — even though there are plenty of websites that tout it as a health and beauty aid that can do anything from whitening your nails to softening calluses on your heels.

Don’t rely on hydrogen peroxide as your regular, primary acne treatment, and if you do decide to use it, use with caution.

Ever woken up the day before a big date, only to find a huge zit on your face?

I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there at some point, whether it was before a hot date, picture day, or some other important day where you had to look your best.

We’re always told to leave our acne pimples alone, but it’s pretty difficult to resist popping them when they crop up at the most inconvenient times. And it’s all well and good to go out and buy acne products, but they usually don’t work immediately, and if they do, they’re usually expensive.

Thankfully, there’s a quick and easy remedy you can try at home: hydrogen peroxide. And since you likely have a bottle of the stuff in your bathroom cabinet, it won’t cost you anything!

How does it work?

First of all, the thing to remember is that hydrogen peroxide is a temporary acne solution. It doesn’t address the root cause of your acne, but only treats the symptom, and in fact using hydrogen peroxide too much will dry out your skin and potentially cause peeling.

Putting that aside, hydrogen peroxide works because it kills the bacteria on your skin that’s fostering those ugly pimples in the first place. It also oxygenates your pores, which helps prevent future pimples by creating an environment where those nasty bacteria can’t live.

How do you apply it?

It’s easy! Just follow these four steps:

  1. Before applying hydrogen peroxide to your acne, first clean your face with a mild soap or cleanser. Once all dirt and oils have been removed from your skin, pat dry with a towel.
  2. Soak a cotton ball or Q-tip in the hydrogen peroxide, and apply it to your individual acne pimples. You can also apply it to the rest of your face to help prevent future breakouts, but be warned—doing this too often can result in drying out your face, and it is NOT a permanent solution.
  3. Sit back and let the peroxide do its work! It’ll start bubbling up, killing those bacteria and drying out those pimples.
  4. Once the bubbling stops, rinse your face with water.

Cautions

Watch the hair. Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, so if you have long hair, make sure you’ve pulled it away from your face before you start splashing hydrogen peroxide on it!

Stronger is not better. When buying hydrogen peroxide, you want a bottle that’s diluted to around 3%. Using more highly concentrated versions can burn your skin and increase scarring!

Skin damage. As mentioned earlier, hydrogen peroxide can dry out your skin, which leads to premature aging (wrinkles), so make sure to use sparingly. Purportedly, it’s been said that hydrogen peroxide actually kills skin cells and prevents new ones from forming, which may increase the likelihood of acne scar development.

The verdict?

Hydrogen peroxide is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to treat acne if you’re in a bind. But it’s definitely not a permanent solution, and with the harsh effects it can have on your skin its best only to use it in emergencies.

If you’re dealing with regular breakouts, the best thing to do is figure out what’s causing them in order to make them go away. Covering up the symptoms is only temporary—it isn’t a real solution. If you have acne, there is a good chance that you are deficient in a few different vitamins. The best way to deal with vitamin deficiencies that lead to acne is here.

But if you’ve really got that hot date tonight, then bring out the bottle!

What are your thoughts on hydrogen peroxide and acne?

How to clear up acne with hydrogen peroxide

The internet is a trove of tips offering us advice on what to do with hydrogen peroxide other than to clean up cuts and scrapes, which is most the likely reason it sits in our medicine cabinet in the first place. We’ve run across tips that call for hydrogen peroxide to be used to disinfect kitchen and bathroom surfaces (including countertops and floors, as well as for getting stains out). If you can get your hands on food-grade hydrogen peroxide, we’ve found hacks that say you can even use hydrogen peroxide as an ingredient to clean your teeth and to wash fruits and vegetables (via Byrdie). There are even tips on how to use hydrogen peroxide as a way of dealing with your acne — but beauty professionals and dermatologists are saying, “Wait, not so fast.”

Healthline says that the reason hydrogen peroxide is being floated as a potential acne fighting aid is because, in theory, it can kill bacteria and dry up oils on your face. But because hydrogen peroxide can dispatch healthy cells like bacteria, it can also damage your own cells, including those that are responsible for healing. Once those healing cells (known as fibroblasts) are weaker, you are more likely to develop scars. It can also cause skin irritation and even blistering in higher concentrations.

Hydrogen peroxide cannot help hormonal acne

How to clear up acne with hydrogen peroxide

There are other reasons for giving hydrogen peroxide a pass. Cosmetic chemist Victoria Fu tells Byrdie, “There are a couple studies that suggest that at 1 percent level it [hydrogen peroxide] can be as effective as a 4 percent benzoyl peroxide treatment with less irritation. But these studies use a lipid-stabilized version under the product tradename crystacide and is not the same as buying a jug of hydrogen peroxide at the drugstore.”

Dermatologist Julie Russak says treating acne is not as simple as finding an over-the-counter solution like hydrogen peroxide (which may actually work as a quick, short-term spot treatment to help dry out a pimple). “You always have to know what is the underlying cause of the acne,” Russak explained. “There’s a lot of different sources for causing acne depending on the location, depending on what’s happening internally with the skin. If hormones are your primary cause of underlying acne, then using hydrogen peroxide long-term will give you no benefit whatsoever.” As Fu reminds us, when your skin is already in crisis, adding hydrogen peroxide on top of that is only going to cause more irritation and possibly delay healing further.

December 07, 2020 5 min read 0 Comments

Can Hydrogen Peroxide Be Used To Treat Acne?

Many of you may have figured that since hydrogen peroxide is anti bacterial, that it can be used on acne too right? Well, before you try using hydrogen peroxide on acne, first let’s discuss if it’s safe to use hydrogen peroxide to treat acne.

In this article, we’ll be talking about what hydrogen peroxide is, what it’s used for, and if it’s safe for treating acne or not.

WHAT IS HYDROGEN PEROXIDE?

Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid that is used as an antiseptic.

Hydrogen peroxide is normally being used as a disinfectant and it kills bacteria through an oxidation process. This means it has antibacterial uses and has amazing acne fighting capabilities if you have whiteheads for some people.

You can find hydrogen peroxide in commercial supermarkets/groceries at its varying concentrations, with the most common at 3%.

However, it may also contain inactive ingredients that may cause allergic reactions or other problems.

The downside is that Hydrogen peroxide can also damage your own cells too including our fibroblasts which are essential to heal and repair skin.

Facts about hydrogen peroxide:

  • Your white blood cells produce hydrogen peroxide to signal an immune response to kill bacteria.
  • According to a recent study by Harvard Medical School, “the body uses hydrogen peroxide to sound the alarm when a tissue has been injured. As a direct result of this hydrogen-peroxide red alert, white blood cells come to the aid of the wounded site.”

Is Hydrogen Peroxide Good For Acne? What Experts Say

There are a lot of negative effects brought about by hydrogen peroxide when it comes to acne. Some say that hydrogen peroxide can be a potential aid in treating zits while some say that it could bring more harm than good.

Hydrogen peroxide would be a short term result and wouldn’t work for blackheads or deep cystic acne. You need to get to the root cause of acne.

According to some people, hydrogen peroxide also has amazing acne-fighting capabilities. Unfortunately, it may not be the miracle cure you’ve been searching for.

While hydrogen peroxide could aid in reducing acne and acne causing bacteria, the downside is that is also damages the healthy tissue in skin and inhibit the wound healing process. This could result in a increased chance of acne scarring which may be permanent.

Although Hydrogen peroxide, on the other hand, is an effective disinfectant , but it doesn’t have a similar track record in terms of treating acne breakouts. In fact, “there is no proof that it can safely and effectively treat acne.” – Jeanine Downie, board-certified dermatologist

Hydrogen Peroxide could cause more irritation to skin especially when used together with other common acne treatments. The additional irritation can lead to increased inflammation and breakouts.

Another study found a link between the hydrogen peroxide naturally produced by the body and acne inflammation. People who had inflamed acne had higher amounts of naturally produced hydrogen peroxide compared to the control group.

Once, the group was given something to stop the hydrogen peroxide production by their white blood cells, the inflammation calmed down in their acne.

How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Treat Acne

If you have some inflammatory acne and want to try using hydrogen peroxide on it here’s a general guide. Before using hydrogen peroxide in treating your acne, it’s best to consult with your dermatologist first should you feel the need to use this. Never ever use this product without even consulting your trusted dermatologist.

To use hydrogen peroxide on your skin, you’ll want to dilute it to a 1 percent concentration. Be sure to read the label carefully.

How to use hydrogen peroxide:

  1. Dilute hydrogen peroxide to a 1% concentration (if treating acne or skin).
  2. How to dilute: For 3% hydrogen peroxide, mix 3 tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Once the mixture is ready, use a cotton swap and apply it over the acne.
  4. Rinse it off after 5 minutes and pat dry. You can repeat this up to two days, but if you don’t see improvement discontinue use.
  5. Use an oil-free moisturizer if skin feels dry.

People who choose to use it, particularly those with moderate to severe inflammatory acne, must take great care when using hydrogen peroxide.

Side Effects Of Using Hydrogen Peroxide For Acne

When misused, hydrogen peroxide may bring about a lot of negative side effects on your skin.

Possible side effects of hydrogen peroxide include:

  • Skin irritation
  • Serious skin burns and blisters
  • Redness
  • Allergic reactions
  • Can be fatal if injected into the body or an open wound as it could create oxygen bubbles that block the blood flow and lead to embolisms.
  • Dangerous when inhaled or swallowed .
  • Diluted hydrogen peroxide can still have rather damaging and drying effects on skin
  • It could damage your eyes

Research suggests that inflammation is an important factor in acne development , and irritation can cause inflammation. This can worsen the discomfort of inflammatory acne by increasing redness, itching, and pain.

What Are Better Alternatives For Treating Acne?

Using hydrogen peroxide on acne blemishes is a short-term solution that can have long-term consequences such as acne scarring. Keep your skin’s health in mind and weigh the different options when it comes to treating your acne.

There are at least 3 better alternatives for treating your acne:

1. Benzoyl peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is a popular acne-fighting ingredient but as mentioned in a previous article, it has some negative side effects.

In addition to removing excess oil and dead skin cells, benzoyl peroxide uses oxygen to help kill acne-causing bacteria beneath the skin.

While benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria and can be effective in removing excess oil and dead skin cells, it can irritate the skin by causing dryness, redness, burning, and stinging.

If you have sensitive skin, benzoyl peroxide is not the acne treatment for you.

2. Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid best known for its role in clearing breakouts, and is gentler on the skin than benzoyl peroxide.

3. Alpha Hydroxy Acid

AHAs help unclog pores and reduce inflammation, and can even help prevent new breakouts from forming by keeping pores clear and visibly reducing the appearance of pore size. There are different concentration and formulations for alpha hydroxy acids so any skin type can use alpha hydroxy acids as long as you have a productthat works for you.

Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to use hydrogen peroxide on your skin at all — even though there are plenty of websites that tout it as a health and beauty aid that can do anything from whitening your nails to softening calluses on your heels.

Don’t rely on hydrogen peroxide as your regular, primary acne treatment, and if you do decide to use it, use with caution.