Benzoyl Peroxide Burn On Your Face? Here’s What To Do

If you’ve ever experienced a benzoyl peroxide face burn, you know how painful and uncomfortable it can be.

Benzoyl peroxide (BP) is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter acne treatments. It’s an effective ingredient that can help kill acne-causing bacteria, but it can also cause burns. 

This article explains why benzoyl peroxide burns, how long the burn lasts, what you can do about it, and more. Read on to find out.

Why does benzoyl peroxide burn the face?

Benzoyl peroxide burns the face because it’s a strong oxidizing and bleaching agent that can irritate the skin’s protective layer.

When benzoyl peroxide is applied to the skin, it can damage the skin’s protective outer layer, which is called the epidermis. This damage can lead to burns on the skin’s surface.

Benzoyl peroxide burn usually occurs during the first few weeks of application. It can also happen if you use the product too often or apply too much of it.

How long does benzoyl peroxide burn last?

Benzoyl peroxide burn is usually temporary and goes away within a few days. However, some people may experience a more severe reaction, with the burn lasting for several weeks or even months.

If you experience a BP burn that doesn’t go away after a few days, contact your doctor or dermatologist immediately.

SEE: Experts Say This Is the Best Skincare Routine for Acne

How to treat benzoyl peroxide burn on the face

Apply ice or a cold compress

Start by washing the burn area with soap and water to clean it. Then, apply ice or a cool compress for 15 minutes on the affected area. The compress can help reduce pain, inflammation, and discomfort.

Apply an antibiotic ointment

Apply an antibiotic ointment (such as Neosporin) twice a day on the burnt area. Make sure to follow the directions on the package carefully, so you don’t accidentally make the burn worse.

Use a pain reliever

Use an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) for pain relief if needed. If these medicines don’t help enough, talk with your doctor about stronger pain relievers, such as codeine or morphine.

Cover it with a bandage

If your skin is blistered, cover it with a non-stick sterile bandage. This will prevent dirt and micro-organisms from entering the burn and causing an infection.

If your burn doesn’t get better with these treatments, seek medical attention immediately.

How to prevent benzoyl peroxide burn on the face

  • Start with a lower concentration of benzoyl peroxide and work your way up to a higher concentration if needed.
  • Apply the product every 2 days, then work up to once or twice daily.
  • Use sunscreen with at least SPF 30 during the day, as the sun can make your face more prone to benzoyl peroxide burn.
  • Avoid using benzoyl peroxide with active ingredients like hydroxyl acids, vitamin C, and retinoids.

SEE: How To Clear Up Acne And Prevent Breakouts With Retinol

Other side effects of benzoyl peroxide

  • Dryness and itching—Benzoyl peroxide is a very drying agent and can strip the natural oils from your skin, leaving it feeling dry and itchy.
  • Redness and irritation—Because of its strong oxidizing nature, BP can also cause your skin to become red and irritated.
  • Peeling and flaking—Some people experience peeling and flaking when they apply BP because of its acidic properties.
  • Burning or stinging sensation—This may be mild and improve after several hours, or it may become severe and last for several days.
  • Bleaching—BP can bleach hair follicles, eyebrows, and eyelashes if it comes into contact with them.
  • Allergic reaction—This ingredient may cause an allergic reaction, so be sure to do a patch test before applying it to your face.

If you experience any of the above side effects after using benzoyl peroxide on your face, consult your doctor.

How long will benzoyl peroxide take to work?

Benzoyl peroxide will take about 4 weeks to work if you have mild-to-moderate acne.

If you have severe acne, then it may take up to 6 weeks before you see improvements. And if your acne is not improving after 7 weeks of treatment, talk to your doctor.

How do you know if benzoyl peroxide is working?

Your skin will look clearer and also feel smoother and more refined.

You may still notice some pimples on your face — but they won’t be as many or as severe as they were before you started using benzoyl peroxide.

Another way to tell if BP is working is by examining the oil on your skin. You’re on the right track if you notice that your skin is less oily than before. 

SEE: How to Make Your Skin Less Oily

Who should not use benzoyl peroxide?

Benzoyl peroxide is not recommended for anyone under the age of 12.

It’s also not recommended for those with sensitive skin or people who have an allergy to benzoyl peroxide.

In addition, pregnant women and nursing mothers should not use BP because there’s no evidence that it’s safe for these groups.

Frequently Asked Questions

benzoyl peroxide burn face

Where can you buy benzoyl peroxide?

You can buy benzoyl peroxide over the counter at most pharmacies in the form of creams, gels, and washes.

It’s available in various strengths, from 2.5% to 10%, and can be purchased without a prescription.

How does benzoyl peroxide work?

Benzoyl peroxide works by killing bacteria on the skin’s surface, which can help reduce inflammation and prevent new pimples from forming.

It also helps clear clogged pores by exfoliating dead skin cells.

Should you apply moisturizer after benzoyl peroxide?

Yes, you should. Benzoyl peroxide dries out the skin, so it’s best to use a moisturizer after applying it to help prevent dryness or irritation.

Can you use benzoyl peroxide with oral antibiotics?

Yes, you can. Benzoyl peroxide is most effective when used with other acne treatments, such as oral antibiotics.


Benzoyl peroxide is a common ingredient you can find in over-the-counter products. While it is an effective acne treatment, it can also cause burns and other side effects, such as dryness, redness, and peeling of the skin.

If you experience a benzoyl peroxide burn on your face, ensure to apply ice and an antibiotic ointment to it. You can also take pain relievers and cover the burn with a sterile bandage to prevent infections.

Thanks for reading.

For more information on benzoyl peroxide and other acne treatments, visit Africana Fashion today.