Benzoyl Peroxide can be found in many over-the-counter and prescription medications. Because it’s easily and quickly manufactured and relatively inexpensive, many different products enlist it as their key ingredient using amounts anywhere from 2.5% to 10%.
“Benzoyl peroxide is a “peroxide,” and like most peroxides, it is also a bleaching agent”
Although it’s mechanism of action is not completely known, it has been shown to be comedolytic (open up pores) and also fight the acne-causing bacteria Cutibacterium Acnes (Formerly called Propionibacterium Acnes). In addition, it has been shown to reduce sebaceous gland oil production. Outside of skin care, benzoyl peroxide has a long history of use in the food industry as a bleaching agent added for flour, whey, and milk for cheese making. As an oxidizing agent, benzoyl peroxide can "bleach" colored fabrics upon contact. Our patients often complain about orange stains on their brand new towels, not knowing it was a result of the benzoyl peroxide cream they were using.
As practicing dermatologists, there are many times that we do recommend benzoyl peroxide as an effective acne treatment. It is most effective for our patients who have mild acne, and also those patients with thick oily skin who can tolerate its’ drying and irritating side effects.
“We created KitavaMD without using benzoyl peroxide”
For our patients who already suffer from skin irritation, however, benzoyl peroxide is not an ideal agent for treatment. We specifically created KitavaMD without benzoyl peroxide in order to offer a solution to our patients who were experiencing skin irritation from benzoyl peroxide or were frustrated by the bleaching side effect. We use ingredients that are found in nature such as willow bark extract, tea tree oil, niacinamide, green tea extract, vitamin c and licorice extract. These ingredients when used together offer similar benefits to benzoyl peroxide such as a reduction in acne causing bacteria on the skin, reduced sebum and less clogged pores but without the irritating side effect!