The Power of Benzoyl Peroxide

Here at Erin Marie Acne Solution, I utilize potent products in my system of acne management. Of these, benzoyl peroxide is a particularly powerful fighter in the battle against blemishes. Benzoyl peroxide, or BPO as it’s also known, is an ingredient that’s been around since the seventies as a topical acne treatment, and for good reason: it works. Wondering how it helps your acne? Read on!

Take a closer look at its name for a clue. Peroxide sounds familiar, right? Yes, the very same stuff from your childhood that would fizz away when your Mom poured it over your scraped knee is a component of BPO. Those bubbles are the reason hydrogen peroxide works as an antibacterial agent for wounds. What makes benzoyl peroxide particularly effective for acne is that it’s formulated in such a way that it doesn’t just sit on the surface of the skin; it delivers the active ingredient of oxygen deep inside the pore where it’s needed most.

So, why does an acne-prone pore need oxygen? Well, there are two types of acne: inflamed and non-inflamed. Inflamed breakouts occur when the P. acnes bacteria (which are present on all of our skin) feed on the debris inside of a clogged pore and begin to replicate. Your immune system then enters the picture to fend off the invasion, resulting in red, painful, swollen, and sometimes pus-filled pimples. Fortunately though, the P. acnes bacteria do have a weakness: they cannot live in the presence of oxygen. This gives benzoyl peroxide kryptonite-like powers in the face of inflamed acne. When you regularly apply a BPO product to the skin oxygen dives down into the pore and both eradicates the bacteria as well as prevents them from invading in the first place.

Another just as important function of benzoyl peroxide is its ability to exfoliate the inside of the pore. Why is this necessary? Remember that acne is a genetic disorder of the pore in which the skin sheds too many layers of dead cells per day. Your poor pores, unable to keep up with this onslaught, form an impaction made up of these skin cells along with sticky oils. This is what is known as clogged pores or non-inflamed acne. Benzoyl peroxide comes to the rescue, causing the debris in the pore to loosen by thinning out those oils and peeling the pore. BPO addresses the clogged pores you currently have and also keeps them from forming.

Here’s how you can make the most of your Benzoyl Peroxide:

-Make sure you follow the timed schedule to allow your skin to get used to it before using it overnight.

– Use it every single day.

– Don’t just spot-treat! Acne affects all pores.

– Apply a dime to a nickel size amount. The skin needs to be saturated with it in order for it to be effective.

– Choose your product wisely. Pick a non pore-clogging, water-based formula.

Now that you know how benzoyl peroxide works, you can see why it’s such a superstar! Let it be your faithful friend in the fight for clear skin.



How To Get Rid of Acne

You cannot cure acne but you can have clear skin if you know what you are doing. There are a few key concepts that you need to know to get your skin clear and get rid of acne.

  1. You need to use the right acne products for your type of acne. A product that is good for inflamed acne (pimples, pustules and cysts) will not be good for noninflamed acne (blackheads and whiteheads)
  2.  You need these products to be strong enough for your type of skin. If they are not, your skin will not change much. If they are too strong, you will irritate and dehydrate your skin; and you will still break out.
  3.  You need to use these products in the right way. It takes strong products to get acne under control, but if you use too much too soon, you will irritate and dehydrate your skin. You must start slowly with strong products.
  4.  You need to account for skin adaptation. What does this mean? This means you cannot allow your skin to get too “used” to products. If you do, then your skin will stop responding and not get clear. It takes adjusting your skin care regimen routinely.

Does this all sound like tricky business? Yes, no doubt that it is.

These are the main reasons you need an acne expert to guide you in the process of getting your skin clear. We know what it takes to get and keep your skin clear and we know how to get rid of acne once and for all!

Content provided courtesy of Face Reality Acne Clinic


Acne Formation

What is Acne?

For most people, acne is an inherited condition of the pores. When someone is prone to acne, their pores clog with dead skin cells much faster than normal. Healthy pores shed about one layer of dead skin cells per day inside the pore, but acne-prone pores shed up to five layers of dead skin cells per day. The body just can’t keep up with keeping the pore clear. Technically, this is called “retention hyperkeratosis” — dead skin cells shedding more quickly than the pore can expel them.

This first picture is of a normal healthy pore.


As the dead skin cells begin to accumulate inside the pore, the cells become sticky and get stuck inside the pore and form a plug. Medically, this is called a “microcomedone” – essentially the precursor to all acne. As you can see in this picture, there are more dead skin cells shedding inside the pore.


Hormonal fluctuations trigger more oil production inside the pore. Normally, this isn’t a problem because the dead skin cells don’t get trapped. But with acne prone-skin, when the dead skin cells shed more quickly and form a blockage, the perfect environment for the P. Acnes bacteria is created. The oil is a nutrient for the bacteria, so the bacteria proliferates. So you see, bacteria is not the “cause” of acne, it is the effect of too many dead skin cells. This is an important distinction to remember.

But, some people don’t get inflamed lesions — inflammation is also an inherited tendency. If the dead skin cells and the oil that form the plug don’t become inflamed, the plug becomes a whitehead; that is, a non-inflamed lesion under the skin, also called a “closed comedone”.

Or the plug can become a blackhead, which is a non-inflamed acne lesion where the pore remains open, also known as an “open comedone”. In the case of a blackhead, the tip of the plug darkens as it is exposed to oxygen in the environment. As the oil in the pore builds up, inflammation can develop in the cells surrounding the pore. Blackheads can be infected or not depending on whether the P. acnes bacteria have affected the cells around the pore.

As the oil and the dead skin cells build up, they put pressure on the cells surrounding the pore. With enough pressure, the sides of the pore rupture and the contents of the pore leak into the surrounding skin. Because this sebaceous material contains a lot of P. acnes bacteria, the surrounding skin now becomes infected, creating a red bump that we know as a pimple. The medical term for this red bump is an inflammatory papule.

This next drawing shows a pustule, which is different from a pimple only in that it contains white blood cells. When the immune system fights off the P. acnes infection, white blood cells, which are soldiers of the immune system — pile up, creating pus in the pore.

Now another, deeper inflamed lesion can form called a nodule. It is a solid dome-shaped lesion that extends below the surface, deep into the layers of the skin. Scarring is common with nodules and can sometimes leave an impaction behind, which can flare again and again. When a group of pustules cluster together under the skin, they form a cyst. An acne cyst can appear similar to a nodule, but is pus-filled, and can have a diameter of 5mm or more across. They are usually very painful and scarring is common with cysts.

So you see, acne is primarily an inherited dead skin cell problem. Most acne, no matter what form it takes, starts with microcomedones. This means the solution lies in products that penetrate the pore and prevent dead skin cells from building up. That’s why your home care routine is so crucial — it’s all about preventing the microcomedones (the beginning of acne) from forming at all.  This is the best way to get rid of acne.

Content provided courtesy of © 2012 Face Reality Acne Clinic