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Ask an Expert: What Can I Do if I’ve Overused Benzoyl Peroxide?

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Ask an Expert: What Can I Do if I’ve Overused Benzoyl Peroxide? featured image
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You’ve probably been there before, after trying to control and calm your breakouts, you end up with skin that’s red as a tomato and dry as a desert. Sometimes, your face is left more irritated and red than it was in the first place. If it’s the benzoyl peroxide you keep reaching for, it makes perfect sense. Although benzoyl peroxide can work wonders for killing pimple causing bacteria, too much of it on any one spot can cause redness and flaking. That’s because it diminishes the amount of oil the skin produces. The key is to use it sparingly. But if you’ve already had a heavy hand with the benzoyl peroxide, read on—we asked the experts how to handle this beauty problem. 

The Dermatologist’s Tip: “If you’ve overused benzoyl peroxide, you’ll really want to let your skin recover and repair itself,” says Fullerton, CA, dermatologist Julie A. Hodge, MD. “Try a replenishing moisturizer, like CeraVe Moisturizing Cream ($16), and apply it to the affected areas as well as all over the face. Sometimes benzoyl peroxide makes the skin dry because the skin is dry to begin with. Skip using anti-aging products with retinoids or glycolic acid, as well as benzoyl peroxide, until your skin feels like it is back to normal.”

The Aesthetician’s Tip: “The easiest and quickest way to get rid of redness and dryness is to ‘baby’ your skin and use a product with hyaluronic acid. Use something non-occlusive, like Bioelements Oxygen Cocktail ($40), so that the blemish doesn’t worsen,” says New York clinical and celebrity aesthetician Jillian Wright of Jillian Wright Clinical Skin Spa. “This helps to soften the dead skin, which will fall off easier, allowing your skin to heal quicker.”

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