FAQ - Benzoyl Peroxide Cleansing Bar

What does benzoyl peroxide (BPO) treat?

Benzoyl peroxide (BPO) kills bacteria on the skin. It also helps to unclog pores by removing the dead skin that causes blockages. BPO treats acne and helps to prevent new spots. It works best when used regularly.

What are the common side effects associated with BPO?

Common side effects can include, mild stinging or burning; itching or tingly feeling; flaking, skin dryness, and/or peeling; redness or irritation.

Can I use BPO with resorcinol, salicylic acid, sulfur, or tretinoin?

Unless you doctor tells you otherwise, avoid using other topical acne products on the same area as BPO.  All of these compounds contain peeling agents and use with BPO is likely overkill.

Can I use benzoyl peroxide with retionol?

Do not use benzoyl peroxide (BPO) and retinol at the same time.  When used together bezoyl peroxide and retinol deactivate one another.

Should I use BPO every day?

It is recommended that you use BPO once or twice each day. If you have sensitive skin and/or experience excessive redness or peeling, reduce to once per day or every other day at night time (or as suggested by your doctor). You need to apply BPO to the entire area where your acne occurs and not just to each spot or pimple.

How long can I leave benzoyl peroxide on my skin?

First, lather your treatment area with a Benzoyl Peroxide cleaner. You may let it sit on your skin for 5-10 minutes. Then rinse it off with water.

Can use of BPO make my acne worse?

Yes, the acne will likely get worse before it gets better.  It is common for the skin to become irritated during the first 3 weeks of use.  If your acne has not improved in 6 weeks, check-in with your doctor. The full effects of topical BPO can take 2 to 3 months.

How long does it take to start seeing results?

You should begin to see improvement in your acne within several weeks. It can take 30-60 days for optimal results. Keep using the BPO bar at regular intervals for at least 60 days. The bar can be used to treat acne anywhere on your body.

Does BPO dry the skin?

Yes. Better than half of our users report dry skin. Around 4 in 10 report flaking, peeling, irritation, and itch skin. You'll have a phase where your skin looks awful and feels pretty bad. BPO will make your skin dry, red, and scaly for a bit. Nearly everyone that uses BPO experiences the dryness phase. Don't let irritation and dryness reduce treatment adherence. If you stick with using BPO you'll get results. To combat the dryness, use a good oil-free moisturizer. Never use anything gritty or abrasive. Avoid scrubbing. And scale back to once a day or every other day when needed. Dryness and peeling are at their worst in the first 3 weeks of use.

Can I use Benzoyl Peroxide & Salicylic Acid together at the same time?

The main difference between benzoyl peroxide (BPO) and salicylic acid is that benzoyl peroxide has antibacterial properties, while salicylic acid doesn't. Both BPO and salicylic acid bars can be used in rotation (or at the same time). Salicylic acid works best for blackheads and whiteheads (e.g. clogged pores). Most folks use BPO to gain control over severe acne outbreaks and then switch to salicylic acid for daily maintenance once the acne is more manageable. If using both actives together in rotation, use with caution. The combination can be super drying. Try not to use too many products at the same time. You need to give the redness and irritation time to heal (10-14 days).

It is not permissible to manufacture a bar with both BPO and salicylic acid. If you would like to experiment with using both active ingredients, you'll need to buy both bar types.

How is DermaHarmony different than the other BPO bars?

First off, we offer both 5% and 10% in a cleansing bar.  Other brand bars are only available in 10% concentration.  More is not always better.  Studies show that less BPO results in the same clinical outcomes without as many side effects.

Prior to Q3 2023, the three brands that sell a 10% BPO bar in the USA all use the same exact formulation from the same manufacturer in Canada - Perth Soap Co (known as Shandex). The bars were a hybrid bar that contains a good bit of sodium tallowate - a combination of tallow—a fat that is derived from the fatty tissue of cattle—and lye.  These bars also contain glycerin—a thick, transparent and non-toxic liquid that is commonly found in soaps.  Glycerin is a natural by-product of the saponification (soap making) process. The blending of soap and syndet makes the bar less expensive.

Around Q4 2024 production of 111MedCo and Crown Laboratories (the newish owner of PanOxyl) moved production to the same manufacturer in the USA. The bars were reformulated to contain a high percentage of Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, which is more in-line with the DermaHarmony formulation.  The Crown Labs bar is a new product launch (as of Q4 2023) and a return to selling bars for the PanOxyl brand.  PanOxyl bars were discontinued by the former owner (Stiefel Labs) many years ago in favor of liquids.

We don't use microplastics in our bars.  Our competitors use Ethylene/VA Copolymer, also called ethylene-propylene rubber.  Microplastics are bad for the environment!

We don't use tallow because it is against our pledge to not use ingredients from animals (e.g. vegan).

The DermaHarmony bars are 100% soap-free.  This makes the DermaHarmony bars more mild and longer lasting.  We formulated the DermaHarmony bar without considering cost.

We're confident that we've formulated a better BPO bar.