Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide (dibenzoyl peroxide,C14H10O4, CASRN: 94-36-0) is a peroxide derivative that has been used topically for burns and as a dermatologic agent in the treatment of acne and poison ivy dermatitis. It is also used as a bleaching agent in wheat flour, cheese, fats, oils and waxes. As a topical keratolitic (causes dead skin cells to slough off) agent with antibacterial, antipruritic, degreasing, and follicular flushing properties it is used in the treatment of skin diseases. Benzoyl peroxide (BPO) is a powerful oxidizing agent that reacts with bilogical materials in the bacterial cell membrane disrupting its integrity. In addition, its lipophilic properties allows it to penetrate the skin better than other antimicrobial agents. 1

Benzoyl peroxide is a colorless, crystalline solid having a faint odor of benzaldehyde. It is insoluble in water, slightly solible in alcohol, while readily soluble in chloroform and ether. Benzoyl peroxide, especially in the dry form, is a dangerous, highly reactive oxidizing material that has been known to explode spontaneously. 2

When used as a component of acrylates and as a bleach and preservative for flour and oil, BPO has caused allergic contact dermatitis in patients in whom it was present in an acrylic bone cement and in dental acrylates. In the occupational setting it has produced allergic contact dermatitis in bakers. 5

Benzoyl peroxide is one of the oldest but very effective topical acne drugs that has been used since the 1960s. It is available in concentrations between 1% and 10%.

It is a common constituent of keratolytic/antibacterial shampoos used in the treatment of peripheral hyperkeratosis seen in Miniature Dachshunds, and other infectious skin diseases. 4 The most common side effect of benzoyl peroxide is skin irritation; it is irritating in 10% of the dogs and 25% of the cats treated. Even at 2.5% or 3% concentrations it is drying and irritating, especially in dogs with dry skin and allergic disease. 3

  1. Richard A. Helms, David J. Quan. Textbook of Therapeutics: Drug And Disease Management
  2. S M Ashraf, Sharif Ahmad, Ufana Riaz. A Laboratory Manual of Polymers, Volume 1
  3. George H. Muller, Danny W. Scott, Robert Warren Kirk, William Howard Miller, Craig E. Griffin. Muller and Kirk's Small Animal Dermatology
  4. Richard G. Harvey, Joseph Harari, Agn├Ęs J. Delauche. Ear Diseases of the Dog and Cat