Acne Treatments - Hydrogen Peroxide

Using hydrogen peroxide to clear your skin |

Everyone probably has a brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) somewhere in their house. (If you're wondering why the bottle is always brown, it's because hydrogen peroxide breaks down when exposed to light and the brown bottle blocks out light to help the hydrogen peroxide remain stable.) Usually found as a 3% concentration over-the-counter, hydrogen peroxide is mainly used for cleaning skin wounds.

Many people (myself included) mistakenly think that hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria and encourages wound healing. However, in recent years, studies have found that hydrogen peroxide does not hinder wound healing, but does not speed it up either. So basically, researchers are not sure if it does anything helpful at all. The efficacy of using hydrogen peroxide to promote healing is still controversial to this day.

Hydrogen peroxide is a rumored at-home remedy for acne because of such (now questionable) wound healing and wound cleaning properties. Most people who use it for pimples, dab it on spots (especially picked ones) with a q-tip. There are even some people who apply it all over the face as a toner. Hydrogen peroxide can also bleach hair and skin so many people think that using hydrogen peroxide can help fade red/brown marks.

However, I honestly don't think hydrogen peroxide does anything good in terms of clearing your skin. Since hydrogen peroxide is a known oxidant and causes free radical damage, long term use breaks down the DNA and cell walls in your skin, making you age faster. Any short term benefits are severely offset by these long-term consequences.

I have tried hydrogen peroxide before, dabbing it on popped pimples and using it as a spot treatment, but it didn't work for me. It just stung really badly and dried out my skin. I only used it 3 or 4 days, but I remember looking at my skin and already seeing all these fine lines from irritation and dryness.

That was my experience, but other people may have had a more positive one. You can still try out hydrogen peroxide if you want, but I would advise against it as there are better and less damaging acne treatments out there.

Last updated: October 8, 2012

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