Benzoyl Peroxide

What Is It?

Benzoyl Peroxide is a white powder used in Over-the-Counter (OTC) drug products for the treatment of acne. Benzoyl Peroxide may also be used as a chemical initiator in artificial nail systems.

Why Is It Used?

In some OTC drug products, Benzoyl Peroxide is used as an ingredient to reduce the number of acne blemishes, acne pimples, blackheads and whiteheads. In artificial nail systens, Benzoyl Peroxide is used as a chemical initiator for polymerization (turning liquid to solid).

Scientific Facts

Benzoyl peroxide is in the organic peroxide family. It is used as a bleaching agent in the production of oils and flour.

Safety Information

Benzoyl Peroxide has undergone the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) drug active review process and it was determined to be a safe and effective anti-acne ingredient. Benzoyl Peroxide is on the FDA’s list of direct food substances affirmed as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) has deferred evaluation of this ingredient because the safety has been assessed by FDA. This deferral of review is according to the provisions of the CIR Procedures.

Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Benzoyl Peroxide

FDA requirements when Benzyol Peroxide is used an ingredient in OTC acne products.

In products marketed in Europe, Benzoyl Peroxide may be used in artificial nail systems at a maximum concentration of 0.7% (after mixing) for professional use only, with conditions to be printed on the label (see Annex III).

The European Scientific Committe on Consumer Products has reviewed the safety of Benzoyl Peroxide and concluded that it is safe for use for the indicated proposes with the restrictions and conditions of use. The indicated purpose is as a technical aid in artificial nail systems.

In Canada, Benzoyl Peroxide is permitted at concentrations equal to or less than 10% for use only as a catalyst in products to be applied to the fingernails or in hair dyes.


More Scientific Information

Benzoyl Peroxide consists of two benzoyl groups (benzaldehyde with the H of CHO removed) joined by a peroxide group. Benzoyl Peroxide is soluble in all organic solvents and slightly soluble in alcohol, vegetable oils and water. Benzoyl Peroxide may also be called Dibenzoyl Peroxide


Find out more about the regulation of over-the-counter drugs by the Food and Drug Administration

Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration