It's believed that because Benzoyl Peroxide has a bleaching effect on hair, clothing, and fabrics, it may have the same effect on the skin.
But before answering this question with a simple yes or no, let's take a closer look at the facts to further understand the effects of Benzoyl Peroxide.
The skin has melanocytes, which are cells that produce a pigment called melanin, and an enzyme called tyrosinase triggers this constant melanin-producing operation. Therefore, any skincare product that interferes with tyrosinase will affect melanin production.
That said, skin-bleaching products must block the body's tyrosinase activity to be effective. For example, Hydroquinone is toxic to tyrosinase which stops melanin production.
On the other hand, although Benzoyl Peroxide is a powerful bleaching agent, it does not respond to tyrosinase and, therefore, cannot bleach skin as it's constantly producing more pigment.
This isn't the case for hair, clothing, and fabrics which are more susceptible to being bleached by Benzoyl Peroxide because they don't constantly produce new pigment as the skin does.
Benzoyl Peroxide is a common topical treatment for acne — which makes skin look discolored and uneven — because it kills acne-causing bacteria and increases cell turnover to unclog pores due to its antimicrobial and exfoliating properties.
In fact, several studies have demonstrated that Benzoyl Peroxide is safe and effective in treating mild to moderate inflammatory lesions, which is why one might believe that Benzoyl Peroxide bleaches skin; because it exfoliates your skin and clears up your acne giving the illusion of a brighter complexion.
If you're struggling with your skin and Benzoyl Peroxide is taking too long to clear up your acne, these skincare tips will help you clear your acne faster, and these tips will help you prevent makeup-induced acne, while these oil cleansers for acne-prone skin and hydrocolloid patches will help break down bacteria and keep your skin free of blemishes.
Hyperpigmentation is caused by an imbalance in the production of melanin, which results in patches of skin that are darker than your normal skin tone.
Just like in winter, the drying effects of Benzoyl Peroxide may give the appearance of tanning or a darker skin tone. Although it's not permanent and should resolve within a month as your skin gets used to the product, it's important to make sure you use a moisturizer to help keep your skin hydrated.
With that being said, the available evidence does not support the claim that Benzoyl Peroxide makes hyperpigmentation worse.
It's possible, however, that in rare cases, it might cause skin irritation and subsequent worsening of hyperpigmentation; those with darker skin may be at greater risk of this potential side effect.
Which is why it's essential to use this product carefully, as it can cause irritation and dryness if not used properly; some people may be sensitive to Benzoyl Peroxide and could experience minor skin irritation or redness if used too often.
So whether you're wondering if a higher concentration of Benzoyl Peroxide is more effective, studies have shown that lower doses are just as effective as higher doses and can reduce irritation to avoid skin damage.
Ultimately, while no clinical studies have been done to investigate if Benzoyl Peroxide alone worsens hyperpigmentation in those with acne, it can be beneficial in preventing future acne lesions and hyperpigmentation.
Therefore, it's important to be aware of this potential risk and take the necessary steps to look after your skin. If you're skincare routine that includes Benzoyl Peroxide, to be extra-safe, use sunscreen every day and try to keep your skin out of the sun while using Benzoyl Peroxide.
If you experience discomfort while using the medication, it's best to discontinue and consult a dermatologist.