Why Hydrogen Peroxide on Acne Is a Bad Idea? Here's Why

When we’re looking to clear our acne, we can sometimes reach for “natural” products in the hopes that they will be better for our skin.


Desperate times call for desperate measures.


And sleuthing through Pinterest isn’t always the best option – although we do feel vindicated in our efforts when we’re promised clear skin with easy, at-home remedies.


Although hydrogen peroxide isn’t as well touted as some other “natural remedies” such as lemon juice and toothpaste, there are still people who recommend using it on your skin to get rid of your acne.


It's proof that natural Isn’t always better.


Let’s understand why this is a bad idea.


What is Hydrogen Peroxide Made For?


Hydrogen peroxide is a mild antiseptic that is often used on the skin to prevent infection of minor cuts, scrapes and burns. It is not meant for acne in any way, shape or form. 


When hydrogen peroxide is applied, an enzyme called catalase breaks it down, releasing oxygen and water.


While the water cleans the wound, the oxygen kills the bacteria.


This is because many skin infections are caused by anaerobic bacteria, meaning they cannot grow in the presence of oxygen.


Following this logic, it would seem like a good idea to use hydrogen peroxide to treat acne.


False Proof About Hydrogen Peroxide and Your Skin


In one study, a combination cream of adapalene and hydrogen peroxide was found to be effective in treating mild to moderate acne.


Another study found that hydrogen peroxide reduced inflammatory and noninflammatory acne lesions.


Plus another study found that hydrogen peroxide reduced acne by 68%.


This all sounds pretty good for treating acne, then, doesn’t it?


Why You Should NOT Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Acne


Unfortunately, the news isn’t all good – these studies were done with properly-formulated products in stabilized forms.


Hydrogen peroxide is an aggressive oxidizing agent that can corrode the skin - it can even result in severe third-degree burns!


In laboratory studies like this one, hydrogen peroxide was shown to damage skin cells in a process called oxidative stress; oxidative stress is involved in the formation of skin damage as well as acne.


This can then result in free radical-induced cellular damage (which is why many physicians and dermatologists now advise against using hydrogen peroxide to clean wounds).


The Results of Putting Hydrogen Peroxide on Pimples?


Unfortunately, the use of hydrogen peroxide on the skin may actually slow the healing process of wounds like pimples, and even possibly worsen scarring by killing the healthy cells surrounding it.


This is why I urge you to stay away from hydrogen peroxide at all costs.


It's not like any other treatment where you can throw it away if it doesn't work - because it can leave scars that last forever.


You should consider it to be poison for your facial skin.