What is benzoyl peroxide? Who invented it?

BPO MDacne acne

The first mention of the medical use of benzoyl peroxide dates back to 1929, where Lyon and Reynolds reported effective treatment of burns, wounds, and varicose veins by benzoyl peroxide [1]. Subsequently, it was found that it has antibacterial [2,3], anti-inflammatory [4], keratolytic [5], and wound healing [6.7] effects.

Presently, benzoyl peroxide is a widely used agent for acne treatment because of its efficacy and good tolerability in patients [8,9]. Benzoyl peroxide is a good alternative to topical antibiotic for the treatment of Acne vulgaris caused by antibiotic-resistant strains, for example, Propionibacterium acnes [10,11].


1. Cotterill J.A. Benzoyl peroxide. Acta Derm.-Venereol. Suppl. 1980;(Suppl. 89):57–63.
2. Leyden J.J., Wortzman M., Baldwin E.K. Antibiotic-resistant propionibacterium acnes suppressed by a benzoyl peroxide cleanser 6% Cutis. 2008;82:417–421.
3. Burkhart C.G., Burkhart C.N., Isham N. Synergistic antimicrobial activity by combining an allylamine with benzoyl peroxide with expanded coverage against yeast and bacterial species. Br. J. Dermatol. 2006;154:341–344.
4. Hegemann L., Toso S.M., Kitay K., Webster C.F. Anti-inflammatory actions of benzoyl peroxide: Effects on the generation of reactive oxygen species by leucocytes and the activity of protein kinase c and calmodulin. Br. J. Dermatol. 1994;130:569–575.
5. Waller J.M., Dreher F., Behnam S., Ford C., Lee C., Tiet T., Weinstein G.D., Maibach H.I. ‘Keratolytic’ properties of benzoyl peroxide and retinoic acid resemble salicylic acid in man. Skin Pharmacol. Physiol. 2006;19:283–289.
6. Merker P.C. Benzoyl peroxide: A history of early research and researchers. Int. J. Dermatol. 2002;41:185–188.
7. Alvarez O.M., Mertz P.M., Eaglstein W.H. Benzoyl peroxide and epidermal wound healing. Arch. Dermatol. 1983;119:222–225.
8. Sagransky M., Yentzer B.A., Feldman S.R. Benzoyl peroxide: A review of its current use in the treatment of acne vulgaris. Expert Opin. Pharmacother. 2009;10:2555–2562.
9. Burkhart C.G., Burkhart C.N. The chemistry and synergy of benzoyl peroxide with clindamycin. Br. J. Dermatol. 2008;159:480–481.
10. Kaur J., Sehgal V.K., Gupta A.K., Singh S.P. A comparative study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of combination topical preparations in acne vulgaris. Int. J. Appl. Basic Med. Res. 2015;5:106–110.
11. Burkhart C.G., Burkhart C.N. Treatment of acne vulgaris without antibiotics: Tertiary amine–benzoyl peroxide combination vs. Benzoyl peroxide alone. Int. J. Dermatol. 2007;46:89–93.

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