FREE Shipping on orders $199 or more

For People Intolerant to Benzoyl Peroxide

By Cynthia Bailey MD.

Intolerance to benzoyl peroxide may be an allergy or simply an irritation from using a product that is too strong or drying.

best acne products for people who can't use benzoyl peroxide

Pimples, cysts, and blackheads on your face are most likely caused by facial acne vulgaris, the most common form of acne. Starting in your T-zone, this acne can spread to your entire face and may become more than a simple annoyance.

If you have facial acne, but your skin is intolerant to benzoyl peroxide, you may have trouble finding an acne treatment that works. Don't worry. There are effective facial acne treatments that do not rely on products containing benzoyl peroxide.

You always get the best results treating acne if you use a Complete Skin Care Routine that protects your skin from facial dryness and UV rays as well as treats acne.

complete skin care to treat acne without benzoyl peroxide

Complete Skin Care involves layering products to give your skin what it needs to stay healthy. This includes the 4 steps of:


I call this Dr. Bailey's Complete Skin Care. 

Dr. Cynthia Bailey's Complete Skin Care Routine to Treat Acne Without Benzoyl Peroxide

Follow the four simple steps below to tackle your facial acne.


Best facial cleansers for acne without benzoyl peroxide

Thoroughly wash your face once or twice a day using salicylic acid, glycolic acid and/or pyrithione zinc to combat acne.


best acne facial cleanser without benzoyl peroxide
My Foaming Acne Treatment Cleanser contains medicated salicylic acid at the highest 2% concentration allowed. This medicated ingredient penetrates deeply into oily pores to break up blackheads. The cleanser also contains glycolic acid, which helps brighten your complexion and break-up blackheads too.


Triple Action Exfoliating Cleanser is made with 0.5% salicylic acid and 10% glycolic acid along with exfoliating eco-friendly beads. This formulation brightens your complexion beautifully at the same time it treats acne.

best acne cleanser to brighten complexion

 Glycolic Acid Cleanser is an option if you are intolerant to salicylic acid. It contains 10% glycolic acid. 

Calming Zinc Bar Soap is made with a full 2% pyrithione zinc to help combat fungal acne, also known as Pityrosporum folliculitis. Often fungal acne and acne vulgaris happen at the same time and it's nice to target both. 


best facial cleanser for fungal acne

 To increase the ability of these cleansers to penetrate skin and pores consider using them with either a Exfoliating Facial Sponge, the Clarisonic Sonic Cleansing Brush System. 

 Step Two: CORRECT

Best products to treat acne without benzoyl peroxide

 Once your face is clean and dry, you are ready to apply treatment products that fight pimples and blackheads. To do this, use either my Salicylic and Glycolic Acid Acne Treatment PadsGlycolic Acid Face Cream or Retinol Night Cream. You can use the pads once or twice a day. I like the Glycolic Acid Face Cream used during the day and the Retinol applied at night. Or, you can top the Retinol with the Glycolic Acid at night if your skin can tolerate the combination. I recommend starting with what you know that your skin can handle and working up.


All of these acne fighting options work without benzoyl peroxide. Know that the best active medicated ingredient to kill acne germs without a prescription is benzoyl peroxide. You may want to try my 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Cream as a spot treatment. The 2.5% level is strong on the acne germ but not irritating for most skin types. 

Step Three: HYDRATE

Best moisturizers for acne
 Skin hydration is important for a healthy and smooth complexion. Always protect skin from dehydration by using a moisturizer. In addition, acne treatment can dry your skin. My acne patients love my Daily Moisturizing Face Cream for Oily to Normal Skin. It is the ideal moisturizer for acne because it hydrates with an oil-free formulation that feels light on your skin.
best antioxidant skin care product for acne
If redness occurs to any areas of treatment, apply Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy twice a day to those areas before applying your Daily Moisturizing Face Cream. Green tea antioxidants have been shown to reduce sebum production and acne lesions. I always recommend my patients consider adding the Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy to their acne skin care routine. Use it right after washing your face and before applying all other products. If you are using the Glycolic Acid Face Cream it hydrates skin with a nice oil-free moisturizing base. 


Step Four: PROTECT

BEST SUNSCREENS FOR ACNEAlways use a mineral zinc oxide sunscreen to protect against hyperpigmentation of acne scars. Chose a product that feels light on your skin and that won't clog pores. The most popular sunscreens for acne-prone skin in my practice are my Sheer Strength Pure Physical Sunscreens: Sheer Strength Pure Physical Spray SPF 50+ Sunscreen, Sheer Strength Invisible SPF 50+ Sunscreen and Sheer Strength Matte Tinted SPF 50+ Sunscreen. The tinting technology in the Matte Tinted blends into all skin tones, contains 4% iron oxide to fight pigment like melasma and helps to soften the appearance of complexion flaws.

Know that wearing sunscreen every day is the most important step you can take to protect your skin from other damaging effects of the sun such as premature skin aging.
Start Your Acne Regimen Today Dealing with acne-prone facial skin can seem like a losing battle, but it doesn't have to be. Follow the above treatment steps to effectively combat your acne and keep it from coming back.
  1. Suzana Saric, Manisha Notay, and Raja K. Sivamani, Green Tea and Other Tea Polyphenols: Effects on Sebum Production and Acne Vulgaris, Antioxidants, (Basel). 2017 March; 6(1): 2.Published online 2016 December 29. doi: 10.3390/antiox6010002 PMCID: PMC5384166
  2. Elsaie ML, Abdelhamid MF, Elsaaiee LT, Emam HM. The efficacy of topical 2% green tea lotion in mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris. J Drugs Dermatol. 2009 Apr;8(4):358-64.