Correct Use of Benzoyl Peroxide According to Rosemary Barclay

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Rosemary Barclay Correct Use of Benzoyl Peroxide Rosemary Barclay Correct Use of Benzoyl Peroxide

People don’t often realize which mistakes they’re making when it comes to acne treatment; Rosemary Barclay shares insight. 

Benzoyl peroxide is a common medication used to treat combination acne. It works by drying the skin and reducing levels of acne-causing bacteria.

Although this is a standard treatment for acne, most people still misuse it by immediately choosing the highest strength of benzoyl peroxide available.

Doing so will result in unfavorable side effects, the most common one being over-drying the skin which in turn will lead to more sebum production

 Rosemary Barclay, founder, and owner of Bonne Santé Wellness Center in Old Lyme, CT., explains common problems that occur after opting for high-strength benzoyl peroxide. 



Starting with a high prescription strength strong product right off the bat will cause dehydrated skin which can lead to discomfort and peeling and more oil production. To combat dry skin, a common mistake is to reach for heavy face moisturizers. Rosemary Barclay explains that moisturizers can interfere with the anti-bacterial properties in benzoyl peroxide, making it less effective. It’s important to use moisturizer first and allow it to dry before using benzoyl peroxide as this will compensate for the drying effect of benzoyl peroxide. 



By starting at the highest strength of benzoyl peroxide, there is no room to increase the dosage and no time for skin to adapt. Furthermore, acne will adapt to products, meaning products will slowly lose effectiveness over time.  Rosemary Barclay recommends starting at a low dose to avoid extreme discomfort before slowly increasing the dose until the acne clears. Another tip is to use it every other day for a few weeks before using it daily. Rosemary Barclay of Old Lyme explains that a good starting concentration of benzoyl peroxide is a mild 2.5%.



As soon as acne starts to clear or discomfort arises, many people stop following through with their skincare regimen. Rosemary Barclay notes that while it is normal for skin to flake and peel, as benzoyl peroxide exfoliates the inner lining of the pore wall, extreme peeling is not acceptable. When people stop using it after experiencing side effects, it can lead to rampant outbreaks.

 Acne-prone individuals can shed around five layers of dead skin cells per day, which in turn leads to clogged pores and acne outbreaks. Benzoyl peroxide works by bringing dead cells out of clogged pores to the surface. This exfoliation process can look like flaking, but in fact, it is just the pore-clearing itself. 


About Rosemary Barclay 


Rosemary Barclay believes that nutrition is fundamental to good health, and affects many facets of well-being including the skin, energy, immunity, mood, and performance. The Bonne Santé Wellness Center in Old Lyme, CT, offers solutions to problematic skin without the use of antibiotics or harsh chemicals. 

She earned a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. in biochemistry in addition to becoming a board-certified nutrition specialist, certified esthetician, and acne specialist. Rosemary Barclay lives in Old Lyme, CT.