Last Updated on November 5th, 2021
Panoxyl acne management products are made with benzoyl peroxide, “the number one dermatologist-recommended” acne care ingredient to penetrate pores and kill the bacteria that cause acne. Panoxyl offers creams and lotions in 4%, 8%, and 10% strength, the Panoxyl acne foaming wash and soap-free bar. But do they really work?
This article answers frequently asked questions about Panoxyl acne care, including some issues the company may not really want you to ask about.
Article Table of Contents
All Panoxyl products contain benzoyl peroxide, which used to be abbreviated BP before the oil spill disaster of 2010, but which the manufacturer now abbreviates BPO. Let’s begin with frequently asked questions about this common acne care ingredient.
A. Benzoyl peroxide actually is the number one dermatologist recommended anti-acne ingredient in the world. When you put this chemical on the skin, it breaks down into two compounds, benzoic acid and hydrogen peroxide.
The benzoic acid is the same chemical that gives the distinctive aroma to incense used in religious ceremonies. A traditional skin treatment agent, benzoic acid also is found in bilberries, cranberries, cloudberries, and apples that have fought off a fungal infection, as well as in the urine of the musk ox and Asian bull elephants. (No bilberries, cranberries, cloudberries, or animal urine are used to make Panoxyl products.) Hydrogen peroxide fizzes as it breaks down into water and oxygen.
A. When scientists noticed that plants that bear berries and fruit use natural benzoic acid to prevent their own fungal infections, they began experimenting with this substance as a treatment for skin infections on people. Hydrogen peroxide is also used to fight bacterial infections. Benzoyl peroxide became a popular skin treatment because it breaks down to release both chemicals.
Numerous clinical studies found that 2.5% to 10% benzoyl peroxide creams and lotions kill most acne bacteria in about 48 hours. However, studies have shown that high concentrations of benzoyl peroxide do not significantly improve acne treatment’s effectiveness. That’s why effective acne products will use lower levels of benzoyl peroxide combined with soothing ingredients to keep the skin in the best condition without irritating it further.
A. The product is safe enough that it is available over the counter without a prescription in strengths up to 10%. Because this chemical can cause drying and flaking of the skin, and a few users find it itchy and irritating, it is always best to start with the lowest possible concentration of benzoyl peroxide that clears up your pimples.
PanOxyl makes a variety of different over the counter acne-treating products, with two facial cleaners: a creamy wash or a foaming wash. The foaming wash has a 10% concentration of benzoyl peroxide, which has proven to be an effective anti-acne medication. While it has been demonstrated that benzoyl peroxide works extremely well when it is left on the skin, research also shows that it offers benefits when used as a cleanser.
A. An honest answer is, “it depends.” The product does a better job of killing bacteria than it does of fighting inflammation, and fighting inflammation is an important part of getting rid of acne. It can take pimples two weeks to fade away. Younger skin heals faster than older skin.
To see results within 30 days, use a skincare routine that combines powerful ingredients like benzoyl peroxide with healing natural botanicals. For example, Exposed Skincare’s Basic Kit includes an Acne Treatment Serum with 3.5% benzoyl peroxide. This low, yet still potent level of benzoyl peroxide is made more effective by pairing it with tea tree oil and green tea extract, helping to calm and heal skin.
A. This product is not strong enough to treat cystic acne, acne conglobata, or acne keloidalis nuchae, which may require help from a doctor.
However, Panoxyl is far too strong to use for common acne (acne vulgaris) around the eyes and mouth, where it can cause burning and inflammation. It may be OK for use on the face, but a product with lower levels of benzoyl peroxide would be safer and more effective.
A. Some Panoxyl products also contain an ingredient called dimethyl isosorbide, or DMI. This ingredient helps keep the cream stable so that every time you use it, you get the same amount of benzoyl peroxide. It also helps the benzoyl peroxide penetrate the skin. DMI is also used in Coppertone and sun tan lotions to help them penetrate the skin. The idea behind adding DMI to the formula was to make it possible to get deeper into pores with a lower concentration of benzoyl peroxide, reducing the risk of irritation and peeling.
The company advises its customers on the following:
What Panoxyl does not tell you is that some people should not use their products at all. These include:
A. If you tend to get brown spots after acne heals, you may try the Panoxyl Bar 5% for your cleanser. Be sure to leave the lather on your face for no more than 15 seconds and to rinse thoroughly. If your skin is tight, don’t use the 10% bar. If your skin is loose and easily wrinkles when you talk, laugh, or frown, then the Panoxyl Bar 10% is OK for you.
The inactive ingredients in the Panoxyl acne foaming wash include AHAS, cornstarch, and oils containing a drying cleansing agent. The oils help with the drying properties of the cleansing agent, but are hard to rinse off. As well, the AHAS are washed off during the rinsing process and end up going down the drain. Panoxyl cleanser can make your skin confused while at the same time possibly making the acne worse.
Salicylic acid BHA is usually the preferred acne medication. For a more effective Facial Cleanser, use one with salicylic acid to deep clean pores, plus sage extract and pro-vitamin B5 to calm irritation.
The soap-free PanOxyl bar contains 5% benzoyl peroxide along with sodium potassium lauryl sulfate, which is irritating and drying to the skin. At the same time, the other ingredients that help this bar keep its shape can worsen acne since they are difficult to rinse off. As with the foaming wash above, the benzoyl peroxide will probably have minimum effect because it is simply washed off right after it is exposed to the skin.
That’s why we recommend a simple acne kit that provides everything skin needs to recover and stay acne-free in most cases, like Exposed Skin Care. Even better, and unlike many products like Panoxyl, it has a true, full money back guarantee. Plus, the ingredients in Exposed are responsibly sourced and of exceptional quality, so you don’t have to worry about things like sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, formaldehyde and synthetic fragrances or colors.
A. It may seem like you are getting results from Panoxyl, but if your skin peels more easily than expected when you get too much sun, that’s not a good sign. Make sure to moisturize the skin after the Panoxyl is rinsed off and the skin patted dry with a clean towel, use a good sunscreen and stay out of the sun completely. This could be a sign that Panoxyl is way too strong for your skin, and it’s probably a good idea find a more gentle, yet just as effective, skincare routine.
If you are experiencing peeling, remember: A great skincare routine includes a good moisturizer. Folks who deal with acne should always use an oil-free gel moisturizer to hydrate skin without clogging pores. This Moisture Complex also adds caffeine to reduce redness and pumpkin seed to help calm irritated skin.