Can You Use Benzoyl Peroxide With Vitamin C?

Can You Use Benzoyl Peroxide With Vitamin C

Navigating the sea of skincare ingredients can sometimes feel like charting through uncharted waters.

Two powerful components, benzoyl peroxide and vitamin C, are harnessed for their individual strengths in battling various skin concerns.

But can these ingredients be brought together in harmony for your skincare routine?

This comprehensive post will demystify their co-use. It will be supported by insights from dermatologists.

Understanding Benzoyl Peroxide

Understanding Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is a well-known name if you’ve been battling acne. But what exactly is it?

What is Benzoyl Peroxide?

Benzoyl peroxide is a powerful topical antibacterial agent that works by killing acne-causing bacteria.

It also helps to unclog pores and reduce inflammation, making it a popular ingredient in the fight against acne.

How to use Benzoyl Peroxide?

You can find benzoyl peroxide in various forms such as creams, gels, lotions, and washes.

Depending on your skin type and severity of acne, you can use it as a spot treatment or all-over treatment.

It is best to start with a lower concentration (2.5% – 5%) and gradually increase if needed.

What is the mechanism of action for Benzoyl Peroxide?

Benzoyl peroxide works by penetrating the skin and breaking down into benzoic acid and oxygen.

The oxygen then helps to kill acne-causing bacteria, while the benzoic acid exfoliates the skin and unclogs pores.

Benefits for Acne-Prone Skin

Antibacterial: Benzoyl peroxide is highly effective at killing the bacteria responsible for causing acne, decreasing the presence of P. acnes on the skin.

Comedolytic: It assists in opening clogged pores through its exfoliating properties. This helps prevent the formation of comedones, or acne lesions.

Anti-inflammatory: The compound reduces inflammation, which can minimize the severity of acne breakouts and promote a smoother skin texture.

Prevents Antibiotic Resistance: When used in combination with antibiotic treatments, benzoyl peroxide can reduce the chances of developing antibiotic resistance.

What are the possible side effects of Benzoyl Peroxide?

Skin Irritation: Users may experience dryness, peeling, or redness in the areas where benzoyl peroxide is applied.

Sensitivity to Sunlight: Increased vulnerability to UV rays is common, necessitating the use of broad-spectrum sunscreen while using the product.

Allergic Reactions: Although rare, some individuals might develop an allergic reaction characterized by swelling, itching, or severe redness.

Bleaching Effect: Benzoyl peroxide is known to have a bleaching effect on hair and fabrics, so take precautions when using it near clothing or towels.

Understanding Vitamin C

Understanding Vitamin C

Vitamin C does more than just boost the immune system. It’s a vital component of skin care.

It acts as an antioxidant to combat the damaging effects of free radicals and promote skin regeneration.

The Role of Vitamin C in Skincare

Antioxidant Protection: Vitamin C shields the skin from damage caused by free radicals due to environmental stressors like pollution and UV radiation.

Boosts Collagen Production: It is integral in the synthesis of collagen, which helps keep skin firm and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Brightens Complexion: By regulating melanin production, Vitamin C aids in the prevention and reduction of dark spots, resulting in a beautifully balanced complexion.

Heals Skin: Its anti-inflammatory properties can accelerate the body’s natural healing processes. This makes it beneficial for reducing redness and promoting healthy skin.

Enhances Sunscreen Efficiency: When used in conjunction with sunscreen, vitamin C provides an extra layer of protection against photoaging.

Different Forms and Concentrations of Vitamin C

Vitamin C comes in several derivatives, with L-ascorbic acid being the most potent form.

The concentration of vitamin C can vary from a gentle 5% to a robust 20%, catering to different skin sensitivities and tolerances.

What are the side effects of Vitamin C?

Since vitamin C is a naturally occurring compound, it’s generally well-tolerated by the skin. Some potential side effects include:

Irritation: High concentrations of vitamin C can cause irritation, particularly for those with sensitive skin.

Staining: Vitamin C serums may have a slight orange or yellow tint that can stain clothing or towels.

Allergic reactions: While rare, some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to vitamin C products.

Can You Use Benzoyl Peroxide With Vitamin C?

Can You Use Benzoyl Peroxide With Vitamin C?

Although it’s not an absolute “no,” it is crucial to exercise caution when using both of them simultaneously.

Factors to Consider When Combining the Two

  • Compatibility: Benzoyl peroxide and vitamin C may counteract each other when applied together due to their differing pH levels. This can potentially reduce the effectiveness of both.
  • Oxidation Risk: Benzoyl peroxide can lead to the rapid oxidation of vitamin C, rendering it ineffective.
  • Increased Irritation: Using both ingredients together may lead to excessive dryness and irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin.

Scientific Studies

Several studies have been conducted to evaluate the effects of combining benzoyl peroxide and vitamin C.

In a 2013 study published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, researchers found that using both compounds together can decrease the effectiveness of benzoyl peroxide.

However, another study from the same year showed that when used correctly, they can effectively work together to fight acne.

Recommendations from Dermatologists

Dermatologists recommend staggering the application of these ingredients.

  1. Vitamin C in the morning maximizes sun-protection benefits.
  2. Benzoyl peroxide at night treats acne.

This approach avoids possible interactions and aligns with your skin’s natural rhythms.

How to Include Benzoyl Peroxide and Vitamin C in Your Skincare Regimen

Curating a skincare routine featuring both ingredients can be beneficial if done correctly.

Step-by-step Guide for Using Both Ingredients

To avoid any potential conflicts between these components:

  1. Start your morning skincare routine by applying a vitamin C serum after cleansing.
  2. Allow the serum to fully absorb before applying moisturizer and broad-spectrum SPF.
  3. In the evening, cleanse your skin and apply a benzoyl peroxide treatment to affected areas.
  4. Finish off with a hydrating moisturizer to counteract any drying effects.

Frequency and Application Methods

  1. Vitamin C serums should be applied daily in the morning.
  2. Benzoyl peroxide treatments can be used once or twice a day, depending on skin tolerance.
  3. When introducing these ingredients to your routine, start with lower concentrations and gradually increase over time to minimize potential irritation.

Potential Benefits and Results

Using benzoyl peroxide and vitamin C together can provide a holistic approach to treating acne by targeting different causes.

Vitamin C can help minimize the side effects of benzoyl peroxide, such as dryness and flaking.

The combination may also result in brighter, clearer skin with fewer dark spots and blemishes.


Incorporating benzoyl peroxide and vitamin C in your skincare routine can be beneficial for achieving healthy, radiant skin.

However, it’s essential to understand their potential interactions and follow a proper application method to reap the maximum benefits.

Consult with a dermatologist if you have any concerns or experience adverse effects from using these ingredients together.


What shouldn’t be combined with benzoyl peroxide?

Combining benzoyl peroxide with certain ingredients such as retinoids, like tretinoin, may cause excessive skin irritation.

Also, avoid using it simultaneously with products containing alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) as it can further dry out and irritate the skin.

Can I use benzoyl peroxide with niacinamide?

Yes, benzoyl peroxide can be used with niacinamide.

Niacinamide is known for its soothing properties and can help mitigate the irritating effects of benzoyl peroxide, making it a beneficial combination for acne-prone skin.

Can you use benzoyl peroxide with hyaluronic acid?

Yes, the combination of benzoyl peroxide and hyaluronic acid can be effective in treating acne while also providing hydration to the skin.

Hyaluronic acid is a hydrating ingredient that pairs well with benzoyl peroxide.

Is it safe to use Vitamin C and benzoyl peroxide together during pregnancy?

While both ingredients are considered generally safe for topical use, it is always best to consult with your doctor before incorporating them into your skincare routine during pregnancy.

How often should you use benzoyl peroxide?

The frequency of benzoyl peroxide usage depends on the product’s strength and the user’s skin sensitivity.

It is typically recommended to start with a once-daily application to gauge skin tolerance. It may be increased to twice daily if well-tolerated and advised by your skincare professional.

Does benzoyl peroxide lighten the skin?

No, benzoyl peroxide is not a skin-lightening agent. Its primary function is to kill acne-causing bacteria and help clear blocked pores.

However, it may help in reducing the appearance of dark spots caused by acne by promoting skin turnover.

Is benzoyl peroxide safe for long-term use?

Benzoyl peroxide can be safe for long-term use provided it does not cause significant irritation or skin reactions.

It’s vital to follow product directions and consult with a dermatologist for personalized advice.

Can benzoyl peroxide make acne worse?

Initially, benzoyl peroxide might irritate the skin, which can seem like an acne flare-up. This reaction is typically temporary.

If acne seems to worsen significantly and persistently, you should consult with a healthcare provider.

Useful Resources:


The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is important to seek professional medical advice and not disregard it or delay seeking it based on the information read here. While we strive to provide accurate and reliable information, we cannot guarantee its completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability for any purpose. Using the information in this document is your responsibility and carries inherent risks. We are not liable for any losses or damages resulting from the use of our content.


Sharing is Caring

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Scroll to Top