Background: Owing to the use of topical and systemic antibiotics for acne vulgaris, the incidence of antibiotic-resistant Propionibacterium acnes is increasing worldwide. Topical benzoyl peroxide (BPO) is an alternative to antibiotics in the treatment of acne vulgaris.
Objective: This review describes and evaluates recent clinical literature regarding the efficacy and tolerability of BPO.
Methods: A PubMed literature search was conducted using the keywords benzoyl peroxide, acne, and combination therapy.
Results: BPO is equally effective at concentrations of 2.5, 5.0 and 10%. However, a concentration-dependent irritant dermatitis can occur with higher concentrations. The efficacy of BPO can be enhanced when used in combination with topical retinoids, antibiotics and tertiary amines. BPO-containing combinations do not induce bacterial resistance and are important first-line treatments for mild to moderate acne vulgaris.