Is It Safe To Use Benzoyl Peroxide While Breastfeeding?

Benzoyl peroxide is an effective remedy for acne when applied to the skin. It may take some time before your hormones reach normal levels after childbirth, resulting in acne breakouts. You may be hesitant about using benzoyl peroxide while breastfeeding, fearing any potential harm to your baby. Continue reading this post as we provide information about benzoyl peroxide, how safe it is when breastfeeding, and its possible effects on you and your baby.

In This Article

Is It Safe To Use Benzoyl Peroxide While Breastfeeding?

Benzoyl Peroxide is an over-the-counter medication and is very effective in reducing the severity of acne lesions. The skin takes its time to get used to the product, and hence minor breakouts are possible. If you have skin sensitivity, please avoid using this product on the face. Benzoyl Peroxide is considered to be one of the most organic peroxides in terms of its production and application.

Uses

Skin care treatment with Benzoyl Peroxide is used mainly to treat moderate to mild acne, and can be sometimes used in combination with other acne treatments as well. It is said to reduce the number of acne-causing bacteria, by mostly causing the skin to dry and then peel. It is advisable to check the product contents before using it, as taking the wrong product might harm the skin and the infant.

protip_icon Quick fact
Other topical treatments to treat acne include azelaic acid and salicylic acid (1).

How Can You Use Benzoyl Peroxide While Breastfeeding?

Start using the cream once a day to see the effect of the same on the skin

Image: Shutterstock

The package contains a cleansing liquid or a bar, lotion, cream, or gel. It is advisable to use it once or twice a day, starting with once a day to see the effect of the same on the skin. Follow the directions mentioned on the package and consult the doctor if there is any ingredient you do not know. Do not ever overuse the product, and neither should you use it more than what is prescribed by the doctor. As any other product, use this product on the palm for three days and see if it causes any discomfort.

First the liquid is used to wash the affected area. After you gently wash the affected area, pat dry with a towel and then apply the lotion, cream or the gel. It is then that you apply Benzoyl Peroxide and rub it gently. While using benzoyl peroxide, the doctor may suggest avoiding any product that could cause skin irritation.

If you miss the application, either apply it as soon as you remember. Ensure you don’t apply a double dose to make up for the missed one.

protip_icon Point to consider
When using benzoyl peroxide gel, try to avoid direct sunlight. Use an oil-free sunscreen, moisturizer, or foundation with added SPF 30 (2).

Side Effects

Though not severe, Benzoyl Peroxide while nursing might have some side effects like:

  • Peeling and dryness of skin
Benzoyl Peroxide while nursing might have some mild side effects

Image: Shutterstock

  • Feeling warm
  • A tingling or stinging sensation

Sometimes the side effects may be adverse. In that case, please consult the doctor and stop using benzoyl peroxide. These adverse side effects include:

  • Itching
  • Throat tightness
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Swelling in any part of the body

Drug Interactions

If you notice anything strange with the infant, stop the medication and talk to the doctor.

Image: Shutterstock

Certain medicines are not supposed to be used together. When you start this medicine, it is extremely important that the doctor knows about the medication. Consult your health care professional and discuss the need for the medicine. Also, after 2-3 weeks, if you notice anything strange with the infant (like stomach problems) stop the medication and talk to the doctor.

Anything that is applied to the skin or taken orally does affect the infant. Breastfeeding safety studies have proven that this medicine is safe for infants during lactation.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long should I leave benzoyl peroxide on my face?

It would be wise to talk to an obstetrician or dermatology specialist before using benzoyl peroxide on the face when pregnant or breastfeeding. Since there is limited research on its usage, it would be best to stick to lower concentrations of benzoyl peroxide. Don’t leave the product on for more than five minutes on the skin. If you experience discomfort, then remove it immediately.

2. Which is better for treating acne, benzoyl or salicylic?

Both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid attack specific acne-causing sources. Salicylic acid has been proven effective against acne caused by hormonal changes, while benzoyl peroxide is good for combatting black and whiteheads. Benzoyl peroxide is an antibacterial agent and salicylic acid primarily treats clogged skin. It is best to use both skincare products to determine the perfect fit for specific skin concerns.

3. Can I use anything else instead of benzoyl peroxide while nursing?

Breastfeeding mothers are generally not recommended to use topical medications for skin concerns. Some natural products that may help with inflammation and redness include tea tree oil, rose water, and turmeric. Blue and red light therapy are also becoming popular treatments, but they should be done by a certified dermatologist. Lifestyle modifications, such as meditation, breathing exercises, or yoga, can also be done to minimize stress and its impact on the skin.

Benzoyl peroxide is an effective topical cream or ointment for acne and is an active ingredient in many OTC acne treatment products. It reduces the acne-causing bacteria on the skin. Benzoyl peroxide is usually safe for nursing mothers when used topically. However, you should consult your healthcare provider to know the dosage and safety of benzoyl peroxide while breastfeeding. If you notice any issues in the infant, such as uneasiness, stomach problems, and increased crankiness, discontinue using the product and contact your baby’s healthcare provider.

Infographic: How To Use Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl Peroxide may be available as a face wash, cream, lotion, bar, or gel that needs to be applied once or twice a day. The infographic below summarizes the correct use of such products. Check out!

how to use benzoyl peroxide (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Benzoyl peroxide is an effective treatment for acne in women after childbirth.
  • Benzoyl peroxide is one of the most organic peroxides in terms of production and use.
  • It can be used in combination with other treatments to treat mild to moderate acne.
  • Minor side effects of benzoyl peroxide may include skin peeling, dryness, tingling, and warm skin.
  • Before using benzoyl peroxide while breastfeeding, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional.


Pregnant and wondering if you can use benzoyl peroxide? Find out in this video, where we discuss the safety of using benzoyl peroxide during pregnancy.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Treatment of acne vulgaris during pregnancy and lactation.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23657872/
  2. How and when to use benzoyl peroxide.
    https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/benzoyl-peroxide/how-and-when-to-use-benzoyl-peroxide/
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