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Benzoyl Peroxide For Acne - Safe Or Not

Although acne usually strikes most often in the teenage years and subsides as we get older, for many this is not the case. Things can get complicated for those using medications over many years to treat their zits. The course of suppression may continue for decades beyond your teenage years and because of this you should not only consider how well your treatment is working for you but also the long term effects involved.

Back in the early 1980's the debate concerning benzoyl gel started to heat up when long term side effects became more of a national concern. Although the FDA reported that the treatment was safe to use the fact that this product produces what is known as "free radicals" was cause for alarm. It has been known for quite some time that free radicals can in fact be a responsible link in the cause of cancer.

There have been literally hundreds of reports manufactured over the years by various medical publications that have done research concerning this product as a link to cancer risk. Although theory plays a major part a good number of them support this risk. Nevertheless, in 1995 the FDA changed their position in categorizing the safety of benzoyl gel from a level 1 to level 3 category "safety unknown." Due to research done on lab rodents such as hamsters and mice concern has been raised that benzoyl peroxide may promote cancer in these types of animals.

It is important to remember the large amounts of benzoyl gel administered to these creatures. We must also remember that the time in which these amounts were allowed to remain in contact with these animals does not necessarily mirror that type of contact in human beings. During the 1970's similar types of testing was conducted with the artificial sweetener know as cyclamates. This prompted warnings that the sweetener may be a culprit in the cause of cancer. These warnings were later dismissed as it was highly improbable that most people would never drink 50 cans of soda daily for years in order to reach the level of concentration which equaled the minimal amount of sweetener given to the lab rats. It is not known proportionally how much exposure to benzoyl gel is needed to actually be labeled as a cancer causing risk.

When talking about long term side effects it is important to consider that there are many products one can purchase to treat acne. Of many long term side effects that have been reportedly associated with these medications, benzoyl peroxide appears to be among one of the safest products in the group. Unlike antibiotic medications, resistance by the bacteria that cause acne won't happen. Because benzoyl peroxide is used externally, there is no risk to any internal organs as there might be associated with medication which would have to be taken orally. Benzoyl peroxide medications come in a variety of strengths which allows you to use only that concentration that helps with the suppression of your acne outbreak.

A study conducted in 1991 by the University of Miami to weigh the associated risks of using benzoyl gel. The results of that study were negative for skin cancer among people who use benzoyl peroxide to treat acne. Skin color, nationality and family history of skin cancer were the determinable factors in that study. One interesting note is that those who seem to raise the biggest questions concerning benzoyl peroxide are usually those who are selling products that do not contain it. This is not to insinuate that there is no risk involved.

There are many opinions circulating when it comes to treating zits. Make it a part of your routine to check them out.

Do not hesitate to seek the advice of your physician and ask serious questions. Do a little research on the products that are available for fighting zits. It is only by making informed decisions and testing products to find out which works best that you will achieve the radiant skin you desire.

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