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is adapalene or benzoyl peroxide better for acne

Is Adapalene or Benzoyl Peroxide Best?

People around the globe are dealing with acne on a daily basis. It can range anywhere from a single unsightly pimple to a full-blown breakout.

Adapalene and benzoyl peroxide are two of the most common ingredients used to fight acne in topical medications.

They are also both present in the popular Proactiv brand of acne fighting products. Both of these medications work to fight acne in different ways and both have their benefits.

Should You Use Adapalene or Benzoyl Peroxide?

the best adapalene treatment

Both of these active ingredients have been proven to deliver results on many occasions.

Benzoyl Peroxide is available in many different forms, including a topical foam, and studies suggest that it is generally safe and effective for treating acne[1].

Likewise, adapalene has been the subject of several studies and has been compared to many other medications during trials.

In almost all of the studies and trials adapalene was found to be the most effective solution.

That also includes comparisons to benzoyl peroxide.

The power of benzoyl peroxide comes from its antibacterial effect. It is one of the few topical chemicals that can safely and effectively kill the bacteria responsible for causing acne.

Adapalene, on the other hand, affects the skin in many different ways. It helps the skin produce new skin cells and discard old ones at an accelerated rate.

The fact that adapalene can not only eliminate acne but also prevent it is what makes it the superior treatment.

1. Adapalene: Our Top-Rated Acne Treatment

proactiv with adapalene

Adapalene is a type of chemical known as a retinoid, which means that it is chemically related to vitamin A.

Retinoids have been used in prescription skin treatments because of their ability to regulate skin cell growth.

In the past, gaining access to a retinoid required a prescription from a doctor.

However, Proactiv recently received FDA approval to use adapalene in their over-the-counter treatments.

Adapalene is still carefully regulated by the FDA. Currently, it can only be found in 0.1 percent quantities over the counter. Higher strengths, such as 0.3 percent, still require a prescription. In most cases, the 0.1 percent strength is enough to do the job.

Why Adapalene Works So Well For Acne

adapalene before and after

The adapalene retinoid works by managing skin cell turnover rates. Turnover refers to the production of new skin cells and the discarding of old cells.

When suffering from acne, this turnover rate is often limited.

Adapalene increases the rate of turnover so that old cells and bacteria are not able to clog the pores on your skin and cause acne.

Thus, adapalene can be used as a preventative treatment as well as an active treatment.

Gentler On The Skin?

A major problem with benzoyl peroxide and many other retinoids is that they can be harsh on the skin. If you have sensitive skin, then you may notice burning and discomfort.

Some people even experience their skin peeling after using a prescription strength retinoid. It’s an unpleasant side effect that nobody wants to experience.

Adapalene is gentle on the skin and highly recommended for people with sensitive skin. It doesn’t dry the skin out and it doesn’t cause the skin to peel.

The 0.1 percent found in topical acne treatments is enough to fight tough acne without causing any damage.

Are There Any Side Effects?

The side effects of adapalene are very minor. People with extremely sensitive skin may experience stinging, redness, or discomfort.

Again, this is very rare with the 0.1 percent adapalene gel used in over the counter products. Allergic reactions have occurred in extremely rare cases as well.

Which Adapalene Works Best?

free proactiv acne scrub brush

A few different OTC companies have started using Adapalene in their acne fighting treatments, but the best on the market still comes from Proactiv.

Why We Recommend Proactiv MD

In particular, the PraoctivMD 3-piece system is produced with the acne-fighting power of adapalene.

The three stages of the system include a deep cleansing face wash, a daily oil control moisturizer, and the adapalene gel itself.

Twice a day, the process is started with the face wash. It is massaged into the skin and contains exfoliating beads that help to smooth the surface of the skin. In the morning time, the second stage is the application of the moisturizer with SPF 30.

The adapalene gel is applied once a day during the nighttime treatment.

Proactiv has produced the best acne fighting treatments for decades and their latest ProactivMD treatment is another great product. It’s affordable, safe, and very effective.

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1. Benzoyl Peroxide

proactiv with benzoyl peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide was first produced at the beginning of the 20th century. It began being used in medicine during the 1930s.

It has a long history in the United States and Europe for its ability to treat acne.

It has some other interesting uses, such as bleaching hair, whitening teeth, and removing ink, though it has a much higher concentration when used for these applications.

How Benzoyl Peroxide Works

Benzoyl Peroxide affects the skin in three different ways. It reduces skin oils known as sebum, it has a comedolytic effect that keeps pores open, and it kills the bacteria responsible for causing acne.

One of the ways it does this is by releasing a molecule of oxygen that penetrates the skin into the follicle lining.

The bacteria responsible for causing acne does not like oxygen and it makes it very difficult for it to survive.

Who Should Use Benzoyl Peroxide?

proactiv with benzoyl peroxide before and after photos

Ten years ago, the answer would have been “anyone suffering from acne”. Benzoyl peroxide is great at eliminating existing acne breakouts.

However, with the rise of adapalene, it’s difficult to recommend benzoyl peroxide.

The exception would be if you have tried adapalene gel and it did not deliver the results you liked or if the adapalene caused an allergic reaction.

It would then be advisable to test a product with benzoyl peroxide.

Are There Any Side Effects?

The most significant side effects of benzoyl peroxide are burning, redness, and irritation. How severe these side effects are will depend on the concentration of the ingredient as well as how often you apply the treatment.

A stronger dose or one that is applied more frequently will have more severe side effects. In most cases, these side effects begin to go away within several weeks of regular use.

There are also rare cases of hypersensitivity as well as phototoxicity.

What’s The Best Benzoyl Peroxide?

Once again, the most affordable and effective acne fighting treatment comes from Proactiv. Proactiv Solution has been manufacturing product lines with benzoyl peroxide for many years.

Check Out Original Proactiv

some bottles of proactiv solution

Their most popular product is the Proactiv Solution 3-step system. The 3 steps are a cleanser, toner, and repairing treatment.

Unlike ProactivMD, all three steps are repeated in the morning and at night.

The first step is the renewing cleanser. The cleanser removes dirt and oil and it prepares the skin for the following stages.

The second step is a revitalizing toner that removes impurities and balances pH levels in the skin.

The final stage is the repairing treatment, which includes the benzoyl peroxide.

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Final Verdict: What’s Better For Acne?

proactiv md with adapalene

Adapalene and benzoyl peroxide both have advantages that make them the best over the counter solutions for fighting acne.

Benzoyl peroxide is strong and can kill bacteria immediately after application. Adapalene is able to not only reduce acne but prevent it as well.

Both of these ingredients are highly effective as are the Proactiv product lines that use them.

However, after years of being number one, it’s safe to say that benzoyl peroxide has been replaced by adapalene as the safest and most effective acne treatment.

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