Acne Products Can Have Unhealthy Side Effects
There are many over-the-counter skin treatments for acne, promising to help keep your skin clear of blemishes. However, some of these treatments could also bring about dangerous reactions that could cause harm and even in rare cases be life threatening.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has even issued a warning about products containing the ingredients salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, stating that these substances can cause allergic reactions that can most commonly lead to skin irritation, but also in rare cases the reaction could be life-threatening.
Reports of 131 serious allergic reaction prompted the FDA to issue this warning on products, including cleansing pads, facial lotions, washes, gels, facial scrubs and toners.
Bad Reactions are Allergy-like
The FDA reports included the following severe allergy symptoms:
- Throat tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Low blood pressure
Isolated instances of itching, redness of skin, rashes, hives and other minor irritation such as swelling of eyes, face and lips occurred not only where these products were directly applied but sometimes also on other parts of the body.
Nearly half of all sufferers reported adverse reactions within 24 hours of using the products. While no deaths were reported, about 44 percent of sufferers with severe reactions required hospitalization. Your best bet is to use a natural facial scrub that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals.
Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid
The active ingredients in the products targeted by the FDA warning include either benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Although, the FDA has not been able to determine if the adverse reactions are being caused largely by the products’ active ingredients, inactive ingredients or if the combination of both is triggering irritation and adverse side effects.
Salicylic acid: It is made from substances contained in willow tree bark and is known to reduce swelling and redness while helping to clear pores and helping to shrink pimples. It is also known to soften and loosen, thick, scaly or dry skin to help alleviate other skin problems.
Benzoyl peroxide: This topical antibiotic is used to remove and kill bacteria that is present on the skin. This process helps reduce and prevent potential skin infections.
It is still safe to use these products containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, but it is important to begin with small amounts and pay attention to any adverse changes or signs of allergic reactions. Use low potency at first; Benzoyl peroxide is available in several concentrations deemed safe (usually 2.5 percent through to 10 percent.) 5 percent and 10 percent. While the higher concentrations are not known to be more effective than lower ones, the instances of allergic reactions are greater among users of higher concentrations.
Note Well: Experiences of minor irritation may occur, and you should discontinue use. Please seek medical attention at once if you present with any of the signs and symptoms of severe allergic reactions.