Hydrogen Peroxide and Acne: Does It Really Work?

Ever woken up the day before a big date, only to find a huge zit on your face?

I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there at some point, whether it was before a hot date, picture day, or some other important day where you had to look your best.

We’re always told to leave our acne pimples alone, but it’s pretty difficult to resist popping them when they crop up at the most inconvenient times. And it’s all well and good to go out and buy acne products, but they usually don’t work immediately, and if they do, they’re usually expensive.

Thankfully, there’s a quick and easy remedy you can try at home: hydrogen peroxide. And since you likely have a bottle of the stuff in your bathroom cabinet, it won’t cost you anything!

How does it work?

First of all, the thing to remember is that hydrogen peroxide is a temporary acne solution. It doesn’t address the root cause of your acne, but only treats the symptom, and in fact using hydrogen peroxide too much will dry out your skin and potentially cause peeling.

Putting that aside, hydrogen peroxide works because it kills the bacteria on your skin that’s fostering those ugly pimples in the first place. It also oxygenates your pores, which helps prevent future pimples by creating an environment where those nasty bacteria can’t live.

How do you apply it?

It’s easy! Just follow these four steps:

  1. Before applying hydrogen peroxide to your acne, first clean your face with a mild soap or cleanser. Once all dirt and oils have been removed from your skin, pat dry with a towel.
  2. Soak a cotton ball or Q-tip in the hydrogen peroxide, and apply it to your individual acne pimples. You can also apply it to the rest of your face to help prevent future breakouts, but be warned—doing this too often can result in drying out your face, and it is NOT a permanent solution.
  3. Sit back and let the peroxide do its work! It’ll start bubbling up, killing those bacteria and drying out those pimples.
  4. Once the bubbling stops, rinse your face with water.


Watch the hair. Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, so if you have long hair, make sure you’ve pulled it away from your face before you start splashing hydrogen peroxide on it!

Stronger is not better. When buying hydrogen peroxide, you want a bottle that’s diluted to around 3%. Using more highly concentrated versions can burn your skin and increase scarring!

Skin damage. As mentioned earlier, hydrogen peroxide can dry out your skin, which leads to premature aging (wrinkles), so make sure to use sparingly. Purportedly, it’s been said that hydrogen peroxide actually kills skin cells and prevents new ones from forming, which may increase the likelihood of acne scar development.

The verdict?

Hydrogen peroxide is a quick, easy and inexpensive way to treat acne if you’re in a bind. But it’s definitely not a permanent solution, and with the harsh effects it can have on your skin its best only to use it in emergencies.

If you’re dealing with regular breakouts, the best thing to do is figure out what’s causing them in order to make them go away. Covering up the symptoms is only temporary—it isn’t a real solution. If you have acne, there is a good chance that you are deficient in a few different vitamins. The best way to deal with vitamin deficiencies that lead to acne is here.

But if you’ve really got that hot date tonight, then bring out the bottle!


What are your thoughts on hydrogen peroxide and acne?


17 thoughts on “Hydrogen Peroxide and Acne: Does It Really Work?

  1. I just wanted to say thank you Innate Skin! 6 months ago I got off the benzoyl peroxide roller coaster and starting taking your Clear Skin Vitamin Pack and my skin has never been better. I have also been using hydrogen peroxide as a spot treatment anytime I get a small blemishes and it works great! Thank you thank you thank you!

  2. I don’t understand why my face hurts so bad and why it’s so itchy I don’t know when the bubbiling stops ?? Idk but it hurts really bad so I hope that it works

    1. Hi Brooke,

      Are you using 3% or something stronger? You should use a max of 3%. You also might want to try it as a spot treatment and not put all over your face if that is what you are doing.

    2. I put hydrogen peroxide only on my pimples after cleansing and moisturizing and my face is fine.

  3. I’m just have aplicated this on my face hopefully it works have heard a lot of good comments about this so I’m excited to see my results…

    1. Hi Cody,

      It’s not a permanent solution no, you need to determine what is causing your acne if you are looking for a permanent solution.

    1. Just put it on without opening up the pimple. It will help dry it out quickly.

    1. It can be very drying so you may use it every night for a short period of time, then use as necessary.

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