How Old Do I Have to Be to Use Benzoyl Peroxide Wash?

Benzoyl peroxide wash is well known to acne sufferers as one of the most effective ways to balance the skin and prevent breakouts from occurring. Working to clear out not just the surface of the skin but also all those subdermal layers for a cleaner, brighter complexion, it’s used by millions of people up and down the country.

Read the small print of this kind of product, and you’ll find certain guidance on how to use it properly, as well as information about who can and cannot use it safely. So, what does it say in terms of age restriction? How young is too young with this kind of wash?

12 Years Old Is the Stated Cut Off

When answering this question, you realise that most kids start getting acne at around 12, which is when their hormones are at their most volatile. As such, the stated cut-off is 12 years of age for using benzoyl peroxide wash, so it’s not recommended that it’s used earlier than this point. 

Of course, if a child experiences the early onset of puberty (some kids have been known to get it as early as 8 or 9), the hormone explosion can cause it much earlier. 

If your child is under 12, it’s probably best to talk to your dermatologist, as there’s a high chance that benzoyl peroxide is going to be a smidgeon too strong for their delicate skin. The good news is that, depending on the severity, there are other things you can do to keep it under control. 

The measures you can take include:

  • Avoiding touching your face – as it’s the most common way to spread bacteria to other parts of your face and body.
  • Tie your hair up if it’s long – if you have zit-prone skin, having your hair draped across your pimples is just asking for trouble. 
  • Never pop your zits – no matter how satisfying and tempting it might be. It’s for the same reason you shouldn’t touch your face – spreading bacteria.
  • Never scrub your face when cleaning – again, this spreads bacteria without you knowing it, as the scrubbing action is almost certain to break the skin or make it inflamed. 
  • Avoid wearing hats/baseball caps – you can’t help but allow your hat or cap to touch your scalp and T-zone, which just makes the area dirtier and oilier. 
  • Wash your face with warm water & mild soap – 1-2 times a day, be sure to give your face a cleanse, but if you start getting redness, drop the frequency.

You may not be able to use benzoyl peroxide wash yet if you’re under a certain age, but there are plenty of other things you CAN do to relieve the symptoms. 

If your dermatologist says that it’s ok for you or your young child to use BP washes, then we’d recommend exercising caution. When using BP washes, it can take a little trial and error to get the ideal strength (they’re available in 2.5%, 4% and 10% strengths) and frequency of application. 

The signs that you’re using something too strong or too frequently include dryness, irritation, flaking and tightness after use. Also, if your child happens to be allergic to benzoyl peroxide wash, the reaction could be more severe, in which case, you should stop using it immediately and speak to your doctor.

Try the product on a small part of their skin (perhaps their arm) first and see if there’s a reaction. If not, and you’re using the lowest concentration, you should be fine.