Is Benzoyl Peroxide Vegan? What Is It Made Of?

By Anett Rannamets. Updated: April 2023.
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Benzoyl peroxide is always vegan. It is synthetically made without animal-based ingredients. Benzoyl peroxide is produced by the reaction of benzoyl chloride, sodium hydroxide, and hydrogen peroxide – all of which are vegan-friendly ingredients.

Benzoyl peroxide is mostly used in skincare for various types of acne. It has anti-inflammatory and exfoliating properties. 

Now, let’s dive into it and see how benzoyl peroxide works.

What Is Benzoyl Peroxide? What Is It Made Of?

Benzoyl peroxide is a fat-soluble peroxide. Due to its fat solubility, the active ingredient absorbs easily into the skin. So, it is great for oily and problematic skin.

Benzoyl peroxide is also known under the names benzoyl peroxide, BPO, and DBPO. It is a colorless powder and in its pure form is explosive when heated.

In skincare, benzoyl peroxide is a peroxide compound made up of two molecules of benzoic acid. It liberates reactive oxygen species in the skin. The ingredient has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and comedolytic properties.

So, dermatologists use it often. Mostly as an active ingredient for the external treatment of acne vulgaris.

Benzoyl peroxide is synthesized industrially. By the reaction of benzoyl chloride, sodium hydroxide, and hydrogen peroxide.

Above all, benzoyl peroxide has been known as a remedy for acne for a relatively long time. Its disinfecting effect was discovered early on, already in 1856.

Why Is Benzoyl Peroxide Used In Skincare?

Benzoyl Peroxide is used in skincare because it has antibacterial properties, it treats acne. Thus it can be found from many products that treat acne. To some extent, benzoyl peroxide also dissolves comedones and exfoliates the skin.

When benzoyl peroxide penetrates into the skin, it releases reactive oxygen radicals. This increases the amount of oxygen in the upper layers of the skin. Hence, disrupts the bacterial metabolism and reduces bacteria. This reaction mediates antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, comedolytic, and keratolytic effects.

First, there is often an aggravated inflammatory response. Then follows comedolysis. The blackheads disappear from the skin and the complexion improves.

The antimicrobial effect works against many bacteria, especially against Propionibacteria and Micrococcaceae.

In rare cases, benzoyl peroxide can lead to allergic sensitization. At the beginning of the treatment, slight skin irritations may occur. For example, redness, itching, a feeling of tension, and burning.

Drying and moderate peeling of the skin are part of the treatment process, too. However, if these signs persist for more than 5 days or more, the treatment should be stopped.

The most common concentrations of over-the-counter Benzoyl peroxide stay between 3-10 percent.

At lower concentrations, benzoyl peroxide products go on the face. At higher concentrations on the back and chest.

Dermatologists often combine benzoyl peroxide with other active ingredients. Usually with retinoids or antibiotics, to intensify the treatment.

But during treatment with benzoyl peroxide, people should avoid UV radiation. As well as the use of other irritating external agents.

FAQ About Benzoyl Peroxide

What is benzoyl peroxide?

Benzoyl Peroxide is a synthetically and chemically produced skincare compound. It has antibacterial properties and treats acne. To some extent, benzoyl peroxide also dissolves comedones and exfoliates the skin.

What is benzoyl peroxide made of?

Benzoyl Peroxide is made synthetically by the reaction of benzoyl chloride, sodium hydroxide, and hydrogen peroxide.

Is benzoyl peroxide vegan?

Yes. Benzoyl peroxide is vegan.


Benzoyl peroxide is a reliable vegan skincare ingredient when it comes to acne. It is soluble in oil and therefore penetrates well into the skin. Its antibacterial effect reduces the growth of bacteria and clears the skin.

However, acne is a more serious skin condition and should be diagnosed by a professional. We recommend that you consult a dermatologist before taking any action on your own.

See also: Vegan Skincare Products

Anett is a passionate journalist, writer, and magazine editor with almost 7 years of experience. Through engaging articles, she brings kinder and more environmentally-friendly choices closer to everybody.