Dr. Oz: Allergic Reactions to Acne Medication
Dr. Oz talked to Dr. Holly Phillips about the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling the safety of products containing benzyl peroxide and salicylic acid into question. These are key ingredients in acne medications and have been for decades.
Side effects to medications using these chemicals are usually mild, like flakiness and dry skin. However, the FDA has been getting reports of more serious reactions, including life-threatening ones. There’s been a dramatic increase in allergic reactions.
Common reactions include contact dermatitis, with peeling, redness, and swelling. This is just skin deep. But serious adverse reaction involves the entire system, not just the skin. These can cause big swelling, big hives, itchy throat, wheezing, and trouble breathing.
Dr. Oz: Over the Counter Acne Medications Reactions
There are different strengths of these chemicals in acne medication. Benzoyl peroxide can be found in up to 10 percent strength and salicylic acid can be found in up to 2 percent strength. Start with a low dose and increase it gradually if you’re not having side effects.
Right now, the FDA is not requiring new labeling, but it is encouraging manufacturers to provide new directions for sensitivity testing.
Dr. Oz: What are Patients Reacting to in Acne Medications?
The FDA isn’t actually clear on whether these reactions are to the inactive ingredients in acne medications or these specific chemicals. But the good news is that these severe reactions are relatively rare.
Dr. Oz reached out to the Personal Care Products Council, who said, in part: “We recognize that there are sensitive populations who may be allergic to certain ingredients. Those consumers should alert the manufacturer… to help identify the ingredients found on the label.”
Dr. Oz: How to Test Acne Products
Dr. Phillips said we should test the product for about two weeks before using it all over. Take a tiny dab and put it right in front of the ear. This will help you see whether there’s any redness or irritation that develops.
One natural alternative for acne medications is tea tree oil, which is useful for mild acne.