What is Better than Benzoyl Peroxide For Acne & Rosacea?

What is Better than Benzoyl Peroxide For Acne & Rosacea?

You may have seen the recent headlines and product recalls happening now on the back of the independent lab research that demonstrated the common acne treatment Benzoyl Peroxide generates unacceptable levels of benzene when exposed to high heat. 

ETTO does not use Benzoyl Peroxide (BP) in any of our plant-based formulas. We consider our pure Tea Tree oil to be a superior solution to acne, rosacea, and blemishes. The science supports this.

In this article we breakdown what the issue is with BP and Benzene, the side effects of BP and the properties of ETTO Tea Tree oil that make it an excellent choice for topical treatments. 

What is Benzoyl Peroxide?

Benzoyl Peroxide is an ingredient used in many over the counter and prescription medications for treating acne vulgaris. Benzoyl Peroxide is not new. It has been an FDA (Food & Drug Administration) approved topical acne drug for over 60 years and, most recently has also been approved for rosacea treatment.  

Benzoyl Peroxide (BP) is a chemical compound, an oxidiser which is primarily used in the production of polymers, plastics, and as a bleaching agent. As well as a treatment for acne, it is used for teeth whitening. 

While it is a commonly prescribed topical for acne, it also has a high rate of use discontinuation by people due to its intolerable side effects. A 2020 meta-analysis (a systematic review of existing research which is considered the gold standard of evidence quality and validity) demonstrated that the most common side effects were, erythema (skin inflammation caused by an external factor), pruritus (itching), skin burning, facial oedema (facial swelling), rash and hypersensitivity. 

When Does Benzoyl Peroxide Turn Into Benzene?

Testing by independent research lab Valisure, demonstrated that when stored at high temperatures of 50°C and even body temperature of 37°C, Benzoyl Peroxide can generate unacceptably high levels of benzene – over 800 times the conditionally restricted FDA concentration limit of 2 parts per million. 

Push back from brands using BP in their products has included saying it is fine if consumers store the products correctly and people should just avoid leaving their products in a hot car. Is this an acceptable response?

Think about how products get stored and delivered? In cars, in logistic trucks, sitting in postal vans where temperatures can skyrocket very quickly. An outside temperature of 24°C can reach to 50°C inside the car. A hot summer day of 34°C can mean inside car temperatures of 65-plus. Unless brands can guarantee transporting their goods around the world via refrigerated transport, it cannot be guaranteed that these products will not be exposed to high heat. 

We even wonder what it means when you apply the product to your skin, and it sits and absorbs into your skin at 37°C?

Knowing what we all know about BP, does it even matter if it turns into benzene or not? Is an ingredient destined for plastic production and bleaching really something we should be wanting to put on our skin?

We will leave the choice up to the individual, but rest assured, ETTO will never use BP in any of our products.

The Natural & Effective Solution to Benzoyl Peroxide

Studies have compared Benzoyl Peroxide (BP) to other topical solutions including Tea Tree oil. ETTO Tea Tree oil is a great solution because Terpinen-4-ol, the bioactive component extracted from the Melaleuca alternifolia Tea Tree plant is an antimicrobial botanical that has been clinically proven to reduce inflammation and fight against the skin bacteria that causes acne.  

A clinical trial, peer reviewed and published in the Medical Journal of Australia, demonstrated that terpinen-4-ol, the bioactive in ETTO Tea Tree oil, is just as effective as Benzoyl Peroxide at treating acne and with less side effects compared to BP.

Nature has already made the solution for us.

Terpinen-4-ol is Nature's Acne Treatment 

ETTO's Terpinen-4-ol in its purist, unadulterated form is one of nature’s most potent and healing extracts. This next generation in therapeutic botanicals with full-spectrum, steam extracted terpinen-4-ol, is clinically proven to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties.

ETTO Tea Tree plants grown on our New South Wales farm have double the average amount of oil. In a study of random sampling by Senior plant breeder for the government of Western Australia, Digby Growns, he found the Tea Tree plants on ETTOs farm to be the “best Tea Tree plants in existence.” We take these plants and steam distil the oil without chemicals and produce a truly pure oil with the highest concentrate of terpinen-4-ol , averaging 41%.

Within our products we keep the Tea Tree oil whole so the entire plant and all of its components, including terpinen-4-ol, remain intact. These plants and their components form an intricate natural matrix that work synergistically, separating them would likely limit their efficaciousness. We formulate this wonder botanical with plant-based and non-toxic ingredients into effective products that gently nourish, treat and heal acne, rosacea & inflamed skin, like The Clay Mask, Premedicated All Over Body Wash and Micro-dart blemish patches.  

Products using chemical concoctions, synthetic fillers and ingredients initially used for plastic production are damaging to our skin’s protective barrier. Any quick-fix offering short-term results may come at a substantial long-term cost to skin health, creating a constant cycle of trying to heal the skin instead of supporting its natural mechanisms. If side effects are suffered, then not only do we need to treat the initial complaint, but we now also need to restore the skin’s balance after burning and inflammation.

Our recommendation? Avoid a chemical cocktail on your skin and seek safe Acne treatments.

Bassett, I. B., Pannowitz, D. L., & Barnetson, R. S. (1990). A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoylperoxide in the treatment of acne. The Medical journal of Australia, 153(8), 455–458. https://doi.org/10.5694/j.1326-5377.1990.tb126150.x
Baldwin, H., Elewski, B., Hougeir, F., Yamauchi, P., Levy-Hacham, O., Hamil, K., & Harper, J. (2023). Sixty Years of Benzoyl Peroxide Use in Dermatology. Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD22(1), 54–59. https://doi.org/10.36849/JDD.7150
Brun, P., Bernabè, G., Filippini, R., & Piovan, A. (2019). In Vitro Antimicrobial Activities of Commercially Available Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) Essential Oils. Current microbiology, 76(1), 108–116. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00284-018-1594-x
Yang, Z., Zhang, Y., Lazic Mosler, E., Hu, J., Li, H., Zhang, Y., Liu, J., & Zhang, Q. (2020). Topical benzoyl peroxide for acne. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews3(3), CD011154. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD011154.pub2

Shop Benzoyl Peroxide Free Acne Solutions

The Clay Mask, $49


Premedicated All Over Body Foam, $35 each or $70 for two


Micro-dart Blemish Patches, from $17.50


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