Clearasil products with benzoyl peroxide as the active ingredient work by killing acne-causing bacteria on the skin and promoting the turnover of dead skin cells. Clearasil products containing salicylic acid work by improving the skin’s moisture and making it easier for the skin to shed cells.
Clearasil products that contain benzoyl peroxide have antimicrobial properties, which can be especially effective in treating red and inflamed acne. Benzoyl peroxide adds oxygen to the pores, and the bacteria that cause acne cannot survive in an oxygen-rich environment. Reducing the amount of acne-causing bacteria leads to fewer breakouts overall. Benzoyl peroxide also clears pores of dead skin cells that would otherwise create blockages and comedones, so it effectively stops breakouts before they begin. A benzoyl peroxide routine must be continued even after the skin clears, otherwise the acne can return.
Using Clearasil products with salicylic acid works best when the types of acne being treated are blackheads or closed comedones. Salicylic acid increases skin cell turnover rates, which opens pores and allows the blemishes to clear. Salicylic acid cannot kill bacteria or reduce sebum production.
Over-the-counter products with benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can be used together, and using both can increase their effectiveness. It can also increase possible side effects, such as dry skin, peeling and irritation, which result from overuse of both medications.