Hydrogen Peroxide for Skin [Complete Guide]Faizan Khan
You may quickly realize that ‘Hydrogen Peroxide’ is a multi-purpose agent used to address all sorts of issues.
Most famously used as a disinfectant in your home, it is also now popularly used in laundry, drain opening, cleaning jewelry, and one of the more controversial — for skin treatment.
Hydrogen peroxide, owing to its bleaching and antibacterial properties, is used for skin purposes. However, the concerns follow fast — is it safe? Do professionals recommend it?
Read on, for all your concerns will be addressed, and all the hydrogen peroxide skincare hacks will be unveiled.
What Happens When Hydrogen Peroxide Is Applied to Your Skin
Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent and bleach that is also used in many skincare products.
The concentration of hydrogen peroxide varies for different purposes. For example, hydrogen peroxide at a concentration level of up to 10% is used to treat acne, hyperpigmentation, and facial blemishes. Not only that, but it is also capable of creating a relaxing detox bath.
When hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with skin, it releases oxygen and causes foaming, and in the process, removes dead skin cells.
Hydrogen Peroxide for Acne
A 2003 study showed that a 1% hydrogen peroxide was as successful as a 4% benzoyl peroxide solution in clearing acne. Moreover, the study also proved hydrogen peroxide to be less irritating than benzoyl peroxide.
However, the product that was tested happened to be a lipid-stabilized version of the product trade name ‘crystacide,’ which, of course, is not the same as a drugstore bottle of hydrogen peroxide found in your cleaning cabinet.
Hence, the question that arises is whether a drugstore hydrogen peroxide solution can also diminish acne.
The answer is that yes, it is effective when used occasionally in its 3% diluted form. However, note that it is not to be used as a full-on treatment but instead as an emergency spot treatment- when no other treatment is available.
Moreover, it is not a treatment for all types of acne. It will only be effective against inflationary acne- which are red pimples or pus pimples. In addition, hydrogen peroxide will not be effective against cysts since they are too deep and too big.
The cause of the acne must also be considered. For example, if the acne is hormonal, hydrogen peroxide will not cure it even in the long term.
How To Apply Hydrogen Peroxide on Acne
A 3% hydrogen peroxide solution can be considered too harmful for regular use. In addition, it may damage your skin further, hence rendering the road to recovery more complex.
Therefore, the first step to saving your skin is diluting the 3% hydrogen peroxide with equal amounts of water. Then dip a cotton swab in the solution and apply it precisely on your pimple; hold it in place for 5 seconds. The oxygen bubbles will start whizzing to let you know they are working to eliminate the acne.
Be careful not to spread the hydrogen peroxide solution on the surrounding skin.
You can use it twice a day for not more than two days in a row.
Keep the progress in check; if the pimples remain the same or worsen, you need to visit a dermatologist for professional assessment and advice.
Hydrogen Peroxide vs. Benzoyl Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide and benzoyl peroxide both emerge from the same unstable family of molecules.
However, the similarities end there. Benzoyl peroxide is lipid-soluble and coats the skin, whereas hydrogen peroxide is water-soluble and is absorbed into the skin.
Traditionally speaking, ‘Benzoyl Peroxide’ is more commonly accepted as an acne repellant. However, it is also recommended to use benzoyl peroxide to treat your acne, and this is not because its side effects are few.
It mainly has to do with the fact that hydrogen peroxide as an acne repellent hasn’t been fully explored, and hence many of its side effects are still a wonder.
Side Effects of Hydrogen Peroxide as an Acne Repellent
The extra oxygen of hydrogen peroxide is damaging to bacteria. That may have been a fact to celebrate, but there’s more — it’s damaging, not only to the bacteria but also to your healthy cells.
If you use more potent concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, you will likely burn your skin. However, diluted solutions of hydrogen peroxide will not burn but will instead introduce your skin to inflammation, dryness, bleaching, as well as intense damage.
Another important factor to keep in mind is the age of the person facing acne breakouts. If the patient is older, it would be best to steer clear of a hydrogen peroxide treatment.
This is because the reason elderly face acne breakouts are entirely different from those of youngsters. Youngsters usually have a high concentration of propionibacterium acne, which can be repelled using antibacterial treatments.
Therefore using hydrogen peroxide will do no wonders for older victims of acne. Instead, it will aggravate their skin conditions further. For that reason, hydrogen peroxide is beneficial to youngsters who break out.
Hydrogen Peroxide for Wounds
For ages now, hydrogen peroxide has been stored in medical cabinets, used to disinfect wounds.
Let’s say hydrogen peroxide is a two-faced disinfectant. On the one hand, it might seem like it disinfects and heals your wounds. While on the other hand, it is destroying your good cells that promote healing. It also hinders the growth of new tissue hence upturning the road to healing.
When hydrogen peroxide is used on wounds, it can also lead to blistering, worsening wounds, and an increased risk of infection.
Therefore, it’s due time to set hydrogen peroxide free from its medical duties. Soap and a warm water wash would be a better alternative!
Hydrogen Peroxide for Skin lightening
Hydrogen peroxide, owing to its bleaching properties, is used for skin lightening.
These dark patches on your skin may be caused by aging, scars, sun damage, medications, or fluctuations in hormones.
Be warned that hydrogen peroxide also can stimulate skin irritation and breakdown. However, we aim to eliminate these side effects by using other ingredients together with hydrogen peroxide. Read on to discover our safe treatments!
Although, if you have susceptible skin, it would be better to consult your dermatologist beforehand.
Making a Hydrogen Peroxide Face Mask Cream To Lighten Skin
This easy to create cream includes three ingredients! Be stationed with your flour, milk, and hydrogen peroxide.
- Grab a plastic bowl or container and add 2.5 tbsp (20g) of flour, 1 tbsp (30mL) of milk, and 2 tbsp (30mL) of 3% hydrogen peroxide.
- Give the ingredients a good mix with a plastic spoon or wooden spatula until they form into a paste. At this stage, the consistency may be pretty thick. Next, add a few drops of warm water to get it into a cream-like consistency and stir the substance. Continue to do so until it is at an easily spreadable consistency. Be cautious not to end up with a water-like paste that drips off your face.
- You can apply the mask with either a brush or your hands. After you have done so, wash your hands and the brush with soap and warm water. Make sure to not get the paste into your hairline or eyebrows- unless you aim to bleach them. If you end up smudging the paste into your hairline, make sure to rinse them immediately.
- Let the mask sit for 10 minutes before washing it off. If it dries out earlier than that, you must wash it off. If you feel as thorough as your mask dried out too early, consider adding more water into your paste next time to keep it moist for longer.
- Splash a bit of warm water onto your face before gently wiping it away with your fingertips. Wash your face with water until all signs of the cream are gone. Proceed to pat your face dry using a towel.
- Use this face mask once a week for the best results. If you notice your skin becoming irritated or red, immediately stop this treatment.
Points for cautions:
Make sure to pour hydrogen peroxide onto the measuring spoon rather than dip the spoon into the bottle- you do not want to end up contaminating the bottle of hydrogen peroxide.
Moreover, make sure to avoid using a metal spoon as it may lead to some unrequited reactions with hydrogen peroxide.
Avoid leaving the mask on for longer than instructed; otherwise, the result may be very dried-up and damaged skin.
Ensure that your measurements are as precise as possible. Hydrogen peroxide is a potent bleaching agent, and its damaging properties have to be leveled out by milk and flour.
Treating Facial Blemishes and Discoloration With Hydrogen Peroxide
This technique is quite simple. Pour 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide onto a cotton swab. Ensure that the swab is small so you do not risk smudging the hydrogen peroxide formula onto your healthy skin.
Rub the cotton swab in the discolored or dark patches. Wait 10 minutes before washing it off with lukewarm water. Use your hands to splash the water onto the affected area multiple times.
Repeat this procedure once a week for your desired results.
Points for caution:
Moreover, ensure that you don’t blotch other areas of your skin because hydrogen peroxide will end up bleaching those areas too. This will result in an uneven skin tone.
After washing off the hydrogen peroxide, ensure there isn’t a trace of hydrogen peroxide left on your face, or else you may burn or irritate your skin.
To ensure your skin is not sensitive to hydrogen peroxide, apply hydrogen peroxide on a small spot initially. Then, if you do not see any signs of aggravation on your skin, you may continue.
Lighten Dark Patches of Skin Using Hydrogen Peroxide
This treatment is not explicitly directed towards your face. It is more to lighten dark patches of skin located all over your body. These include; elbows, underarms, or knees.
- Get ahold of mild unscented soap and start grating it using the grater. You need 2 tbsp (30g) of soap. If you do not have a grater, you can cut up the soap using a knife until you obtain 2 tbsp. Toss the cut-up or grated soap into a plastic container.
- Proceed to add 2 tbsp (30mL) of hydrogen peroxide into the container. It is normal to witness some bubbling.
- Use a plastic spoon or spatula to stir the ingredients until you form a paste. You are likely to find the mixture foaming quite a bit, which is also expected.
- Use the plastic spoon or wooden spatula to scoop out the paste and evenly spread a thin layer onto the darkened areas.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes and try not to fidget during this period. This is because you do not want your skin to crease or move, else the process will slow down.
- After 10 minutes, wash off the paste using warm water. Avoid scrubbing the area so that the skin does not get irritated.
- Repeat this procedure once a week for 1-2 months.
Soften Heels & Eliminate Foot Odor Using Hydrogen Peroxide
Pour equal amounts of warm water and hydrogen peroxide into a foot bath. Soak your feet in the potion and spend the next 10 minutes relaxing while pretending to be at a spa.
That’s all you need for soft heels and smell-free socks!
Brighten Discolored Nails Using Hydrogen Peroxide
Many use nail polishes to vent their creativity. If this escape results in orange or yellow-hued nails, you’re probably spiraling in a lot of disappointment.
However, you need not worry because hydrogen peroxide will once again boost your self-esteem using its bleaching properties.
Pour a bit of hydrogen peroxide onto a cotton ball and place it on top of your discolored nails for a few minutes. Once you are done, rinse your nails with water and proceed to apply cuticle cream or lotion onto your nails. This will soothe any irritation caused by hydrogen peroxide.
Another way to treat your discolored nails is by merging 1 tbsp of hydrogen peroxide and 1 tsp of baking soda with water to create a paste. Now use a toothbrush to lather and scrub this paste onto your nails.
Proceed to soak your fingers and feet in warm water and rinse them clean after 10 minutes. Immaculate nails are bound to shine back at you!
Enjoy a Detox Bath Using Hydrogen Peroxide
If your skin has been feeling icky lately, it’s probably time you treated yourself to an oxygen-rich bath. Hydrogen peroxide tends to release oxygen upon contact with water. This terminates all toxins and free radicals, in turn creating a relaxing environment.
To create the comforting solution, you need to combine 2 tbsp of ginger powder with 2 tbsp of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Pour this solution into your warm bath and bathe in it for 30-40 minutes. Afterward, rinse off with warm water.
The ginger holds anti-inflammatory properties which aid in curing body aches, allergies, and congestion.
You will emerge from this bath ready to face life head-on.
Clear Blackheads and Whiteheads Using Hydrogen Peroxide
When pores on the skin get clogged due to excessive oil, it results in an abundance of whiteheads and blackheads splattering your face. They’re a lot like freckles, except they’re not nearly as cute.
This hydro-technique is all you need for a clear face. Combine equal amounts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and water in a container. Dip a cotton ball in the solution and apply and pat the solution onto your blackheads and whiteheads.
We are breaking free of the 10-minute time restraint on this technique. Leave it on overnight and rinse with warm water in the morning!
Make sure to moisturize with olive or coconut oil. Use this treatment weekly for up to 4 weeks for the best results.
Side Effects of Hydrogen Peroxide
There are a variety of side effects that hydrogen peroxide is capable of causing. They vary according to whether you touch, inhale or swallow hydrogen peroxide.
Contact with hydrogen peroxide can lead to dermatitis (eczema), burning, blistering, hives, redness, itchiness, and irritation.
Inhaling hydrogen peroxide can lead to nose and eye irritation and convert into coughing, chest congestion, shortness of breath, and bleeding in the lungs.
Swallowing hydrogen peroxide can result in oxygen bubbles forming in your stomach. This may stimulate vomiting and foam in the mouth. You can expect an upset stomach and mouth soreness.
Moreover, hydrogen peroxide can cause digestive tracts to bleed and the esophagus to burn. Other symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and dizziness are also common. There can be life-threatening situations where fluid can build up in the lungs. In swallowing hydrogen peroxide, be quick to rush to the hospital or call for medical care.
But do note that the intensity of these symptoms depends on your body’s sensitivity level and the level of concentration of hydrogen peroxide. A 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide is unlikely to cause such severe symptoms.
Hydrogen Peroxide — The Ultimate Life Hack
You may have noticed the extent to which hydrogen peroxide has eased lives.
It not only finds solutions for everyday life problems, for example, related to laundry or unclogging drains. But it is also now a way to boost your self-esteem and resolve your bodily issues.
Grab your 3% hydrogen peroxide and start hydro-hacking your way through life.