Advice and Guidance for Dermatologists for BPO-Containing Products from Dr. Christopher Bunick 

Recent revelations about the presence of benzene in benzoyl peroxide (BPO)-containing acne products have put dermatologists in a challenging position. Patients are understandably concerned about the safety of their acne products, which has prompted dermatologists to carefully consider how they advise their patients in this matter.

LiVDerm Advisory Board Medical Chair and associate professor of dermatology and physician-scientist at the Yale School of Medicine, Christopher G. Bunick, MD, PhD, who has been closely following this topic, has provided the below guidance for his colleagues navigating this complex landscape.

Christopher Bunick, MD, PhD
Christopher G. Bunick MD, PhD

In a recent social post Dr. Bunick states, “A proportional response is needed for the time being, until further investigation and recommendations come.” Dr. Bunick goes on to list important steps that should be taken into consideration by dermatologists and their concerned patients.

  • Any BPO-containing products that have been subjected to hot bathrooms, cars, or other heated environments should be thrown away.
  • Any BPO-containing products that are expired should be thrown away.
  • If a patient and/or physician wants to continue using their BPO-containing product, Dr. Bunick advises to store these at 4°C or in the refrigerator. He adds that while this will not necessarily eliminate the risk of benzene, it should slow down any temperature-dependent degradation of BPO.
  • Replace your BPO-containing products regularly. This is recommended as every 3-6 months to avoid long-term accumulation of benzene.

In the same message, Dr. Bunick also suggests that both the industry and pharmacies should consider adopting “cold chain” storage for BPO-containing products, maintaining a temperature of 4°C throughout the entire lifecycle. This includes storage from the manufacturer to the pharmacy or shelf, and finally to the homes of patients or consumers.

As trusted healthcare providers, dermatologists need to prioritize the safety and well-being of their patients by staying informed about any product recalls, patient education, and the recommendation of alternative options if necessary. Dr. Bunick ends by stating, “As further information and guidance comes, we as a dermatology community can move forward with what is always in the best interest of our patients.”


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