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Written By: Robert King, Esq.
Legal Review By: Sandy Fazili, Esq.
The Benzoyl Peroxide Lawsuit is an active lawsuit
See If You Qualify

Benzoyl Peroxide Lawsuit Overview

Recent studies show that popular acne treatment products may contain benzene, a known carcinogen. One of the main ingredients in the products is benzoyl peroxide which reportedly breaks down to the dangerous, potentially toxic substance. Benzene has been linked to an increased risk of the development of leukemia and blood cancers.

If you were diagnosed with an adverse health effect related to the use of benzoyl peroxide, you may be entitled to compensation. Proposed class action lawsuits are being filed across the country. It is strongly recommended that you speak to an attorney to determine if you meet the criteria to file a case. Contact King Law to speak directly with an experienced member of our legal team.

Benzoyl Peroxide Lawsuit Update – July 2024

March 2024: Over a dozen lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers of acne treatment products containing benzoyl peroxide. 

2023: Independent testing of acne treatment products containing benzoyl peroxide indicates a concerning level of the known human carcinogen benzene. The research also shows that the ingredient is prone to breaking down over time, causing the toxic substance.

2022: The FDA releases guidance that drug products should be restricted to 2 parts per million (ppm) of benzene.

On this page:

What Is Benzoyl Peroxide?

Benzoyl peroxide is the generic name for a product commonly used to treat mild to moderate acne. It is sold by numerous manufacturers under several brand names, including Acnecide. The drug works as an antiseptic, helping to reduce skin bacteria and, therefore, eliminate acne.

How Does Benzoyl Peroxide Work?

Benzoyl peroxide acts as an antiseptic, combating acne-causing bacteria. In essence, it kills P. acnes bacteria by delivering oxygen into the pores. The newly oxygen-rich environment inhibits the bacteria’s survival. The drug further promotes skin peeling and reduces excess oil, thereby aiding in unclogging pores.

Acne treatment products contain various concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, including 2.5%, 5%, or 10% for more severe cases.

Active and Inactive Ingredients in Benzoyl Peroxide Products

Products containing benzoyl peroxide contain a number of active and inactive ingredients. The ingredients vary by product. Benzoyl peroxide-based acne treatments include cleansers, toners, and repairing treatments. 

Active and inactive ingredients in benzoyl peroxide products:

Renewing Cleansers:

  • Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide (2.5%)
  • Inactive Ingredients: Water, magnesium aluminum silicate, glyceryl stearate, PEG-100 stearate, sorbitol, various emulsifiers and conditioners, anthemis nobilis (chamomile) flower extract, hydrating agents like sodium hyaluronate, sodium PCA, preservatives, and fragrance.

Revitalizing Toners:

  • Main Ingredients: Water, glycolic acid, sodium hydroxide, polysorbate 20, witch hazel extract, chamomile flower extract, rosehip fruit extract, aloe leaf juice, hydrating and soothing agents, benzophenone-4 (UV filter), colorants (blue 1, yellow 5), preservatives, and fragrance.

Repairing Treatments:

  • Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide (2.5%)
  • Inactive Ingredients: Water, ethoxydiglycol, silicones (cyclotetrasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane), cetearyl alcohol, dimethicone, emulsifiers, propylene glycol, panthenol, allantoin, stabilizers, preservatives, and fragrance.

Products Containing Benzoyl Peroxide:

The use of benzoyl peroxide in acne treatment products is widespread. It is used by numerous manufacturers in products ranging from treatment creams to cleansers and gels. The levels of benzoyl peroxide in the products vary significantly depending on the brand.

Benzoyl peroxide-containing skin care products:

CVS Brands:

  • CVS Health Acne Control Cleanser
  • CVS Health Acne Treatment Cream

Johnson & Johnson:

  • Johnson & Johnson Clean & Clear Continuous Control Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Face Wash
  • Johnson & Johnson Persa-Gel® 10

Neutrogena:

  • Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Spot Gel
  • Neutrogena Stubborn Acne AM Treatment
  • Neutrogena Stubborn Marks PM Treatment

PanOxyl Brands:

  • PanOxyl 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Foaming Wash
  • PanOxyl 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Bar
  • PanOxyl 4% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Creamy Wash

Proactiv:

  • Proactiv Solution® Renewing Cleanser (6 fl oz/177 ml)
  • Proactiv Solution® Renewing Cleanser (2 fl oz/59 ml)
  • Proactiv+® Oil Control Duo – 30 day
  • Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief (0.33oz/9.45g)
  • Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator (6 fl oz/177 ml)
  • Proactiv Solution® Repairing Treatment (3 fl oz/89 ml)
  • Proactiv Solution® Repairing Treatment (1 fl oz/30 ml)
  • Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief Duo (0.33oz/9.45g x 2)
  • Proactiv+® Oil Control Duo
  • Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator (2 fl oz/59 ml)
  • Proactiv+ Pore Targeting Treatment (1 fl oz/30 ml)
  • Proactiv+ Pore Targeting Treatment (3 fl oz/89 ml)

RB Health Clearasil:

  • RB Health Clearasil Rapid Rescue Spot Treatment Cream 
  • RB Health Clearasil Stubborn Acne Control 5 in 1 Spot Treatment Cream

Target Brands:

  • Target Up & Up Acne Spot Treatment
  • Target Up & Up Maximum Strength Acne Medication

Walgreens:

  • Walgreens Daily Creamy Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Face Wash
  • Walgreens Maximum Strength Acne Foaming Wash

Walmart:

  • Walmart Equate Beauty 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Gel
  • Walmart Equate Beauty Acne Facial Cleansing Wash
  • Walmart Equate Beauty Daily Acne Control Cleansing Cream

Other:

  • Asepxia Acne Spot Treatment Cream for Pimples and Blackheads
  • Estee Lauder Clinique Acne Solutions All-Over Clearing Treatment
  • La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Acne Treatment
  • SLMD Skincare Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Lotion

Cancer Causing Chemical in Benzoyl Peroxide Products

On March 6, 2024, Valisure, an independent, accredited lab specializing in the safety testing of drugs and consumer products, issued a warning to consumers about unacceptably high levels of benzene found in benzoyl peroxide (BPO) formulated products. The company, which ultimately analyzed nearly 100 benzoyl peroxide products, found that BPO products can form benzene 800x the concentration limit allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of 2 parts per million (ppm). 

Of grave concern was the fact that the risk of a BPO product developing high concentrations of benzene was across the market and not limited to a specific brand or manufacturer. Additionally, Valisure found that high levels of benzene were detected in the air around the products, indicating an inhalation risk. It was determined that a  Proactiv® product stored in a hot car (158°F) could result in a level of benzene in the air 1,270x the Environmental Protection Agency’s calculated threshold for increased cancer risk. 

The risk for benzene exposure exists in both prescription and over-the-counter acne treatments, particularly when they are exposed to high temperatures. The lab’s findings prompted Valisure to submit a Citizen’s Petition to the FDA urging for the immediate recall of all BPO products.

Benzoyl Peroxide Side Effects and Symptoms

There are both short- and long-term health risks. Side effects may be minor, such as skin irritation, or more severe, such as allergic reactions. Allergic reactions, however, are rare. Inhalation of the product may cause irritation of the nose, throat, and lungs. It may also result in coughing and wheezing. Upon contact, benzoyl peroxide may result in skin and eye irritation. Treatment should be sought immediately for any adverse health effects, even if minor.

Common benzoyl peroxide side effects occurring in more than 10% of users:

  • Dry skin
  • Peeling or red skin
  • Burning or stinging sensation

Rare benzoyl peroxide side effects occurring in more than 0.1% of users:

  • Swollen skin at the site of application 
  • Blisters on the skin
  • Possible severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)

Long-term exposure to benzoyl peroxide products may cause chronic health issues that last for months or years. While it is not classified as a cancer hazard, it is believed that the ingredients in the products may break down and cause high concentrations of benzene, a known human carcinogen.

Benzene Exposure Symptoms and Side Effects

Benzene is a dangerous, toxic substance that has been determined by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to cause cancer in humans. Long-term exposure to benzene can result in the development of leukemia and blood cancer. 

Signs of benzene ingestion:

  • Stomach discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Convulsions
  • Abdominal pain
  • Stomach irritation
  • Risk of death

Signs of benzene inhalation:

  • Drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Pale skin
  • Bumps on skin
  • Tight chest feeling
  • Unconsciousness
  • Euphoria
  • Weakness
  • Risk of death
  • Potential for shock and collapse

Blood cancers associated with benzene skin absorption:

  • Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
  • Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)
  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)
  • Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Aplastic Anemia

Unsafe exposure to benzene for a year or more may result in excessive bleeding, a weakened immune system, anemia, irregular menstrual cycles, and reduced fertility levels.

Benzoyl Peroxide Recalls and Discontinued Skin Care Products

Despite the known dangers of acne treatment products containing benzoyl peroxide, there are no current recalls by the FDA. The independent testing company Valisure submitted a Citizen Petition to request a recall and suspend sales of products containing benzoyl peroxide. 

Valisure’s extensive testing found benzene levels substantially higher than the U.S. FDA’s allowable limit of 2 ppm. It also found that benzene levels increased when stored at high temperatures. When placed in a hot car, benzene levels of one product were detected at 1,270x the allowable limit in the air. 

List of Benzoyl Peroxide Manufacturers

Benzoyl peroxide is widely used throughout the skin care industry. Lawsuits have been filed across the country, with potential class actions looming against the manufacturers that continue to produce benzoyl peroxide acne treatment products. 

Manufacturers of Benzoyl Peroxide:

  • Pharm-RX Chemical Corporation
  • SAE Manufacturing Specialties Corp
  • American Molecules LLC
  • Ravago Chemicals North America
  • United Initiators
  • BariteWorld
  • Del Amo Chemical Co.
  • Graham Chemical
  • Spectrum Chemical Mfg. Corp.
  • Seidler Chemical Co, Inc./Maroon Group
  • Akzo Nobel Chemicals Inc.
  • Mallinckrodt, Inc.
  • Mil-Spec Industries

If you suffered adverse health effects after using an acne treatment product containing benzoyl peroxide, there may be one or more parties that can be held liable. In order to determine whether you have a valid claim for damages, you need to speak with an attorney.

Eligibility and Qualifications to File a Benzoyl Peroxide Lawsuit

The best way to determine whether you meet the criteria to file a benzoyl peroxide lawsuit is by consulting with a lawyer. It is expected, however, that because of the widespread use of the products, millions of people may be at risk for developing adverse health conditions, including cancer, from benzoyl peroxide use. 

Eligibility criteria for a benzoyl peroxide lawsuit:

  • You can provide proof of use of a benzoyl peroxide treatment.
  • You developed cancer or another injury after the use of the product.
  • Your injury can be linked to the use of the product.

Many cases are dependent upon evidence. It is important to retain all documents related to your claim, including proof of use of the product and medical records related to your injuries. 

Evidence to Collect to File a Lawsuit:

Claims against manufacturers based on a dangerous or defective product often rely on evidence. Your attorney can help provide guidance on what evidence you may need to strengthen your case.

Evidence in a benzoyl peroxide lawsuit may include:

  • Medical records
  • Prescription records
  • Product purchase history
  • Communications or warnings about the drug

Retaining all information related to your case can help ensure you receive the best possible outcome. An attorney may also recommend using expert testimony or other evidence throughout the proceedings.

How to File a Benzoyl Peroxide Lawsuit

There are several steps you must take to file a benzoyl peroxide lawsuit. It is important to act quickly as you may only have a limited amount of time to file a claim.

To file a benzoyl peroxide lawsuit, you need to: 

  1. Determine your eligibility
  2. Ensure your case is within the statute of limitations
  3. Gather necessary evidence and documents
  4. Consult with an attorney

An attorney can help guide you through the legal process and ensure you meet all legal requirements. It is important to contact an attorney as early as possible.

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Benzoyl Peroxide Lawsuit

All personal injury cases are subject to a statute of limitations or a legal timeframe within which they must be filed. Statutes of limitations are state-specific, meaning you should file a timely claim to ensure compliance with any legal deadlines. Failure to file within the statute of limitations can negatively impact your case, including eliminating your ability to recover damages. An attorney can help ensure your claim complies with all legal requirements.

Recoverable Damages in the Benzoyl Peroxide Lawsuit

Recoverable damages in a benzoyl peroxide lawsuit may include both economic and non-economic losses. The amount of damages available in your case may depend on several factors, including the severity of your injuries and your injury-related losses. Additionally, certain cases may be eligible for punitive damages due to the defendant’s negligent oversight.

Estimated Benzoyl Peroxide Lawsuit Settlement Amounts

Settlements in a benzoyl peroxide lawsuit are expected to range significantly depending on the severity of the injuries, usage, and type of harm. Individual payouts are estimated to be $100,000 to $500,000, although some cases could resolve for over $1,000,000. You need to speak to a lawyer to determine the anticipated value of your case.

Contact a Benzoyl Peroxide Lawsuit Attorney Today

Were you diagnosed with cancer or another illness related to the use of benzoyl peroxide? Contact our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling defective drug cases. We will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Get the legal help you need now.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Find answers to any questions you have regarding eligibility in the benzoyl peroxide lawsuits below.

Is benzoyl peroxide toxic for skin?
Benzoyl peroxide can cause skin irritation or a severe allergic reaction. Recent studies show that the substance can also break down and result in high concentrations of benzene. Benzene has been linked to an increased risk of the development of certain kinds of cancer after exposure or inhalation.
Does benzoyl peroxide contain benzene?
New research indicates that benzoyl peroxide can break down and produce benzene. Benzene was detected in high levels, particularly when benzoyl peroxide products were stored at high temperatures.
Can benzoyl peroxide cause cancer?
While there is no indication that benzoyl peroxide itself can cause cancer, there is a direct link between benzene and cancer.
Is benzoyl peroxide safe?
Due to the risk of benzoyl peroxide breaking down and causing benzene, it is not considered a safe product. An independent testing lab has requested the FDA take action by recalling products made with the substance.
Has benzoyl peroxide been linked to cancer?
Benzoyl peroxide may break down, causing benzene, which has been directly linked to cancer.
Who qualifies for a benzoyl peroxide lawsuit?
Individuals who used benzoyl peroxide and suffered an adverse health condition as a result of its use may be able to file a lawsuit.
How can I file a benzoyl peroxide lawsuit?
The first step to take when filing a benzoyl peroxide lawsuit is to consult with an attorney. An attorney can help determine whether you are eligible to take legal action.
What acne skin care products contain benzoyl peroxide?
Numerous skin care products contain benzoyl peroxide, including cleansers, toners, and repairing treatments.
What is the deadline to file a benzoyl peroxide lawsuit?
Deadlines to file a lawsuit are state-specific. It is recommended that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible.