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ERIC Number: EJ823772
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Dec
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 13
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Investigating the Stability of Benzoyl Peroxide in Over-the-Counter Acne Medications
Kittredge, Marina Canepa; Kittredge, Kevin W.; Sokol, Melissa S.; Sarquis, Arlyne M.; Sennet, Laura M.
Journal of Chemical Education, v85 n12 p1655-1657 Dec 2008
One of the most commonly used ingredients in over-the-counter acne treatments in cream, gel, and wash form is benzoyl peroxide. It is an anti-bacterial agent that kills the bacterium ("Propionibacterium acne") involved in the formation of acne. The formulation of these products is extremely difficult owing to the instability of benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide is soluble in polyethylene glycol (PEG) and isopropyl myristate, but it is not stable in these solvents. Also, it is practically insoluble in water and only slightly soluble in ethanol but is very stable in the presence of these solvents. The stability of benzoyl peroxide in PEG or isopropyl myristate is increased upon addition of water or ethanol. Students take on the role of the process chemist and use peroxide strips to investigate the stability of benzoyl peroxide in an over-the-counter acne medication in solutions of water, ethanol, PEG, 50:50 ethanol:PEG, 50:50 water:PEG, isopropyl myristate, and 50:50 ethanol:isopropyl myristate.
Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society. Subscription Department, P.O. Box 1267, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-1267. Tel: 800-691-9846; Tel: 856-931-5825; Fax: 856-931-4115; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A