Dangerous Side Effects from Topical Acne Products

January 19, 2016

Some acne treatments can cause in rare cases, severe allergic reactions that can be life threatening.

The FDA or Food and Drug Administration warns that some acne product s which have the active ingredient benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can cause rare, but serious or even life-threatening reactions or irritation. The active ingredient tis the ingredient which makes the medication effective against the condition or illness sunder treatment.

OTC or over the counter acne products and those that are topical (applied to the skin) are the ones the FDA are warning about. The serious acne products side effects are different from the less harmful irritations which are included in the labels drug facts. These reactions are dryness, burning, peeling, itching, light swelling, and redness at the application site of the product.

Medical officer at the FDA, Mona Khurana, M.D., says that the labels don’t show the possibility of a severe allergic reaction to the product. Consumers need to know about these reactions and what they should do if they happen.

Consumers need to look at the OTC product to see if it contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. This is found on the Active Ingredients section on the Drug Facts label found on the package.

A DSC or Drug Safety Communication has been issues by the FDA to let health care professionals as well as consumers know about the dangers that these products may possess for them.

The products that are of corner go by various names such as Neutrogena, Proactiv, Oxy, Ambi, MaxClarity, Clean & Clear, and Aveeno. These are available as face washes, lotions, cleansing pads, solutions, face scrubs, and toners.

The FDA received 131 reports from 1969 through January 28, 2013 from manufacturers as well as consumers about hypersensitivity-related adverse reactions and allergies associated with these types of products. These reactions occurred within minutes to 24 hours of use in 42% of cases. The persons impacted range in age from 11-78 years.

Reaction Types

The reports said that 42% had severe allergic reactions like shortness of breath, throat tightness. Low blood pressure, wheezing, collapse, or fainting. Other isolated cased reported itching on body or face, hives, or itching on parts of the body where the product wasn’t applied. Swelling of the lips, face, and eyes were also reported.

The FDA isn’t able to determine from the information if the reactions were caused by the inactive ingredients, the active ingredients or some type of combination of them.

Based on the information reported, FDA cannot determine if these reactions were triggered by the products’ active ingredients, the inactive ingredients, or a combination of both. In 44% of cases hospitalization was needed, but there were no deaths.

Who You Need to do if a Bad Reaction Occurs

There are important safety procedures you can use which counter an allergic reaction, such as:

  • If you have had previous hypersensitivity reactions or allergic reactions avoid using the product.
  • If you get itching or develop hives on the body or face, stop use of the product.
  • Don’t use the product and seek medical attention immediately if you develop swelling of the face, lips, eyes, tongue, have throat tightness, difficulty breathing, or feel faint.
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