How To Prevent Benzoyl Peroxide Bleaching

by Miki Hayes
woman dispensing product on cotton round
Elena Noviello/Moment/Getty Images

If you've ever struggled with acne, you may have tried benzoyl peroxide to zap it. And even though products containing this ingredient warn that it may bleach fabric, you still always learn the hard way yourself. But with the right precautions, there are ways to use benzoyl peroxide without bleaching everything you own.

As someone who has used benzoyl peroxide to treat acne off and on for the past decade, I'll admit that it can be, at times, a rather frustrating ingredient to work with. It's not always easy to stain-proof your life so you can commit to using benzoyl peroxide regularly. But if you can overcome your lazy side to practice a preventative measure or two, you'll be able to continue using benzoyl peroxide without the stress of potentially bleaching everything you touch. After all, as with most skin care products, consistency is key to seeing results.

In addition to making sure to always rub in your benzoyl peroxide treatment thoroughly, waiting for it to completely dry before dressing, and trying your best not to sweat, here are seven more ways to prevent it from staining your clothes, towels, and sheets. And yes, it does involve wearing a lot of white.

1. Use White Sheets

DDF Benzoyl Peroxide Gel, $36, DDF Skincare

A great time to use products with benzoyl peroxide, especially if you like to use it to treat body acne, is before bed. This way, you don't have to worry about bleaching your favorite top. But if you don't want to worry about bleaching your sheets and pillowcase either, switch to white ones. That way, you can sleep peacefully without worrying about staying perfectly still.

2. Sleep On A White Towel

On-the-Spot Acne Treatment, $7, Neutrogena

If you're not about changing your sheets for an acne treatment though, just lay a white towel down over your pillow, or where any targeted areas might touch your sheets.

3. Wear White

Claror Acne Treatment, $20, Amazon

If you don't use benzoyl peroxide treatments everyday, save your white tops for the days when you do. Or if you prefer to apply your treatment at night, sleep in a white shirt, or even an old one that you won't mind getting stained.

4. Try A Wash

Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser, $7, Ulta

Another way to minimize benzoyl peroxide bleaching is using it in the form of a wash. As long as you take extra care to rinse yourself off before hopping out of the shower, there shouldn't be enough residue left to bleach any of your clothes. If you want to be extra careful though, use a white towel to dry off, as your towel has the highest risk of bleaching.

5. Wear An Undershirt

Anti Bac Clearing Lotion Acne Treatment, $42, Kate Somerville

If you still prefer using your benzoyl peroxide treatment before dressing for the day, try wearing a white tee shirt or tank under your top. This may not always be the most practical solution, especially in the summer. But when it's colder out, having that extra layer will not only keep your cute sweaters from being bleached, but it will also keep you extra warm.

6. Quarantine Your Belongings

PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash, $9, Target

When it comes to washing the clothes, sheets, and towels that you allow to come in contact with your benzoyl peroxide treatment though, be sure to keep them separated from the rest of your washables. There's a chance that when you do the laundry, the items you have that are "infected" could transfer some of that bleaching agent to your other garments. So to be safe, always wash your benzoyl peroxide-tainted items separately.

7. Go Stain-Resistant

Benzoyl-Peroxide Resistant Microfiber Sheet Set, $20, Bed Bath & Beyond

The things I wish I had known when I was younger. If you don't want to have to deal with restricting yourself to all-white ensembles, sleeping in old pajamas, or converting to white sheets, look into stain-resistant bedding and towels that will maintain their colors in the face of benzoyl peroxide. This way, you don't have to sacrifice your colorful side for your acne treatment.

Images: Elena Noviello/Moment/Getty Images; Courtesy of Brands