PanOxyl Bar 5%, Regular Strength Acne Wash
4 fl. oz. for $7.49
Category:Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:11.11.2009
Jar Packaging:False
Tested on animals:Yes

PanOxyl Bar 5%, Regular Strength Acne Wash is a soap-free bar cleanser that contains 5% benzoyl peroxide as the active ingredient. The ingredients that keep this in bar form are difficult to rinse and can make acne worse, while the main detergent cleansing agent, sodium potassium lauryl sulfate, is drying and irritating to skin. Not to mention the benzoyl peroxide’s effect is wasted unless you let this sit on your skin for several minutes, which, given the cleansing base, isn’t a wise idea.


The soap-free, pH balanced formula gently removes dirt and excess oil to cleanse and unclog pores while benzoyl peroxide penetrates to the source, killing the bacteria that cause acne. Ideal for acne that extends to the chest and back.


Active: Benzoyl Peroxide (5%), Other: Cetostearyl Alcohol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Corn Starch, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Mineral Oil, Peg-14m, Silicon Dioxide, Sodium Potassium Lauryl Sulfate, Titanium Dioxide, Water

Brand Overview

PanOxyl At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive.

Weaknesses: Some cleansers are in bar form; no BHA options for those struggling with acne.

This small line of anti-acne products is sold in many drugstores, sometimes positioned near the pharmacy. Knowing that this line comes from a pharmaceutical company (Stiefel) that specializes in dermatology, the incomplete nature of what they offer consumers is very disappointing.

For more information about PanOxyl, call 1-888-438-7426 or visit www.panoxyl-skincare.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

Member Comments
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Friday, July 25, 2014
Cleansers are an effective delivery method for BP

There are actually several studies stating that leaving BP cleansers on for twenty seconds then rinsing is enough for BP to deposit on skin. The same research states they are effective at reducing acne lesions. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3016935/

Reviewed by
Julia E.
Paula's Choice Research Team Response
Replied on: Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thanks for your feedback! The study you included stated “Unfortunately, there are too few studies, and a lack of comparative studies among formulations, to definitively state that any BPO cleanser/wash that is randomly selected for treatment of acne vulgaris, including over-the-counter (OTC) products, can markedly reduce colony counts of P. acnes.”  Also, these studies measure P. acnes content right after washing, which can lead to an impressive reduction of surface bacteria, but not what’s lurking inside the pore. It is inside the pore lining where acne-causing bacteria takes hold, causing a chain reaction that leads to inflammation and, if the conditions are right, a pimple. Removing acne-causing bacteria from skin’s surface is all well and good, but it doesn’t get to the root of the problem in the same way that a leave-on product with benzoyl peroxide could.  These studies looking at benzoyl peroxide in a cleanser formula that compared it to a regular cleanser found that the regular cleanser (without benzoyl peroxide) also removed acne-causing bacteria from skin’s surface.

Saturday, June 14, 2014
I love the panoxly 5% bar , if I can find some I will definitely buy it.

I will buy it if I could. I love that soap.

Reviewed by
cheryl r.
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