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Ingredients 101: Benzoyl peroxide


I haven’t been updating my beauty segment since forever. Since I’m pretty nitpicky when it comes to cosmetic ingredients, I’d like to introduce a new section under the segment that explores just that (mainly to divide and conquer future blog posts so you won’t have to scroll so much … ehhehehe). You might ask, why do I feel propelled to write looong posts in the first place? Well, I feel the more we’re educated about what we’re putting on our skin, the wiser we get when choosing one product from another. So to kickstart with this post, let’s discuss the nits and grits on benzoyl peroxide, otherwise known as the ingredient that’s secured itself as industry’s tried-and-true acne treatment.


Natural or synthetic?


Best for?

Treating mild to moderate acne, although those with sensitive skin are recommended to only use it as a spot treatment.

The story

BPO is the world’s most frequently used acne treatment. It’s usually found in OTC acne-targeting cream, gel, lotion, wash, and salve at concentrations 2.5%, 5%, and 10%.

The science

BPO works by getting inside the pores and irritate those acne-causing bacteria that are feeding off your sebum. This deprives them of the necessary nutritional resources to reproduce and thrive. Since bacteria have a short lifetime (up to 48 hours), this nutrient-deprived environment eventually kills them.


You will feel a slight burning sensation at first, so always start small (sunflower seed-sized) with fewer applications (say, once a day). If your skin doesn’t dry up/become itchy/form rashes/starts swelling, work up to three times a day – no more. Keep your BPO product away from your hair, towel, and any form of clothing as it may bleach them. If you have rosacea, BPO may cause irritation and trigger new small pimples to form. If you’re a fellow Asian and you don’t use sunscreen, BPO may result in pigmentation/discoloration as it makes you more sensitive to the sun.

Is it safe?

Well, there was a study a while ago that shows benzoyl peroxide promotes the growth of skin tumor, but the experiment was done on mice. Whether or whether not BPO poses the same issue on human skin, up to this day dermatologists are still prescribing it as a long-term acne medication.




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He gets me.


© tinylittletea
© tinylittletea

Different people don’t always get along, much less opposites (at least, if we’re in it for the long haul). But differences aside, I think one of the reasons why people constantly argue is because we tend to want people to look into our circumstances more than we do assert our own perspective on the matter. We think that others get it from our viewpoint, but truth is, no two individuals see things the same way. We especially expect or assume this level of understanding from the people we believe know us best, and sometimes, these “Why don’t you get it?!” kind of arguments can leave a permanent scar.

If we stop for a minute and pull back to see things from the omniscient perspective, we’ll see how puny our own ego really is. It begs for your constant attention, its desires are fleeting. You can’t endow your full and complete trust into something so volatile. It’s so tiny and so vulnerable that it knows, it has to present itself as one ginormous vessel of pride. It pushes others around it to attend to its needs immediately, and while it’s capable, it’s not in its nature to become the first to shimmy out of its pride. It would go lengths to prevent others from seeing its small nature in all its nakedness1.

Now the billion-dollar question is, why not you be the first? Contrary to logic, breaking out of your giant vessel reduces neither you nor your existence. You’re just laying yourself bare – fully your small self and completely with your fragile thoughts and porcelain feelings. This way, people can see right through your soul. And this way, you don’t have to put the pressure on those who know you best to empathize with you. Stripped off your armors, it’s easier for you to get to the heart of one another2 without leaving scars, and that’s a good thing in His eyes3.


  1. Hebrews 4:13 []
  2. because of the begotten Son, who covers for you []
  3. Colossians 1:22 []
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You’re impatient, hard-headed, and easily angered.


And you know it. People have been telling you all their life. Some of your relationships went downhill in the first place because you’re like that. You should stop being that way, they yelled. You shouldn’t take things too seriously, or too personally. My personal favorite: Why are you so sensitive?!

© tinylittletea

And so it goes. Every thought that comes in your way, you begin to suppress. Every emotion, you’re forced to repress before you even process. And every feeling, even the fleeting ones, is like a fatal flaw that forces you to reprogram your nature without a decent backup. No valuable memory to save, no memory whatsoever. The longer this goes on, the faster you go on reformatting mode on autopilot.

And so …

You are nothing, you said to the mirror.

You are nothing, you shouted at it.

You are nothing, you cried.

“If I have to live like a machine, I’d rather not live,” you finished.

Understand this: You are confusing prominence with significance. You might be a little “different” from others, but that doesn’t mean you’re useless, worthless, and/or are doomed to live a meaningless life1. Just because everybody prefers to see a light, outgoing, extraverted little young lady doesn’t mean you should also appear that way. Just because by now you have declared “I am no-thing” all too many mornings in the mirror doesn’t mean you’re actually no-thing, nor does it ever going to make you one. Why? Because you didn’t make you, and this is not the end, and for as long as it’s not that time of your life yet, like it or not, the filmmaker is still running the script.

Fact that you’re casted in the first place is not an accident. As long as you came out of a womb and still alive and breathing, you have a role to play. It’s some-thing, but it’s not no-thing. It may be a lead role or it may not, but you’re there to help move the story forward, to create history, to play a part that ultimately serves a bigger purpose, some-thing much bigger than you.

Even if you can’t see what’s the whole point of having you around, you must remain in the film2. You can’t be replaced. After all, you’re “different”, and so you’re the only one that fits that particular role in that particular scene in the film. The only difference between films and real life is that one was made for multiple audiences (a.k.a. everybody) whereas the latter was made for an audience of One.

Even if there hasn’t been any good come out of your “differences” yet, without them, you won’t be you. It’s like asking Jennifer Lawrence to play Katniss in real life – you wouldn’t want to see her brooding in front of the camera all the time, would you?

© tinylittletea

  1. 1 Corinthians 1:28 []
  2. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 []
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Nota Bene




Hazel is different. She walks lightly, old man. She walks lightly upon the earth. Hazel knows the truth: We’re as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we’re not likely to do either.

People will say it’s sad that she leaves a lesser scare, that fewer remember her, that she was loved deeply but not widely. But it’s not sad, Van Houten. It’s triumphant. It’s heroic.

(Gus’ letter to Peter Van Houten, The Fault in Our Stars)




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