Just like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide works by breaking up dead skin cells that can clog pores. It has the added benefit of killing the bacteria that help contribute to acne.
Benzoyl peroxide is the active ingredient in such acne-fighting preparations as Clearasil and ProActiv. Just like salicylic acid, it can take a while to be effective, so give it a good four to six weeks to kick in. A range of strengths is available, so look for something containing about 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide and then work your way up if it isn't effective. (Benzoyl peroxide can irritate the skin in high dosages.)
If benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid proves too harsh for your skin, you might want to consider using a gentler product such as the Cetaphil antibacterial bar, which can help keep the skin germ-free and clean without causing irritation. Another possibility would be to use a 5 percent solution of tea tree oil, which has natural antibacterial properties.