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Benzoyl Peroxide Interest Plummets Post-Petition: RSV Drops from 86.19 to 22.06 in 2024, Reflecting Sustained Downward Trend


Recent research has shed light on public interest of BPO utilizing relative search volume data.

Public interest in benzoyl peroxide (BPO) experienced a substantial decline following Valisure LLC's March 2024 petition to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting a recall of BPO products, according to a paper published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.1

The paper also found that based on relative search volume (RSV) data, BPO wash demonstrated variable patterns of interest, while Inova maintained stable interest, and PanOxyl experienced a significant decrease in RSV interest.

White, unlabeled skin care products in a lineup
Image Credit: © issaronow - stock.adobe.com

Background and Methods

Valisure published its Citizen's Petition to the FDA following the testing of 66 BPO acne products, reporting that some products contained up to 12 times the FDA-allowed benzene limit. Affected products included Proactiv 2.5% BPO cream, Up & Up 2.5% BPO cream, and more.2

Experts also published a research letter, Benzoyl Peroxide Drug Products Form Benzene, in Environmental Health Perspectives, outlining the detection of benzene in BPO products during stability testing at temperatures mimicking body (37°C), shelf-life (50°C), and transportation (70°C) conditions.3

In order to analyze the interest patterns of BPO surrounding this news, researchers Tan et al, utilized Google Trends data to conduct a query to collect RSV data. They then compared RSV data from March and April 2024 to the March-April time period of the previous years 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023.


RSV, scaled from 0 to 100, indicated a significant decline in interest post-petition across multiple BPO-related search terms from March to April 2024 compared to preceding years (2020-2023).

BPO also showed a marked decrease in RSV from 86.19 in 2023 to 22.06 in 2024 (p < 0.001), consistent with a downward trend observed in earlier years. Conversely, BPO wash exhibited variable patterns but also experienced a decline in 2024 compared to 2023 (p = 0.015).

Statistical analyses highlighted consistent decreases in RSV for BPO products overall from 2023 to 2024 (p < 0.001), indicating waning public interest following the petition.

Specific products, such as Inova, maintained stable search volumes, while PanOxyl saw a significant RSV decrease in 2024 (p < 0.001).


Researchers identified several limitations. These included the lack of BPO-related search terms specific to RSV data and the absence of RSV data corresponding to particular BPO-related search terms, such as brand names of BPO-containing products, within the 2020 to 2024 period. Additionally, the study noted that Google Trends analysis does not provide access to RSV data from alternative search engines and cannot segment data by subpopulations, offering insights solely at the population level.

Moving forward, they noted the need for more comprehensive datasets.

"Our examination of Google Trends data post-Valisure's FDA petition in March 2024 highlights nuanced shifts in public interest regarding BPO products, providing insights into consumer perceptions amidst safety concerns and the interplay between these concerns and consumer behavior," according to Tan et al.

In the future, they recommended that dermatology clinicians and health care providers adapt communication and treatment strategies based on changing perceptions and patient safety concerns.


  1. Tan IJ, Sanabria B, Dhillon J, Rao B. Public interest in benzoyl peroxide: A Google Trends analysis. J Cosmet Dermatol. Published online June 14, 2024. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.16408
  2. Valisure citizen petition on benzene in benzoyl peroxide drug products. Valisure. March 5, 2024. Accessed June 26, 2024. https://assets-global.website-files.com/6215052733f8bb8fea016220/65e8560962ed23f744902a7b_Valisure%20Citizen%20Petition%20on%20Benzene%20in%20Benzoyl%20Peroxide%20Drug%20Products.pdf
  3. Kucera K, Zenzola N, Hudspeth A, et al. Benzoyl peroxide drug products form benzene. Environ Health Perspect. 2024; 132(3): 37702. doi:10.1289/EHP13984
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