The problem: You have a pimple. You dab some spot treatment on it, go to bed, and wake up with two problems: the pimple's still there and your beloved designer sheets have streaks of telltale orange from your acne product. Blast! Resolved to never have this happen to me again, I consulted New York City dermatologist Dr. Doris J. Day for some answers.
"At any concentration, even 2.5%, benzoyl peroxide can bleach fabric," she says. "Even if you use a benzoyl peroxide cleanser and don't rinse well enough, it'll bleach your towel and sheets (but it doesn't bleach your skin). Retin-A can also stain because it has a preservative in it, but generally, if you're getting stains from using a retinol product, chances are you're using too much." To find out what Dr. Day thinks is more effective for spots than benzoyl peroxide anyway, read more.
What's the alternative to using benzoyl peroxide?
I actually like salicylic acid better for a spot treatment because it's more of an exfoliant. I actually even like it better than glycolic acid. By the time a pimple has formed, your body has already reacted to it. It's figured out there's something going on there and done it's own attack. Benzoyl peroxide will help control or kill bacteria that causes acne, so it can be useful for prevention.
Do all-natural products stain?
Just because something is a plant extract doesn't mean something won't stain. Grass stains! And many dyes are made from natural materials. It's a good idea to test any product on a piece of fabric if you are worried about stains.