The FDA is warning that “rare but serious and potentially life-
threatening” allergic reactions may occur with some over-the-counter
topical acne products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
Symptoms can include shortness of breath and swelling of the eyes,
face, lips, or tongue and may appear within minutes to longer than a
day after application.
The products in question include those marketed as Proactiv,
Neutrogena, MaxClarity, Oxy, Ambi, Aveeno, Clean & Clear, and store
From 1969 to 2013, roughly 130 serious reactions associated with such
treatments have been reported to the FDA, most since 2012. It’s
unclear whether the reactions were caused by the active ingredients,
the inactive ingredients, or both.
FDA MedWatch safety alert