The key difference between hydrogen peroxide and benzoyl peroxide is that the hydrogen peroxide is water soluble whereas the benzoyl peroxide is water insoluble.
Hydrogen peroxide and benzoyl peroxide have somewhat similar names and similar functional groups, but they behave differently. Apart from the above key difference between hydrogen peroxide and benzoyl peroxide, another major difference between the two compounds is that hydrogen peroxide is an inorganic compound while benzoyl peroxide is an organic compound.
What is Hydrogen Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide is an inorganic compound having the chemical formula H2O2. When it is pure, it has an as pale blue colour, and it is a clear liquid. Moreover, this liquid is slightly more viscous than water. Also, this is the simplest peroxide among all the peroxide compounds.
Among the application of hydrogen peroxide, the major applications include using it as an oxidizer, bleaching agent and as an antiseptic. There is an unstable peroxide bond between two oxygen atoms in this compound; thus, the compound is highly reactive. Therefore, it slowly decomposes when exposed to light. Furthermore, we need to store this compound with a stabilizer in a weakly acidic solution.
The molar mass of hydrogen peroxide is 34.014 g/mol. Hydrogen peroxide has a slightly sharp odour. The melting point is −0.43 °C, and the boiling point is 150.2 °C. However, if we boil hydrogen peroxide to this boiling point, practically it undergoes explosive thermal decomposition. Furthermore, this compound is miscible with water because it can form hydrogen bonds. There, it forms a eutectic mixture with water (a homogenous mixture that melts or solidifies at a single temperature). This mixture shows freezing point depression.
What is Benzoyl Peroxide?
Benzoyl peroxide is an organic compound having the chemical formula C14H10O4. There are two major applications of this compound; as medication and as an industrial chemical. The molar mass is 242.33 g/mol. It has a melting point in the range of 103 to 105 °C. However, it tends to undergo decomposition. It is water-insoluble because it cannot form hydrogen bonds with water molecules.
This compound is a major ingredient in medication and cosmetics that we use to treat acne. We use it to treat mild or moderate acne conditions. Other than that, we use this compound as bleaching flour, for hair bleaching purposes, teeth whitening, textile bleaching purposes, etc. There are some side effects of using benzoyl peroxide such as skin irritation, dryness, peeling, etc.
What is the Difference Between Hydrogen Peroxide and Benzoyl Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide and benzoyl peroxide are two chemical compounds containing peroxide groups. The key difference between hydrogen peroxide and benzoyl peroxide is that the hydrogen peroxide is water soluble but, the benzoyl peroxide is water insoluble. Moreover, hydrogen peroxide is an inorganic compound while benzoyl peroxide is an organic compound.
Another important difference between hydrogen peroxide and benzoyl peroxide is, hydrogen peroxide can form hydrogen bonds due to the presence of –OH groups but, benzoyl peroxide cannot form hydrogen bonds since there are no –OH groups or any other hydrogen bond forming groups.
Summary – Hydrogen Peroxide vs Benzoyl Peroxide
Both hydrogen peroxide and benzoyl peroxide are peroxide compounds but are different from each other. The key difference between hydrogen peroxide and benzoyl peroxide is that hydrogen peroxide is water soluble whereas benzoyl peroxide is water insoluble.
1. M. Mikhail, T. Young, in Decontamination in Hospitals and Healthcare, 2014
2. “Hydrogen Peroxide.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Available here