Benzoyl Peroxide, also known by the trade names Oxy, PanOxyl and Clearasil, is an organic peroxide commonly used for treating acne. Among collectors and the American Girl fan community, it is used for removing ink and dye stains on dolls.
As with most peroxides, benzoyl peroxide acts as a bleaching agent, causing color degradation on certain fabrics and items.
How Dolls Stain
The vinyl used in dolls is a soft, porous material; while it allows for easier repair and servicing, it also makes the dolls' limbs and heads susceptible to staining as dyes and inks can easily seep into and thus stain the plastic.
American Girl attempts to uses colorfast dyes in their doll clothing and often recalls or removes items that have been found to stain dolls, such as the anklets originally sold with Kanani's Lu'au Set. It is recommended that dolls be changed out of brighter or more staining clothing, or that outfits with brighter colors and potential staining be made more colorfast with vinegar rinsing. Non brand clothing and accessories, especially made by third-party brands, may cause deep stains; stray pens and markers can leave unwanted ink marks.
Any doll stained by an American Girl product will be repaired for free through the American Girl Hospital; any doll stained by an outside product will be charged standard repair fees.
Purchasing and Use on Dolls
As benzoyl acts as a bleaching agent, it is possible to use benzoyl to fade set-in stains on vinyl. This property has been put into good use by collectors, as most other substances are of little to no effect with stains.
Benzoyl can be bought over-the-counter at pharmacies, and usually comes in 2.5, 5 and 10-percent concentrations in gel or cream form. The gel is applied to the affected area, along with sun exposure or a warm lamp which helps speeds up the process. Depending on the stain it can take several hours, weeks, or even months for the stain to fade away.
Caution should be taken when applying the cream near painted areas like face paint or clothing. Furthermore, dolls with darker vinyl may have the initial color faded, leaving noticeable patches on the vinyl. It is recommended that dolls be monitored so that only the stain is lost, and that other parts of the doll be covered in towels or cloth to protect them as the stain is faded.