Do you use Proactiv®? Many of my acne patients have tried it. Some felt it helped, others felt it didn’t. Proactiv was developed by two dermatologists; its success lies not in the actual product but in the way they have you use it.
It is an absolute truth that almost any acne treatment works and almost every acne treatment fails. It depends on one thing: Do you actually use it?
The active ingredients in Proactiv are the antibacterial benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid, a mild acid that helps skin exfoliate. These ingredients are available in generic forms at drugstores and supermarkets throughout America.
“You can get the same amount of benzoyl peroxide at a drugstore at a fraction of the cost and it will work as well, provided that you use it,” said Dr. Hilary E. Baldwin, the vice chairwoman of the dermatology department at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.
So why do people buy Proactiv for $40 when they can do the same thing for $4? Because of the nicely packaged product, the three step program, and the cute spokesmodels, of course.
Proactiv encourages you to be, well, proactive about your acne. By dividing the treatment into a three step process, it helps teens (and adults) stay on the program. The creators of Proactiv understand that the key to treating acne is you must treat the acne; if you don’t use your products everyday, then they won’t work. This is surprisingly hard to do.
Although most of us think that we use the medications prescribed for us, studies have shown that is simply not true. Researchers in dermatology used electronic recording devices to measure how often patients were actually using topical medication: they found that compliance (how often patients used the prescription) was only about 50% in adults and 30% in kids, even when the study was just 8 weeks long! As you might expect, when asked directly, the patients invariably over estimated how often they used the medication.
Everyone’s acne is different; if you have severe, cystic, or nodular acne, it will not clear with topical medications alone, whether you use Proactiv or a prescription topical. However, if you have mild acne, then it will improve significantly whether you use Proactiv or generic drugstore benzoyl peroxide, or a dermatologist prescribed medication. But only if you actually use it.
Here is Dr Benabio’s new, 2008, guaranteed, blemish free skin by Valentine’s Day cure for mild (and some moderate*) acne:
- Use your preferred acne treatment, Proactiv, or generic drugstore acne treatment, or prescription, as recommended.
- Get a small 2008 calendar.
- Mark down every single time you use your acne treatment. Every single time. Don’t lie, don’t exaggerate, don’t fake it.
- If you treat your acne everyday, then by Valentines Day (just 6 weeks away) you will notice a significant difference.
- Once you are there, then keep it up. If you stop, your acne will come back. I guarantee it.
*If you have moderate to severe acne, please don’t be frustrated. You need prescription medications which are much stronger than anything you can buy over the counter. Don’t waste time; make an appointment with your dermatologist today so you can get started on the best medications as soon as possible.
Do you have an acne problem or question? Email me at: Dr.Benabio [at] yahoo [dot] com. I’ll try to address them in later posts.