Proactiv® is the most popular acne treatment in the US. If Proactiv is so popular (and used by all those now-acne-free celebrities), then it must be a great product, right? Well, maybe. Here are the pros and cons of Proactiv.
Proactiv works. It attacks the two main causes of acne: blocked pores and buildup of bacteria. Proactiv uses exfoliants to unclog pores and uses an antibiotic, benzoyl peroxide, to kill acne-causing bacteria.
The three part Proactiv system is mild, but because it is repeated twice a day, every day, it is effective. By sending you products every two months, the company encourages you to continue using it (after all, it’s already paid for) even when you don’t have a breakout. This helps prevent new acne, which is better than treating pimples you have.
Although it is designed to be mild, Proactiv can cause redness, stinging and peeling. Some people cannot tolerate the active ingredients in Proactiv and have to limit their use to once a day or less.
Like any acne treatment, Proactiv takes about 8 weeks to see results; you won’t see much improvement before then. Also the benzoyl peroxide in Proactiv can bleach clothes, towels, pillow cases, and even hair.
Proactiv can be expensive. The active ingredients in Proactiv can be purchased separately for less money than if you paid for the Proactiv brand.
Proactiv does not cure acne, but nothing does. The average teenager has acne for 7 years and adult women can have acne for 20 years! Even if your acne is well controlled, as soon as you stop treating it, it can come back.
The primary reason why Proactiv and other acne treatments fail is because people stop using them. Treating acne is time consuming and continuous. Just like exercise, treating acne only helps you if you keep it up.
If you have moderate to severe acne, painful acne cysts, or scarring from acne, then Proactiv is not potent enough to treat you. A dermatologist can prescribe medications that are stronger and more likely to improve your acne.
That is, if you use them.
Photo: Uh, Bob (flickr)