Rated: 4 out of 10
Acne is the most common skin disorder. The skin blemishes caused by acne are potentially disfiguring and although more common in teenagers, acne can effect anyone ages 10 – 40. There are many acne treatments available to those who want to clear up their skin. One such product is Proactiv.
Proactiv is a 3-step system that includes cleanser, toner, and a repairing treatment. Recently, Proactiv has also begun selling a Refining Mask. While the Proactiv system is one of the most well-known acne treatments popularity does not necessarily translate to being the best.
We reviewed Proactiv and other acne solutions to help consumers find the most effective product. Our reviewers looked at the ingredients of Proactiv Solution and factored in the cost and customer satisfaction to give it a ranking in our reviews. Proactiv was not top-rated.
What is Proactiv Solution?
The Proactiv acne treatment is manufactured by Guthy-Renker, LLC, established in 1988. Guthy-Renker sells most of its products directly to customers through television infomercials.
Proactiv’s 3 steps are used morning and night. A dime-sized amount of cleanser, a pea-sized portion of repairing treatment and a cotton pad of toner is stated on the website as enough for treatment. Proactiv claims that tiny, smooth beads in the cleanser work into the pores to clear them of dead skin cells. The toner then somehow removes dead skin cells again, even though the cleanser was supposed to do that. Finally, the repairing treatment kills bacteria and heals blemishes. While the Proactiv site states that no drying or peeling of the skin will occur, users should use less than the allotted pea-size amount if “bothersome dryness or peeling occurs.” We’re not sure if Proactiv causes peeling or not.
The 3-step Proactiv Solution system consists of cleanser, toner, and a repairing treatment. Proactiv is commendable on using benzoyl peroxide as their main ingredient. According to The National Institute of Health benzoyl peroxide is effective for anyone 12 or older in as little as 4 weeks of use.
Although benzoyl peroxide is effective for clearing acne, Proactiv Solution contains only a 2.5% concentration which is extremely mild. A concentration of 5% benzoyl peroxide is recommended for full, noticeable results.
Other ingredients of Proactiv are:
- Magnesium aluminum silicate – a natural clay thickening agent.
- Sorbitol – a thickening agent linked to eye disorders in diabetics and enzyme deficiencies.
- Anthemis nobilis flower extract (chamomile) – an antiseptic.
- Imidazolidinyl urea – an antimicrobial preservative.
- Glycolic acid – used in some acne treatments to reduce scarring but is a strong skin irritant.
- Witch hazel extract – a strong antioxidant and astringent, effective in fighting acne.
- Aloe barbadensis (Aloe Vera) leaf juice – promotes healing of the skin.
- Allantoin – soothes skin and promotes healing.
Proactiv Refining Mask
Proactiv Refining Mask is an additional product sold by Proactiv that is composed primarily of a 6% sulfur solution. It is claimed to go deep into the pores to clean and heal blemishes. We do not recommend acne treatments containing sulfur as they are known to cause severe allergic reactions with symptoms including:
Proactiv is sold primarily online and in shopping mall kiosks across the U.S. Additionally, the Proactiv infomercial is widely aired and the solution can be bought through their telephone sales line. Proactiv is sold as a 30-day trial for $19.95 or a 5-piece, 60-day, deluxe kit for $59.90. Proactiv offers a 60-day guarantee on its products as long as they are returned. Shipping is not included in the guarantee. Even if you receive a deal for free shipping, you will be charged a shipping fee should you need to make good on the guarantee.
Does Proactiv Work?
Despite the popularity of Proactiv, our reviews found the Proactiv Solution ineffective and disappointing. We are not alone. Most customer reviews report no effects, even after 8 weeks of use and for some Proactiv actually irritated and burned their skin, thus causing more acne than before.
Proactiv started with the right ingredient, benzoyl peroxide, but didn’t use enough of it and even added in some ingredients with known side effects. We cannot recommend Proactiv, but if you continue on with our product reviews, you will discover the most effective acne treatment available today. Read the reviews.