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Does Proactiv Really Work?

Proactiv is a 3-part acne treatment kit formulated with benzoyl peroxide.
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What is Proactiv?

Proactiv is an over-the-counter topical solution used for treating mild to moderate acne. It contains an anti-acne medication called benzoyl peroxide as well as exfoliants and moisturizers for promoting skin health and reducing the buildup of sebum and dead skin cells.

Proactiv is a 3-part system which includes a skin cleanser, a toner and a treatment. These systems provide a combination of prescription-grade acne medications and proven skin-care ingredients to provide the following benefits:

  • Unclog blocked skin pores
  • Kill of acne-causing bacteria especially Propionibacterium acnes
  • Reduce skin inflammation
  • Improve skin health

Proactiv is not a spot treatment medication. Rather it is intended to be used all over the areas affected by acne on the face, chest, back, neck and shoulders. In this way, it can remove blemishes and effectively treat acne lesions and scars.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is the main active ingredient in Proactiv. It is supplied in a microcrystalline form so that it can easily penetrate the skin pores while being gentle on the skin.

These ultrafine crystals of benzoyl peroxide are effective against the bacteria causing acne on the skin. The crystalline nature of the compound is also useful for exfoliating the top layer of the skin. They help remove the excess sebum, dead skin cells and other impurities which can clog the pores.

Benzoyl peroxide is preferable to the oral and topical antibiotics used in treating acne caused by bacteria. This is because there is no resistance to its antibacterial action.

As a peroxide, benzoyl peroxide splits into harmless benzoic acid and oxygen when it gets in contact with the skin. Its therapeutic action is usually shortened by this reaction. However, in the microcrystalline form in which benzoyl peroxide is supplied in Proactiv, the compound has a longer duration of action.

Benzoyl peroxide can cause skin dryness as well as reddened, peeling skin. It can also increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. This is why it is combined with moisturizers in Proactiv to help reduce these side effects. This active agent is well tolerated by most people the way it is formulated in Proactiv.

For those who are overly sensitive to Benzoyl peroxide, Proactiv also comes in a gentler formula containing salicylic acid instead of benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid provides similar benefits to the peroxide and is also effective as an acne remedy.

The 3-Part System

Renewing Cleanser

This medicated cleanser is an oil-free and soap-free formulation containing smooth, fine beads for exfoliating dead skin cells and other impurities from the skin. It also contains microcrystals of benzoyl peroxide.

The benzoyl peroxide in this cleanser is supplied at a strength of 2.5%. At this concentration, benzoyl peroxide provides the best balance of anti-acne benefits with the least side effects.

The microcrystalline nature of the active agent allows it to penetrate skin pores deeper so it can better attack bacteria and clear acne blemishes.

Because the active agent is a peroxide, this cleanser should be kept away from hair or items of dyed clothing so as not to bleach them. It should also be worn with a sunscreen especially when going outside.

Revitalizing Toner

This restorative toner is formulated with any alcohol base. It is intended to remove dead skin cells and improve skin tone. It brings out the natural sheen of the skin and removes the blemishes caused by acne damage.

This revitalizing toner contains natural herbal extracts. These include aloe and chamomile to soothe and soften the skin, allantoin to moisturize and condition the skin and witch hazel to unclog the pores.

This special formulation also contains glycolic acid. It balances the levels of the skin’s natural acids by removing excess oil from the surface of the skin while keeping it moisturized and even-toned.

Repairing Treatment

This repairing treatment is very similar to the cleanser. It also contains 2.5% benzoyl peroxide which is supplied in microcrystalline form. However, it does not have the fine exfoliating beads of the cleanser and it is supplied in a smaller bottle.

This treatment essentially provides an antimicrobial defense for the skin. The active agent is able to kill off the acne-causing bacteria colonizing the skin.

How to Use Proactiv

The Renewing Cleanser and the Repairing Treatment should be used two times daily, at night and in the morning.

For the Renewing Cleanser, first dampen the whole skin in the affected area with a wet cloth. Then take a dime-sized portion of the cleanser and rub on the skin.

Massage with the finger tips to help drive the cleanser deeper into the skin. Do this for a couple of minutes before rinsing off with warm water. Pat the skin dry with a clean towel.

For the Repairing Treatment, apply a small, pea-sized portion of the treatment on the area affected by the acne. Massage with your fingertips then allow the treatment to dry on the skin. Leave the treatment on and do not rinse off.

For the Revitalizing Toner, take a dime-sized portion of the toner with a cotton ball and apply on the affected area. Allow it to dry, leave it on and do not rinse off.

Is Proactiv Effective?

Proactiv has proven effective for most of its users. There is an overwhelmingly positive response to the efficacy of the product line.

However, just like all medications, it is not effective for everyone. Those with severe acne and those with sensitive skin will find Proactiv inadequate. But for the vast majority of acne sufferers, Proactiv is an effective anti-acne medication.

It should be noted that treatment with Proactiv is often long-term. It is common for acne to return after the medication is stopped.

Since benzoyl peroxide is the major anti-acne medication in Proactiv skin care products, a small percentage of users may show sensitivity to Proactiv products. Reports show that 5% of the population is allergic to this peroxide but the percentage is even lower for Proactiv since benzoyl peroxide is formulated as microcrystals, a form which provides controlled release of the active agent.

The Proactiv 365 Advantage

Guthy-Renkers, the manufacturer of the Proactiv line of anti-acne medications, provides after sales care and support for users of her products.

First, there is a 60-day money-back guarantee for users who are dissatisfied with the products in any way. Furthermore, there is a solid customer care provision available every day and at all hours of the day for enquiries about billing, order status and shipping for products bought from the company’s website.

You can also tap into the wealth of information available from the community of users hosted on the website. From here, you can get advices and tips from actual users and find success stories to inspire you in your course of treatment.

If you rather prefer expert opinions, Proactiv’s website provides multiple ways of getting your questions answered. You can find extensive product and acne information in the comprehensive Q&A section of the website.

However, if you seek real experts, Proactiv provides Drs. Rodan and Fields who are experienced skin care advisors. These two acne experts are available by phone, email or online chat.

Drs. Rodan and Fields are dermatologists who can answer all questions about the product line as well as help customize a treatment regimen just for you.

Lastly, the website provides a 68-page book, The Doctors’ Secrets to a Lifetime of Clear Skin, for first-time customers. This free pocketbook is written by Drs. Rodan and Fields.

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