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Are you Proactiv?

March 16, 2011

Proactiv wasn’t around when I was a teenager, had it been I may well have tried it as I spent almost ten years with a face full of ‘issues’ and by the time I had reached 17 I had bought, tried and given up on almost everything.   I was put on antibiotics at age 14 and with that not working was on the pill shortly after with limited success.  By the age of 17  my body had a meltdown and I ended up with liver failure due to a reaction to my mediation and with my face looking nothing like the spot-free celebrities in my Just 17 I felt like a failure.   So is this range offering anything new?

I think it is important to state first off that there are spots and there is acne. Acne is a medical condition which involves the presence of white heads, blackheads and pustules (spots).   These spots are sometimes given other names by dermatologists and doctors but anyone with them will know what we’re on about!   Often Acne sufferers also have a general reddening and irritation to un-blemished skin which can be even more distressing to sufferers as it is difficult to cover up, can be itchy, scaly or feel tight and as such causes much discomfort.  On the other hand you have spots which are by no means the poor relation when it comes to denting your self-esteem but are generally more discreet and less persistent than acne and are therefore easier to treat.   While Proactiv may be useful for acne sufferers it has been designed to help manage pimples and spots so don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t work for you.

The Science.

The Proactiv range that I received for testing  is built on a couple of key ingredients – Benzoyl Peroxide and glycollic acid and while neither of these ingredients are unique to Proactiv the combined formulations and care regimen may well bring some relief.

Benzoyl Peroxide is an organic peroxide that is manufactured by reacting benzoyl chloride with sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide. It’s use in nail treatments has come under review by the European Union but its use in skin care and specifically for the management of acne and spot prone skin is well documented and not overly restricted.  There is a tendency for spot sufferers to want to load up on actives in order to get a quicker result. That is not a good plan as ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide can make the skin very dry and end in it flaking, reddening and generally feeling uncomfortable.  There is 2.5% benzoyl peroxide the cleanser and repair product that I tested and that is enough to feel (it has a tightening and drying effect on me). This is at the low-end  which is good as bigger isn’t always better as some popular acne products  contain up to 10% benzoyl peroxide which is very drying.  If  you try this range and find it too strong  just make sure that you are only using one benzoyl peroxide containing product a day and build up to more as your skin gets used to it. 

Glycollic Acid is a powerful Alpha Hydroxy Acid that is often used to help speed up the skins renewal process.  A sluggish cell turn-over can either cause or make-worse existing acne problems so using an efficient re-surfacer can be a good plan.  However, glycollic Acid is quite a strong one and because of this it won’t suite everyone!   glycollic acid containing formulations are typically at a lower pH than other products and may be as acidic as pH 3. As mentioned above, this can cause irritation as the skins protective oils are dissolved as the acid gets into the spaces between the cells to dislodge them.   I am not sure how much glycollic acid is in this range as it is not specified  but I assume that it is well under the 12%  found in other AHA based skin cleansers.  Again, I think that this is a good thing as there is only so much acid stripping that one should put the skin through.  Remember, less is more with these brands and if

And what about the Microcrystal Technology???

Well, I suppose the that key feature of this new and improved Proactiv range is the fact that is contains micro crystals which sound rather lovely but aren’t much use unless you know why you might need them!  Basically Proactiv have ditched conventional benzyl peroxide and opted instead for a smaller and more nimble version that acts more efficiently due to its larget surface area to give you a better result in a fraction of the time. It is also easier for manufacturers to handle and has been classified by the FDA as GRASE (generally regarded as safe and effective) which is nice.

At the moment Proactiv are running a promotion on their new range and while it was a little too drying for my skin it may be perfect for you so what are you waiting for?  Get on board the micro-crystal revolution!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 17, 2011 7:54 am

    Thanks for the post. Benzoyl Peroxide creates a dangerously high number of free radicals, which are known to damage the skin. If using any products with Benzoyl Peroxide, be sure to spot treat only, and use it sparingly.

    I’ve found glycolic acid to be a much better option for acne and spots, and glycolic acid is an antioxidant, so it not only eliminates acne, but it also helps the skin and neutralizes free radicals!

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink
      March 17, 2011 8:40 am

      Hi Gabi,
      Thanks for your comment. Where did you hear that? It would be good to see some evidence to support this and show how it stacks up vs glycolic. Do you have any studies to share?

  2. Kathryn permalink
    March 19, 2011 5:55 am

    Hi, I work with Doctor D. Schwab skincare, a results oriented line of botanical skin care products made from all natural ingredients that has been around for almost 35 years.

    I saw your comment that you thought the Proactiv line is too drying for your skin – this is actually a common complaint about the line since many of the ingredients are very drying. Proactiv takes this approach, which in many cases does get rid of acne, but it is also harsh and not the ideal balance for skin to have. Because of this, Doctor D. Schwab recently launched a healthier alternative to Proactiv called Adios Pimples, which is a 3 product solution to help rid people of acne. The products are salon-grade, but this set is sold retail. You can check out more about it on our website: The price is currently $19.95, regularly $49.95.

    If you are interested in using the products and reviewing them on your website for your readers, we would be happy to send you a set free of charge.

    If anyone else has any questions about the product line or the products, feel free to send us a note on our website!

    Best, Kathryn

  3. April 6, 2011 11:15 pm

    Have been using Natura Bisse Glycopeel for years and decided to give this a try. Definitely not as gentle as the Natura Bisse product, but equally effective if you don’t mind a little faster peel and the accompanying redness (which goes away in a day or so). And, what a value compared to Department store product prices!! Will purchase again.

  4. JamieLynn permalink
    September 2, 2011 8:05 am

    I used to suffer from acne for eleven years, and have been on all different kinds of topical creams and washes, oral antibiotics and regime programs like Proactive. Proactive DID NOT WORK for me. Then I tried the Green Tea Toxin Cleanser (Made from Earth skincare) after reading about it online. Firstly, it takes a few weeks before you see significant results. This is the case for any acne treatment product really – you just HAVE to be consistent and give it time. I bought the three pack which was well-worth it.
    The first month I was on it I saw my skin go from painful, red, cystic acne to completely smooth. This Made from Earth Green Tea Cleanser is a natural cleanser – and I know its EXACTLY what I needed to make my skin HEALTHY.

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