Should You Go on ProActiv?

Lately, I have been using the ProActiv 3-step System.  They recommend that you use the system only when you have 5 or more breakouts at one time, and unfortunately, this has been the case with my skin for the past little while.  I don’t know if it’s stress, or maybe the change of weather, but my skin has not been doing well.  So I turned to ProActiv.

The formula of it has changed so that they now use what they call a “micro-crystal technology” which lets the key ingredients get absorbed by the skin more quickly.  I don’t really have anything to compare the system to, so all I can comment on is the system as a whole.

I found that this really dried my skin out – I mean, I have oily skin that usually doesn’t get dry, but after a couple of days of using this system, I felt as if my skin would crack if I smiled.  My makeup went on really well on top of it, and it looked flawless for a long time, but I really did have a hard time dealing with the dryness.

The solution, of course, is to cut down on how often you use the Repairing Treatment.  Instead of using it every morning and night, I cut back to mornings only, and then I cut back even further to every other morning.  My skin handled that pretty well and then I could use it a little more bit by bit.

My favourite part of the system is the cleanser, which is really well formulated.  The Renewing Cleanser is oil-free, and has tiny beads that can help exfoliate skin.  They say that this also has benzoyl peroxide in it that can get into your pores, but when you wash something off, the chances of anything being left on the skin is pretty slim.  Regardless, I really liked using this cleanser, and I needed a wipe to take off most of my makeup and used this cleanser after doing that.

Overall, the system has helped my skin a lot, and I am going to continue to use it.  If you have even mild acne, I would recommend using this because it really does work.  The system that I got also included a free sample of their oil-free Green Tea Moisturizing Lotion but I found that it didn’t really relieve dryness as much as I liked it to.

I also got a sample of the Refining Mask which I liked – it is a pretty standard sulfur and clay mask that can help dry out acne.  I used it a couple of times a week when I felt that my skin wasn’t that dry.

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4 Responses to Should You Go on ProActiv?

  1. Bonnie says:

    As an aesthetician I think proactiv is the best product out there for people with consistent acne who plan to use it for life to control their breakouts.

    If on the other hand you are having only occasional breakouts I would probably not recommend it as my clients have complained that once they start using it even if their acne was only occasional or hormonal once they stop the breakouts come back with a vengeance.

    I believe this is because they have integrated benzoyle peroxide as well as alpha and beta hydroxys, which aggressively peel the skin which make it very photo sensitive and sensitive.

    Once the skin becomes used to these harsh chemicals which peel away at it daily, which is what acne often is; a disease in which the top layers of the skin do not shed quickly enough and the oils from the sebaceous glands in the hair follicles can not make it out thus they start to backup trapped under the skin and infection insues; acne.

    I believe skin gets so used to the chemical peeling of proactiv that when you stop using the product the skin goes through a sort of withdrawal and immediately breaks out worse than before.

    Therefore if you are a person who only get an occasional breakout or has hormonal breakouts I would probably recommend something a little more gentle without the benzoyle peroxide which is the main ingredient that makes proactiv different from many other over the counter acne treatments which only integrate benzoyle peroxide in treatment products not in its cleansers and daily products as proactiv does.

    There are many cleansers and toners with glycolic and or salicylic acid which I think would suffice. One of my favorites is Isomers Australian Harvest Cleanser, which can be purchased through The Shopping Channel or through Isomers directly at It has glycolic acid and tea tree oil, once you get used to the tea tree oil smell I find this is a great daily cleanser that with continued use will keep mild breakouts from occurring.
    Just my opinion for what its worth…

  2. Henna says:

    Hi Bonnie, thanks for sharing your point of view. I did find it very informative. I haven’t seen any withdrawal from the Proactive, but I don’t use it every single day to beginwith. I do like toners with active ingredients, but I have a problem with using cleansers that have glycolic and salicylic acids in them because none of those stay on the skin to do any kind of real treatment. It is beyond me as to why companies still make them and sell them when their efficacy is so limited.

  3. Bonnie says:

    This is the way I use my cleanser and I suggest everyone do the same. I put the cleanser on, then I brush my teeth, alot of breakouts are caused from the bacteria that escapes when we brush our teeth. If my cleanser has active ingredients glycolic, salacylic, tea tree..etc.. I usually leave it on for about 10 minutes as the usual percentage of glycolic is around 5-10 and 2% for the salacylic therefore protecting my face from the brushing bacteria as well as giving myself a quick peel and then I wash it off in the shower.

    The second ingredient in the proactiv toner is glycolic acid and benzoyle peroxide is the active ingredient in the proactiv cleanser and repairing lotion. Please everyone remember to use a sunscreen every morning its your most important anti ageing fighter.

    Cleansers that our formulated with glycolic acids are usually around a 3.5 ph water being a 7 and skin being around a 5.5 so you see when you add water which is alkaline and drying to our skins to a cleanser that is about a 3.5 you come out at around the perfect ph for skin which is why these active ingredients are so important in cleansers, specially if you dont plan to use a toner to bring your ph back to check.

  4. Henna says:

    While I’m not sure that our skin needs a pH of 5.5, I do know that adding water is going to neutralize it and it’s going to end up at being pH 7 because of the sheer amount of water.

    Also a note: for AHA’s to be effective, they need to be at a pH of 3-4. Anything more or less and they just won’t work the way that they’re supposed to.

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