The Proactiv 101


Not as new, but still going strong, Proactiv (now Proactiv+) used TV and celebrities to sell an acne treatment that seemed to work. Since then, multiple amounts of companies jumped on the band wagon and started to promote their own acne treatment. But, Proactive is still going strong. So what gives?
If you are:

  • new to Proactiv,
  • wanting to know more about Proactiv 
  • on the fence about buying the product
  • see how many times I can say “Proactiv” in one sentence
  • want to know if certain websites are telling the truth or lying

I won’t ruin the surprise, but hopefully this short webpage of facts will hopefully give you some of the information you are looking for.

Skin Facts

Or, the boring science bit that actually proves a point :)

Starting 2-3 weeks before a blemish can be seen, the following researched facts occur:

  1. The tiny hair follicles within the skin (pores) produce oil to help keep the skin moisturised and healthy
  2. On a regular basis our skin sheds and is replaced by new skin cells. If those skin cells are shed unevenly they combine with the naturally produced oil and plug up the pores
  3. The oil can not get out, it also traps bacteria (P.acne)
  4. The body doesn’t realise that this occurs, so it keeps on producing oil and the bacteria keeps on multiplying:
acne and proactiv

So, if you want to treat acne, you really have to treat the cause of acne instead. Proactiv therefore tackles the 3 causes of acne:

  • the build up of dead skin cells
  • the increase in the amount of oil upon the skin
  • the multiplication of bacteria

But each issue can not be taken as a stand alone problem. Acne, as we have shown, depends upon 4 main steps. Reduce one step and the amount of acne might reduce. Reduce all 3 steps and you have much better shot of heavily reducing your acne.

As a side note, when we talk about Proactiv, Proactiv is the original product, Proactiv+ is the new improved product. They have just added extra ingredients, but kept the original formula alone.

The Renewing Cleanser

renewing cleanser

A gentle scrub that contains smooth grains that exfoliate the skin, lifting away dead skin cells and unplugging pores

The cleanser also contains the main ingredient for Proactiv:

2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide.

This actually is a fairly common, effective acne fighting compound (80 years old) which fights bacteria by penetrating deep into the pore and attacking the bacteria directly acting as an antiseptic and reducing the number of blocked pores.

How is it different from other companies (at the present time)?

But most acne solutions will contain Benzoyl Peroxide. And many websites will tell you that Proactiv is the same as other products. But this is just not true. Now it might sound like I hold Proactiv as a beacon of light, but facts are facts. Proactiv contains more than just Benzoyl Peroxide. And it is the combination of ingredients and how they are applied that sets Proactiv apart from other acne treatments.

Yes you can buy Benzoyl Peroxide in other treatments, yes it is available at your local Supermarket. But that is not what Proactiv is all about and it is something that other competing companies just do not get. It is the:

  1. combination of ingredients
  2. 3 different applications

I used to buy one bottle of medication, and that was it. It might reduce the acne a little bit, but it kept on coming back, kept on coming out on my face like I didn’t treat and instead I must have been doing something to make it worse right? But I kept on buying because that was the only thing available and because friends said that this medication was the best available.

Proactiv changed that environment. They introduced something that said “here, this is what’s wrong- you should be treating the cause as well as the acne itself for the system to be effective”.

A review from “My thoughts on this product are that it is an amazing cleanser. It claims to be suitable for all skin types, whether your skin is the driest of dry, or the oiliest of oily, even sensitive skin. I have combination/oily skin for reference. I found that this product worked amazing for me. I wouldn’t necessarily say it provided intense hydration, however it didn’t leave my skin feeling dry and tight. It did an awesome job at removing all traces of makeup (after removing the majority with a makeup removing toilette of course).”

Revitalizing Toner

revitalizing toner

This mainly contains water and glycolic acid. Based from plants and other natural sources, glycolic acid is used as a moisturiser and a skin freshener. Because of its small size glycolic acid also penetrates through cell walls- which not many skin moisturisers do. Its main job is to soften and unclog blocked pores and to reduce the amount of blocked oil.

Repairing Lotion

repairing lotion

This is in essence another shot at reducing the amount of P.acne within the pores.

The renewing cleanser removed the dead skin and started to attack the bacteria within the blocked pores. The Revitalizing toner helped the cleanser by further unblocking the pores. The repairing lotion, which contains more 2.5% Benzolyl Peroxide has now nearly free access to the pores to hit the bacteria with little resistance from oils and dead skin. This in turn as an additional benefit: It reduces the build up of further blemishes.“My daughter has really struggled with acne and from the first week of usage, we noticed a dramatic difference. Proactiv Plus is an easy system to follow (they send you a very clear laminated instruction sheet) and it is not terribly time consuming. If you are struggling with acne, or know someone who is, we highly recommend this product.”

Other ingredients not advertised within Proactiv (at this time)

Sulfur: is a naturally occurring element that absorbs excess skin oils and heals blemishes.

Hyaluronic acid: helps boost moisture levels.

You can find more on Proactiv’s FAQ but what you will find are ingredients that have a specific job, whether that is:

  • To reduce acne inflammation
  • Increase moisturisation to remove dead skin from pores
  •  “Mop up” excess oil secretions

Why is 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide used and not 30%?

I has been found that even at 5%, the efficacy (how effective a product really is) is not better with added concentration.

But, at higher concentrations, skin irritation is more likely. But in some cases people experience irritation at lower concentrations. Sometimes this is due to application. If the bottle reads “once a night” then sometimes it is better, initially to start applying every 2-3 nights instead. Then start to increase to the recommended dose.

Proactiv FAQ- Does It Work? Side Effects? Are The Doctors Real?

The medical information on the web site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

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About Dominic Hough

Hi. I'm Dominic. I treat patients every day at a local clinic. I am a trained Chiropodist and I care about prevention. I designed the website to help readers understand treat and even prevent issues from happening to their feet.