Does Proactiv Really Work?
Posted By: Lindsay Schroeder Posted In: Reviews Date Posted: April 30th, 2013 Comments: 93

If you watch the bare minimum of television, chances are you have seen a Proactiv commercial. Their commercials are all over every channel and their ads can be found in magazines and online. They promise “A Simple System for Clear, Beautiful Skin,” but does it actually work?

The History of Proactiv

Two dermatologists, Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, invented Proactiv in the early 1990’s, later partnering with Guthy-Renker Corporation and started airing Proactiv infomercials in 1995. Since then, Proactiv has become the #1 acne system in America and is sold world-wide. It has won several awards and has been featured in magazines such as Teen Vogue, Seventeen, and InStyle.

How Proactiv Works

Proactiv is a three-step-system that guarantees clear skin results or your money back – 60-day money back guarantee to be precise. The steps are as follows, Renew, Revitalize, and Repair.

Step 1:

Renew is a medicated cleanser that is made with micro-crystal benzoyl peroxide exclusive to Proactive. Within the cleanser are super tiny particles that penetrate deep into the pores of the skin to start destroying acne-causing bacteria immediately. It also contains tiny micro-exfoliating beads that slough away dead skin cells (cellular buildup), residue from dirt and makeup, and excess oil (sebum). The beads help unclog pores so new breakouts don’t occur. In addition to being oil-free and soap-free, the active ingredient within the cleanser is U.S. prescription-grade benzoyl peroxide (2.5%).

Step 2:

Revitalize is an alcohol-free toner that refreshes and rejuvenates the skin while removing excess oil and residue left behind after cleansing. Since it does not contain alcohol, it will not dry out your skin. Instead, it will balance the pH levels of your skin and leaves it feeling soft and smooth. The active ingredient in this toner is glycolic acid which works to gently exfoliate dead skin cells, thus unclogging pores and minimizing breakouts. Fresh, new skin will emerge leaving the skin glowing. Witch hazel is another active ingredient and this essential oil locks in moisture and soothes inflamed skin.

Step 3:

Repair is a topical acne treatment that fights deeply embedded acne-causing bacteria but leaves the surface of the skin unharmed. It’s oil-free and works to heal pimples from deep within the skin. This acne cream is antimicrobial and contains U.S. prescription-grade benzoyl peroxide (2.5 %) which removes blackheads and kills pimples.

Please Note: It’s important to still use an oil-free moisturizer while using this skincare system so your skin doesn’t become too dry or too oily. If you don’t use an oil-free moisturizer, more acne breakouts will also form.


If you have sensitive skin, we do not recommend Proactiv for your skin. More than one review site gave it one out of five stars for those with sensitive skin. If you have normal or combination skin, it may or may not work for you. It was given three out of five stars for these two skin types. If you have oily skin, you are the best candidate to use Proactiv. It was given four out of five stars for this skin type. What is the reasoning?

Well, those with dry, sensitive, or combination skin types are not always prime candidates to use a toner like Revitalize. Toner is best for those with oily skin so if you have the other skin types, you may be causing further irritation to the skin in addition to stripping it of essential oils needed to keep the skin hydrated. Benzoyl peroxide could also irritate those with dry or sensitive skin and some people have too delicate of skin to use a glycolic acid-infused toner every day and night.

One particular study gave mixed reviews about Proactiv after they tested it out. They did like that it was an easy acne treatment to use, that each product had a specific function, and also gave props to the money-back guarantee. The site also claims that a lot of the hype of Proactiv is the celebrity endorsements they have. They are paid celebrities, mind you, and as they said so perfectly, “Popularity doesn’t necessarily mean quality or effectiveness.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Another study found that Proactiv does work for many people but not for all. They remind readers to read the labels on the packaging and that Proactiv users may experience side effects of the products including stinging and discomfort of the skin.

A reputable research team created a list of the best acne treatments and Proactiv landed last on the list of their recommendations. They say the reason Proactiv is #1 in America is because they invest the most money in advertising. Yikes! They claim that the ingredients found in Proactive are “general, typical, and bear standard quality.” Bottom line in their opinion is that there are better skincare lines out there!

Alternative Skincare Treatments

–        Exposed Skincare

–        ZENMED

–        ClearPores Skin Cleansing System

–        Murad

–        Cetaphil


Home Remedies

If you feel like you have tried everything, in addition to Proactiv, we recommend you go the natural route and make skincare treatments from your home. Not only will you save tons of money, you are using safe and natural products that have been used for centuries to keep skin looking and feeling beautiful. Nature offers amazing benefits to our skin and bodies so below are a few of our favorite treatments to make.

Natural Homemade Face Cleanser

For Normal Skin, combine equal parts of Castor Oil and extra virgin olive oil. For acne-prone skin, combine 3 parts castor oil and 1 part extra virgin olive oil. For dry skin, combine 3 parts extra virgin olive oil and 1 part castor oil.

Pour the oil mixture onto your clean fingertips and massage the oil onto your clean face for about 2 minutes. Take a steaming hot washcloth (not hot enough to burn your skin), lie down, and place the washcloth over your face. Leave the washcloth on until it’s cooled off then use the other side of the washcloth to wipe the oil off your face and your skin will be clean, hydrated, and rejuvenated. Both oils work to clear your skin of impurities, while soothing inflamed, irritated, and dry skin. Neither oil will clog your pores or cause you to become oily or breakout further.

The washcloth step is essential because the steam pulls all the impurities out of your pores. The impurities removed are excess oil, acne-causing bacteria, and residue from things like makeup. Your skin will not only feel and look amazingly clean but it will also be glowing and radiant.


Lemon Juice: Squeeze some organic fresh lemon juice into a bowl then dip a cotton ball into it. Apply the lemon juice to your freshly cleansed face. When dry, apply an oil-free moisturizer. Fresh lemon juice will leave your skin less oily, refreshed, and will even out your skin tone over time. Fresh lemon juice is a natural astringent so it’s safer to use on your skin than any man-made toner.

Witch Hazel: Witch hazel essential oil is amazing for your skin. If you remember, it is found in the Proactiv toner so it is safe to use on its own. Simply dip a cotton ball into the oil and apply a thin layer to your cleansed skin. Witch hazel will moisturize your skin and works beautifully to soothe inflamed, irritated, and broken out skin.


Organic Coconut Oil: Use pure, unrefined, cold-pressed organic coconut oil as your face and body moisturizer. It is antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-fungal  and antiviral so it works to fight acne and other infections on and in your skin safely and gently. It may feel greasy when you first apply it but after a short time will seep deep into your skin, healing skin beautifully. Since this type of coconut oil is hard, simply rub your fingertips over the top layer of oil and it will warm it for easy application to your skin. A little goes a long way so there is no need to overdo it. You will smell amazing too…coconut oil has a very light and fragrant scent so enjoy!

About the Author

Lindsay Schroeder


Lindsay Schroeder, professional makeup artist and skincare guru, is the writer of all the content on Acne Skin Site. She has personally dealt with acne all throughout her 20’s and knows firsthand what anyone suffering with acne is going through. She has worked with thousands of clients that suffer with acne and has been able to encourage and educate them on how to get their skin on the road to recovery.

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Let the discussion begin!

  • Chan - April 30, 2013 at 10:18 am - Reply

    May you please start using Instagram and post these wonderful natural treatments!

  • lulu - April 30, 2013 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    It does really beautifuly works!
    Iam a female 21 year old from Kuwait, i order their products from online to ship it overseas.. Ive almost tried everything even the makeups.
    Its magical ! .. Thankyou

  • Chris - May 1, 2013 at 4:25 am - Reply

    Benzoyl peroxide can bleach your hair, skin and clothes so be aware. I was using a benzoyl peroxide system and have oily skin. Apparently from being oil + sweat, the benzoyl peroxide would work it’s way into collars of my shirts and our bedding. You don’t notice anything until you wash your items and there is random bleach spots. It took me awhile to figure out it was my face products ruining shirts and bedding. Now I use an oil-free, Salicylic Acid treatment from Neutrogena and I’ve stopped ruining clothes and bedding.

  • Amy - May 2, 2013 at 3:28 am - Reply

    It works but I would not reccommend it! If you can, don’t use it. Horrible, horrible product! If not in the short term, then you can bet in the long run.

  • Sam - May 2, 2013 at 6:12 am - Reply

    No!!!!! I had severe acne and before trying over the counter medications my dermatologist suggested that I try proavtiv. I tried it and my acne turned into cystic acne. It made my skin real dry as well.

    The system is what did me wrong, but the other products such as the refining mask for spot treatments – AMAZING!!! I would put it on leave it over night all my pimples would be severly diminished

  • Bianca - May 2, 2013 at 6:16 am - Reply

    I’ve used proactiv on and off for a few years now, I find that your skin gets very very dependent on it. It really isn’t doing what I thought it would and if I use it 2 times a day my skin gets very dry and itchy. Although it does keep major breakouts at bay unless I stop using it then all hell breaks loose.

  • Eloise - May 2, 2013 at 6:21 am - Reply

    Hi a friend of mine bought a set of proactive kit she used it for like 1day . Then she stopped already after ,it made her whole face including the eyes swell that made it look like she has chinky eyes and like she was bitten by bees . She suffered from swelling and redness. I guess the product doesnt soothe everybody. 🙁

    • @TheSkinGal - November 24, 2013 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      As an Esthetician I have seen what Proactiv does to the skin first-hand. It would never be something I would professionally recommend. Benzoyl Peroxide is an oxidizing agent, it pulls oxygen into the pores to kill the P. acnes bacteria as they can’t live with oxygen. Using it as a SPOT treatment for INFLAMED breakouts (not clogged pores or blackheads) works well but when used as an all-over treatment (i.e. Proactiv) it causes a drying out effect which sends your skin into a stress mode where it produces MORE oil and thusly more acne. It can be very sensitizing especially when the skin is dried out constantly and can even lead to accelerated aging (our oil is actually a protective quality in our skin). I personally use the Dermalogica line as well as their Clear Start products and LOVE them.

  • Matt - May 2, 2013 at 6:32 am - Reply

    It didn’t work for me. I tried it, hoping I could get rid of my acne problems. But it only made it worse.

  • Vivian - May 2, 2013 at 6:39 am - Reply

    The first few months I’ve been using proactive I’ve seen no results. I was 13 at the time- but I’m not gonna lie, I’ve had the messiest face ever! So, I’ve pretty much been using proactive for about a year and a half, and I’ve noticed something. Everytime I would have a growing pimple, I would apply proactive to my skin, and the very next day, that pimple would be 3x bigger than it usually was! And it would stay like that for about 36 hours. But then, it would slowly disappear leaving no acne scar or visible pore, and another pimple woulsn’t show up again.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that the soap contains BLEACH. The soap would always end up spilling on my shirt, and I would put the shirt on my bed. The soap would leave bleach stains all over my shirts and blanket, and the thought that this soap is doing the same for my face is pretty shocking. So I stopped using proactive and might I say- it’s a complete waste of money.

  • Courtney - May 2, 2013 at 6:42 am - Reply

    No. Proactiv does not work. I don’t have very sensitive skin, but it is slightly sensitive. I can use salycic acid but not benzoyl peroxide. Proactiv is benzoyl peroxide based and made my skin very red, dry, and itchy. It did not help my acne, only worsened it. My acne only started to get better when I used other soap. As of now, I use a scent-free dove soap bar and clindamyacin, which is a doctor prescribed acne treatment. Works like a charm. My skin is better than ever. Try that instead if proactiv. It is a much cheaper and better solution.

  • Michelle - May 2, 2013 at 6:45 am - Reply

    It worked wonders for me … ****BUT BEWARE. ; put sunscreen on if using proactive… My face was so clear using it the month of june , thats cuz i aint go outside , but month of july , omg i broke out like crazy thats because of the sun … I went out every day month of july

  • Alisha - May 2, 2013 at 7:05 am - Reply

    I used it for 8-9 years.. I had quite a severe case of acne. The berenzyl peroxide is a bleach and does stain. I had great results using proactiv but I have now thankfully grown out of those teenage years. It was my wonder product, nothing else worked for me.

    I now use a dove cleanser and witch hazel which suits my skin at the moment.

  • Cynthia - May 2, 2013 at 7:07 am - Reply

    I used proactive for 6 months my skin got darker and cleared up. Soon after I started getting modular acne, cystic acne and I had to be put on acutane. Worst experience ever. I stopped taking acutane after a month because it was too hard on my body. Years later I still have scars and I’m using natural ingredients to help my skin. Medicine has not helped me. Natural ingredients has helped.

  • Shelly Mangat - May 2, 2013 at 7:35 am - Reply

    I had used pro-active for my oily tone skin for about a year or two and did wonders to it. It was by far the best Acne product i have used. I had even called and ordered for its suncreen cream which was very good. It is a good recommendation for people who are prone to highly acne skin. It soothes and moisturizes at the same time. Big big thumps up from side on this 🙂

  • Briana - May 2, 2013 at 11:35 am - Reply

    My acne started in middle school an really damaged my self esteem when kids at school had flawless skin or would point out my flaws. I couldnt wear makeup to cover them up because my mother would not let me since i was “too young”. She has used proactive in the past, so she ha me try it out. It WORKED! I was so happy and my self esteem starte to improve. The one problem i’ve ever had in6 years i’ve used it, is keeping up with it. I try my best to use it everyday but i do forget, and my acne has been undercontrol to the point where i rarley breakout. I bought proactive for my boyfriend and his acne has become less. This product isnt a cure to acne but it does lessen the breakouts,I recomend this to everyone.

  • Elizabeth - May 2, 2013 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    I have been using Proactive for about 5 months now and I absolutely love it! I suffered from terrible acne breakouts on my chin area for years and I feel like I had tried every kind of remedy… from medicated gels to all natural remedies like lemon juice but nothing ever fully worked. I had heard that Proactive would completely dry my skin out but I figured I would give it a try since I was desperate. I saw a noticeable difference after a week and after a month my skin was completely clear . I use the Proactive green tea moisturizer nightly to keep my skin from drying out and it is a miracle worker. It has been 4 months since I have had any kind of breakout. AMAZING!

  • Mimie Amba - May 2, 2013 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    It was horrible for me. I have combination skin and it irritated my skin so much. I had bumps on my face so I stopped using it

  • Kathleen - May 2, 2013 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    For me, any harsh products like proactive help in the beginning but after awhile my skin gets tolerant to it so it stops working. I don’t have the same problem with natural, gentle products and since switching my skin has been amazing!!

  • Shauna - May 2, 2013 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Proactiv was not good at all for me! I’ve used it twice I. My lifetime and both times has made my skin horrible. I used it for over a year, and although it was the sensitive formula, it did not help in the slightest. I personally prefer natural remedies since chemicals haven’t worked in the last for my skin. Proactiv irritated my skin so I constantly had a red face over the year. I eventually decided to discontinue the use because I realized that time wasn’t the issue, but it was the compatibility with my skin.

  • binay - May 2, 2013 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    NO..i look horrible when i wake up in the morning..i look like an old woman. It burns my face. I just returned the whole package and never use it again.

  • Lena Rad - May 2, 2013 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    I personally liked it. I have oily/combination skin. Another factor could be that even before I started using proactiv my skin rarely had breakouts and I’ve never really had acne prone skin too begin with ( pretty much clear skin runs in the family). So proactiv just maintains my clear skin and stops occasional breakouts around that time of the month.

  • Anne - May 2, 2013 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    Proactiv is the only thing that makes a difference for me. I’ve used literally almost every skin care system out there (Murad, Clinique, Zenmed) as well as several doctor prescribed oral and topical treatments and never had any results. I only use Proactiv once a day as it tends to dry my skin out, and it certainly hasnt cleared my skin completely but I get noticable results.

  • Tameika - May 2, 2013 at 5:45 pm - Reply

    Proactiv is good but i cant use it too often as my face gets really irritated so i only use it once a week along with the home remedies i’ve found on this site 🙂 and my face and skin is loving it!!! ♥♥

  • Lisa-Kelly - May 2, 2013 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Absolutely worked and still works for me! As a teenager, my skin exploded and became a strawberry field. I used proactive and it was all gone within a month. I have sensitive fair skin so it got dry in certain areas and even peeled a little at times but nothing you can’t fix with a good moisturizer. As an adult, my skin still breaks out here and there but nothing major so I don’t use proactiv everyday due to it’s harshness but I do buy a new kit whenever my skin loses it and decides to break out a lot

    I’ve had many of my friends use it and we’re all success stories 🙂

  • Andrea - May 2, 2013 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    I have oily skin and would get breakouts all over my face. I tried proactiv and yes it does work for oily skin BUT your skin does become very dependent on it. If I miss 1 or 2 days, I will get a breakout. Also I get cystic acne and it always leaves a scar. But the scar disappears in 2-3 months. If you get it, you have to use it daily.

  • Makenzie - May 2, 2013 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Proactiv was awful. Dried my skin out so much that my skin was tearing on my cheeks when i smiled. Would not recommend to my worst enemy

  • Diana - May 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    I used it for about a year and it definitely worked but it bleached my skin and made it a lot oilier than it was before (I have combination skin to begin with). So I stopped using it and my breakouts came back – definitely not a longterm solution when you consider the harsh chemicals you’re putting on your skin.

    I still have cystic breakouts once in a while but I finally learned what my triggers are. Poor diet, stress and alcohol. I noticed it goes away when I eat better (no red meat, lots of fruits and veggies) – I learned about essential fats (omega-3) and their anti-inflammatory effect on the skin (and also the opposite effect that bad fats have). I take a supplement with ashwagandha, schisandra and rhodiola to reduce the effects of stress on the body (cortisol can throw your hormones out of balance, spike your blood sugar levels, etc.). I meditate, do yoga and it shows. Endurance exercise also gives me a nice glow. If I go out for a night of drinking, my skin shows it for a week after, so I cut back on that a lot lately.

    It takes a lot of discipline to find out your underlying causes, but in the end it’s worth it – for whoever’s reading this, good luck 🙂

  • stef - May 2, 2013 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    I had severe acne I’m middle school and my cousin suggested I use it. She gave me here’s and it worked so I used to order it but out was so strong that it made my skin darker and after awhile I didn’t need it anymore. They’ve made a less harsh version after I stopped using it. It was good for clearing up my acne but great for my skin color.

  • Lauren - May 2, 2013 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Proactiv did not work for me. I gave it a chance while I was in high school and it only made my acne worse. I tried it again in my mid twenties and it did the same thing. Not a fan of this product.

  • Joni - May 2, 2013 at 6:34 pm - Reply

    I have been using proactiv ever since 2007. That was when I graduated high school and was moving on to college. I was 18 at the time. I am 24 years old now and it honestly is the only thing that has worked for me. Last year however I decided to try something else (big mistake). I tried
    Dr. Dennis Gross products for about 4-6 months and even went on birth control (bigger mistake). I broke out like crazy! So last August I stopped birth control stopped dr Dennis products and went back on proactiv. Right now my face is 100 times better. Proactiv takes awhile to work but I’ve been drinking a gallon of water a day staying away from bad foods and getting rest exercising etc. I also use Manuka Honey as a spot treatment in the mornings for about 30 mins. Make sure your face is a bit damp when applying. I also used skin 79’s BB cream and I think that has helped with the scars. Using the green tea moisturizer after the repairing lotion is a good idea too! Good luck to everyone.

  • Chesca - May 2, 2013 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    Unfortunately it did more harm than good. When i watched the advertisement of Proactiv, I thought i found the solution for my acne problem on my nose. But it didn’t do what they said it would. It caused burning pain to my face and made my face really dry. So i thought maybe i should just use it on my problem area which is my nose. I started using it just on my nose and i had acne breakout. 🙁 sad.

  • Sophie - May 2, 2013 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    I have tried every product, and nothing has worked as well as proactiv! I do agree that the bleaching is not pleasant so use old towels. I took a year off from using proactiv and my skin is horrible! I’m going back on it asap. Miracle product!

  • Emily - May 2, 2013 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    I absolutely LOVE proactiv. I have combination skin that breaks out very easily, and I have been on multiple medications to treat my acne. I currently am on a Sulpha drug and using a Clindoxyl spot treatment, along with my Proactiv and my skin has never looked better! It’s soft and smooth, and the SPF in the moisturizer is just a bonus for a sun baby like me! I love it and I don’t think I will ever get over the great results I have had from them! Skin MIRACLE <3

  • Courtney - May 2, 2013 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    Proactiv gave me cystic acne all along my jaw line. I used it the first semester of college. I am now ending my second semester and my face is scarred and constantly red and blotchy. I now use the Clinique three step system and my face is soft and clear of pimples. However, the redness is taking forever to go away.

  • Michelle - May 3, 2013 at 1:58 am - Reply

    DO NOT USE PROACTIV! It made me breakout even more.

  • Jaime - May 3, 2013 at 1:59 am - Reply

    It only irritated my skin but when i used the sensitive wash it did nothing. much prefer a natural take rather than slathering on chemicals to dry your sin.

  • Tenille - May 3, 2013 at 2:03 am - Reply

    As a person who has acne, I have tried proactive before and it does not work. As a regular everyday cleanser, it is good. It makes your face feel really smooth after use but the acne doesn’t go away.

  • justine - May 3, 2013 at 2:47 am - Reply

    Its the worst! It made me break out even worst than before! Its not good its a waste of time and money. It should be taken off the market try clearisil! Clearisil is the BEST

  • Aindrea - May 3, 2013 at 3:34 am - Reply

    It’s not good for sensitive skin. I’ve tried quite a lot of products including some from Europe, as of right now I’ve found a great one. Some may want to look into the clenziderm cleanser set by OBAGI, and I use a Clarisonic mia2 as a facial brush to work the cleanser into my skin. It’s well worth the investment, it’s not a Walmart product nor a department store product, it’s actually from a medical office that I accidentally ran across. Because I have sensitive, oily, acne prone skin I’m skeptical when it comes to products, this one is amazing.
    Ps* remember that your skin does change, you may have to change to a different cleanser if your current one doesn’t do what it used to do for your skin.

  • Angie - May 3, 2013 at 5:16 am - Reply

    I was Proactiv for a few months and I was really disappointed with my results. It did not work for me at all. I have a bit of scarring on my face from scratching my pimples and being a young black women, those dark spots are much harder to get rid of. My skin is also not only oily but very sensitive. Proactiv dried out my skin within a week, my face was constantly stripping. My spots were not vanishing and I was continuing to get consistent pimples. On top of that, when I stopped using it my skin had already become dependent on it and my face broke out like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I would never recommend this product. Now I use a prescripted topical gel that lasts about 6 months, inexpensive and has given me amazing results. My skin is almost 100% clear

  • lilly - May 3, 2013 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    i started using proactive because my acne became really bad during my late teens and it did work for the beginning but then after a few months i started breaking with severe cystic acne and it only stopped when i stopped using the proactive, i don’t know if it was linked but i sure wasn’t about to test it again, it also didn’t do much for improving my skins appearance, it just cleared up the existing acne when i started using it, i was still left with lots of blemished and now i’m left with so much scarring from my awful cysts.

  • sarah - May 3, 2013 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Proactiv made my skin extremely dry!

  • Mak - May 4, 2013 at 5:43 am - Reply

    NO! Proactiv did not work for me. I have very sensitive skin, and my acne wasn’t too bad; it was bad in a 13 year old girl’s point of view. I started out with just the mask, which I was pleasantly surprised with! After running out of the mask, I purchased the entire set. I used it for months, but after seeing no results I finally gave up. Well, i can’t say it didn’t work at all….it did help some, but not NEARLY as much as they say it does. It made my skin very dry and had a strong smell to it. It didn’t work well for me, but hey, everyone’s different.

  • Name - May 4, 2013 at 5:50 am - Reply

    I didn’t use Proactiv, but my mom did.
    When she used it she was not warned that it wasn’t safe for sensitive skin, so she had a horrible reaction to it which made her face swell up and turn into shades of pink and red. Of course, we called in and got a refund. Be careful everyone! ^^

  • tianna - May 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    Well i’ve been using it 2 weeks now n i must say i’ve seen improvement, less breakouts n thats what i’m looking for, i don’t mind the benzoyl peroxide (bleach content) because it helps with the dark spot pimples tend to leave behind. I used it two yrs ago n stopped now pimples have returned so guess i’ll continue using it until a better product comes along.

  • Stacey - May 4, 2013 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    It worked for me but I stopped using it because the chemicals in it stained my clothes. I now use natural products on my skin and the results are the same without my clothes getting ruined

  • HannahH - May 4, 2013 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    No it does not. After one use, my face turned bright red and hives and welts appeared all over my face. My eyes were swollen shut and everything itched. This product is not good for anyone with sensitive or moderately sensitive skin.

  • Josie - May 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    I have used Proactiv on multiple occasions for at one point, severe acne. Unfortunately, I have experienced the same results. The routine works for approximately two-three weeks, and then it stops working. The facial mask is WONDERFUL though! Personally, Proactive may work for mild acne or breakouts.

    As I’ve gotten older, the breakouts have calmed down. At 27 years old, I would say my breakouts are caused by stress and PMS. Last year, I used Mary Kay’s botanical line of facial products, which helped a lot. Currently, I am using Clean & Clear Face Wash and Eucerin Daily Moisturizer. Cost effective, convenient, and fewer breakouts.

  • Amanda - May 4, 2013 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    Nope!! I used it for 2 years and it didn’t really help my skin. I had mild acne and sometimes it felt like it was working but then I would break out again. I finally went to the dermatologist and she told me it wasn’t a good product. I went on accutane for 6 months and my skin is finally clear!

  • Kellie - May 4, 2013 at 4:12 pm - Reply

    It worked for me for about the first year or year and a half and then my skin became immune to it and my acne came back but worse, I would not recommend using it!

  • TrueG - May 4, 2013 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    This did NOT work for me. Instead it made my face and neck raw and dry. Even water would sing! I’ve tried their system twice and no dice.

  • Kayla - May 4, 2013 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    I used to have horrible acne, I had medicine from the doctor, I tried many topical creams and none of it worked it either dried out my skin super bad or stung my eyes when I applied it… Then I heard about L’BRI Pure n’ Natural I started using it and a week later I could tell the difference in my skin it was a lot softer and the blemishes weren’t as red and most of them started to go away. I have used it ever since and I love it! It has really changed my life and the way I clean my face:)

  • Ann - May 4, 2013 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    I have severe oily skin and started breaking out at 13 years of age. I kept seeing the ProActiv infomercials on TV and thought I should give the product a try. So I ordered it over the phone, started using it as soon as I received it, and the day after all my blackheads and whiteheads turned into cystic acne! It was horrible and was so embarrassed of my skin especially when having to go to school every day…horrid! So I’ve decided to see a dermatologist instead. The prescription benzoyl peroxide and Retin-A kept my breakouts at bay and healed my scars fairly quickly. However, the Retin-A made me uber photosensitive and made my skin so red, even with sunscreen on of spf 30
    and above.

    After several years of searching, I finally found the wonder products — Kangen water machine and Cetaphil. I purchased a Kangen water machine (SD501 model) through financing. The machine produces 5 types of water but I will only mention the 3 types here–Kangen water for drinking, Beauty water for cleansing and toning, and strong acidic water for sanitizing. I wash my face with Beauty water and Cetaphil foaming cleanser for oily acne-prone skin, then apply the strong acidic water (ph 2.5) with a cotton ball to affected areas to kill the bacteria in approx. 60 seconds, let dry then follow with Cetaphil oil-free moisturizer with spf 30 for oily, acne prone skin. Now my skin is as clear as ever. I also exfoliate 3 times a week with EVOO and organic sugar plus drinking 10 glasses of Kangen water a day. Now, I’m a happy camper 😀

  • Kiranjot Assi - May 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    NO it doesn’t. I’ve tried it and it caused me more breakouts. when i stopped using it, my skin went to perfectly clear. I’ve Also heard that once you’ve started to use it, you can’t stop because the breakouts will re appear.

  • Kelsey - May 4, 2013 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    I started using Proactiv when I was 14. The first few weeks it worked miraculously, clearing up my worst break outs and keeping them from coming back. However, after a while I started to notice that it was getting less and less effective… Until the point about a year later when I tried a week without it and saw no difference. People have told me that you can develop a tolerance to creams, and so i think this is what happened. I now switch around different treatments, however I do not use Proactiv anymore as you have to basically subscribe to getting automatic refills every two months, and trust me, they add up!

  • anna - May 4, 2013 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    Noooo! Not at all horrible product the only thing that has worked for me after years of dealing with acne was the regimen package from its almost the same price and the bottles are 4x bigger. Its work wobders have to use for a minimume of six months your skin will get worse before it gets better u will go through a flakey stage. But it is so worth the $$ i now save money on makeup becuz i dont have to use as mich ! Highly. Recommend the regimen from

  • Sophie - May 4, 2013 at 11:58 pm - Reply

    I wouldn’t recommend it. It was too harsh on my skin. It bleached clothes, towels and left my face geeling stripped and blotchy. I have gone back to natural products and they are much gentler and more effective.

  • Maria - May 5, 2013 at 12:55 am - Reply

    My brother bought it for me. And it made my skin worse. IWould follow all the steps twice a day. After I used it for like a month and it made it worse I stopped using it. IT LEFT HORRIBLE DARK SPOTS!!

  • kt - May 5, 2013 at 2:29 am - Reply

    I have oily skin and used proactiv and it kind of worked for about 2 weeks then didn’t work ay all. It’s not a product I would recommend to people.

  • SC - May 5, 2013 at 5:34 am - Reply

    It worked for me, really cleared my skin up but I think I developed an allergy to it – I had itchy welts on my face (particularly around my eyes) and skin was extremely dry. Used it for about 4 months then I stopped and my acne came back 🙁

  • Estephanie - May 5, 2013 at 6:18 am - Reply

    Doesn’t work! Wouldn’t recommend it! In my opinion it left my face worse.

  • Kristiana - May 5, 2013 at 6:26 am - Reply

    I used it for almost 3-4 days. It works for some pimples. It depends on what kind of pimples you have. But I say that, it is not effective for Cystic Acne. Most said that it is a very effective product that why it costs expensive, but it doesn’t work for everybody. It often depends on what skin type you have. But for me, it doesn’t really work. I stopped using it because I observed that my Anti-acne soap was better.

  • exel - May 5, 2013 at 6:34 am - Reply

    It doesn'( work

  • Kate - May 6, 2013 at 1:33 am - Reply

    I am 18 years old, tried the product Proactiv multiple times for a long period of time yet it did absolutely nothing for my skin rather than make my skin more red and irritated. There are three miraculous things I’ve had work for me. Neutrogena Rapid Clear cleansing wipes, doxycycline, a prescribed medication, and Bactrim, also a prescribed medication. The Bactrim seems to be the best product I’ve used, it cleared up my skin in one week when medications usually take a lot of time to see results, in addition the Bactrim, I use the Neutrogena Rapid Clear wipes after washing my face and it just keeps your skin feeling clean and clear. The only thing I had a problem with concerning the doxycycline is that it makes you extremely sensitive in the sun. Other than that you should definitely give these products a try!

  • Kate Burgoyne - May 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    I had severe acne for 6 years, I tried everything and nothin worked. I went to various dermatologist and had many oral and topical medicines and they would work for a month or so then my acne would be back. I tried proactive because of all the attention it was causing and it didn’t work at all for me. I ended up taking acutane which finally cleared all my acne. It made me into a confident individual and if you are really struggling with severe acne for a long time talk to a doctor about acutane because it changed my life.

  • Ina - May 8, 2013 at 7:46 am - Reply

    It didn’t help me at all. I bought Vichy Normaderm later and that’s what cleared my skin.

  • Alan - May 8, 2013 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Proactiv took a while before it started to actually work on my oily face, I realized I was better of just using Dove and my face has done much better with that than Proactiv!

  • Becky - May 10, 2013 at 3:29 am - Reply

    Proactive did not work at all for me. It dried out my skin really bad, it has been over a year since I’ve used it and my skin is still recovering. I’m starting to fear that it did permanent damage to my skin.

  • nina - May 15, 2013 at 1:16 am - Reply

    I used it for approximately three months. At first I really loved the effect on my skin. My acne got better and I was so happy.But after a few times usong it, I noticed my skin getting worse, and suddenly it’s not working anymore! As I recall, I was really depressed that time because of my worsened skin. And the products o used after proactiv seem not to work on my acne because., according to my research, it kind of “increased the tolerance” of my acne’s reaction to products, since proactiv is a very harsh one. I tried using natural regimens, and now my skin’s a lot better. Though i have some occasional breakouts. 🙁

  • Skyla - May 17, 2013 at 2:20 am - Reply

    Proactiv never worked for me. I would always break out even worse using proactiv.

  • Mikayla - May 17, 2013 at 2:20 am - Reply

    My face is completely clear right now because of Proactiv! I love it. If you’re willing to faithfully use this product, it works miracles. My face was completely clear in a little over a month. The only bad thing about it is that it dries my face out A LOT. I like to use olive oil to solve that problem. I also drink a lot of green tea! 🙂

  • Charlie - May 17, 2013 at 2:32 am - Reply

    I used it for 2 years and it did nothing but worsen my skin. Gave me cystic acne in the process. Finally went to a dermatologist and my skin is the best it’s looked in years. Would not recommend this horrible product. My skin is no longer dry and blotchy. Wish I would have stopped a year prior but to each his own. I’m still young, hopefully I can repair the damage the best I can. I now have a ton of hyper pigmentation going on, hope it fades quickly

  • Dillon Turner - May 17, 2013 at 2:46 am - Reply

    It didn’t do a thing for me:/

  • Bridget - May 17, 2013 at 3:08 am - Reply

    Really does work, I absolutely love it!!

  • Jode - May 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Initially caused me some redness, but that stopped after about 4 or 5 uses! It’s the kind of product you need to keep using for it to work, don’t be disheartened if you don’t see results within the first week, it took about 2 weeks for my mild acne to clear up. It did kind of make my skin a bit worse before it got better, but like I said – persistence! Once my skin did clear up it became slightly dry so I began to only use it in the morning, and at night I’d use a Johnston baby wipe (the actual baby kind, they’re as pure as water and amazing for sensitive ache prone skin!!) and now my skin is glowing. Without a doubt worth the price for me, although it may not work for everybody. Have a go and find out!:) xxx

  • Daeja - May 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    I used it. it didn’t work. at all. I was very disappointed.

  • asdfghjkl - May 25, 2013 at 1:37 am - Reply

    When I broke out on my forehead I tried to use natural ingredients but didn’t help it at all so I decided to try proactive and It worked. I used it on my whole face, however there was one thing that I didn’t like, it gave me wrinkles and stuff. And also I only use it at night because I feel like It’s too strong for my skin and I would just put on moisturizer every morning. when my acne has cleared up I stopped using it and after 1 year my acne came back so I had to start using proactive again and after 1 week my acne was almost gone. 🙂 I have oily skin on the t-zone part so that’s where I usually break out.

  • Pimp - May 25, 2013 at 2:19 am - Reply

    I had and am still getting over a cystic acne breakout. I used proactive for 4 weeks and saw no result except extremely dry skin. My acne also seemed to be getting worse. My fce turned from red inflammation to purplish areas where the big pimples were. I stopped using it and went to my esthetician. She gave me a facial including popping all my pimples and using this electric machine at the end of the facial to disinfect and regenerate the open pores. After 3 days I saw amazing results!!! all the irritation went down and i finally SAW my skin again! I really advise anyone suffering from a BAD case of acne to go see a professional and NOT POP OR PICK themselves. I saw her every 3 days so that she could pop anything that had risen after the initial facial and then again 3 days later for another facial. It’s my 3rd week on this crazy schedule and my face feels smooth like a baby’s ass. Smooth with scars because I went crazy popping them and making it 10 times worse. Find an esthetician and work out a cheap plan. They want to help. Pimples suck! Good luck

  • Joi - June 10, 2013 at 2:24 am - Reply

    I can not decide if I like proactive yet, I’ve been using it for 7 days now all all it has done for me is made my skin softer, I still have a few bumps on my face

  • Kelsey Tanner - June 26, 2013 at 1:35 am - Reply

    It worked for me for a little while. But it seems like my skin got used to it or something, and after about 6 months, I started to get cystic ance. It hurt so bad! So to sum it up, I’m really not a fan of proactiv, Sorry!

  • Michael - June 26, 2013 at 10:48 pm - Reply

    This does not even work! None of the proactiv products worked for me. I do not have sensitive skin I had oily skin. This was the worst product I had ever tried I rate it a 1/5 star I wish I could rate it 0. It just made my acne so much worse.

  • sally - August 19, 2013 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    unfortunately for me it did more harm than good for me, i added to my problems by making me break out.

  • John - August 20, 2013 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    Proactiv doesn’t work at all if you moderate to severe acne, it only makes it worse. Save money and time and don’t buy it

  • Mark Andro - September 9, 2013 at 8:00 am - Reply

    I’ve oily skin and i easily get breakouts and I’ve tried A LOT (including homade ingredients) but proactive has become the lifesaver in my experience. I seem too notice that ppl who had bad experience with it as more vocal especially online about their experiences compared to those who had long term good outcome with Proactive.

    Its a medication so it may or or may not work 4 u… there r ppl who had good results with it who stopped using it coz thier apprehensive about “possible” side effects… I suggest doing yr own research but IF you have not tried Proactiv at all – don’t deprived yourself of something that could potentially get yr acne under control

  • Lo - September 20, 2013 at 8:22 am - Reply

    The benzoyl peroxide would bleach my clothes when I worked out. If you stopped using for more than 2 weeks, the acne would come right back. It dried my skin out and caused my skin to peel. It made my already oily skin even more oily (excessive dryness = overproduction of oil). Even with a healthy routine, the results took longer than using natural and/or over the counter products. Neutrogena Acne Stress Relief line is working well for me, especially as a college student. Save your money. Don’t get proactiv.

  • Alex - October 2, 2013 at 1:24 am - Reply

    Iv used proactive on and off since I was 13 I’m now 19, my skin has seemed to get better on its own since then but when my acne was really bad proactive worked wonders for me and my confidence, my mom hated that it bleached her towels and had to buy me my own white ones but that’s all the bad I noticed at first, then I decided to stop using it and my skin became engolfed in acne, so it just seems that my skin because dependent so my advice would be.. It works yes for most people, but when you decide you want to use it anymore ween yourself off , don’t cold turkey it. Oh! And buy white towels. Hope this helps !

  • Kayla - October 3, 2013 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    Used it as a teen thinking it would help my minor breakouts… It made my face ten times worst and now I get uncontrollable breakouts and very sensitive skin. AVOID if possible.

  • Ana - November 18, 2013 at 4:29 am - Reply

    I was an active Proactiv member for quite sometime and sadly I saw no true results from it, well at least not long lasting. Not to mention the minute I would stop using it I would break out again, I would honestly skip the Proactiv step and just go straight to a dermatologist

  • Flora2 - August 17, 2014 at 3:35 am - Reply

    I used ProActiv a while back and it was not a pleasant experience. My skin burned, itched, turned red. And on top of all that, it was abnormally dry [shocking because I’ve never had dry skin in my life].

    I desperately needed something to get rid of my acne [which was located mostly on my forhead area] … ProActiv was terrible, as I mentioned before. So I decided to buy the Citrus Clear Sensitive Kit (Face Wash & Moisturizer), and this was the best decision ever. I noticed results as soon as 2-3 days. My acne is all gone now. It’s only 2 steps, whereas ProActiv was 3. My skin is great right now

  • Sarah - October 27, 2014 at 11:50 am - Reply

    I have tried it and it doesn’t cure it even a little i used it for about a year bottom line not worth it at all
    The only thing good about it as the three steps are right but not affective

  • charles - January 31, 2015 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    Hydrochloric acid @ 37%, nitric acid @ 70%, and sulfuric acid @ 98% are the common concentrations produced by chemical manufactures. They are powerful, dangerous acids. I worked at a chemical supply company for 10 yrs. Maybe everyone has the bacteria responsible for causing acne on their skin. Acne may result when a persons skin pH is too high. I have been using 37% hydrochloric acid diluted to 1% concentration in green apple shampoo for 10 yrs. My complexion is very oily and I’m 60 yrs. My acne WAS moderate to severe. Now I’m kicking acne’s ass! I wash my face using rubber kitchen gloves because of their gripping surface. I wet my face and apply a small amount of the HCL-shampoo mixture to my gloves and wash using moderate hand pressure for 5 to 10 seconds. Yes, lightly burn it in. Rinse. Decadron, sulfur, resorcinol, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and 13-cis retinoic acid along with all the other things I tried did nothing. I have an A.A.S. degree in chemistry/math and I am my own guinea pig. I finally found something that works. Hardware stores sell HCL acid aka muriatic acid @ 20% concentration. Do the math. The pH of my HCL-shampoo is about 2. I noticed positive results on me after 3 days. Use lip balm as needed.

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