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Can The Proactiv Solution Fix Your Acne Problem?
From Vanessa Williams to Serena Williams, Jessica Simpson to P. Diddy Combs, the list of celebrities who've endorsed Proactiv Solution is long and impressive. But how does this acne-fighting system measure up for the average user? Can you get results like Lindsay Lohan's, or Alicia Keys's?
For many people who try it, the answer is yes. But why does Proactiv work? And are there cheaper alternatives, or is it really necessary to shell out for a bi-monthly shipment of this designer dermatology treatment?
What's In Proactiv?
The simplest (and cheapest) version of the Proactiv System involves three steps:
- Renewing Cleanser
- Revitalizing Toner, and
- Repairing Lotion
The active ingredient in both the cleanser and lotion is the same: benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide is an organic compound in the peroxide group, that works by stimulating skin cells to slough off more easily. This prevents pores from clogging with dead skin, and provides room for new, healthy skin cells to grow, repairing scarring and damage. It is also an antibacterial, reducing the count of the bacteria that cause pimples.
One of the main ingredients in Proactiv Revitalizing Toner is witch hazel, which acts as an antioxidant (helping to prevent free radicals and the damage they cause), as well as an astringent (shrinking and tightening pores to keep dirt and bacteria from getting in).
You can also choose to add other products to your basic 3-step kit, such as:
- Daily Oil Control
- Oil-free Moisturize with SPF 15
- Refining Mask
- Green Tea Moisturizer
Jessica Simpson's Proactiv Testimonial
Does Proactiv Work?
I'm sure you've seen the advertisements, such as the infomercial featuring Jessica Simpson (see video at right), with testimonials from celebrities and everyday folks like you and me for whom Proactiv worked wonders. But if you've done any research, you've probably heard or read stories about how Proactiv didn't do anything for their skin, even claims it made their acne worse.
The fact is, benzoyl peroxide is a powerful acne-fighting agent, but it does tend to dry out your skin. When your skin gets dry and flakey, your pores get clogged, making breakouts more likely, rather than eliminating them as it should. You can maximize your chances of avoiding that problem in a few ways:
- Use an oil-free moisturizer. It doesn't have to be Proactiv's brand, but make sure you are applying something that will replenish and hydrate your skin after you use the three-step program.
- Wear sunscreen. Benzoyl peroxide makes you more sensitive to sunlight, which can dry out your skin more quickly. It's easy to get an oil-free moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or higher, so you can kill two birds with one stone.
- Wash your face twice a day. Regular exfoliation, as with the Renewing Cleanser, will help get rid of those dead skin cells and make sure they aren't sticking around to plug up your pores.
- Listen to your skin. As you'll see in the video below, one very happy Proactiv user found that she maximized results by only using the system once, instead of twice a day. Depending on how sensitive and oily or dry your face is naturally, you may need to follow her example, or try only applying the Repairing Lotion at night, and going straight from toner to moisturizer in the mornings.
How to Use Proactiv Solution
The Pros and Cons of Proactiv
As with any product you're thinking of purchasing, you should know the good and bad points of Proactiv, and make an educated decision about whether good outweighs bad.
We've already covered some of the bad points, but here is a recap, plus a few more.
- May dry out skin
- Bleaches linens and towels
- Price ($40 per 3-piece system)
Besides clearing up your acne (which is the whole point of the thing) here are a few more good points about the Proactiv system.
- Automatic shipments (you choose frequency)
- Not tested on animals
- Quick, easy, and not messy
Will Proactiv Work for Me?
In the end, that's a question only you can answer, by trying the product yourself. If you've weighed the pros and cons above, and you're willing to deal with the possible side effects to get results, the only thing you can do is order a trial kit and test it out. Over 85% of users see results in 3 to 5 weeks, but every person is an individual, and everyone's natural chemistry is unique. If you do decide to try Proactiv, follow the tips I've given above to make it less likely you'll have problems, and more likely you'll get the result you want.
It's worth noting that there are a number of alternative acne systems on the market, and you might want to compare and contrast before settling on Proactiv in particular. Look for a kit that includes some combination of cleanser, toner or astringent, and lotion, and contains benzoyl peroxide and/or salicylic acid. Again, be sure to follow up with an oil-free moisturizer to rehydrate your face after each use.
If you prefer the holistic route, like the woman in the last video, you may also want to look into some natural recipes for homemade acne remedies that you can whip up in your kitchen.
Tried Proactiv already? Found it a lifesaver? Had a terrible experience? Be sure to leave your story in the comment box below, and help others on their quest for clearer skin.