Tried, Tested, and True? A Review of the Proactiv Acne Solution
Acne is a complex skin disorder, affecting millions of people world-wide, and influenced by many different factors. Given that there are so many skin types, acne product combinations, and skin care regimens out there, it is hardly surprising that no single product seems to prevent acne for everyone. Proactiv, which has gained a lot of attention recently through celebrity endorsement, is another set of acne products that some people love and others hate. This article gives you a run-down on how Proactiv is meant to work, as well as a brief report on my own ongoing Proactiv experience.
Proactiv is a skin care system that uses three basic steps to address existing acne and prevent future breakouts. The general idea is to remove the sources that cause acne while also healing existing blemishes. Before acne becomes the inflamed pimple that we are all so fond of, it can be present in a non-inflammatory form, as a blocked and enlarged hair follicle that contains oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells. Since the pore is blocked, there is no escape for the oil, and as more oil enters the pore, the bacteria reproduce quickly, causing the inflammation typical of a breakout. The Proactiv Solution counters acne using a treatment paradigm that has been embraced by many other acne treatment lines.
The first step is a cleanser meant to exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells that can lead to blocked pores. The cleanser is also meant to remove any dead cells that are currently blocking pores, opening pores so that the bacteria within can be treated. Oil-free, the Proactiv cleanser also contains 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, a chemical that is thought to enter pores and prevent bacterial metabolism. One potential negative with this cleanser is that it does contain fragrance, which can irritate overly sensitive skin. Benzoyl peroxide can also be a source of irritation, but the Proactiv cleanser uses a very low concentration, and if used minimally at first, a tolerance can usually be built so that it can be used more often without any negative effects.
Following the cleanser, the next product in the Proactiv treatment plan is a toner containing witch hazel extract and other botanical ingredients. Toners are meant to follow-up cleansers by restoring the skin's natural pH. They can also play a role in removing dead skin cells, unplugging pores, and removing excess oil on the skin's surface. Although this toner contains potential skin irritants such as fragrance and color additives, it is alcohol-free where many other toners are not. This is important for all skin products, as alcohol can play a huge role in drying out the skin.
The final step in the Proactiv treatment uses a product they call a repairing lotion, a medicated lotion meant to heal existing acne blemishes and prevent breakouts in the future. The repairing lotion, like the cleanser, contains 2.5% benzoyl peroxide. Since this lotion is left on the skin and not rinsed off, it should be introduced slowly and on less sensitive areas of the face. This product also contains fragrance.
My own personal experience with the Proactiv 3-step treatment plan has been relatively positive. I have been using it for about a month now, and although my acne was never terrible, my texture improved noticeably and blemishes have healed more quickly. The treatment schedule suggests that you start using the products once a day for at least a week, and then increase to using them morning and night. I followed this plan, and I did find that my skin was getting slightly irritated by the repairing lotion, so even though I now use the cleanser and toner twice a day, I tend to use the lotion only once in the evening. I also don't use it on the sensitive skin right above my lip...one day of having a pink moustache was more than enough for me! I found that a good moisturizer was key to preventing the drying effects of the benzoyl peroxide. I didn't buy the Proactiv one, but the Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer is non-comedogenic and oil-free with SPF 15, so I found that it works well in its place. I feel like my skin would be dry if I didn't use moisturizer, but since I applied it right from the very beginning my skin never developed a dried-out appearance.
While the acne-preventing principles adopted by Proactiv are used by most acne treatment systems these days, other plans may have slightly different ingredients. This means that if Proactiv doesn't work for you, there's still a good chance that another series of cleansers, toners, and medicated lotions could help clear up your acne. As mentioned above, the Proactiv products all contain fragrance, which can be irritating, and the toner includes color additives, which may be unnecessary. I'm sure there are other product lines that are more natural. Also, benzoyl peroxide is not for everyone, no matter what the concentration, so if your skin feels irritated maybe try a line using a different active ingredient. If you haven't tried Proactiv yet, it does have a 60-day money-back guarantee, so it's probably worth considering. In the very least, it gets you into a good skin care regimen, which is a great habit to acquire. The best of luck to us all!!
About the Author: Author C. L. Jackson wishes the topic of acne was simply an academic interest ... but unfortunately thatís not the case! You'll find much more information on this topic at the author's website http://www.ipro8.com/acnecontrol-24