I think everyone of us understands just how much of a problem acne can be, and not just for teenagers! As I’ve said before, I have friends who are now well into their 30s and still suffering regular breakouts.

proactiv-plus 3 step kitIt can be very hard psychologically for someone to embrace regular problems with acne, as it leaves you feeling very self-conscious and can absolutely crush your self-confidence out in public.

It can also be extremely costly to treat, as most of the proven acne treatment systems on the market can carry a hefty price tag and only work as long as you continue to take them. I’ve decided to review a Proactiv product for the first time, which may surprise some of you, because it is without a doubt the best known and most popular of the options on the market.

By now, you have probably seen all of the TV commercials, and flipped through the print advertisements in your favorite mags. With an ever-expanding celebrity endorsement list and real-life consumers who’ve tried and rave about Proactiv Plus and enjoyed it, you have no doubt been considering giving it a try.

However, just because your favorite celebs tout the fantastic results, does this mean Proactiv+ is all it is said to be? Let us take a closer peek into it before you purchase.

The Growth Explosion at Proactiv

In 1995, Proactiv was launched by a Kathy Fields, M.D. and Katie Rodan, M.D. a couple of Sanford-educated dermatologists. The physicians claim to have handled acne themselves, and thereby were on a mission to discover and/or develop a skin care routine which would clear skin, as well as keep it healthy.

Proactiv today is touted as amongst America’s top selling acne programs, and was recognized with 28 honors and awards from the industry of health and beauty.

Proactiv Plus (aka Proactiv+), in recent years, was created to address both the problems of acne and additional environmental/age skin conditions, hoping to make it more attractive as a treatment for skincare, instead of merely an acne system.

The Product and Its Claims

According to the website of Proactiv:

Proactiv+ is an advanced system for the treatment of acne with additional medication, built-in hydration and smart, new method of treating acne. It’s a new 3-Step System — fully reformulated from the floor up — for dual purposes of generating a radiant complexion and delivering clear skin.

Proactiv+ is the first-ever dual therapy acne plus skincare program made to promote healthy pores. The synergistic measure combines the most powerful acne treatment ever using effective, advanced ingredients in skincare.

A Tale of Two Results

The Proactiv Plus system reviews are shockingly split. On websites like Amazon, there were more negative ones than positive, with the primary complaints citing severe dryness, redness, itching, and ineffectiveness, in conjunction with price.

Other reviews claim that the product line reduces or eliminates acne, yet that the acne sometimes will reoccur later, although they have continuously used the products.

Proactiv+ reviews on websites like Acne.org aren’t as split, with poor comments outnumbering positive ones by as much as three to one. Complaints there cite not just the harsh results of the product or its ineffectiveness, but additionally consumers feeling overcharged. Also, there were many who reported issues in handling the customer service of the company itself.



The system for acne treatment has been inexistence for a long period of time and its reputation is well based. The truth is it has offered great results for most folks and it would not be around today if it did not. It has the proper chemical elements for specific skin types to relieve acne, and day-to-day application is simple. It’ll follow a familiar three-step format which most other acne businesses have adopted with a sequence of different products which comprise the whole treatment.

As you order the system of Proactiv, you will be provided a repairing treatment, revitalizing toner, and a daily cleanser. Also, Proactiv provides additional supplemental products like moisturizers and facial masks, yet those features will cost an extra charge. The basic system itself is simple and every product is made to do its own duty. Utilizing each one by itself is obviously never as efficient as when you utilize them together. You must be certain that you carefully follow directions and be patient enough for every element to perform its job. With that said, it is pretty easy to settle into a day-to-day usage pattern.

The great news as it’ll come to Proactiv is that it’ll work in most cases. If you have a case of mild to simple acne, odds are you will start seeing results inside a fairly brief time period. Also, it’s one of the cheapest options for acne treatment around, and it’s possible to really ramp up your routine if you opt to add any extras. It is a straightforward way for you to go and if the product works for you, you will not need anything else.

The most obvious disadvantage to any acne treatment includes the truth that there isn’t any universal cure so there always is an opportunity that it will not work. In this case it will not matter how many folks rave about the product, you aren’t going to believe it is all that unique if it does not work for your type of skin. There are several factors to think about like your acne’s severity and environmental components. Unfortunately, there isn’t any way Proactiv is able to work for everybody, and in the instances of nodular or cystic acne which could produce acne scars, you’ll definitely require more serious treatments.

One other negative factor includes the way its subscription service runs. It’s based on a continuous renewal, meaning you’ll be sent a basic kit occasionally no matter what your present acne situation is. For some, it has led to excessive product and eventually a bit of wasted money. It also is a bit irritating that purchasing Proactiv in person at its kiosk is much more expensive, yet waiting for its products to be sent to your house is not all that convenient either. All of it depends upon how patient you are and which other options for acne are available.

All in all, if you have any further questions about the product it is better that you consult a dermatologist. Benzoyl peroxide includes Proactiv’s primary active ingredient and it may have mixed results depending upon your skin. Plus, if you choose to go with the treatment system, be certain to pay close attention to different effects and report all side effects or pain to your skin physician.

The following include the ingredients in every one of the three primary products, as listed upon the website of Proactiv:

Step 1: Skin Smoothing Exfoliator

The active ingredient: 2.5 percent of benzoyl peroxide

The inactive ingredients: fragrance, phenoxyethanol, sodium hydroxide, glycolic acid, acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, ethylhexylglycerin, dimethicone, butylene glycol, linolenic acid, lauryl/myristyl benzoate, polyethylene, glycerin, sodium cocoyl isethionate, and water.

Step 2: Pore Targeting Treatment

The active ingredient: 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide

The inactive ingredients: fragrance, disodium EDTA, potassium hydroxide, carbomer, sorbitan stearate, polysorbate 80, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, glycerin, ethoxydiglycol, and water.

Step 3: Complexion Perfecting Hydrator

The active ingredient: 0.5 percent salicylic acid

The inactive ingredients: fragrance, phenoxyethanol, disodium EDTA, sodium hydroxide, PPG-2 myristyl ether propionate, hexylene glycol,  polysorbate 60,  aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, ceteareth-20, polyquaternium-11, PPG-5-laureth-5, hydroxypropyl cyclodextrin, hydrogenated polydecene, ethylhexyl palmitate, ethylhexyl, glycerin, caprylyl glycol, caprylic/capric triglyceride, C12-15 alkyl lactate, safflower oil/palm oil aminopropanediol esters, squalene, allantoin, bisabolol, sodium hyaluronate, alpha-glucan oligosaccharide, zinc gluconate, kojic acid,  arctostaphylos uva ursi leaf extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, morus alba root extract, sophora angustifolia root extract, scutellaria baicalensis root extract, sodium polyacrylate, dimethicone,  cetearyl alcohol, butylene glycol, and water.

As the Proavtiv Plus product line doesn’t have any overtly harmful chemical ingredients, they’ll include ingredients, like zinc oxide that has been tentatively linked to cancer, and has been well-known to bleach sheets and pillowcases. And, even though some of its purpose includes drying out the overly active oil generating pores in the face, there’s a fine line on how much “drying out” skin may handle. The ones who have very sensitive skin may do well to shop for a more sensitive product.

I’m a purchasing customer…not a paid or supplied reviewer. I paid my own hard earned money for this product.

LOVE Proactive plus (for real). I had ran out and stopped using and my skin felt awful and i did have breakouts (adult acne). Been back on the Proactive Plus for about 3 wks now and my skin feels great. Breakouts have cleared up and my skin looks “polished, smooth and feels silky”. The packages were in great shape and the bottles all had the silver peeloff tab at the opening. Will definitely buy again. The stuff isn’t cheap, but it lasts a long time..for me about 4-5 months


Amazon review

Five Stars

Can’t live without it !!!

Megan Goltsch

Amazon review

[amazon link=”B01CT3JVSC” title=”Read Customer Viewpoints” /]

Want to See if Proactiv is the Answer?

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Other Acne Contenders:

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How to Use Proactiv+

According to the Proactiv site, users should follow this routine while using Proactiv+:

Step 1: Cleanse

The Skin Smoothing Exfoliator – You can smooth away excessive dirt, oil, and additional impurities with the daily cleanser.

  • Put on a coin-sized quantity to wet skin.
  • Massage gently in circular motion for two to three minutes.
  • Thoroughly rinse using warm water then pat dry.

Step 2: Treat

The Pore Targeting Treatment – You can kill acne bacteria that is deep in pores using the daily treatment.

  • Put on at least of two pumps to dry, clean skin.
  • Smooth gently over whole face—don’t rinse off.
  • Permit to completely absorb before you proceed to Step Three.

Step 3: Repair

The Complexion Perfecting Hydrator – You can brighten tone, soothe irritation, and visibly decrease post-acne marks without having to clog pores with the daily hydrator.

  • Put on at least a coin-sized quantity to dry skin.
  • Smooth gently over whole face—don’t rinse off.
  • Permit to absorb. Reapply all through the day if necessary. If you go outdoors, apply SPF-15 or more.

Are there additional Proactiv products to purchase? There are, of course… yet they aren’t necessary for the effectiveness of the products in the Plus kit.

Is There a Final Verdict?

All in all, it seems that this product has a smart marketing department. They’ve made a good-looking website and professional product presentation, they use a bit of the most popular and beautiful celebs as spokespeople, and they’ve broadened their attractiveness by making their products lean more towards skincare instead of strictly just acne treatment.

Marketing aside, they have hundreds of thousands of happy customers who have solved their issues with acne by using one of the Proactiv treatments. Like a lot of other acne products, there are not a lot of reviews in the middle. It seems like, most commonly, these products either work for your particular skin issues or not.

Regardless, I say give it a try and return it under their guarantees if it doesn’t meet your expectations. Also, if you want to take a look at a less expensive alternative, check out our review of the Mario Badescu Acne Starter Kit, which we reviewed recently.

On Amazon it sells for around $30, and you get enough of a sample of each step of their treatment regimen to determine if it’s going to make a difference with your breakouts. And, if that’s not effective either, we do have a good number of other product reviews for acne treatment that may help.