Monday, June 7, 2010

I Don't Like Proactiv and Here's Why [Part 1]

As I type this, I am watching an infomercial on QVC rolling my eyes and getting, unreasonably upset. Now I shouldn’t be so upset, but I have my reasons. Listening to the callers-in and QVC “hype-ers” talk about this product like its a miracle is, well, frustrating for me...

I’ll explain.
I was a faithful customer of Proactiv for 4 years. I grew up with terrible skin and battled it from ages 10 to, well, currently. Now when I say bad skin, I don’t mean typical pubescent breakouts, I had a face regularly littered with pimples (not zits) and it’s remaining dark acne scars for most of my teenage life and into my early 20’s, which is well, now (OK, fine, I’m in my mid 20’s now but whatev). I had seen the infomercials for Proactiv since I was 16 and always wanted to try it out, but didn’t have the means. I had tried everything I could think of at the time to try and get rid of my breakouts: from washing with this gentle cleanser to that harsh cleanser and using a home remedy instead to expensive over-the-counter products and they were always unsuccessful. But then I got older, and I got a job, moved away and was issued a credit card, so I decided to finally try Proactiv because everyone I knew had great things to say about it, family included and they all had great skin. So I with all the hope and prayers I could think of, I tried it and... it worked! I was so happy! It didn’t take too long for me to notice a change in my skin. My breakouts receded, and after a while (a long while; how long, I don’t remember) the scarring started to go away, tho it wasn’t permanent.

Now, my beef with Proactive is not that its not a permanent solution, I know this. With acne, there is no guaranteed fix, and if you happen to find a method that works, it’s something you have to stick with for either a) the age at which your parents stopped breaking out, or b) forever. And I was prepared to use the treatment forever! I was so happy - for the most part - with the results and was prepared to give the company my money for however long this product existed.

Then I noticed over time that it wasn’t the same result that I was used to getting. I had heard occasionally by a few people that had tried the product, that your skin “get’s used to” the stuff and eventually stops working. But I thought this was bullshit. They just “aren’t doing it right”, I’d tell myself. They’re probably not using it 3 times a day like instructed or aren’t using the toner or possibly skipping a step, I told myself. But after about 3 years of solid, faithful use I started to break-out again. But not a little cluster of zits, which I would periodically break out in but that would quickly go away with use of the sulfur mask, but big, cystic pimples... the painful ones that hurt just by looking at them! And not just one, or even two, but five! I would regularly break out with cystic acne, while on Proactiv! Now I don’t know about you, but when I drop upwards of $45 on acne treatment I expect it to work. So I called Proactiv and was about to cancel my automatic shipment when I explained to the customer service representative that I wasn’t happy with the product any longer and that the product wasn’t working anymore and that I was breaking out regularly in cystic acne. said that there was an extra strength version of the product I should try. That this version would “kick-start the solution into working as it should and then you can go back to the regular strength version”. OK fine. So I tried it, and that worked too! Until I went back to the regular strength version. So over the course of 9 months I went first, back and forth from the extra-strength to the regular strength versions of Proactiv, and eventually I decided to stick with the extra strength version, since it was the type that could almost (almost), restore my skin to what it looked like before.

But shortly after switching to using the extra strength version exclusively, I noticed that I was again breaking out in cysts in a very short amount of time. I had had enough. I didn’t want to spend even more money on a version of Proactiv that no longer worked at all for me, so stopped using it completely.

Then all hell broke loose.

To be continued...


  1. I found the the facts very captivating and important as acne is the most common topic among the girls and in some part for boys too.

  2. You need to make sure that you have found something that works effectively with your skin type. If your treatment is not helping your skin become normalized and maintains the same way, any product you use will not work long term as it is not helping to normalize the skin. Ensure that you receive a proper skin consultation to understand what your skin type is and then find products that are conducive to your specific skin.


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