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Proactiv Solution Review

Updated: August 15, 2016

Bottom Line


  • Less irritating than some
  • Contains benzoyl peroxide
  • Repairing lotion is rich with anti-irritants


  • Toner contains glycolic acid
  • May be too harsh for sensitive skin
  • Expensive
Our Analysis
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There's tons of user feedback on Proactiv, and the great divergence of opinions leads us to believe that its effectiveness lies in the eyes -- and the skin -- of the beholder. Harshness is a key complaint. At least one expert says that the 2.5-percent benzoyl peroxide concentration in Proactiv Renewing Cleanser and Repairing Lotion causes less irritation than higher concentrations, but is still effective. However, user reports lead us to believe that the formulation could still be too strong for some skin types. In addition, the Revitalizing Toner uses glycolic acid, but some experts say that salicylic acid, such as found in Neutrogena Acne Stress Control 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment (*est. $24 for 2 ounces), is a more effective skin exfoliant for treating acne.

In the end, most experts say that Proactiv does contain well-proven ingredients and is worth a try if cheaper over-the-counter products aren't working. However, know that if you sign up for the automatic shipments, your costs could balloon.

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