Dear Crissy

Does Proactiv really work?

Does Proactiv really work?

I’ve wondered this to myself, and aloud, for years. Of course, no one could miss the Proactiv commercials featuring celebrities we all know and love, and those before and after photos always made me wonder. Does Proactiv really work?

proactiv review

I’ve gone through periods in my life when my skin wasn’t the best, particularly during high school and college. My skin is naturally somewhat oily and prone to breakouts, however, it is also far too sensitive for most over-the-counter acne treatments.

I’m lucky that my skin is pretty blemish-free right now, mostly due to pregnancy hormones, but I am still always on the lookout for fabulous cleansers, toners, and moisturizers, so I was more than happy to give Proactiv a trial run.

Let me say, as general skin care (even for those who don’t have severe acne), these products are gentle, smell great, and left my skin feeling fresh and clean.

I particularly love the Refining Cleanser, which is actually a lot gentler than the scrub I usually use on my face. I felt like I was getting that “scrub” effect, without digging the skin off my face!

The Revitalizing Toner is also an incredible product. I was convinced that my skin was totally clean after cleansing, and found dirt remaining on my skin after wiping my face with a cotton ball soaked with this toner. This was a whoa moment for me. I will certainly continue to purchase this toner!

I am really loving Proactiv, and I know that after these lovely pregnancy hormones fade in a few months, and my old friend acne reappears, I’ll have a fabulous solution to give me clear skin.

I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Proactiv and received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Leave a Comment


  1. Running Betty — October 24, 2011 @ 10:17 pm (#)

    My cousin used Proactiv in high school. She said it was great for a little under a year. Then it seemed her skin got used to it and it wouldn’t work for her. So she switched to Clean & Clear.
    My daughters and I use a concealer with salicylic acid in it, so it heals while it conceals throughout the day.


  2. Joy — October 25, 2011 @ 1:13 am (#)

    I used it for quite a while and loved it. I was probably about 36 at the time and still had breakouts. It did seem to become less helpful after a time and I went back to my old method. From that point on, things have been much better. It could be that my age finally kicked in or it could be that ProActiv just did something good to my skin over the time I did use it. Not sure. I would recommend it, but would let them know that I’ve heard many people say it doesn’t work forever.


  3. Christina S. — October 25, 2011 @ 7:54 am (#)

    In our house, we call it “ProCRACKtive.” My daughter used this for a while and as soon as she stopped, her acne came back worse than before. We’ve had many friends with similar experiences. It’s as if your skin becomes dependent on it. :-(


  4. Laurie Harrison — October 25, 2011 @ 12:12 pm (#)

    I so wanted to know the truth about ProActive. My son has acne (19 yrs old) and I spent some serious cash on facial cleansers and he wasn’t good about useing it. (a couple years ago) He would try it and if he didn’t see pretty fast results, he would quit.
    But I think now that he is in college and more conscience of his appearance, he might. He didn’t give a hoot in high school, as unusual as that sounds, it was true.
    I would like to get him some for Christmas if it really, really works.


  5. Regina — October 26, 2011 @ 1:53 am (#)

    I never really had really bad skin problems but I started getting breakouts, zits, boils sporadically (especially during that time of the month), and left small scars starting at age 33. So I started looking for products OTC and even went to the dermatologist for help, and nothing really seemed to help long term. I found Murad products at Sephora and that seemed to work for a while, but I guess ultimately my skin got use to it. About 2 years ago I decided to try Proactive andmy skin responded positivlely. Here I am 38 years old and 23 weeks and still using the line. I still get small breakouts but I’m thinking with these hormones, these breakouts are going to remain BUT they’re not as bad as years ago. I will continue to use proactive until my skin says “no mas!”


  6. Ana — October 26, 2011 @ 2:18 am (#)

    Did you use/are you using Proactiv while pregnant? When I was pregnant, my doctor told me to stop using it and other medicated acne products. There is an acne-cleansing face wash available at ULTA from a maternity/baby skincare line called Belli that is pregnancy-safe :)


  7. Avr Lev — November 8, 2011 @ 10:51 pm (#)

    As someone struggling with acne for over 20 years, there is nothing for acne that I haven’t tried. I was using Proactiv before and, although it helped a little, it made my skin super flaky and irritated, and the acne was still there. Still, it was the best thing that I had tried, so I used it for years.

    Proactiv didn’t stop my breakouts, though, and sometimes they were so bad that you couldn’t tell that I was using an acne treatment twice a day, religiously. Proactiv customer service told me to try the super strength formula, which didn’t help either.

    I finally gave up and decided to try something natural after reading a couple of good reviews for Made from Earth skincare products. Boy, am I glad I did. I about two weeks of use of their Green Tea Toxin Cleanser, my skin already looked better than it did in a long, long time. I haven’t had any more awful breakouts, no more peeling and flakiness, no more irritation. Doesn’t smell bad and it’s invisible (Proactiv has a funky odor and makes your skin shiny). Now I simply wash my face morning and night with the Green Tea Toxin Cleanser, and when I see that I am about to have a breakout I use their Grapefruit Glycolic Scrub. Its smells sooooo good!

    With this regimen, I haven’t had a breakout since starting using Made from Earth products. The extra nice effect is that it seems that my skin tone is becoming more even after using the products. Proactiv left me full of dark spots but this is doing a pretty nice job in getting rid of them.


  8. Molly — April 4, 2014 @ 5:20 pm (#)

    People who bitch about Proactiv really need to learn how to use it correctly. You don’t need to wash your face in the morning, especially if your not a teenager, because it will over dry and produce more pimples and irritation. Proactiv, if used gently and effectively, is a great exfoliator and preventer of acne..but it is very strong. It didn’t work wonderfully for me as a teenager because I washed too hard and too often. I’m 26 and only use the face wash and toner and night followed by a night cream and just water and lotion with an SPF during the day and my skin already feels better. Also, everyone’s skin is different. It wouldn’t be sold so much if it was a horrible product. Stop over scrubbing!


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