Does Proactiv Plus Work?

A Review On Proactiv Plus

So does Proactiv Plus really work or is it like other acne treatments?

I have been asked numerous times to do a review on this product so after much thought, here it is.

does proactive plus really work image

Before I even begin, let me just say from the outset:

I have never used this product line and I never will because if you’re familiar with my outlook on treating acne on this site, you will know any external cosmetic is not going to offer any long term cure.

Instead, what I’m about to say is based on my existing knowledge, a consensus of independent reviews and a lot of additional research.

This product has long been advertised across all sorts of media as an acne treatment that works.

They have invoked celebrities, been on daytime and nighttime TV, installed remote kiosks as well as numerous pop ups on the Internet. They are pretty much everywhere.

So before putting any product to the test like Silver Serum or Proactiv Plus, I always run it through three qualifying questions:

  • Will it work long term or do you have to keep taking it?
  • Does it contain any harmful, irritating ingredients?
  • Does it address the root cause of acne or is it a surface pimple blaster?

Almost always, the answers to these questions will dictate just how effective the product is long term.

If all it does is explain how it’s going to kill certain bacteria that cause acne then personally, I would run the other direction because this has never been the root cause of acne.

Bacteria is nature’s mop up crew.

They exist if there’s trash and they will clean it up.

Doesn’t matter whether this trash is something we can see like poop or on a microscopic level, they will come and take care of waste.

That’s what they’ve been doing long before man walked the earth.

So killing “acne causing bacteria” is like killing individual ants and claiming victory…while millions of them swell in their nests deep underground.

You just won’t find permanent cure.

Do You Have To Keep Taking Proactiv Plus?

Or is it going to heal your acne after a few applications?

It goes without saying that something you put on top of your skin is not going to solve an internal problem.

But just to be sure, I did some digging and found a lot of reviews like this:

screenshot of proactiv reviews

I assure you, these were not isolated complaints either but for brevity, I’m just showing you a glimpse of what’s out there.

That should tell you right away it’s just addressing the symptoms.

I’ve gone over how and why acne forms extensively throughout this site so I won’t go into detail here other than to say by the time acne starts manifesting itself and showing on your face and body, your lymphatic system inside is already congested.

It is because of this congestion that it forms.

Your internal waste isn’t eliminated properly through the kidneys so it backs up.

With no way out, the body expels it through the easiest way out which is your skin – your largest eliminative organ you have.

So with that in mind, any product that just zaps surface pimples isn’t going to be effective long term.

In fact, you can zap zits quickly and effectively with much cheaper, safer, non toxic products as outlined here.

What About The Positive Reviews?

Now some may be thinking well, what about all the 5 star reviews out there eh?

If it was such a bad product, then why do as many people say it’s great?

Because in short, they haven’t given it adequate time.

Look, I don’t doubt many have had temporary good experiences with it.

I mean, they use it for a day, a week or a month and wow, all of their acne is gone so it must be awesome right?!

Dermatologists said the exact same thing about Accutane at one point and people also claimed it helped.

Slow down.

The issue here however is it seems far more have had the very opposite experience and have ended up in a far worse condition than when they started.

Sure, it started off okay, but after a while…

proactiv plus review picture

negative proactiv plus review shot

Once again, these are just very small samples of what’s out there.

There are literally thousands of similar reviews so feel free to dig yourself to verify.

Point is, a lot of users have said it completely ruined their face, dried their skin out or increased redness which of course as you know, is inflammation.

Which brings me to my next point…

Does Proactiv Plus Contain Any Harmful Ingredients?

toxic skull icon

Well, here’s the main ingredients list of Proactiv+ according to their website:

    • Glycolic Acid
    • Salicylic Acid
    • Hyaluronic Acid
    • Benzoyl Peroxide
    • Skin Brightening Complex (Kojic Acid).
Right off the bat, I can tell you this is going to be very good at zapping surface acne but that’s about it.
There are a few dozen more chemicals between the three required bottles: the exfoliator, pore targeting treatment and complexion perfecting hydrator.

For this section however, I just want to just focus on two of these ingredients in particular so anyone considering buying Proactiv Plus can be well aware of what they’re getting:
  • Salicylic Acid

A recent article came out titled The (Lack Of) Science Behind Acne Treatments. 

It made some quite serious statements about this particular ingredient:

Salicylic acid is an exfoliant, so it’s supposed to work by unplugging hair follicles, which is where pimples form. Despite its popularity, it hasn’t been well studied.

The American Academy of Dermatology Guidelines called clinical trials into salicylic acid “limited” and another paper published in Nature Reviews noted that we don’t have enough evidence to say that salicylic acid can help people with acne, and “future studies are needed”.

“Salicylic acid has not absolutely been tested,” says Dr Jonathan Weiss, a dermatologist who helped write the AAD Guidelines. He says it might be helpful for some people with mild acne but “It’s relatively weak”.

My question is why would anyone put something into a product that has so much uncertainty around it?

If further research is required and we really don’t know if this is effective or not, then surely selling it to people just isn’t right.

Especially when they just have to keep buying it over and over again and when they stop, their acne returns worse than before.

But It Doesn’t Stop There

The second ingredient you need to be aware of is…

  • Benzoyl Peroxide

Well here is where it gets even worse.

Remember the redness, pain and inflammation mentioned earlier?

Well it turns out that this particular ingredient is a…bleach! Yes, bleach (see details in article).

Here you have a very harsh chemical applied to the skin (on the face of all areas) in an attempt to control pimples which could be very effectively controlled using much safer and cheaper, natural methods. 

Is it all starting to make sense now?

Any product that has so much drying acids in it and applied to an existing acid condition is obviously going to yield a corrosive result.

I just don’t quite understand the thought process behind this product other than fight fire with more fire.

I mean, acid, acid, acid…seems to be counterproductive, right?
These acids inevitably dry out the skin as stated by countless folks. So you will need to decide if you’re comfortable putting this on your face given the above facts.

Final Thoughts On Proactiv Plus

There is one last thing I have to bring to your attention before closing this review.

The most common complaint I saw (aside from the bad effects on people’s skin) was they were very highly critical of this company’s customer service level.

Just about every negative review stated the company continued charging them irrespective if they asked for a refund or cancelled their replenishment.

It’s quite clear this product is exactly the same as any other externally applied product aimed at fighting acne.

It may provide some small, short term gains but overall does nothing to safely and naturally clear out the problem at its root.



  • May provide temporary acne relief
  • Global shipping


  • Poor customer service
  • Numerous negative reviews of product drying out/making condition worse
  • Questionable ingredient list
  • Only treats surface acne, not cure it
  • Acne returns worse if usage stops

Based on the ingredient list, going through hundreds of product reviews, videos and scientific evidence, Proactiv Plus may work if you’re looking for quick relief from surface pimples but just keep in mind the risks of using it.  

You can get the same results using less abrasive and completely natural alternatives.

If you feel this is going to permanently cure your condition without any harmful effects then you are going to be totally disappointed.

The chemical list is very harsh and your skin pays a big price for getting rid of acne many other safer alternatives can help with.

Or if you want to get to the root of your acne problem and nourish your body deeply at the cellular level, you can check out this Organifi review.

I hope this helps you make a decision whether or not to buy Proactiv Plus.

Like, comment, share. 

Spread the healing, not the acne.

4 Comments on “Does Proactiv Plus Work?”

  1. Hi and thank you for sharing a very enlightening review about Proactiv Plus. The scary thing about what you have shared, is that these products are sold through a subscription model, so the poor consumer is hooked into making regular payments and if they stop using the product their acne comes back worse than ever. It almost sounds like there’s a conspiracy to ensure that people stay hooked on a treatment plan for the long term? Thanks also for sharing an alternative natural treatment – tea tree oil – that sounds like a much safer approach. Cheers, Karen

    1. Karen,

      You said it.

      The average consumer of course has no idea since they trust companies to make ethical and safe decisions but that’s simply not the case.

  2. I have used proactive solution for over 20 years and I can tell you my experience with this is it had a band aide effect. It actually worked very well for my skin, however now that I’m in my late 30’s I did not want to spend this much money on this type of product and wanted to go the natural route. I ended up creating a skincare line which has since cured my acne, which is made up of pure oils. I agree this is just not getting to the root of the cause.

    1. Vandana,

      Interesting experience you had that after 20 years of using it, it still didn’t get rid of your acne after you stopped using it. 

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