Acne treatment Acne treatment

List of Ingredients in Proactiv Cleanser

List of Ingredients in Proactiv Cleanser

Proactiv Cleanser is part of the Proactiv anti-acne three-step treatment. It is an oil and soap-free cleanser that exfoliates the skin with micro-crystals. These beads gently slough off the dead skin cells and remove dirt and debris from the skin layer. Other than water and fragrance, Proactiv Cleanser has 20 ingredients.

Active Ingredient

The active ingredient in the cleanser is a 2.5 percent concentration of benzoyl peroxide. This is an antibacterial that kills the germ that is responsible for acne flare-ups on the skin, according to DERMAdoctor. It is available in the concentrations of 2 to 10 percent. Some report it has drying and irritating properties as well.


Preservatives are put into personal care products to keep the mixture from spoiling from mold, fungi and bacteria. The preservatives in Proactiv Cleanser are imidazolidinyl urea, methylparaben and propylparaben. Imidazolidinyl urea is a formaldehyde-releasing preservative while the parabens are not. Parabens are typically thought to be less irritating to the skin because of this, according to DERMAdoctor.

Thickening Agents

Thickening agents are those that will bulk up a compound and make it less thin than it was prior to the addition. The thickening agents in this cleanser are glyceryl stearate, PEG-100 stearate, tridecyl stearate, xanthan gum and tridecyl trimellitate. Tridecyl trimellitate is also a skin-conditioning agent used to make the skin flake less and appear healthier, according to Cosmetics Cop. Both glyceryl stearate and tridecyl stearate can be used as an emollient as a secondary agent to moisturize and soften skin, according to Cosmetics Cop.


Moisturizers help trap moisture into the skin and leave it hydrated. The moisturizing agents in this cleanser are sodium hyaluronate and sodium PCA. Sodium hyaluronate can hold more than 1,000 times its weight in water, according to DERMAdoctor.

Viscosity-controlling Agents

Viscosity-controlling agents control the thickness of a compound. They can be increasing viscosity to make it thicker or viscosity decreasing to make it thinner. The viscosity controlling agents in this cleanser are magnesium aluminum silicate and dimethyl isosorbide.


Surfactants are those agents that create a smooth surface for the compound to glide across to provide continuous coverage. The surfactant in this compound is disodium PEG-12 dimethicone sulfosuccinate. It can also be a cleansing agent, according to the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database.


Hydrators are agents that keep moisture in the skin and pull water from the air to keep skin from drying out. The hydrators in Proactiv Cleanser are sorbitol and propylene glycol. Sorbitol is also a sugar-based additive, according to DERMAdoctor.

Skin Conditioners

Skin conditioners are additives that keep the skin softer and smoother, making it appear healthier and without flakes or dry patches. The skin conditioners in this cleanser are neopentyl glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate, cetyl esters and chamomile. Chamomile is a natural flower botanical, according to Cosmetics Info. Neopentyl glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate is also used as an emollient and as a viscosity-increasing agent, according to Skin Deep.


Abrasives help scrub the skin as an exfoliator. Polyethylene is the plastic-synthetic-polymer ingredient in this cleanser that acts like an abrasive, according to Cosmetics Cop. It can also be a binder and a thickener.

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