Acne treatment Acne treatment

Murad vs. Proactiv

Murad vs. Proactiv Murad vs. Proactiv


Numerous over-the-counter products claim to treat and prevent acne, a skin condition that affects men and women of all ages. Not all products have the same ingredients, and acne sufferers must find the regimen that works best for their skin. Two of the most ubiquitous acne treatment systems are Murad Acne Complex and Proactiv. While both products have the same goal--clear, blemish free skin---they differ in ingredients and process.

Kit Contents

The basic kits for both the Murad and Proactiv acne treatment systems contain three products: a cleanser, an exfoliating treatment and a repairing lotion. Murad's exfoliating treatment is a gel, while Proactiv's is a liquid toner. Both companies have supplemental products meant to complement the basic products, including clarifying masks, blemish spot treatments and oil-free moisturizers. Consumers can purchase supplemental products from both lines separately, but Proactiv offers its basic three-step system as a kit only, while Murad allows consumers to purchase all products individually.

Active Ingredients

The main difference between the Murad and Proactiv acne treatment regimens is their active ingredient. Proactiv's main blemish fighting agent is benzoyl peroxide, considered by as the most effective over-the-counter acne treatment. Benzoyl peroxide kills Propionibacterium acnes and removes excess oil and dead skin cells from pores. Murad's website specifically states its exclusion of benzoyl peroxide from its products, labeling it as too harsh for the skin. Instead, Murad uses salicylic acid and silver citrate. Salicylic acid slows the shedding of cells, which keeps pores clear, and breaks down whiteheads and blackheads. Silver citrate is an antibacterial agent that prevents blemish formation.

Availability and Cost

Consumers can purchase both Proactiv and Murad via telephone or online through the companies' websites. Proactiv also is available for purchase at many kiosks in shopping malls throughout the country. Cosmetic specialty companies Sephora and Ulta offer Murad for purchase online and in-store. Both systems have an introductory price of $29.95 when purchased through their respective websites, but consumers must enroll in a membership program that automatically sends new kits every 60 days at a higher cost.

Guarantees and Claims

Both Proactiv and Murad guarantee satisfaction and results within 60 days or consumers can request a refund. From the results of a study sponsored partially by the company, Murad claims that most users will notice a reduction in breakouts within three days of use. Murad also asserts that unlike Proactiv and other acne treatments, its products treat other skin conditions often confused with acne, including rosacea, folliculitis and eczema.


The acne-fighting ingredients in Proactiv and Murad, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid respectively, can cause skin irritation, stinging and dryness. Both companies advise using the products once a day at the beginning until a user's skin adjusts. Also, some of the ingredients increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun's UV rays.Recommends using oil-free sunscreens to protect skin from further irritation and damage.

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