The Proactiv line of skincare products was developed by California dermatologists Katie Rodan, M.D. and Kathy Fields, M.D. Guthy-Renker, a large direct marketing company specializing in beauty, entertainment and wellness products, distributes Proactiv products, which are not available in stores. Proactiv’s advertisements often feature endorsements from celebrities, including Mandy Moore, Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry.
The Proactiv line includes cleansers, toners, moisturizers, lotions, masks and wipes. The full line of Proactiv products is only available to people who have purchased the Proactiv three-step system, which is the company’s most popular product. The standard three-step kit includes Proactiv’s Renewing Cleanser, Revitalizing Toner and Repairing Treatment. Other variations of the kit include moisturizer, oil control lotion or a mask in addition to the main three products.
The active ingredient in the Proactiv Renewing Cleanser and Repairing Treatment is benzoyl peroxide, a topical acne-fighting medication. Both products contain a 2.5 percent concentration of benzoyl peroxide. The Revitalizing Toner uses witch hazel as an astringent to cleanse the skin further after using the Renewing Cleanser. Glycolic acid in the toner helps exfoliate the skin, as do small round beads mixed into the cleanser.
Proactiv suggests using the products in the main three-step kit twice per day. The company recommends washing the skin gently with the Renewing Cleanser and warm water first. After allowing the face to dry, the company suggests following by gently swabbing the skin with a cotton pad or ball moistened with the Revitalizing Toner. Once the skin is completely dry, users can massage a small amount of the light Repairing Treatment onto the affected skin. Proactiv moisturizers can be applied as needed over the Repairing Treatment, and the company recommends using the mask two to three times a week by applying it on freshly cleansed skin and allowing it to dry for 15 minutes before rinsing.
Benzoyl peroxide helps kill bacteria on the skin that can lead to clogged pores and acne. Regularly exfoliating the skin with a gentle cleanser helps remove oil, dirt, makeup and dead skin cells that can contribute to a poor complexion. Benzoyl peroxide also helps dry up existing blemishes. Topical acne medications can take weeks or months to work to their full potential, though some people see noticeable improvements quicker.
The ingredients in Proactiv products are safe for most people when used as directed. If you have sensitive skin or other skin conditions, talk to your dermatologist before using Proactiv. Benzoyl peroxide can dry out the skin and cause redness, flaking and irritation in some people. Some individuals find they can only use products containing benzoyl peroxide once a day or once every other day to avoid these side effects. Proactiv products can increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so you should always wear sunscreen and protective head wear or clothing when going outside and avoid tanning beds and sunlamps.
Do not use other medicated acne products or products containing large amounts of alcohol when using Proactiv, as this can contribute to overly dry skin. Keep the products away from the eyes, nostrils and mouth to prevent irritation. Benzoyl peroxide can bleach hair and fabrics. The witch hazel in the Proactiv toner can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested, so keep it away from children and pets.
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