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Ingredients in Proactiv Cleanser

Ingredients in Proactiv Cleanser

The Proactiv skin care line is widely known for its television ads featuring endorsements by such stars as Julianne Hough, Avril Lavigne and Jennifer Love Hewitt. The focus of most of these ads is the Proactiv cleanser. This product is highly touted as the solution for the worst cases of acne. However, you should know the ingredients in Proactiv cleanser before using it, especially if you have sensitive skin.


In order to maintain a liquid form, Proactiv cleanser contains water as its main ingredient. This ingredient appears on the packaging as "water (aqua)."

Benzoyl Peroxide

The active ingredient in Proactiv cleanser is 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide. This ingredient penetrates into your pores to kill the bacteria that cause acne, blackheads and whiteheads.

Even though the concentration of benzoyl peroxide in Proactiv cleanser is the mildest available, the National Institutes of Health cautions that you should only use the cleanser as often as directed. Too-frequent exposure to benzoyl peroxide may cause side effects such as tingling, drying or reddening of your skin. The NIH further recommends avoiding sunlight and skin irritants while using benzoyl peroxide, as these may increase the likelihood or intensity of side effects.


The ingredient in Proactiv cleanser that actually gets your skin clean is PEG-100 stearate. This ingredient binds to the oils and dirt on your skin and helps the water in Proactiv cleanser wash them away.

The cleanser also contains tiny beads of polyethylene to exfoliate your skin while you wash. These beads help to remove oil and dead skin from your face before they can clog your pores and worsen your acne.

Skin Conditioners

Proactiv cleanser contains a number of skin conditioners. These ingredients improve the look and feel of your skin by attracting and retaining moisture. They also help to counter the possible drying effects of benzoyl peroxide. Some of these include cetyl esters, anthemis nobilis flower extract and sodium hyaluronate.

Emollients such as tridecyl stearate and neopentyl glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate help improve your skin's condition by softening it. If your skin is dry and flaky, these emollients will help your skin take on a smoother, less scaly texture.


Proactiv cleanser contains the preservatives methylparaben and propylparaben. These ingredients keep the cleanser from going bad and extend its shelf life. Imidazolidinyl urea helps to preserve the product by killing bacteria and other microorganisms that are present in the cleanser and preventing the growth of new ones.

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