Clarifying Night Cream (Discontinued)
1 fl. oz. for $28.75
Category:Skin Care > Anti-Acne Products
Last Updated:11.26.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

Clarifying Night Cream is a well-formulated BHA lotion that includes 1% salicylic acid at an effective pH of 3.6. As further enticement, the formula also includes retinol and several antioxidants, all in stable packaging. This is highly recommended for normal to dry skin battling blackheads and blemishes. Clarifying Night Cream does contain fragrance.


Helps heal blemishes and minimize fine lines while you sleep.


Active: Salicylic Acid (1%), Other: Water, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Squalane, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil, Retinol, Sodium Ascorbate, Tocopherol, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate, PEG-180, PEG-75, PEG-8 Cetyl Dimethicone, Hexylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Propylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Polysorbate-60, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Dicetyl Phosphate, Ceteth-10 Phosphate, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Fragrance

Brand Overview

Proactiv Solution At-A-Glance

Strengths: Effective, elegant-textured AHA, BHA, and skin-lightening options; all sunscreens provide sufficient UVA protection; good options for controlling excess oil breakthrough, including a colorless pressed powder.

Weaknesses: Several products contain irritating ingredients that do not help acne-prone skin; some gimmicky products that no dermatologist-created line should be selling (they should know better); mostly substandard to poor makeup options, including a sulfur-based concealer.

Created by dermatologists Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, Proactiv launched in 1995 as a three-step system sold via infomercial. With the doctors' endorsements and winning personalities along with a heap of testimonials from people who use the routine (including a rotating list of celebrities, which always garners attention), Proactiv remains a very successful brand that is still going strong. The effusiveness, medical background, accurate information about how acne forms, and sincerity of its creators definitely makes for compelling television (we admit to catching the infomercial on more than one sleepless night), but what about the products themselves? Are they the answer the ads promise?

The core system consists of a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide and scrub particles, a toner with glycolic acid, and a lotion that contains a low (but still effective) amount of benzoyl peroxide. No questions here, this is a straightforward routine and hardly unique to Proactiv! Some percentage of people will benefit from daily use of this system (it contains the basics that are necessary for over-the-counter treatment of acne), but it's definitely not for everyone, and every dermatologist knows that (just check out the American Academy of Dermatology Web site at www.aad.org, for example, on their recommendations for battling blemishes).

It also goes without saying that other lines offer many less expensive versions of all the Proactiv products. However, for those who choose this system, the key is compliance, at least as long as you're seeing good results. Anyone battling acne needs to know that, barring a successful experience with the prescription drug Accutane, it cannot be cured—only controlled. We don't doubt that many people have seen their acne respond positively to a daily routine of the core Proactiv products, and for some it has been a life-changing experience—but it's not the answer for acne for everyone.

Although they still appear in ads and literature for the brand, Drs. Rodan and Fields have branched out to create their own namesake line, reviewed elsewhere on this site. While the Rodan + Fields line is not acne-centric like Proactiv, they did include products for blemishes, a few of which are similar to but more expensive than their Proactiv counterparts. And of course, this dual branding begs the question: if Rodan and Fields believe that Proactiv is the best option for those struggling with acne, why did they create alternative products in their namesake line? Why not just mention to Rodan + Fields customers dealing with acne that the Proactiv line has exactly what they need?

Along with Proactiv and the namesame Rodan and Fields line, these dermatologists also created Proactiv+, which is supposed to be smarter and faster than original Proactiv. For the most part, these products are quite similar, they just have a stronger emphasis on anti-aging issues such as uneven skin tone and enlarged pores from sun damage. We wish these products were more compelling, but many of them are truly problematic and not something two reputable dermatologists should feel comfortable putting their names on.

For more information about Proactiv, call (800) 876-9717 or visit www.proactiv.com. For more information about Proactiv+, visit www.proactivplus.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Love this product but discontinued??

This was my go to night cream! Only product I really like coming from Proactiv. Would wake up the next morning to baby soft skin, less redness and smoother texture. I'm allergic to everything and I could handle the fragrance. But, I went to the mall to buy a few bottles today and the kiosk person told me they discontinued it! Sigh. Time to search for another salicylic acid / retinol cream combo that doesn't irritate my skin!

Reviewed by
Joy L
Eye-watering smell!

It's so damn hard to find a good exfoliant - especially in Australia - and ProActiv are easy to find here. Good result wasn't worth dealing with the BIG downside. Frankly Paula's team recommendation understates the problem with this product. The eye-wateringly strong smell - yes really - meant I had to apply carefully. Ugh. I tossed half the tube away. Save your money and spend it on any of the better products available that yield better results AND don't knock you (or anyone else) out!

Reviewed by
Steph C
Way too much fragrance

This product left my face feeling oily and it irritated my eyes. My husband now uses it as he has much drier skin than I have. He uses it at night, and the fragrance is so strong, I have issue sleeping too close to him. If it was marketed for dry skin as opposed to all skin types along with doing away with that awful scent, I might give it a different rating.

Reviewed by
Rachel H.

This product was pretty good given the price. My skin always felt smooth and more even toned the next morning. It's my go to beauty item especially for nights when I'm not getting enough sleep. it helps, but nothing drastic over the long term.

Reviewed by
joy l
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