Revitalizing Toner is a good 5% AHA liquid exfoliant. However, when it comes to most kinds of breakouts, research indicates that BHA (salicylic acid) rather than AHA is the best way to exfoliate for breakout prevention. Salicylic acid can exfoliate within the pore as well as on the surface of the skin because it is lipid soluble (meaning it can penetrate oil). AHAs exfoliate primarily on the surface of the skin because they are water soluble and cannot penetrate an oil-clogged pore lining. The amount of witch hazel is unlikely to be irritating, but it keeps this from earning a higher rating.
Helps hydrate and soothe the skin. An alcohol-free formula that contains glycolic acid to help remove excess oil and moisture, leaving skin refreshed and balanced.
Water, Glycolic Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Allantoin, Polysorbate-20, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sodium Hydroxide, Benzophenone-4, Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Fragrance, Blue 1, Yellow 5
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.