06.30.2014
5
Proactiv & Proactiv+
Dark Spot Corrector
Rating
1 fl. oz. for $22
Category:Skin Care > Retinol Products > Lighteners With Hydroquinone
Last Updated:06.30.2014
Jar Packaging:False
pH:3.30
Tested on animals:No
Overview

Dark Spot Corrector combines 2% hydroquinone with approximately 4% glycolic acid at an effective pH of 3.3. This is an outstanding option to fade sun- or hormone-induced brown skin discolorations, while also improving skin’s texture and reducing inflammation with antioxidants. The opaque packaging ensures the hydroquinone will remain stable during use.

Claims

Specially formulated to help gradually fade skin discolorations caused by age, pregnancy, or oral contraceptives. Made with glycolic acid, it can help remove dead skin cells and refine the texture of your skin

Ingredients

Active: Hydroquinone (2%), Other: Water (Aqua), Octyldodecanol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Hexylene Glycol, Glycolic Acid, Polyquaternium-37, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glyceryl Dilaurate, Glyceryl Stearate, PPG-1 Trideceth-6, PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-40 Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Sulfite, Sodium Metabisulfite, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, 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 Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

Member Comments
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Nope! Foiled again!

I have gotten rid of 90% of my melasma on my cheekbones from deep peels and laser facial treatments. I read recently from Dr. Perricone that deep peels over time can 'thin' the skin so I stopped getting them. LOVE the results of lasers but they haven't been around long enough to confirm the safety of long term use. I can take 6 months of getting rid of it and 1hr in the sun - with sunscreen can bring it back. So I'd need repeated tx. Tried dark spot corrector consistently and had no results.

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Reviewed by
Christina
Friday, September 27, 2013
Kate

I think, Proactive had changed their Dark Spot Corrector ingredients. I can see they added Alcohol Denat. as the 2nd ingredient in the list. I think it needs to be re-evaluated Active Ingredient: Hydroquinone 2%. Inactive Ingredients: water (aqua), alcohol denat., PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, polysorbate 20, hippophae rhamnoides oil, hydroxyethylcellulose, sodium metabisulfite, sodium sulfite, disodium EDTA, citric acid, 1,2-hexanediol, caprylyl glycol, fragrance (parfum)

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Reviewed by
Anonymous
Paula's Choice Research Team Response
Replied on: Friday, September 27, 2013

Hi, and thanks for your comments! We'll check out the formula again and revisit the review if necessary. Thanks for the information!

—Paula's Choice Research Team
Monday, July 08, 2013
Dark spot corrector

I am 58 years old with age spots. I tried this for 3 months on arm and leg spots and it did not work.

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Reviewed by
Ann W
Friday, June 14, 2013
Dark spot corrector

Just wanted to let viewers know that you can still buy Proactiv Dark spot corrector at your local retail store at any mall. I payed 26.95 its a 1 FL oz.30 mL with the active ingredient Hydroquinone 2% skin lightener.

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Reviewed by
Antoinette
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
No longer being sold

This product was AWESOME but they are no longer selling it over the counter because you need a prescription for hydroquinone products in the U.S. They have now replaced it with a product called "Dark Spot Repair" which is a non-hydroquinone skin brightening product. Here is the ingredient list: Ingredients: Water, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Sterate, Tetrahexyl Ascorbate, Squalene, Cetearyl Alcohol, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Santalum Albuim (sandalwood) Wood Extract, Phellodendron Amurense, Bark Extract, Barley Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Behenyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Citrate, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesine, Benzoic Acid, Sorbic Acid. I've also tried this product- it works but I still prefer the corrector due to the addition of glycolic acid. I would encourage the review team to add the "Dark Spot Repair" product to list of products to review :)

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Reviewed by
Anonymous
Paula's Choice Research Team Response
Replied on: Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Thank you so much for your comments! We checked with Proactiv, and they say Dark Spot Corrector (with hydroquinone) is still available, at least for online purchase from the Proactiv website. Hopefully this means you will be able to purchase it once again. And thanks for the heads-up on the Dark Spot Repair!

—Admin
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