Consumer reports recently tested some popular acne treatments. They pitted Proactiv against AcneFree and found no difference in efficacy. “After eight weeks, acne was never wiped out completely, but in half to two thirds of volunteers, the number of blemishes was reduced by an average of about 40 percent.”
My 2 cents: 40% efficacy is nowhere near good enough. Over the many years that I have been researching both over-the-counter and prescription treatments, this 40% mark is often where treatments land. Keep in mind that when you give people a placebo, their acne clears up on average about 30%. I think any acne treatment should aim to completely clear acne. Having 40% less acne still means you are broken out, and who wants that? People who closely follow The Regimen almost always get completely clear. I would like to see these large brands give people much larger sizes of 2.5% benzoyl peroxide and instruct their users exactly how to gently cleanse and apply the benzoyl peroxide in order to get completely clear.
Consumer reports also tested zappers which use heat to supposedly shrink acne lesions. They tested Zeno as well as No! No! Skin. The authors of the test concluded, “Both devices shrank most acne lesions but eliminated only about 13 percent of them.”
My 2 cents: I am surprised at Consumer Reports conclusion on heat devices. Our team here at acne.org did our own test on Zeno and ThermaClear heat therapy devices on volunteers in our office. In our small, anecdotal study, neither device visibly shrunk or eliminated any lesions. More on heat devices here.
- “Acne treatments come out a wash.” Consumer Reports. 2012; 77(1): 9.