Jump to content
Search In
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Recommended Posts

Some background: I am a 32 year old female. I started with mild acne at age 11 and have been dealing with it in some way, shape, or form ever since. I have had times of clear skin and I was on cloud nine. Then the acne would come back and the depression would creep in. I got my first cyst at age 23 and have had them off and on ever since. Currently, my acne is the worst it has been in my adulthood. After Christmas, my chin area started breaking out in regular pimples. Then the cysts started. Several at a time and they were painful and ugly. I got a prescription for erythromycin to help clear up this rough bout, and it has helped. Also, I have recently started using Paula's Choice Clear line. I really like the products (dye free, fragrance free), but it's too soon to tell if they're helping.

I know that Proactiv gets a lot of flack, and a lot of people say it ruined their skin, made their acne worse, didn't do anything one way or another. If you read on, you'll see that I have used Proactiv and have had success with it. And I'm wondering if the times that I quit using it because it appeared to "not be working" were really due to other factors/circumstances.

This is a timeline of my skin condition and skincare products that I've used and the results I got, etc:

I started breaking out young, around 11 years old. I only had access to OTC products, and I used a variety of products, most were probably too strong, and I know I used too much product, trying to "kill" my pimples. I even tried straight witch hazel and zinc oxide cream, per my grandmother's suggestion. I thought it was silly at the time, but I have learned that these can both be helpful! Despite my best efforts (keeping my age and accessibility in mind), the acne persisted.

Around age 16, the Proactiv infomercials with Judith Light started. They were on all the time. I was in awe of the before and after pictures. I wanted to be one of them. But I was so scared to ask my mother about ordering it. I finally used my baby-sitting money, bought a money order, and sent in my order via snail mail (how old school!).

I used Proactiv with great success from ages 16-23. I felt great! I was on top of the world! People commented on my skin, they noticed the improvement. I was told that I had nice skin (who, me?). And I would eagerly recommend Proactiv if the opportunity arose.

I got my first cyst at age 23. I honestly had no idea what it was. But I assumed that Proactiv obviously wasn't working anymore and canceled my orders. I started using regular OTC stuff again, to no avail. So I re-ordered Proactiv within a year from stopping it. (Knowing what I know now, this cyst was probably stress induced...I had just moved away from home, I was lonely, I hated my job, etc.) After reintroducing Proactiv, I remained faithful again from ages 24-25 and my skin was really good.

I started breaking out BAD in early 2006. In hindsight I realize that this was probably stress induced (I had just gotten engaged and was planning our wedding for that year). But again, I figured Proactiv "stopping working" and I went on a search for a new miracle. This time there was even more at stake - I wanted to have beautiful clear skin for my wedding! I tried several products that I found online and nothing helped. My skin actually got worse. I was a mess. I eventually went back on Proactiv just prior to my wedding in September 2006, but it wasn't soon enough to heal the mess I had created. I had the worst skin of my life at the time of my wedding and I still could cringe when I look at our pictures :(

Happily, my skin improved with the reinstatement of Proactiv. I also started using Bare Minerals makeup in Spring 2007, in conjunction with Proactiv. This was definitely a positive addition to my skincare arsenal. I started getting lots of compliments. And I noticed that my skin quality was improving now that it could actually breathe...:) Previously I had worn heavy liquid foundation.

I became pregnant at age 27 and had the best skin of my life during my pregnancy! I even went makeup free during my hospital stay after having my son :) That was huge for me! I was still using Proactiv and Bare Minerals, but apparently my skin reacted well to pregnancy hormones :)

I continued using Proactiv and Bare Minerals and my skin was doing well. I only got occasional minor blemishes that cleared quickly. One or two cysts in the span of a couple years, but I stuck with these products because at this point I realized that the cysts were triggered by other factors - diet, stress, etc. And Proactiv isn't intended to "cure" cystic acne, they even state that on their website. So it was foolish of me to either blame Proactiv for any cysts that crept up or fault the product for not getting rid of them when they did show up.

I became pregnant again at age 30 and once again I had great skin! I was still using the same products.

When I turned 32 last summer, I started getting concerned with prolonged use of benzoyl peroxide (primary active ingredient in Proactiv). I started worrying about aging. I thought that I should start using something more "age appropriate" and "gentle". I decided to try Principal Secret Advanced. I loved it at first, it's very gentle and spa-like. But after a couple months I could tell it wasn't enough to keep my breakouts at bay. So I decided to pursue a more gentle yet effective acne skin care line. After tons of research and reading tons of reviews, I finally decided on some products from Paula's Choice. After experimenting a little, I am currently using the Clear line, and so far so good. During this time I also accepted that other factors contribute to my skin condition - diet, exercise, water, supplements, etc. I have improved in all of these areas and I know in time that it will only help.

In thinking of all of this and actually putting it in writing, I'm wondering if I should have stuck with Proactiv all along, and if I should go back to it now...??? I think I was naive when I would quit using it because of a breakout, not realizing that the breakout was probably from something like stress or diet, not that Proactiv had quit on me. When I look back at my pictures after having my first son, my skin was the best it had been since before puberty! And that was without makeup! I don't know if I should go back to Proactiv and then just add in some anti-aging products? The thing is, I have set a goal to get cleared up and be confident to go makeup free this summer, and I just don't know if I should go back to what I know can work for me, which is Proactiv, especially now that I've changed my diet and other things. Or if I should stick with Paula's Choice Clear and give it some time?

I know this was a lot to read...My English teachers always told me that I was "too wordy"...lol. But I truly would appreciate any comments or advice. Thanks guys!

Edited by RJT623

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
I first bought Proactiv in a kiosk and really enjoyed the product. But then when I purchased another set of products online, I started to receive all kinds of products (and be charged for them) that I never ordered.
When I called them to ask how this could be done without my authorization, they told me that when I purchased the initial product online, the web site informed me that I had to become a member (which costs over $70 and includes periodic deliveries). I am positive that I would not have signed up if I was informed of this.
It took me forever to even reach someone on the phone because there were always technical difficulties when I tried to inquire by email. And often their web page wouldn't even work.
I am very disappointed in this company's deceptive ways, especially since I really liked the product itself. I'll never buy it again and will dissuade anyone who asks me from ever supporting them in the future. It's too bad because they probably would do just fine by selling the product in an honest way, because it actually works.
Edited by Kimouna

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi there,

I stopped using proactiv for two months, BIG mistake, broke out terribly sad.png I recently started using just the renewing cleanser, its been two weeks and i only use it in the evening as this is the routine i had before i stopped using proactiv for two months however my skin is not getting any better or clearer sad.png

how much longer should i keep at it? and should i use the cleanser when my face is wet or damp? I moisturize like crazy yet the bumps just aren't going away sad.png how much cleanser should i use? maybe im using way too much hoping it would work faster.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Personalized Advice Quiz - All of Acne.org in just a few minutes