Consumer Reports Puts Popular Acne Treatments To Test

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Justin Bieber is not the only young celebrity pushing Proactiv. Avril Lavigne, Julianne Hough and Katy Perry are all singing its praises too.

But when you put the star appeal aside, is Proactiv the best solution?

“Often patients will come into the office and say, ‘I’ve been using Proactiv,’ and we see some good results with it,” says Dr. Diane Inserra.

Dr. Inserra is a dermatologist with West Penn Allegheny Health System.

“I would say maybe 20 or 30 percent who try Proactiv with mild to moderate acne, see a pretty good response with it,” says Dr. Inserra.

But Proactiv can be expensive. Consumer Reports tested it along with two other acne treatments.

Proactiv is a three-step process and costs around $40 for a two-month supply.

AcneFree is another product on the market. It goes for half – at about $20.

Oxy Maximum is a single-step wash and costs a lot less – around $5 for a two-month supply.

Consumer Reports and medical professionals monitored 80 volunteers with moderate to severe acne. They used one of the treatments twice a day for eight weeks, and found no statistical difference between any of the products.

“That’s because the active ingredient is one of the main stays for treatment for acne. It’s Benzol Peroxide in a two and a half percent strength,” said Dr. Inserra. “It’s an excellent product for treating mild to moderate acne. You can get that product at any pharmacy and even a lot of grocery stores carry it.”

None of the volunteers saw their acne wiped out completely no matter which product they used, but most did have fewer blemishes.

So, Consumer Reports and Dr. Inserra agree – save yourself some money.

“You don’t necessarily have to buy that brand to get good efficacy,” Dr. Inserra said. “You can buy it under many different names and see good results with it.”

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  • Ginger

    I always suffered skin problems and usually used several different anti-acne products every day, trying to find the one that worked. I decided to use Pro-Active exclusively. On the first day my face got breakouts. The next day they got worse, plus I got more. Third day – more and worse. Fortunately, I had been previously using a product whose label stated: “no parabens, no propylene glycol”, which led me to look at the Pro-Active labels. Yep, its loaded with parabens. I stopped using any product that contains any parabens or propylene glycol (and that’s most of them) and my skin is now blemish-free.

  • Tom

    I used Pro Active and really liked it. Though I don’t need it anymore, I still really, really like the Pro Active clay/mud that can be used for occasional breakouts. If you apply at night, the next days the results are amazing.

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