Saturday, July 13, 2013

Why You SHOULD NOT Use Proactiv

Does Proactiv Actually Work?

Proactiv has become one of the most popular acne clearing products on the market. Millions of people have tried Proactiv, and many have considered using the products based on the testimonies of others. Proactiv commercials, infomercials, and advertisements are everywhere. People seem to rave about how Proactiv cleared up their acne and gave them flawless blemish free skin. However, does Proactiv really work? Is it worth the money and the time?
The short answer is yes, Proactiv can help get rid of your existing acne and prevent future breakouts. Based on the studies, clinical trials, and testimonials, Proactiv seems to do the job for preventing and treating acne. However, many don't consider the consequences of using Proactiv. Acne sufferers are often blinded by the promises that a certain product will completely get rid of their acne and give them beautiful clear skin. Very few acne sufferers are concerned with the other factors that may be involved in using a particular treatment to get rid of their acne. Take Accutane, for example. Accutane is a prescription drug that was prescribed to many individuals suffering from acne and it had astounding results in treatment of acne. Recent studies have linked Accutane to various adverse side effects, such as birth defects, hair loss, and nosebleeds to name just a few. In the end, it really comes down to weighing the pros against the cons. 

Why you Shouldn't use Proactiv...

While Proactiv may produce results, it has many adverse side effects on the overall health of your skin. Here are the primary side effects of using Proactiv:
  • Dryness
  • Itching
  • Peeling
  • Stinging
  • Allergic Reaction
These are just the basic reactions that one can have to Proactiv products.
One of the main ingredients found in Proactiv Solution is Benzoyl Peroxide, which is a commonly known ingredient in many acne treatment products. Benzoyl Peroxide is NOT something that you want to use on your skin on a regular basis (or ever).

Why do so many products contain Benzoyl Peroxide if it's so bad for you? Many acne product lines, such as Clearasil, Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, and Proactiv utilize Benzoyl Peroxide (BP) because it does work against acne for most people (not all). However, these companies do not care about the adverse side effects that Benzoyl Peroxide has on your skin or the fact that your skin can actually become dependent on the product thus lining their pockets long-term. For the companies marketing these products, it is simply money in their pocket. For you, it may seem like a miracle that your acne has cleared up by using a product by one of these companies that contains BP as their main ingredient. You may feel relieved to have clearer skin. BUT, if you stop using the product, your acne WILL come back. In some cases people have seen a worsening of their acne once they stop using the Benzoyl Peroxide.   Are you willing to dedicate the rest of your life using a product that contains Benzoyl Peroxide knowing that it is damaging your skin AND your health in other ways?

Here's a direct quote form the CDC regarding some of the chemical dangers of Benzoyl Peroxide:

May explosively decompose on shock, friction, or concussion. May explode on heating above 103-105°C. On combustion, forms irritating and toxic fumes and gases of benzoic acid (see ICSC 0103) and carbon monoxide (see ICSC 0023). The substance is a strong oxidant and reacts violently with combustible and reducing materials. Reacts violently with many organic and inorganic acids , alcohols and amines causing fire and explosion hazard.  

The substance is irritating to the eyes , the skin and the respiratory tract .
Repeated or prolonged contact may cause skin sensitization

You can view this and more information about the dangers of Benzoyl Peroxide on the CDC website HERE

So, after reading some of the dangers, would you still be willing to use it on your skin every day?  I sure wouldn't.  I don't feel comfortable using something flammable and/or explosive on my skin.  It says on the CDC website that it can be irritating to skin and that it can cause skin sensitization, so why on earth don't they advertise that on the Proactiv commercials?  Oh yeah, probably because that wouldn't help their bottom line.   

 Furthermore, the CDC even states that Benzoyl Peroxide causes skin sensitization.  Essentially that means that over time you have to keep increasing the amount of the chemical in order to achieve the desired affect.  That could be why some people may see results at first only to be disappointed when the product stops working after a while.

Benzoyl Peroxide is a harmful and potentially dangerous chemical. That in itself should be enough to make you reconsider using it on your skin for an extended period of time. It is also known to cause free radicals in the skin and has been linked to an increase in cancer risk and premature aging of the skin. 

Did you know that the FDA has categorized Benzoyl Peroxide as a Category III, which means that their determination of this particular chemical is "Safety is unknown." So, why are companies continuing to use Benzoyl Peroxide in their products? Well, the regulation of cosmetic products differs in that it is not as strict, therefore BP can be used in cosmetic products without being banned.

How Does Proactiv get rid of acne?

Proactiv, like many other mass marketed acne products, gets rid of acne by utilizing Benzoyl Peroxide's bacteria killing qualities. BP kills acne causing bacteria, which is how it is effective in treating and preventing acne. However, BP also causes redness, drying, and other skin irritations AND it causes skin sensitization which means that you have to keep increasing the amount in order for it to keep working. On a personal note, when I first tried Proactiv it really dried out my skin and left it flaky and red. I'll admit, it did get rid of the acne so I kept using it.  After a while it seemed to stop working and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why.  So, after doing some research it all started to make sense.  It had basically lost it's effectiveness because of the skin sensitization quality of Benzoyl Peroxide.  While using Proactiv I had to slather on moisturizers just to keep my skin from being dry and flaky. It really was not the wonder cure for acne that I hoped it would be. That's when I stopped using Proactiv and started researching alternative home remedies for acne because I didn't want to torture my skin anymore with mass marketed acne products. I knew there had to be a natural remedy that worked as much, if not better, than products like Proactiv.

Although I'm only in my early twenties, I do often worry about wrinkles and controlling the aging process. If you're using Proactiv, be prepared for your skin to age at a very rapid rate. You may be too blinded by the fact that it is working to help with your acne to realize that it is causing lasting damage to the overall health of your skin. If you can live with signs of premature aging like wrinkles and lines, then by all means feel free to use products containing BP. For me, I want my skin to be healthy in all aspects, not just acne free.

Are home remedies a better option?

After quite a bit of research and years of trial and error, I've determined that there are some home remedies that work just as well, if not better, than over the counter acne products that contain chemicals such as BP.

Why do people continually purchase popular acne products rather than going with natural remedies? The answer is simple. Have you ever seen a commercial or an infomercial for a natural remedy for acne (such as honey, coconut oil, jojoba oil, tea tree oil, etc.) The answer to that is no, there has never been a marketing strategy for natural acne remedies. People are strongly influenced by what they see in the media, so when they hear of an acne product that can "cure" their acne, they will go out to the store and buy that product without even considering what harm it may do to their skin. If you saw a commercial that gave information on how to use apple cider vinegar to treat and prevent acne, would you try it? Chances are you probably would. The same goes for all of the mass produced chemical based acne products, like Proactiv. People see or hear about it on television, the radio, or in magazines, and a switch is automatically flipped in their brain telling them to go buy this product because it will "cure" their acne. If everyone turned to natural remedies as a means to treat and prevent their acne, these companies would not profit. You do the math. Do you believe that these companies truly care about your health?

There are many natural remedies for acne. Chances are not all of the remedies will work for everyone, but it's about finding the right natural skincare routine that will work for you. Natural remedies also cost less than store bought acne products, not to mention they are healthier for your skin and your body. Before you spend the money on a product that is chemically based, like Proactiv, at least consider trying a natural remedy for your acne.
For more information on the natural remedies that have worked for me, check out these articles:

Evening Primrose Oil for Hormonal Acne
Natural Honey Acne Remedy
Coconut Oil for Acne Treatment
Apple Cider Vinegar for Acne
All-Natural Facial Toner Recipes

I also have informative articles that discuss some of the causes of acne as well as some of the best store bought products that you can find to treat/prevent acne. Check those articles out here:

Home Remedies for Oily Skin
Environmental Factors that Cause Acne

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