How does Proactiv measure up against the competition?

November 15, 2011 6:35:02 PM PST
Americans spend almost $400 million a year on over-the-counter acne treatments. No doubt you've seen the star-studded ads for one such treatment -- Proactiv.

Star appeal aside, is Proactiv the best choice? Consumer Reports just tested several treatments to see if they deliver clear results.

Justin Bieber is just one of many young celebrities pushing Proactiv; Avril Lavigne, Julianne Hough and Katy Perry all are singing its praises.

Consumer Reports tested Proactiv along with two other acne treatments.

"All the products evaluated contain Benzoyl Peroxide. That's one of the best over-the-counter options for most people,"

Proactiv, a three-step treatment, costs around $40 for a two-month supply. Acne-free, also a three-step treatment, goes for half that at about $20. Oxy Maximum, a single-step wash, costs far less at around $5 for a two-month supply.

"We had more than 80 volunteers with moderate to severe acne use one of the treatments twice a day for eight weeks,"

Medical professionals documented the volunteers' skin condition throughout the testing. The results? You might call them a wash.

"As far as acne reduction, there was no statistical difference between any of the products,"

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

"It's as easy as one, two, three!" tout the Proactiv ads, but it isn't quite that simple if you order online. After a month you're automatically billed for a three-month supply at almost $60 plus $7.99 for shipping and handling, and you'll keep getting billed until you cancel.

So Consumer Reports says try Oxy Maximum and save yourself a lot of money.

We contacted Proactiv and the company stated, "Proactiv is designed to treat and prevent acne when used regularly. As a leader in acne care, we're pleased that Consumer Reports covered the efficacy of over-the-counter Benzoyl Peroxide treatments in the prevention of acne."

Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.

(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2011. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

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