Our patients commonly ask us, "Does Proactiv work?" It seems easy enough: you order it online, open the box, complete the three steps. And the truth is that it does sometimes work. However, Proactiv isn't always effective enough for all people.
Dr. Schweiger explains that, "Proactiv contains benzoyl peroxide, which is a studied ingredient known to treat acne. Benzoyl peroxide works by killing p. acnes bacteria, which is the bacteria that causes acne to develop." Some people do very well with Proactiv and never require further treatment. Alternatively, some people either do well and then have a relapse of their acne or their acne never improves in the first place. Although benzoyl peroxide is known to kill p. acnes bacteria, acne has other contributing factors that must be addressed for the most effective treatment.
Patients who do not respond quickly to Proactiv, or who have moderate to severe acne prior to starting, should visit their dermatologist right away. It is important to begin acne treatments, with prescription medications or in-office procedures, in order to clear your acne and prevent permanent scarring. Prescription regimens for acne often utilize benzoyl peroxide, but in combination with other medications. In fact, benzoyl peroxide has been shown to have a synergistic effect when combined with clindamycin (a n antibiotic.) This means that the two medications work better together than separately. The difference between a prescription acne regimen and simply using Proactiv is that your prescription regimen will utilize different combinations of medications to address all of the causes of acne. For example, your dermatologist may recommend a benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin combination cream in the morning and a retinoid gel in the evening.
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