Benzoyl peroxide is a common and effective anti-acne medication, found in many prescription and over-the-counter acne medications. Dr. Schweiger explains that, “Benzoyl peroxide fights acne in a few different ways. First, it decreases the p. acnes bacteria on the skin that lead to acne; it also cleans out dead skin cells from the pores and reduces inflammation.” Unfortunately, some patient’s skin can become irritated by the daily application of benzoyl peroxide. Technology has been introduced to address this issue, but it is not available in all of the over-the-counter formulations.
Smaller benzoyl peroxide particles are able to absorb into the pores with ease, while larger particles may sit on the skin and cause irritation. Proactiv claims to be the only over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide formulation to have the smaller benzoyl peroxide particles that many prescription formulations use. We are often asked, “Does Proactiv work?” The answer is that it may work better than some OTC benzoyl peroxide medications, since Proactiv’s technology is superior to many formulations. However, it is not as effective as prescription benzoyl peroxide combination medications. By combining benzoyl peroxide with topical antibiotics, such as clindamycin, or topical retinoids, such as adapalene, there is a synergistic response that allows acne to be treated more effectively. The answer to “Does Proactiv work?” is that, while Proactiv may be more effective and tolerable than other OTV benzoyl peroxide formulations, its efficacy is inferior to that of prescription formulations.