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Is There a Cheaper Alternative to Proactiv?

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Updated April 07, 2014

Is There a Cheaper Alternative to Proactiv? Microzoa/The Image Bank/Getty Images
Question: Is There a Cheaper Alternative to Proactiv?
I've heard good things about Proactiv, but it isn't cheap. Are there any alternatives to Proactiv that aren't as expensive?
Answer:

When you're on a limited budget, higher priced skin care products like Proactiv may not be within your means. But Proactiv isn't the only skin care line that is made for acne-prone skin. Some less expensive alternatives can be just as effective.

The active ingredient in the Proactiv skin care line is benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide reduces the amount of the pimple-producing bacteria Propionibacteria acnes. Scores of over-the-counter acne products contain benzoyl peroxide. You can even find generic benzoyl peroxide lotions and cleansers at most drug stores.

Some products in the Proactiv line also contain glycolic acid. Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that is found in many skin care products. It works as an exfoliant, helping to loosen the bonds that hold dead skin cells together. This, in turn, reduces pore blockages.

What many people like about the Proactiv line is that you get a complete skin care system - cleanser, toning solution, treatment lotion and, in some cases, a treatment mask. But some may not realize that Proactiv isn't the only complete OTC acne treatment kit available (Proactiv just does a better job in marketing their product).

Another reason Proactiv has become so popular is because it helps heal existing blemishes, as well as prevent new breakouts from forming. This was a fairly new idea when Proactiv first hit the market, but now other acne skin care lines can give you the same type of results.

Some reasonably priced skin care lines that offer multi-step acne treatment systems include:

  • AcneFree Clear Skin Treatments (benzoyl peroxide)
  • L'Oreal's Acne Response (benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid)
  • Klear Action Acne Treatment System (benzoyl peroxide and glycolic acid)
  • Neutrogena Complete Acne Therapy System (benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid)
  • Clean and Clear Advantage Acne Control Kit (benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid)

Remember, you don't have to purchase the most expensive, name brand products to get great results. In fact, you can even put together your own 3-step OTC acne treatment routine with products that you pick up at your local drug store (or that you already have at home). Your DIY regimen can be just as effective as any prepackaged acne treatment kit. (See this article: How To Create an OTC Acne Treatment Regimen to get all the details.)

But as always, if you aren't getting sufficient clearing of the skin with an over-the-counter product, see your doctor. Sometimes prescription medications are needed to really see good improvement of acne.

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