How Can a person Wean Myself Off of ProActive After 8 Years of Use and Still Maintain Clear Skin?

A person didn't start having bad breakouts until they were 19 and since the age of 20 (8 yrs) they have continually used products with either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. They want to start using products that are gentler on their skin and will set them up for having healthy skin throughout the following decades. The fear of not having clear skin without stronger face washes is their main hesitation. Practical options?

Doctor Answers 4

Adult Acne Treatments

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The majority of OTC products for acne are geared towards teenage acne, which is very different from the type of acne seen in adult female patients.  Typically, a gentler topical regimen is tailored for adult acne especially those with a hormonal component.  I would recommend being evaluated by a board certified dermatologist as most adult acne treatment regimens require prescription medicines.

Houston Dermatologist

Weaning off of ProActive

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There are many ways to wean off of ProActive, including getting a prescription for a benzoyl peroxide product from your dermatologist, or using other products that contain salicylic acid or retinol, or glycolic acid. Other options include pills such as an oral contraceptive or antibiotics. Best to chat with your dermatologist as there are so many great acne treatment options these days. A retin-A product might be perfect to treat, prevent and deal with any acne marks, and it has anti-aging effects too!  ~ Dr. Benjamin Barankin, Toronto Dermatology Centre.



Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon

How to Stop ProActiv

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I completely understand wanting to use a treatment that will help to keep your skin healthy for years to come.  I recommend meeting with a dermatologist to discuss the possibility of starting to use a prescription-strength topical retinoid to keep your skin clear.  Retinoids prevent acne by regulating skin cell turnover, so that the pores do not become clogged with oil and debris (which could otherwise attract acne-causing bacteria.)  Additionally, retinoids stimulate collagen production in the skin, which makes your skin healthier and prevents the development of fine lines in the future.

Eric Schweiger, MD - Account Suspended
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

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The Proactive is controlling your acne.

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If your skin is clear, why do you want to stop a treatment that is working? Proactive contains 2.5% benzoyl peroxide as the main ingredient. If it is drying or irritating your skin, you could try switching to an over the counter product with 2% Salicylic Acid. If that does not work, see a dermatologist for advice on how best to treat your acne. There are many prescription topical products that may work better than Proactive for you. 

Susan Goodlerner, MD
Torrance Dermatologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.