Can Proactiv work as an alternative to Accutane?

I've been seeing a lot of ads for Proactiv, with a bunch of celebs raving about how effective it is ( More here.

Has anyone tried it?


F, 48, Ontario

As a person who has tried both Accutane and Proactiv, you can't compare the two. For me, Proactiv didn't work any better than any other Benzoyl Peroxide-based acne treatment that you could buy at your local CVS or Walgreens. Proactiv is just a well-marketed toner, cleanser and moisturizer. They give each of their lotions fancy names, but at the end of the day, you could buy any of these products at your local drugstore. When you buy Proactiv, 90% of what you're paying goes towards all of the marketing you're seeing. Proactiv might help with very mild acne that would disappear on its own eventually. Accutane works for chronic mild to severe acne that won't go away. In my opinion, Accutane is a cure and Proactiv is a mild treatment (if you can even call it that). 

Yea, I've tried it. What a complete and utter waste it was. ProActiv is one of the longest running gimmicks out there. They package together three common acne-fighting products and sell it for more than those products would cost if you bought them individually at CVS or Walgreens (e.g. benzoyl peroxide). Since you sign up for automatic renewal when you purchase a subscription, the Proactiv kits never stop coming and they make it difficult to cancel your subscription (common tactic amongst subscription companies).  

Proactiv did not work at all for me. I had chronic moderate acne (it was minor but persistent) and the absolute only thing that ever worked was Accutane. Do not believe all of BS online posts that tell you Accutane is a very dangerous drug. I took it, and 5 of my friends took it and all of us agree it was the best decision we ever made. None of us have had any side effects and I have had perhaps 1 tiny zit (that took a day to go away) in the past two years. Accutane was life changing (and yes, it's not needed for everyone, but anyone with persistent acne should just stop being a baby and take it!). 

My advice to anyone considering Proactiv, is save your money. Most of the creams, astringents, etc., are all crap. None of them work and you will spend thousands of dollars and still have acne. Go to a dermatologist, request Accutane and solve your acne problem once and for all. 

thanks for the advice! i had a feeling that proactiv was too good to be true, but at the same time i'm a little scared of accutane because of all the known side-effects. i guess it takes what it takes...

Don't be scared about the side effects. The only issue that Accutane may be causing is a little excess gas. I think I fart now than I did before I took Accutane. It's an amazing drug though. Big fan of it. 

Acutane is more aggressive and directed at Acne unresponsive to more conservative measures such as ProActiv.

Acutane decreases the sebaceous secretions and truly dries up your acne. Appreciate that all of your mucous membranes become dryer.

Usually one course is sufficient but, in some cases a second course may be indicated.

No way. Proactiv doesn't do anything. I tried it and it did not stop my acne one bit. Accutane is the only acne treatment that works. Antibiotics work somewhat but don't get to the root of the problem (excess oil being produced). Get on Accutane and get your acne fixed!

quick update: definitely staying away from proactiv and going with accutance. will keep you updated on my progress. thanks again!