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Help! My Face is Addicted to Proactiv!

Maintaining a clear face and perfecting a skincare regimen is hard for most girls, but it has been an especially difficult journey for me. Growing up, I always had nice skin. I have never suffered from eczema or any skin irritations and my skin was always soft and bright. When puberty hit, that changed significantly. I started suffering from severe, cystic acne all over my face and I had no way to get it under control. I tried everything: Oxy, Neutrogena, Clearasil, and shock therapy at my local day spa. Nothing was working and I was afraid that I would be forever embarrassed of my skin. Finally, my mom paid a visit to my pediatrician and he recommended Proactiv.

Proactiv is a three-step acne treatment that can be ordered online, purchased in kiosks, or through third-party sellers on Amazon. The three steps include a cleanser, a toner, and a repairing treatment. I was very excited to try Proactiv,  as Rodan and Fields’ greatest advertisement is the plethora of celebrity endorsements. After a week of using Proactiv, my skin was almost completely clear. The intensity of the treatment did wonders for my oily skin and I have been using it ever since.

After 8 years of using Proactiv, I am concerned that my skin may be addicted to the treatment. Although I still reap the benefits, my skin is extremely dependent on it in order to maintain balance. I cannot go anywhere without Proactiv without suffering major breakouts in the days to follow. Missing one day of washing my face calls for two weeks of extra spot treatments, pore strips, and extra washes in order to get my skin under control again. Deviating from the program is not an option with Proactiv. It is also a major inconvenience when it comes to my clothing and towels. The treatment will bleach all clothes, towels, pillowcases, and hair that it comes in contact with. If Proactiv ruins all fabric within a 10 foot radius, what does it really do to my skin? I am terrified to switch to a different facial cleanser because I have no idea what will happen to my face if I stop using Proactiv. The internet is filled with horror stories of others who have attempted to stop this treatment in order to switch to a more gentle skincare regimen, but end up failing due the severe acne that follows stopping treatment. It seems as though I have no way out.

Recognizing the importance of using natural and gentle cleansers on skin is crucial for your overall health and well-being. For those of you looking to get your acne under control, I highly advise against Proactiv. Although I have no evidence to prove that the chemicals in the treatment are addictive, I am currently very unhappy with the way the treatment affects my skin and I wish I had never started the treatment.  I feel trapped in a never-ending cycle of bleached towels and teal and white boxes and it is starting to affect my confidence, my bank account, and my health. If you currently feel this way about your skincare regimen, talk to your dermatologist about alternative methods. EVERYONE should feel happy, healthy, and comfortable sporting a bare face.

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