Dealing with Acne? Get Proactive about Wellness (not Proactiv)


As a former Proactiv user, one who knows from experience that the product line does nothing to address the root cause of acne, I get pretty irked when I see Proactiv ads, celebrity endorsements and infomercials on TV.  I can see how it tries, but fails miserably, at empowering those with acne. Hindsight is 20/20, right?

I believe that the Drs. Rodan and Fields, the dermatologists who created the line, really do want to put an end to acne troubles. And I believe that Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Avril Lavigne don't want you to have acne either. But this product, like many others, feels like it takes advantage of the sheer I'll-do-anything-to-stop-this desperation of acne sufferers (I know, I was there) by offering a false solution. One that might also be worse in the long run.

Let me tell you why...

So Proactiv will most likely improve your breakouts. It improved mine. But in no way did it make my acne go away. And I ended up using it for years, worried about what would happen when I stopped. I finally broke up with Proactiv as a beauty editor, when an esthetician told me that long-term use of the product was damaging my skin. I had a feeling that the ingredients weren't great anyway, so I stopped. What happened? My skin didn't look great. I still had acne and Proactiv hadn't changed that.

Instead I started to take interest in the root cause of my breakouts- the internal causes like food allergies, stress, poor diet- as well as the harsh products that were stripping my skin's natural barrier, its first line of defense, and exacerbating the whole breakout situation.  Then, and only then, did things start to improve.

One note about Proactiv ingredients. These products contain parabens, added fragrance, petrochemicals and an ingredient called benzoyl peroxide that kills bacteria and increases cell turnover by peeling the top layer of skin. Benzoyl peroxide is the ingredient causing the frustrating bleaching of towels (I don't like to image what it does to skin) experienced by Proactiv users. Benzoyl peroxide generates free radicals on skin (which we work so hard to avoid by eating and applying natural antioxidants) and has been linked to increased risk of skin cancer. The Cosmetic Safety Database rates this ingredient a 7- 'high hazard.' It's NOT the safe answer to end acne.

Now, Proactiv is by no means the only product to blame. If you have acne prone skin and use preventative products, inform yourself by finding out about the ingredients in your skin care, regardless of what you use. I wish I had done it sooner!

Here are my top 3 areas to look at on your journey toward acne bleaching of towels or skin-stripping chemicals involved:

1. Diet. A high-sugar diet, for instance, causes inflammation, which shows up in skin irritation. Processed food does the same and both have a high glycemic index, which spikes your insulin and leaves your hormones out of balance. None of these foods feeds your body the nutrients it needs- and skin is the first place to show signs that there is upheaval inside. Digestive problems also manifest themselves on your face. Change your diet, change your body, change your skin.

2. Skin Care. Get off the train of acne products that dry your pimples and peel your skin. Quit dealing with flaky skin and irritation. Instead, try natural products known to improve acne- tea tree essential oil is just one and there are many others- and calm skin. It's amazing when oily, clogged skin gets moisturized with natural oils- it stops hyper-producing oil on its own! This was just one lesson I learned.

3. Stress & Emotions. Such a catch-22. Acne makes you stressed and stress pumps up your hormones, which can lead to more acne. Life isn't fair! Time to find healthy ways to manage stress and emotions.

If you're interested in a one-on-one health coaching session or beauty product overhaul, contact me today.  It could be the beginning of your own personal journey toward knowing your body- and your skin- from the inside out.