Americans spend almost $400 million a year on over-the counter acne treatments. No doubt you’ve seen the star-studded ads for Proactiv. Justin Bieber is not the only young celebrity pushing the product. Avril Lavigne, Julianne Hough, and Katy Perry all are singing its praises.
Consumer Reports tested Proactiv along with two other acne treatments. Proactiv, a three-step treatment, costs around $40 for a two-month supply. Acne-Free, also a three-step treatment, goes for half, about $20. Oxy Maximum, a single-step wash, costs far less, around $5 for a two-month supply. All of the evaluated products contain benzoyl peroxide. That’s one of the best over-the-counter options for most people.
Consumer Reports had more than 80 volunteers with moderate to severe acne use one of the treatments twice a day for eight weeks. Medical professionals documented the volunteers’ skin condition throughout the testing. The results? You might call them a wash. There was no statistical difference between any of the products as far as acne-reduction went. None of the volunteers saw their acne wiped out completely no matter which product they used, but most did have fewer blemishes.
And Proactiv is expensive. If you order online, after a month, you’re automatically billed for a three-month supply—almost $60 plus $7.99 for shipping and handling. And you’ll keep getting billed until you cancel.
So Consumer Reports recommends trying Oxy Maximum and saving yourself a lot of money.
Consumer Reports also tested two quick treatment devices for red acne blemishes. The Zeno Hot Spot and a product called No! No! Skin eliminated only about 13 percent of red blemishes in the tests. And they’re pricey at $40 and $180.