Proactiv and Blackheads

Proactiv and Blackheads


Hi everyone :waving: I’ve only just discovered this forum even though I’ve been browsing through Adore Beauty for a couple of years.

Anyhoo, Im just wondering if anyone out there has ever used/is using Proactiv skincare. Since July of this year I’ve suffered the most horrid of breakouts on my face. Im talking that awful acne, the non head ones that are painful and blackheads. After a couple of months of trying different things, a friend suggested I use Proactiv. Her skin was testament to how good it can be (although I was aware going in that it may not produce the same effect as she has different skin to me, obviously). But I thought I would give it a try, and lo, it worked! After a month of using it I only broke out around my monthly time and I only had 2 pimples!

I still get those little awful blackheads. I thought Proactiv was for blackheads too? I dont use Proactiv as religiously as I did when I first started, as my acne has eased I’ve gone back to a more simpler skincare routine as I have read countless times that sometimes part of the reason of a major breakout is using different products that can aggravate the skin. My moisturiser is my favourite Vitamin E cream from the Body Shop. My skin just absorbs it, and I am really really trying to drink 2 litres of water a day. My skin looks parched and line-ey if I dont drink enough water.
What can I do to tone down the blackhead breakout? I’ve even reached the stage now where I dont need to wear foundation, only a primer and I know its not my primer that is causing the blackheads. Or maybe it is? Its the Skin Glow one from Natio.

I can only see the blackheads when I lean in close to the mirror but they’re still unsightly and gross, blackheads, in my opinion, are grosser than pimples.

Anyway, I hope someone can help. Or at least point me in the right direction? :slight_smile:

Many thanks - and happy festive season! :tree: :santa:


Proactiv did nothing for my skin - i used it for a few months and saw nothing but massive drying of my skin. I have heard many success stories from using Practiv but with all as soon as you stop using it your skin goes back to how it was again - your skin becomes dependant on it which is another reason i stopped using it.

Other suggestions i have heard is just using benzac which you can buy from priceline in different strengths and just a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil.

Specifically for blackheads im not too sure - maybe a really good scrub to get the dirt out?


Thats where I get confused - I exfoliate at least 2-3 times a week. The only thing I can associate with my bad breakout that Im still cleaning up is that back in May I discovered all natual skincare products that were all clay based. The cleanser and moisturiser all made out of clay and she suggested I use apple cider vinegar as a toner.
Prior to that, my skin was recovering from a bad experience with Cliniques 3 Step program but it was a mild breakout and my skin was on the mend. So thats when I thought ‘aha, you cant go wrong with natural’. I think my skin completely rebelled and shortly after, thats when the boils started growing on my face. Now, I just have the wonderful scarring to show for it but I know with regular exfoliation those too shall disappear.

My cleanser is an exfoliating one which I do love (Im ducking as I mention it is the Garnier exfoliating cleanser…I know, I know, its a cheapie but hey, I did mention the Clinique experience…my skin glows after I wash my face, its always loved Garnier for some reason). For my thorough exfoliation I use the Loreal microdermabrasion scrub which I have been using for ages and I love it. I know that one isnt specifically for the blackheads but apart from using an exfoliating cleanser, what more can I do? Is there a particular anti blackhead scrub that is recommended? Is Garnier totally rubbish? I’ve read countless articles that it dont matter how much skincare costs its whether your skin benefits from it or not - or is that complete garbage?

It gets a tad confusing - and expensive - trying to find the right thing for your skin.


I really like the Joey Pure Pores Blackhead Remover Gel.

You do need to use it regularly (at least 2 times a week and better if 3) otherwise the blackheads just return. You don’t notice an immediate improvement at all but after a month I got rid off all those annoying nose blackheads. They came back because I’m rather lazy and don’t apply it regularly :frowning:

It has a very strong chemically smell and if you have very sensitive skin this product may not be for you.

For best results I’d use it in conjuction with the Alpha H Triple action cleanser and a nice exfoliant.


The Alph H Micro Cleanse is the best exfoliant I have ever used.
They say that you should be using a cleanser that contains Salyalic Acid to deep clean pores. I believe that is what they call a BHA.


Ok, this is a tricky one guys.

A few things to consider…

Benzac has same ingredient as Proactiv (benzyl peroxide); Vitamin E cream although lovely can clog the pores; Clinique Toner (part of three step contains salicylic acid or BHA);too much exfoliation is not necessarily a good thing; I know nothing about the Joey product but worth investigating making sure it is not too harsh; masks help to clear pores (clay is not an enemy!) and in my opionion, AHA’s (without all your extra exfoliation) are definitely worth a go!

Gosh, hope that wasnt too harsh! Best to drop Allison a line, she is back from hols on the 9th! Good luck and let us know how you go!:waving:


I would consider consulting a Dermatologist Vavoom as they are going to be able to help you out far more than anything you can purchase over the counter. I have only seen the advertisements regarding pro-active and whilst it may be a miracle product to some it obviously doesn’t work for others. I think it is a matter of finding something that works for you and your skin.

Dermatologists can be expensive but as they are Medical professionals Medicare will cover some of the expense but I would suspect you might still have a gap to pay. However if it gets your skin sorted it will be well worth it! Hope that helps!


Thanks for all the input, people, I really appreciate it.

I have thought about going to see a dermatologist because the only other time I’ve had breakouts as bad as this was when I was in my teens. It seems to come in spurts though. From the ages of 14 to 15 I had bad acne, then by 16 it all cleared up. Smooth clear skin until the age of 24, (even though I started smoking at 18, my skin had no blemish whatsoever until I was 24) but that 24 year old breakout was hormonal. I started using Nutrimetics and it all cleared up straight away…and then, this year I turn 30 and I think my hormones are going abit spare…

Just for the record, I quit smoking about 3 and a half years ago when I became pregnant so you’d think my skin would thank me for it!! No more crazy party lifestyle of smoking and booze, yet my skin decides to make itself look like I do all that to excess. Yet when I WAS excessive and stumbling in at the crack of dawn every weekend my skin was perfect - how ironic, heh.

Thanks again for the advice/suggestions.


Our pleasure, do get some expert advice though, hopefully you need not be going through this for long. Do let us know how you go.:waving:


Just a question, does heat make blackheads come to the surface. After my stinking hot weekend in Melbourne I had about 8 pop up on my chin. They all came out easily and didn’t take any time at all to clear. Just wondering if the heat may have been a factor as I don’t usually get blackheads!


Essntially a blackhead is a blocked pore filled with sebum which has oxidized, hence the “black”. Therapists will usually steam before doing any extractions, so yes, heat does make them easier to remove but not sure about “just appearing”???


I think I may have a clue as to why I get blackheads specifically - Im using the Johnsons Holiday Skin for the face and I have done for 2 days straight. After the first week of using it a couple of months ago I noticed my blackhead breakout so I stopped - this was around the same time I started Proactive so I did notice a difference when I didnt use the Holiday Skin. As I do like my face with a bit more colour I alternated each day with the Proactive once my skin started to clear up and the blackheads were still appearing but not as frequently. Now, after using it for 2 days straight I’ve put 2 and 2 together and realised that its this particular gradual tanner. Well, it may not be the sole cause but its a definite contributer.

I’ve wanted in particular to have abit more colour on my face as its New Years eve tommorow, I havent put any on tonight and Im going to stop using it methinks. Im going to invest in something that is specifically non pore blocking.

I’ll let you know if its makes any difference after not using it anymore. But I think it will. :smiley:


Proactiv user

Ive been using it for almost a year now. I didnt have a pproblem with acne on my face but acne on my chest!!! It has cleared it up almost 100% but i did find the mask great for my face it really draws everything out and absorbs the oil,although i didnt have a problem with blackheads.



Hey ladies,

Getting rid of blackheads is a tough one. Firstly blackheads are not dirt trapped in the pore. When the oils in your pores are exposed to oxygen, the oil oxidises and it turns black i.e blackhead. It is better to have blackheads than whiteheads because at least this indicates that the pores are not blocked by the oils (sebum). The only thing I can recommend is a clay based product such as neutrogena or a low conc BHA(salicylic acid) gel. Just remember that too much exfoliation is also a bad thing as it can strip the skin of the vital oils leading to overstimulation of the oil glands which causes acne.

Skin care specialist/Dermatology


My stepdaughter is now using Proactive a little to my distress.
She is only 14 with the usual teenage skin although she thinks she has bad acne. A couple of months ago I set her up with some basic skincare - a light cream cleanser (she has very dry skin), witch hazel toner, aloe vera gel as moisturiser & a Natio clay mask. I tried to keep it really simple so not to overload her skin with extra chemicals as she sufferes reactions to many things. Well this trip she arrived with the Proactive & I was a bit shocked to read all the ingrediants - lots of Glycolic acid, Benzoyl Peroxide, parabens, parfum, alcohol, ureas, etc. Which would dry the skin out.
She says she sees an improvement & I can say her face looks less red but she still has breakouts. I felt compelled to give her a lecture about how strong these chemicals are & to please keep them away from her eyes. She was wiping them right up under her eyes!!! :shocked: She also was not wearing sunscreen regularly only to the beach. The actives in Proactive would make her skin hyper sensitive to UVs so now I make her wear it everyday & got her some of her own tinted SPF30 to use. Along with a big tube for her bod by Roxy (so it looks cool dudes).
Alas there was another side effect I unfortunantly failed to forsee. She has been wipping the Peroxide off her hands onto my good towels & now they all have bleach stains on them!!! :eek: So please if you are using Benzoyl Peroxide, wash your hands after applying it.


Oh no bleached towels! Medusa although the Proactiv contains some nasty sounding additives, if she is using it according to the directions (not under her eyes!) then she should be fine. I have started my almost 11 year old on the (now I believe milder) Alpha H liquid gold as she has started to get little bumps around her nose area. As long as she is seeing an improvement, keeps it away from her eyes, uses the sunscreen and keeps away from your towels she should be fine! Tell her to look out for signs of dryness and halt her routine if she does. Good luck!:waving:


I had no luck with Proactiv. Like others it really dried my skin out. Maybe it’s best for really oily skin? Or maybe use of one Proactiv product (i.e. the cleanser) with a milder toner and moisturiser?

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