Proactiv: is it good, is it bad, will it work, and will it allow you to be acne free forever? Over millions of people deal with acne, but how are we to trust acne healers

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Proactiv: is it good, is it bad, will it work, and will it allow you to be acne free forever? Over millions of people deal with acne, but how are we to trust acne healers? Proactiv claims that they are the number one seller of acne solution in America. Why is that? Proactiv has many success stories from many people including some celebrities. Yet there is also many people not mentioned in these commercials and those are the people that didn’t make the cut, since Proactiv didn’t work for them.

Proactiv is an acne treatment that stops and prevents acne from appearing on your face or body. It has had many consumers buy the product over years and years and has become the number one selling acne treatment in America. With a three step solution your acne is supposedly to disappear in a matter of two weeks or less. Some people say that Proactiv is the closest thing you’re going to get to curing acne. Proactiv also claims that their products are designed for all skin types and categories of acne, may it be oily skin with little acne or dry skin with a lot of acne Proactiv is supposed to work. There are little side effects with the clearing of your skin from acne. These side effects are: redness, dryness, or hives. These are expected though, are they not? With so much evidence of success from Proactiv, it’s hard to imagine someone saying that it does not work. We see the commercials with people’s life stories of Proactiv and our idols, those we look up to, using this product.

Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and Avril Lavigne are few of the many celebrity Proactiv users. They each have their own story to go with Proactiv and how it has helped them with their self confidence of blemishes. I know it’s hard to believe but celebrities even care how we think of them. This may be why Proactiv is such a big selling company. These stars are those we look up to and idolize. When our idols become someone like us, it adds a sense of, “Hey, I know how that feels,” making the product our way of becoming closer to our idol. Katy Perry stated, “Suddenly, all that stress started showing up on my face as blemishes. It made me feel very embarrassed and really self-conscious.” This sounds familiar does it not? Teenagers all around one time or another cares about their looks and become embarrassed or self conscious. This similarity between the celebrity Katy and her fans, may have sold some Proactiv. Katy isn’t the only Proactiv star though; all the celebrities sell to their fans. If one celebrity doesn’t work, make room for the next. From each story of an idol, you see a pattern. This pattern being, I deal with acne too, I get embarrassed or my self confidence goes down, tried Proactiv, and now I’m happy with clear skin. Proactiv, is it really that good?

Proactiv manipulates the thought that if you have acne you will be a laughing stock or in other words to worry about your looks and what people think of you. In Brave New World Revisited Huxley tells of this manipulation using hatred and anger instead of worry and embarrassment. The quote states, “In a long run, anger and hatred are self-defeating emotions. But in a short run they pay high dividends in the form of psychological and even (since they release large quantities of adrenalin and noradrenalin) physiological satisfaction.” In short, emotions are good when selling a product. Making the consumer a puppet, when the consumer has the emotions you wanted to erupt when seeing an ad, the advertisers sell their product. We, the consumers allow ourselves to be influenced by theses emotions that they affect our lives. Mark Crispin Miller even states in the persuaders, “Advertising wants to become the air we breathe. It wants us not to be able to find a way outside of the world that it creates for us.” This all comes down that the advertisers manipulate us and what we see, and believe, making us their consumers to their products.

Though the thought of manipulating emotions to sell a product is interesting, does Proactiv even really work? Many reviews from speak that Proactiv is a waste of time and money. Some were more descriptive than others along with a few “joke” reviews. Along with those that say it dried my skin and acne didn’t go away, you have those that agree that Proactiv did work. Key word did, by this I mean that they said Proactiv stopped working after a time and the acne came back. Other problems reported were bad service from the Proactiv Company or the price of what they paid. How come we don’t hear these results on an ad for Proactiv? In the authors speak that Proactiv states that they have a success rate of 85%, yet they also say that in most review forums only 42% of the visitors recommend Proactiv. Reason being, it didn’t work for the 15% that is missing from the 85% and 43% of the success rate consumers may have not been fully satisfied with the results.

Now, what really causes acne? We hear about clogging of pores and dirt and stress. But is that all there is to it? “All acne is a disorder of the pilosebaceous unit, which is made up of a hair follicle, sebaceous gland, and a hair. These units are found everywhere on the body except on the palms, soles, top of the feet, and the lower lip.” explains Heather Brannon on, What Causes Acne? In fact, every human being has oil in the skin called sebum which increases with hormones. This is the reason teens deal with acne more than adults. When blackheads or “open comedo” forms it is the result of sebum and dead skin clogging your pore, yet the surface of the pore is open or clear letting you see a dark color of the sebum and dead skin. Whiteheads or “closed comedo” are excess oil and dead skin clogging the pore also blocking the surface. Bacteria thrive in the excess oil and grow rapidly in the closed pore, creating inflammation. This is what gives your pimple a red, hot, and swollen appeal. But why does this all matter? You can’t stop acne. It’s like trying to stop grass from growing forever. You may cut it all you want but it will be back. So why does proactive say they can prevent acne, when you can’t. Your face will get clogged again and again during the day. Dirt and dead skin will be in your pores and if not that you still have sebum no matter what.

Proactiv’s ads have become more than just a way to show you how their ingredients work on your acne, or including free bonuses with your ordered product. They have spread from using celebrities to entice those that support them to making consumers fear and worry of their looks.

Jessica Simpson fades in from a black screen; she sits in a fetal position with no shoes, looking relaxed against a tan screen. Moving to the next scene, she walks on a red carpet around fans in a white dress smiling. Flashing to the next scene, she is sitting in a dressing room in a white robe, hair up, and getting makeup put on her while looking in a oval mirror surrounded by lights. Flashing quickly are photos of Jessica smiling on a white background, looking in different directions. A clip of one of her concerts moves into the screen, black background, pink blouse, and singing into a microphone. Then going to a clip of her blowing a kiss in between two RVs. Going back to first scene of Jessica sitting, then she is twirling in a robe, going back a white poodle appears out of nowhere and walks to her sitting on the ground, she picks up the poodle. Poodle disappears and she talks of how she doesn’t know what will happen in a day, but she starts and ends her day with


Lindsay Lohan fades in from black screen; she is wearing a blue spaghetti string blouse, standing in front of a white background. She asks if the consumer freaks out about acne and concerns on their looks. When she says, “well help is on the way,” Practiv splashes through in three bottles. Water like substance and white background surrounds the bottles. The next scene is Lindsay sitting saying she deals with acne and doesn’t like it, and then the showing of pictures highlights the zits on her face before Proactiv. Back to the scene of her sitting in front of a tan background, smiling, wearing a white sweater she explains that Proactiv worked for her. Later in the commercial the narrator says, “Now’s your chance to join Lindsay Lohan and millions more who’ve cleared their skin with Proactiv solution.”

Both commercials have similarities and differences but mostly similarities. Both celebrities are fading in from black and at sometime have a tan back ground. Both mention something of using Proactiv everyday and loving it. They also influence the color white in the advertisements at one time or another. So how does this affect consumers? Remember these are celebrities and many people that have given a review of Proactiv say they are the reason for the selling of the product. This may be true considering how many people that follow the pop culture and the music industry. Also remember that the idols give a reference to us, the fans, and make us feel as though we are a part of them. Tan might indicate dirty skin or just skin and when the white background appears we may have a thought of cleanliness and purity. Proactiv uses color to mess with our senses. They also use a sense of peer pressure, “Join millions others” is pretty close to, “everyone is doing it.” These hidden messages may help Proactiv sell.

“Got acne?” is in big white letters at the top of this ad, below this it reads, “Just ask your girlfriend what to do. Oh, that’s right, you don’t have a girlfriend.” The color of these words goes from a white to a aqua. Then you have the Proactiv bottles all lined up pretty. In the corner is a triangular fold that says in the middle “go now”.

This is a sort of harsh advertisement when you see it and read it. More humiliation could be added to teen’s lives about their looks and appearance. It produces a sort of depressing feeling. This feeling could make a male person that deals with acne and has no girlfriend question his looks. He may go get Proactiv just because of the depression of thinking that his looks affects his relationship status. The text contrasts with the back ground adding more emphasis on the actual text.

Avril Lavigne has her body positioned to the left yet her head is looking straight at the camera, her outfit sort of blends with the dark brown and her eyes pop out with all the eyeliner. At the top right corner there is the name Proactiv in white and in the bottom left corner are small Proactiv bottles. Over Avril in faded whit color, huge text say, “I’m no pushover. I’m Proactiv.”

Katty Perry having a sort of surprised face stares straight at the camera, having her right hand reaching up to gently touch her mouth with the middle finger. In the top left corner is the name Proactiv in white and in the bottom right corner are three Proactiv bottles, to the left of them in small white letters reads, “Katty doesn’t play nice with acne. She uses new Proactiv—now with micro-crystal medicine and 24/7 skin care advisor support.” In the bottom left corner in white letters says, “Go to or text Clear to 44144 for a special offer.” Aligned left but to the center of the poster in huge case letters the color of faded white reads, “I’m not polite. I’m Proactiv.”

What is even the meaning of Proactiv? There is no definition unless you use the word “proactive”. Proactive meaning, “serving to prepare for, intervene in, or control an expected occurrence or situation, especially a negative or difficult one” so says Is this what Avril and Katy mean that they are proactive? These ads may relate to having a sense of control over your acne. The posture that both singers are using shows an emotion of “I’m bad and I have control”. Is this what Proactiv is really trying to sell, using these two celebrities, that even the consumer has control? So, instead of an acne solution being sold you have a sense of control, but do the consumers really have this if they are being told by those they idol and the advertisers what they have control of?

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