I’ve been wanting to write this piece for awhile, but this path to ending the Proactive addiction has been a battle…and when I say “addiction,” I mean my skins addiction. If you have acne prone skin and have used Proactive, you probably know what I’m talking about.

Let me tell you a little about where it started. I was a freshman in highschool (2005, 12 years ago) and I started to get some acne around my temples and a few spots other places. My friends recommended Proactive, so I started using it, and it cleared right up! It was a huge success for me.

Flash forward to 2015, after ten years of use, I started reading about how bad Proactive is for your skin. I started getting into a more natural routine, and I didn’t want all of these harsh chemicals on my skin anymore. I took the plunge and tried to go all natural. I mainly used raw honey, apple cider vinegar, and an all-natural moisturizer I ordered off amazon. I’m not going to go into detail on what products because, well, none worked for me (please email me if you want me to go more into depth of these). Now, I know now I should have switched over products slowly, but I was scared and ready to be done with Proactive. This lasted from June until mid September, when my skin was just getting worse and worse (I had it at this time on my cheeks bad and a little on my forehead), and I “relapsed” (haha). I went back to my drug-Proactive.

At this point I was using Walmart’s generic Proactive (literally the SAME ingredients for a fraction of the cost) and it’s the original formula (NO salicylic acid-I’ll touch on why this is important in a minute). I used this until April 2016, when I decided to try something more natural again.  However, what I had found on all the blogs and reviews about switching off Proactive is, almost all the people writing about this subject don’t have acne prone skin! And the ones that did either went back to Proactive and gave up, or for some reason DIDN’T want to pass their secrets on to desperadoes like myself, leaving us in the dark to find something that actually works. I did a LOT of research, looked at TONS of product lines and routines, and decided on a path based on what I read and what was financially doable for me. I knew the “all-natural” thing wouldn’t work for me, so I decided to try Burt’s Bee’s acne solutions (A salicylic based routine that was mostly natural). First, I switched the cleanser over for a month. Then, I added the toner for another month. Lastly, by June I had switched over to the whole product line. I noticed a little more acne here and there, but I assumed it was from switching to new products and wanted to give it time. I left for Europe for four months come July, and my skin only got worse. All the research says give your skin 12 weeks to get used to a new routine, so I was trying to give my skin the benefit of the doubt and wait it out. At this point, it started to get REALLY bad on my forehead. After the 12 week period, I made the excuse it was because I was traveling and when I got home, it would get better. Then my skin got worse and I started to get horrendous hormonal acne on my jawline and around my mouth, something I had NEVER had before.

By the time I got home in October, I was ready to overhaul my Burt’s Bee’s line. It obviously was NOT working for me. First, I went to a Dermatologist who literally spent my appointment trying to sell me overpriced items-a failure. I realized I was on my own. I attempted to find some answers on the internet again for people recovering from Proactive, and once again, couldn’t find anything. Then I started checking out individual products. I was originally set on NOT using benzoyl peroxide, the main ingredient in Proactive, but since I was struggling with the salicylic acid not clearing my skin, I thought maybe the benzoyl peroxide was important for my routine. Then I found this article:


Proactive was so bad because they overdid it with benzoyl peroxide in EVERY product in their line, so I thought maybe if I only used one product, it would still work.

I matched this with an aveeno salicylic line since I loved aveeno moisturizers and have never had issues in the past with their products on my face. I used a benzoyl peroxide face wash in the morning with no toner and the salicylic moisturizer, then the salicylic face wash at night with the salicylic moisturizer. {Please note after Proactive, I like using 3 step regimen’s, but toner wasn’t available with the Aveeno line}. Since my face was already so broken out, I didn’t switch over slowly, I went all in again because I figured it couldn’t get worse. And it didn’t. But it also didn’t get better.

I was back to the drawing board, and after extensive research, I pretty much self-diagnosed myself with a salicylic acid allergy. I figured I would cut it out of my regimen, and if that didn’t work, then I wasn’t allergic. What do you know? I’m almost positive I am.

So now, I’ll share what I’m currently using. I have been using this regimen for 12 weeks now, and it slowly cleared up, but just as research said, I woke up today with not ONE new pimple. All my blackheads are almost dried up. I’m feeling MUCH like myself again-beautiful! I know this regimen will change a little (I want to switch over to one product brand if possible, I want to add an anti-aging product, and maybe eventually I’ll try to remove benzoyl peroxide-but I’ll update with anything that WORKS). Here is is:

When I wake up, I wash with Trader Joe’s Antioxidant Face Wash, tone with RAW Apple Cider Vinegar (1/3 ACV, 2/3 distilled OR filtered water-proven to balance the pH of your skin), and moisturize with Aveeno Positively Radiant (it helps even out my skin tone AND has an SPF-SUPER important):

At night, I wash with Neutrogena Stubborn Acne Wash for 1-2 minutes (this is 10%-you can find a lower dose benzoyl peroxide face wash at your local pharmacy if you don’t want such a strong one, I’ll probably lower my dose with time), tone with ACV mixture, and moisturize with Trader Joe’s Oil-Free Moisturizer (I use the benzoyl peroxide at night because it can make your skin really sensitive to the sun and also gives it all night to work) :


I really LOVE the Trader Joe’s line, and will probably switch over to their Nourish facial moisturizer with SPF once the Aveeno runs out (I put this here so you can try it if you want-let me know if you do!).

I have to say, all these products are SUPER affordable (all under $10, most of them around $5), most have a a good ingredient list (not too many chemicals), and most of all, my skin is more hydrated, looks brighter, and my scars are fading. 

Just remember to be patient. However, not too patient. If you don’t see your skin making at least a little bit of improvement in a few days, try something new. It should take up to 12 weeks for your skin to be completely clear, but you’ll know pretty quickly if the new routine is helping at all (that is, if you have actual acne prone skin). << I WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD ME THIS!

If you guys have ANY questions, comments, concerns, recommendations- PLEASE feel free to contact me. I would love to help anyone who needs it, I know what it’s like to feel totally helpless with your skin 🙂

I do want to point out that I am NOT a Doctor, this is all from personal experience, and I was NOT paid to make this post! I sincerely want to help other people in the same boat I was in.