Customer Reviews: Proactiv 3-Step System (60-Day Supply)
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on December 11, 2012
I'm only giving Proactiv a negative review because it is grossly overpriced. I recently found that Target makes a "compare to Proactiv" product in their "Up and Up" product line. I was delighted to see this and even more delighted to see that the ingredients are just about identical, except for one tiny (most likely insignificant) ingredient that the Target brand has that Proactiv does not. It works identically to Proactiv (same results for me anyway) and the best part? It was ONLY $11.99 for a 4-oz bottle of the cleanser, 4 oz of the toner and 2 oz of the repair treatment! Same amount that is listed here for 4 times the cost! DON'T waste your money. GO TO TARGET and get the Up & Up product!!
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on December 17, 2013
I don't even know if this stuff works, and at this point I don't care. I am VERY careful to make sure I am not signing up for recurring automatic payments and shipments when I order online, because I've been scammed by other companies like this. When I called Proactive to cancel it, they said it was already sent, (I doubt it since PayPal just debited my account about 2 minutes ago) and I would have to pay for it, ($66.00) because it is an automatic 3 month order. I told her I was returning it and cancelling my payment. " You can do that, but it takes 4 to 6 weeks to get a refund" REALLY? In this day and age? I would never trust a company that has to resort to sleezy tactics to get people to buy their products. Holding customers hostage in recurring payment hell is no way to run an ethical business. I will definitely go to Target and buy their product like another reviewer suggested.
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on July 7, 2014
I have mild-moderate acne, and decided to buy a 30-day shipment to try it out; it made my skin really dry, and didn't help with the acne at all. I understand that acne treatment is complicated because everyone's skin is different and will therefore react differently to the same product, so I wasn't terribly upset, and wasn't even gonna bother with a review.

Then I got a second charge on my credit card, and another shipment I hadn't ordered. I specifically remember choosing no membership when I ordered, but apparently that means nothing because there's something in the terms and conditions about continuing shipments. I found out I did have a profile and a membership after all, and attempted to call to cancel it. I was put on hold for a long, LONG time, then transferred multiple times to people who would not answer or numbers that didn't exist. I decided to try the live chat on their website instead. When I told them I wanted to cancel, they proceeded to ask me why multiple times, and for all the reasons I gave them (it made my skin dry, didn't really work, my acne was not that severe so I would be okay without any products for the week it would take me to find an alternative to proactiv) they kept trying to rebute and invalidate them. Finally, I got the representative to cancel my membership. Great. Everything's squared away now. Right?


Five months later, I get another charge on my credit card from Proactiv. I go to their website again, tell the rep that I had my membership cancelled, but was still getting charged. Have to explain it multiple times before she says she'll check for me. Fifteen minutes later she comes back saying that I did not cancel my membership. Luckily, I had taken a screen cap of my conversation with the first respresentative saying that she had successfully canceled my membership, and sent that to her. She checked again, and "oh! It seems you did cancel, but there was a processing error". I asked her for a refund of the third charge, she told me I had to return the third shipment first. But I had moved out of the country since I first cancelled my membership, and they'd sent it to my old address. She said that was my problem because I should have updated my address. I said I didn't think to update my address because THEY TOLD ME I'D SUCCESFULLY CANCELLED MY MEMBERSHIP SIX MONTHS AGO. We argued again for a while, and she finally said she would refund me. Great. everything's squared away now. Right?


Two weeks later, I get a $15 refund. But the charge was $60. So I called again to complain, and nothing. It took a call from my lawyer friend to get me the $45.

Moral of the story? Try the webchat instead of a phone call. And print screen everything so you have proof in case there's a "processing error". If you'd really rather do it over the phone, ask them to send you an email confirming everything that they said. If no email comes, call again. And of you have any friends who are lawyers, use them.
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on October 25, 2010
First, the product works modestly well, but is no miracle cure for acne, despite what their television ads claim. But that's not the biggest problem.

Be very wary of starting to do business with these people. Stopping is almost impossible. Here's why:

We ordered this for my son, and he used it for almost two years. The results were modest but positive. Then his dermatologist chose a more active and different course of treatment, and told him to stop using Proactive.

Naturally, we called to cancel the automatic shipments. They didn't stop. We called again. They didn't stop. We called again. They didn't stop. We tried to return the product and were told we were passed the "30 day return policy" and the product couldn't be returned (even though it has an almost infinite shelf life).

We stopped being charged only because the credit card expiration date passed. But the shipments continued for another month. Then the threats started.

Proactive (Guthy Renker, the company that sells everything imaginable via infomercials) started sending us collection letters. Since we had called them three times to cancel, and since we had paid for all but the final shipment, I ignored them. The letters stopped.

Then we started getting incredibly aggressive letters and automated, mystery telephone calls at all hours from their collection agency, SKO Brenner American (800 669-5208)insisting that we owed for the final shipment. I explained the situation and they didn't care to listen. Finally, in complete frustration, I paid for the final shipment just to make the calls stop.

This is not a customer-oriented company. Guthy-Renker isn't trustworthy in the least. Interestingly, on their website, they have "ten commandments for management." Not one of those says anything about dealing with customers honestly or fairly. They do talk about dominating their marketplace and trade associations, and they talk about building their brand and their upside at all times. But no where do they mention providing real value for their customers in an honorable fashion. From my experience they are living by their own ten commandments.
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on July 26, 2010
Though Proactiv Solution works pretty well for me, I have never seen a product vary so drastically from one user to another. I started getting terrible acne in the 9th grade, and it had a major effect on my confidence. People would stare at my zits--and not into my eyes--whenever we were having a conversation, and my 10th grade history teacher even held me back at the end of class specifically to recommend a skin care product that she had ordered from Avon. If that were not embarrassing enough, my acne reached a peak during my senior year of high school--the primetime of every young woman's life. Every inch of my cheeks was covered in bright red, pus-filled pimples. It was so terrible that some people looked disgusted to even stand near me, and I had to wear a TON of concealer for my senior photos--which only exacerbated the problem as soon as picture day was over. After my high school graduation, I started spending a lot of time out at the pool, and (despite what the experts say), the sun drastically improved my skin. My face turned really red one day when I forgot the sunblock, and the next day, all of the zits were gone. However, when the summer ended and I went to college in the fall, the zits came back. It was then that I decided that I need something stronger than an over-the-counter medicine to deal with my skin. After watching a commercial for Proactiv Solution, I ordered it over the phone on a whim. The first few weeks didn't give me any results, but after a about a month, the product worked to its full potential. I have been using it for almost two years now, and I am very happy with my decision to purchase it. Though it has not provided the magical results that are showcased in every commercial (I still get a couple of pimples every couple of weeks, my face is not the horrible red mask that it once was. Unlike some reviewers reported, the product does not dry my face out at all, and I haven't experienced any redness. The most redeeming product of the entire system is the toner. Though it does not smell very potent, it succeeded in removing from my hands and forearms a botched application of self-tanning lotion that almost a week of constant scrubbing did nothing to help. For me, this is very good stuff. Unfortunately, as I stated, this product varies so widely from customer to customer that it is hard to determine the effectiveness of its use. In my circle of friends, three girls (myself included) are using Proactiv. My skin reacted very nicely to the product, but the other two weren't as lucky. One of the girls had mild acne and experienced no change in her condition. Another girl had moderate acne and experienced such severe burning and redness of the skin that she discontinued usage and even voluntary went through the seven levels of Hell (also known as Proactiv Customer Service) to get a refund.

Overall, here are my basic recommendations for those considering using Proactiv:

1.) Since results vary so widely between each user, buy the smallest amount of the product that is available. That way, if it does not match your particular needs, you are not out an arm and a leg on something totally useless

2.) Beware of the freebies/extras. The basic three step Proactiv system and the Daily Oil Control lotion work wonders (compared to the "before" situation), but the other items in the Proactiv line were actually pretty damaging. As a "free gift", I received a tube of the Refining Mask. I applied it according to the directions, but approximately twenty minutes after I removed it, my face was covered in large red, itchy blotches. I immediately threw the tube in the garbage, and by the time I resumed using my regular system the next day, the spots were gone. So, if you get extras in the mail, proceed with caution.

3.) DO NOT, under any circumstances, tell the representative that you want a free month's supply VitaClear Vitamins with your purchase. First of all, the vitamins are disgusting. VitaClear comes in a box with thirty individually wrapped packets of 5 vitamins. After taking that first packet of five vitamins one morning, I had to make a run to the restroom to vomit. The next day, I had didn't throw up, but I did a second time after using the vitamins a few days later. Though I followed the direction to eat before usage, no matter how much or how little I ate, I would puke at least twice a week. If this is not enough, as soon as you agree to accept a free order, you (unknowingly) sign yourself up to receive auto-shipments of Vitaclear every two months--which means that your credit card will automatically be charged $29.99 every six or weeks. I have no idea how to cancel an account with VitaClear (which is sold by a different company than Proactiv). The only reason I stopped receiving shipments was because I changed addresses and my credit card just happened to expire that same month. So, if you like swallowing five vitamins each day that will make you puke, feel free to sign up for auto shipments of a product that is impossible to cancel.

4.) As I mentioned previously, Customer Service is Hell (according to the people I know who have tried to cancel). If you want to cancel your account, you have to locate the customer service number from the website or from your previous bill. Proactiv does not allow easy online cancellations or (to my knowledge) mail-in requests to cancel. Then, when you call a representative and mention that you want to cancel your account, you are mysteriously put on hold for an indefinite amount of time--though they jump at the chance to talk to you if you are willing to order Proactiv. If you are not put on hold, the reps will talk in circles and try to convince you to order more products. One of my friends who successfully canceled her account recommended setting up a web count on the Proactiv site, going to the help feature, and then emailing a representative with the question "How do I cancel my account?" A rep contacted her by email a few days later, asked for her account number, and subsequently canceled the account. I recommend following this procedure or continue to receive the automatic shipments each month.
Overall, this product worked for me, but it will not work for everyone. It is kind of like spinning the Wheel of Fortune or flipping a coin...only this time, instead of head and tails, the sides are "Clear Skin" and "Not".
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on October 28, 2010
I am 28 and had a few blemishes, so I decided to try proactiv. Now my skin is a mess! It seemed like it would work, so I stuck with it for a month, and then I got another box in the mail of more product. Be wary, it is not obvious that once you buy the initial kit you will automatically be signed up to receive proactive and be charged continuously. Perhaps proactiv works for some, but since it was having reverse effects for me I called to return the additional box of product that they sent me. Though I still had 2 weeks left to return proactiv for a refund, the customer service representative said that they take 4-6 weeks to process returns, and so it would not be enough time to get my return order refund! Not only do I now have to pay for shipping and handling which is estimated to be around $10 but additionally for a certificate of delivery so I can prove I sent the product in on time. How frustrating. My last rant is that once the customer service woman heard I wanted to return the product, she tried to get off the phone very fast, and I had to keep asking her not to hang up, since she was VERY short and not forward about how to go about handling the return (ie. address, filling out the return slip etc). I would normally not write any review even if the product didn't work for me, but the customer service i received put me over the edge.
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on August 1, 2011
Absolutely horrible. I tried the product and used it faithfully for 6 months hoping something would work. Instead of making my acne better, it made it considerably worse. I've been suffering from acne since i was 12, i'm 28 now and i believed the sales pitch seen in the infomercials. what a fool i was. to make it worse, i ordered from proactiv themselves.

when i cancelled their service, it was june of 09. in august i was sent a new shipment and promptly sent it back unopened. since then (and it's august 11) i have been harassed by foriegn collector agencies who will call me day and night just for a sum of $44. i even had my bank block any transactions they tried to pull because they tried to bill me months after i spoke to customer care.

don't buy this product, use acne free severe
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on October 20, 2010
they made my subscription continuous, made me go overdraft, my bank charged me $35, they made me pay $115, total of $150. tooooootal rip-off+thieves. i do not recommend, even if they work for some of you...i think honesty is more important than anything else..
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on July 17, 2012
Good God. This stuff is bad. I have been struggling for acne for as long as I can remember. I gave it a try years ago and it didn't work. I have been to a dermatologist who put me on every antibiotic for acne on the market, none of which worked. When I was suggested to go on Accutane I didn't want to assume the risks associated with that so I decided to give proactiv another try.

It worked for about the first month. Not worked as in cleared my skin completely. Worked as in it helped to reduce what was already existing. After that, I started breaking out again. I tried the "magical" refining mask that's supposed to make your pimples DISAPPEAR overnight. No such luck.

The annoying thing about Proactiv is that this money-hungry company ropes you in for automatic payments, so you don't even know when you're going to get billed for something. They give you "free gifts" but if you don't cancel them off your plan they will give you normal size bottles at a not-so-cheap price.

I just went to a cosmetic dermatologist to have a DiamondTome treatment and purchased facial cleaning products from her. She talked to me about outside sources of acne that proactiv doesn't address. She discussed that Proactiv, a SULFUR-BASED PRODUCT typically is effective for only 30 days. I highly recommend anyone to STAY AWAY FROM PROACTIV and seek out a dermatologist that will design a treatment plan specifically for you. Find one that talks to you about your life to find causes of acne. (My derm could tell me on which side I sleep, for god's sake, just by looking at the location of my acne)

I won't discount the fact that Proactiv "works" on some people, but I think that they would still be fine with a good drugstore brand if something OTC (which Proactiv is) works for them. By the way, according to FDA standards, no OTC products are legally allowed to contain more than 3% salicylic acid. even if it says more on the bottle, it's being diluted.

Watch out for this and other scams. If you are serious about getting rid of acne, it will not be more expensive to get to a dermatologist to really fix the problem from a direct medical authority.

Tonight I tried to cancel my business online, since you can basically do everything else with your plan online. Nope, had to call customer service. I went through the automated menu for five minutes before realizing you can't cancel with it. I then spoke to a real person who put me on hold for 2 minutes for someone else. Once I explained I just wanted to cancel everything, she tried selling me their products that don't treat acne (moisturizers, makeup, etc) for a small price of around $20/month. Jesus christ, NO I just wanted to cancel and she was making it so damn difficult. When I turned her oh-so-generous offer down, she started me offering a deal on what you may ask? SHOES. SHOES!!! I was ready to lose my temper with this woman but I kept calm and told her to cancel everything. It was the most infuriating customer service experiences I've ever had.
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on March 25, 2012
Acne is complicated and varies from person to person.
While this product may not work for some, it worked for me.

I've had acne since I was 16 (I am now 22) and I tried Proactiv when I was 19 on and off. Sometimes, it would work, sometimes my acne is very stubborn and Proactiv wasn't very effective. BUT it worked the majority of the time, so it is worth buying and trying.

The only con is that it makes my skin a little sensitive and doesn't keep acne off.

Recently, I am into more natural products such as Pura d'or Organic Acne Treatment Solution (2 fl. oz.) and I found it to be just as effective without the added sensitivity...and because it is all organic and natural, I can use it everyday safely to keep the acne from coming back. Again it may not work for everyone.
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