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Proactiv Proof

Proactiv is one of America’s leading acne products and is now available in automated machines (like soda machines) in malls across the country.

I cringe every time I see one.

I am not necessarily focusing on Proactiv with this post, but on the leading ingredient where Proactiv and other acne treatments claim that the (safety) proof is in the pudding. That peroxide has been used for 90 years to kill acne bacteria and so it’s safe for daily use. Let’s do a little deconstruction here.

You can google all about peroxide and skin and safety and cancer and cell death and efficacy against bacteria and how it is used in hospitals today (which is NOT on people).

Studies have vacillated wildly back and forth about peroxide use and the safety of long term on skin. In 1995, peroxide was moved from a category I (safe) substance to Category III (safety unknown). This all because studies had been on exposure to mice and tumor development. Now, of course in favor of a billion dollar industry (acne treatment), other scientists came and said those studies were really inconclusive and may only tell us that peroxide can cause skin cancer in certain strains of mice.

Let’s talk about what peroxide does and why it might cause skin cancer and accelerated aging. Peroxide is made up of two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen. When it comes in contact with skin or bacteria, the peroxide is broken apart by an enzyme called catalase that occurs in living cells. This breaks the cell walls of both bacteria and healthy skin cells. Peroxide does not discern who it targets in its application.

Next: Apply Logic

Peroxide kills skin cells.

Skin is meant to protect us from a myriad of incoming threats to our bodies.

Peroxide kills our first line of defense against the sun, bacteria, air pollutants, and chemicals.

Let’s walk through a scenario.

Machine Gun or Sniper?

I have a few really bad people in my yard who want to cause my family serious harm. I also have a yard full of friends who would totally help me defend my home. But I grab a machine gun and just start shooting into the whole yard. I killed the really bad people, but I also just killed my friends who were there to help me. Now, in this scenario, more bad people are bound to show up every single day (bacteria is reintroduced constantly). Do I get a machine gun out every single day? All I am doing is making myself more and more vulnerable every time I shoot into the crowd of my devoted friends.

Hospitals don’t use it (on people)

Peroxide is a wonderful and thorough disinfectant for counters, tools, floors and all surfaces. Hospitals use it for all of those things. However, they do not support the use of peroxide on skin anymore. They now mainly use betadine and other antibacterial cleansers. But the medical community recognizes that machine guns are not good for healing.

What Proactiv labels don’t say but should…

After the skin cancer studies and moving peroxide from a Category I to a Category III topical substance, the FDA still couldn’t and didn’t want to actually step on the toes of the acne-clearing industry. The FDA recognized that peroxide users are, in fact, at a greater risk of skin cancer if they get any sun in the days they use their acne-wash. Instead of forcing Proactiv and other companies to properly label the risks associated with their products, they totally did an around-the-bush law that does not let you know how dangerous the product is.

Here is a snippet of the rule…from


Instead of giving consumers the more dire and direct correlation developing one of the most insidious types of cancer, they just forced producers to tell people to wear sunscreen. Don’t you think you might take this warning a little more seriously if you knew WHY they were insisting on the sunscreen?? This is a clear case of the FDA not protecting the consumer.

Snipers Available…

Why get out a machine gun when there are plenty of sniper tools available? From simple betadine to sea salt to essential oils. I could name 1,000 natural antibacterial agents that do not kill skin cells. It is so unfortunate when harmful methods become more popular than safe ones.