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Well, I first wrote this on an accutane post, but I figure some people might not read that post because it doesn't pertain to them. I want people who may be thinking of trying proactiv to have this accessible.

Proactiv works. I don't care what anybody else says. Yes, it's true that I've had relapse when I stop using Proactiv. The 3 times that I stop using it or swayed from the system, I've had really horrible, severe acne. I tried to go see a dermatologist and they prescribed me the same old garbage, like differin and retina, which caused my acne to become worse...A LOT WORSE!!! Usually, that is when I break down and go back to proactiv...and I become clear again. It happened 3 times and proactiv fixed me up 3 times. I'm not gonna lie and say that the effect is overnight...because it's not. It took me 3 weeks before I saw results, but [i]some[/i] result is always good least it's going in the right direction. It took me a couple of months before I got better, but people usually tell me that my skin is looking better by month 2 or 3.

My tip: [b]YOU HAVE TO USE THE SYSTEM!!!![/b] If you sway or get lazy, it's NOT gonna work. I've used it for many years and learned from every mistake I made.
[b]You have to get the SULFUR MASK, too.[/b] Don't be cheap, pay the extra 20 bucks and get the sulfur mask.

I kept a journal of my progress with proactiv once and here is my regimen:

[b]week 1:[/b]
Every morning:
1. wash with proactiv cleanser for one minute (really exfoliate)
2. proactiv toner all over face

Every night:
1. cleanse for one minute
2. toner
3. and repairing lotion all over face

4. use the sulfur mask after cleansing, then tone and apply lotion

[b]Week 2:[/b] Skin got worse!! More pimples, redder! There is some improvements, but small as compared to the harm done. Gonna give it 2 more weeks and that's it. Looks older. =(

Note: using mask every other 2 days now. (ie. Monday, then on Thursday, then on Sunday)

[b]Middle of Week 2:[/b] Start using the repairing lotion twice a day: morning and night. And soon, will spot treat big ones with mask overnight (but not yet, in maybe 3-4 days.)

So here's the routine:
1. cleanse
2. toner
3. repairing lotion

1. cleanse
2. toner
3. repairing lotion

every other 2 days at night:
4. mask

in 3-4 days:
3b. spot treat big ones with sulfur mask and leave on overnight.

[b]Week 3:[/b] SKIN IS GETTING BETTER!! =) =) =) YEA!!!
It's not perfect, of course, but it has gotten better. Skin feels smoother-less bumps. Less pimples. But still got scars, but...yay...PROGRESS!!!

[b]Week 4:[/b]Skin has gotten a little worse. =( Did I jinx myself the last time I wrote? Is that why my skin is getting worse again?

(Then, I didn't write for a long time, maybe it was because I was busy, or maybe it was because it was making good progress and my acne was out of my mind. Ok, it wasn't out of my mind, but maybe I thought of it less.)

[b]almost 3 months:[/b]
Skin has gotten better. Still can't say that I have clear skin, but better. Sometimes, skin seems to be playing some sort of game with me; it gets better and then worse and then better. But overall, it gets better, just really slowly with a few speed bumps. grrr.

(Then, I just stop writing about it, but I know I just kept getting better...SLOWLY!! but positive progress is all we're asking for when we're desperate for a cure. We just want to know that someday we'll get there. As long as we know we'll get there is fine; don't have to be tommorrow or next month. Just be clear SOMEDAY. So, the positive progress kept me going. It didn't matter that it took me many months to get clear, all I care about was that I kept getting better and better, even though it was slow. Other topicals made bad progress, so I quit. I didn't quit because it was slow in making my face better; I quit because they were garbages on my face!)

[b]Note:[/b] I don't know when it began, but I eventually just use the cleanser ONLY in the morning, and use the whole system at night. And continue to use the mask EVERY 3 nights. Yup, I just decided to put less on. I think I started to do this along month 4 or 5 when my skin was really starting to look good. You know how you slack off when your skin is looking better and you figure you don't need all that other stuff on your face. But it might just be the key to you getting good skin; who knows, maybe your skin is really SENSITIVE and putting on a ton of stuff on your face won't work, but may actually make it worse.

[b]Major note:[/b] YOU MUST USE THE SYSTEM!!! The system as in all 4 products, not the directions that comes with the products. They tell you to use the first 3 products every morning and night...but as you can see, I started out with less and ended with less. So, you must listen to your skin and don't put too much on it when it's screaming RED and RAW.

Good luck!!! By the way, I'm using accutane now, because I want to take care of my acne FOR GOOD!! I really hope it works!! For those of you, who've read some of my accutane post during those horrible times, you'd know that I've *almost* broken down and ran back to proactiv. So, I really believe this stuff. Lastly: YOU MUST USE THE SYSTEM!!! don't just use the cleanser and some other OTC acne-fighting stuff. It won't work. At least, I don't think so. GOOD LUCK!!
I also agree with you two that proactiv is inconsistent. Sometimes my skin gets worse and sometimes better, but I think that can be due to other factors as well. I am a girl, so I always blame it on my period. Whenever, I see a few extra pimples popping up, I freak out and then I say: oh, it's just the period. And then I calm down a bit. But eventually proactiv takes care of those and I get better, then that time of the month comes and I get it's up and down.

I think proactiv is marketed as a maintenance system as well as an acne-fighting system. It takes care of the acne in the beginning and then it just sort of keep away pimples afterwards. It's not a cure, it's a prevention and that's why acne comes back when you stop using it. So, don't even *think* about discontinuing your membership unless you think you've outgrown acne. I made that mistake the first time. "oh look! I'm cure. Now, I can save $50." Nope!

I agree with just_imagine that sometimes I seem to be immune to the product. In the beginning, I was so careful about using the product. Didn't wanna overuse, didn;t wanna forget a spot here or there. Then, after the acne is taken cared of and my skin has gotten used to the products, I could apply as much of the repairing lotion as I want (at night). Sometimes, I just sit in front of the TV and lose track of how much lotion I've put really does seem like a lotion after a while! But that's good as long as it still works. Because, who wants an acne-fighting product that overdries you like crazy anyway? I still can't use the sulfur mask more 2 or 3 times a week, though. Unlike the lotion, the mask WILL dry you out.

Because proactiv seems to stop working for a little while, sometimes I think whether I should just stop using it for, say, 2 weeks. And then go back to it and start the whole regime all over again. I once couldn't wash my face for a couple of days. And when I started washing my face with proactiv again, I got so many tiny bumps all over my face!!! and I mean alll over my face--nose, foreheads, chin, everywhere on my face!!! Just tiny white bumps, but you can still see them because there's so many of them. I guess proactiv was just getting rid of all the gunk that were build up from those missing days. I was so afraid that a couple of days off proactiv and I was going to get a relapse, but a few days into proactiv again, those bumps are gone, and I'm back to my old self. So, maybe to break the "immunity," we can just take a break from proactiv for a couple of days. (just a thought)

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