Proactiv MD vs. Proactiv Plus: How to Pick the Right One for Your Skin Type

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Acne is and has always been a serious skin problem. Millions of people suffer from it every day, and with all the products currently available on the market, it can seem almost impossible to know which ones actually work, versus those that aren’t worth buying.

There’s a really good chance that you’ve heard about Proactiv, which is one of the best acne treatment companies on the planet.

And, chances are, if you are reading this you probably know they have more than one product available to treat acne.

In fact, you might be stuck between Proactiv MD and Proactiv Plus, two awesome acne treatment options, from the same company.

But after reading this Proactiv MD vs Proactiv Plus review, you should have a better idea about which of these two amazing acne treatments is going to be the best one for you.

So, without wasting any more time, this is how the two products stack up against each other.

Some Background on Proactiv

In light of making this Proactiv MD vs Proactiv Plus showdown objective, it’s important to know where they came from. And seeing as they are developed by the same company, it’s important to learn about their reputation.

For those who haven’t heard about Proactiv before and just stumbled upon this article, it’s a company that came about through two dermatologists – Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields. This automatically gives both products a boost, because the developers actually have professional skincare background.

Their motivation was to make it easier for everyone to fight acne, regardless of age, and since the 1980’s they’ve been working on Proactiv. Today, the two women have received more than 28 awards from skincare specialists and watchdogs for their contribution to acne treatment.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at their two top-selling acne treatments.

1. Proactiv MD

PRICE: Check Current Price at Proactiv Website

the full line of proactiv md skincare treatments


The first thing you should know, is this: Proactiv MD is the newest and best treatment option from Proactiv.

While Proactive Plus works well too, Proactiv has had years to continue to refine their acne treatments, leading them to create their best acne treatment to date, and that’s Proactiv MD.

How Proactiv MD Works

Proactiv MD (read review here) is a 4-step treatment, and the active ingredient is well-known for fighting acne.

It’s called Adapalene, and until Proactiv MD made it’s way to the market it was considered a prescription treatment.

Thanks to this ingredient and the added sun-protection elements, you are looking at a very capable acne treatment.

As a side-note, several studies stand behind Adapalene as an effective treatment, mainly because it is a retinoid derivative. In topical form, they are as effective as anything gets in terms of acne control. But on the downside, it can also cause dryness and irritation, although side effects are minimal with Adapalene.

The four steps you’ll be going through are:

1. Face Wash

As expected, there’s a deep cleansing face wash to prep the skin with. This specific face wash contains tiny beads that help to remove excess oil and dead skin, which opens the pores.

2. Toner

Acne means there’s a skin imbalance, and the toner is used to correct that PH imbalance.

3. Moisturizer (SPF30)

This is the step that contains the active ingredient mentioned earlier, as well as the sun protection. It is used to control the oil on your skin and provide protection against harmful rays without clogging your pores. In fact, it gets absorbed fairly quickly.

4. Adapalene Gel 

The fourth step is the one that really does the magic thanks to the active ingredient, and the gel contains 0.1% Adapalene. However, for kids 12 years or less, don’t use it without professional consultation.

What Makes it Different & Better from Proactiv Plus?

  • Adapalene. 

That’s the key ingredient in Proactiv MD, and the one thing their other acne fighting products, like Proactiv Plus, can’t offer.

Until recently, Adapalene was only available by getting a prescription from your doctor, but that’s no longer the case.

That means, you can order Proactiv MD online, and get a proven, doctor-recommended acne fighting product sent right to your door.

If ProactivMD sounds like a good fit, you can learn more below:

2. Proactiv Plus

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proactiv plus acne fighting system

It’s important to understand that with Proactiv Plus, the idea was to make the previous treatment better.

More specifically, they’ve added what they call the Smart Target element, which addresses excessive dryness that comes from using acne treatments.

This particular treatment is broken down into three steps, and they all contain the active ingredient, namely Benzoyl Peroxide. The latter helps the skin to absorb quicker.

How Proactiv Plus Works

1. Skin Exfoliator

Like Proactiv MD, this step gives the skin a good cleaning. And to help the Benzoyl Peroxide, they’ve added glycolic acid to the mix. The combination has proven to be very effective.

2. Targeting Treatment

The second step does what the name suggests. It goes straight to the heart of the problem and it doesn’t waste time getting under your skin, in a manner of speaking.

3. Complexion Hydrator

The third step is there to keep your skin healthy after the acne treatment. In other words, it will keep the skin hydrated while preventing inflammation.

At the same time, they are effective at reducing the marks acne can leave behind, as well as give your complexion a healthy boost.

On the positive side, this treatment is great at opening pores and it does more than just fight acne. It improves skin tone and reduces unwanted marks, in addition to keeping your skin hydrated during the treatments.

On the downside, it only seems to be effective where mild cases of acne are concerned. And there are some users who said that excessive dryness remained a problem despite the new formula.

Comparison Summary: Our Winner?

When looking at the evidence, Proactiv MD is most likely your best bet. However, there are bound to be individuals who find Proactiv Plus to be more effective. T

his is because everyone is different and there will never be one answer for everyone.

That said, the MD version is Proactiv’s latest and best innovation, so it’s the acne-fighter that I recommend most. See all of the Proactiv products at their website: