Rant on my struggle with acne / Proactive System / The Body Shop Tea Tree Range Quick Review

Acne is like an unwelcome guest who does not ever want to leave your house 🙂 Most of us have suffered from acne at some time in our life but for me it has been a life long struggle. When I was a teenager I had the usual bouts of acne but these were small and would heal very quickly. Clearasil cream worked fine for these. Even with acne, my face was smooth and scar free.

However, as I turned 20 and entered university I went through a very though time. I started suffering from various ailments including horrific cystic acne which was never properly diagnosed. But things got very bad resulting in me dropping out of uni. After a couple years thanks to a very good doctor I found that I had brain tumor in my pituitary gland. I was put on medication for the tumor and after 2 years I was clear. But the tumor had messed up my hormones and by then my skin was ruined. I had pitted acne scars and post acne pigmentation. Even more than my ruined face people’s comments hurt. Every one who has had bad acne will know what I am talking about. Total strangers seem to think it’s ok to give me advise, comments ranging from”what’s wrong with your face” “why don’t you wash your face properly ? to “you would be so pretty if your acne was better” were common.

I tried everything (most were over the counter medicine like Panoxyl & Cetaphil) but nothing seemed to work until I went to a well known dermatologist who prescribed her own medications (a lotion similar to Mario Badescu) and my acne became manageable.

When I came to live here my skin was clear but after some months it broke out in cystic acne again. And again nothing seemed to be working and I was so frustrated. Here I was nearly 30 breaking out like a teenager so I decided to try some thing that marketed to teens, Proactive.

Proactive Solution - Original
Proactive Solution – Original

I bought the Proactive Solutions 60 day extra strength formula from Boots and it was around AED360.00. The price stung but I was desperate for a cure. The system contains a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide,

a toner with glycolic acid, a treatment lotion with benzoyl peroxide and a clay mask with sulfur. You are supposed to use all the products together once or twice a day and the mask twice a week.

I used the system only once a day as I find it too drying to used twice a day. I have very oily skin so you can understand how drying it is. I used it for about 1 1/2 years and my skin cleared up. I am not sure if it helps fade acne marks but since the toner has glycolic acid it should help at least a little. I found that a 60 day supply would last 4/5 months for me, with the cleanser running out first. (a separate review for the The Proactive System to follow).

After my acne was gone I did not want to continue Proactive, mainly because it was so drying and expensive. I was in my 30’s by then and wanted to use something to help with my acne scars and was anti-aging. So, I started using the Vichy Normaderm Anti-Age lotion. This was light oil free lotion and worked beautifully to fade my hyper-pigmentation.I was so impressed with the lotion that I bought the whole Normaderm range.

Everything was great until last month when I started breaking out with cystic acne again. I don’t think Vichy is to blame. My hormone levels are still not normal (thanks tumor!) and have a way of yo-yoing. So I went back to Proactive. However, this time it dried out my skin very badly. While my acne was healing my face was flaking and I was left with huge purple/red marks. And they did not seem to be fading.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Collection
The Body Shop Tea Tree Collection

Because I use Proactive only once a day during day time I wanted some thing gentle and soothing to use during the night. After much research I decided to use buy Body Shop’s Tea Tree range (essential oil,foaming wash,toner,face mask,blemish gel,skin clearing lotion, blemish fade night lotion and the bb cream) and give it a try. And they seem to work well with Proactive, specially the Tea Tree Blemish Fade Night Lotion helped fade a acne marks and minimize the dryness  left by Proactive (a separate review for the The Body Shop Tea Tree Range to follow).

After a month on these two brands my acne is now under control though I do get smaller pimples every now and then (no cysts) . The hyper-pigmentation is still there but fading very slowly.

Thanks a lot for reading. I would love to hear from you about your experience with acne so please leave a comment below.


4 thoughts on “Rant on my struggle with acne / Proactive System / The Body Shop Tea Tree Range Quick Review

  1. I started to break out badLy from university time, too. My mother discouraged me to use drugstore / any store-bought treatment and took me to various dermatoLogists instead. CountLess cLinics and doctors Later I finaLLy found one that reaLLy works, and around 2012 I was ‘cLear’. But then the doctor cLosed shop, and since then I started to use skincare products from ‘ordinary’ brand. Everything went fine untiL 2013 when I started breaking out again, and acnes have appear reguLarLy ever since. My cousin gave me a Proactiv set, but I think they didn’t work and every morning I wake up with sLick, oiLy face instead (weird, but I guess it was the way my skin’s teLLing me that it was drying up). When I finished the set I returned to ‘ordinary’ skincare items with additionaL acne treatments and just hope for the best.
    >> sorry for the Long comment ^^;


    1. I understand what you are going through Amadl. I think Proactive works for only for some people. When I use Proactive at night I wake up with a oily face too. How long did you use it for ? You need to at least give it 3-4 months to work (any product for that matter). With acne specially, you need to be patient. And if it’s a hormonal imbalance you might need to see a endocrinologist. Hope this helps and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you..


  2. I’ve been yoyoing between Proactiv and the Body Shop tea tree range too! I felt that Proactiv irritated my skin and actually caused me to break out more. TBH , I can’t tell if it was the “purging” stage or just a bad reaction. After a month of using it, (and running out of the Proactiv toner, my favourite product),I decided to use something more gentle.

    I’m liking the Body Shop range so far, it’s been gentle and nice, although my skin is still kind of dry from Proactiv treatments so I’m lathering up on the lotion. I really hope it works in the long term. I’m also keeping a Benzac AC tube around for spot treatment in case of inflammatory acne. (Still have some Proactiv lotion left over – might use that too)

    Thanks for sharing your journey – it’s really great to read someone’s experiences with both products. It’s so hard to tell what works for your skin! Just have to keep on experimenting.

    Liked by 2 people

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