Proactive Vs. Acne Free

Proactiv and Acne Free are two of the most popular acne-fighting solutions in the United States. Both Acne Free and Proactiv contain similar ingredients that cleanse and exfoliate the skin on your face, but there are subtle differences between the two products you might want to examine before committing to either cleansing regimen.


The benzoyl peroxide cleanser in each of these facial kits contains 2.5% benzoyl peroxide content, making them almost identical in strength. Proactiv's cleanser contains exfoliating beads to lift grime as you scrub your face so it can be swept off when you rinse; Acne Free's cleanser is more like a lotion, which neither lathers nor contains exfoliating beads.


The toners in each kit both work to penetrate skin and take away any excessive oils that cause an overproduction of sebum and thus create acne. The Cleveland Clinic Department of Dermatology suggests always using a toner after you cleanse.

Repairing Lotion

Proactiv's repairing lotion contains 1.2% less benzoyl peroxide than Acne Free's repairing lotion. Acne Free saves its exfoliating beads, lacking in the cleanser, for the repairing lotion's 24-hour time release mechanism.

Target Audience

Proactiv is designed for teens and adults who experience acne. Acne Free advertises their product as specifically for adults. Acne Free also carries an additional system for severe acne that contains a higher percentage of benzoyl peroxide plus retinol in the cleansing kit.


As of 2009, the price of the basic system for Acne Free is $19.95; Proactiv also has a kit for $19.95, but it is a trial kit and contains half the amount of product that Acne Free supplies. Proactiv's comparable system is $29.95 and usually ships with bonus products.