Skip to Content

Proactiv vs Proactiv Plus (The Definitive Guide)

So, you've decided you want to try one of Proactiv's best-selling acne treatments, but you can't quite figure out what the differences are? We've all been there, don't worry!

Come with us as we compare Proactiv vs Proactiv Plus side-by-side to help you decide which is right for you. Enjoy!

This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon Associate we earn commission from qualifying purchases.

Proactiv vs Proactiv+

Proactiv Solution

The original Proactiv Solution is a three-step routine designed for most skin types, especially those with oily and combination skin. The star ingredients of this lineup are Benzoyl Peroxide and Glycolic Acid. Together, they work to kill acne-causing bacteria and exfoliate dead skin cells, keeping your pores clear and your skin breakout-free.

Proactiv Solution® Renewing Cleanser:

This daily face wash boasts an oil-free formula that works to cleanse your skin without stripping its natural moisture. With 2.5% prescription-grade Benzoyl Peroxide, it penetrates deep into pores to combat acne-causing bacteria. The microbeads in the formula offer gentle exfoliation, removing dead skin cells and impurities to reveal a smoother, more radiant complexion. Meanwhile, soothing ingredients like Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract and Sodium Hyaluronate help calm and hydrate the skin.

Proactiv Solution® Revitalizing Toner:

This alcohol-free toner is designed to balance your skin's tone and texture while removing dead skin cells. Its key ingredient, Glycolic Acid, is an exfoliating alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that helps to refine and purify pores. Witch Hazel, a natural astringent, helps minimize the appearance of pores and control excess oil production. The addition of Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice and Chamomile Flower Extract provides soothing and moisturizing properties, leaving your skin feeling soft, refreshed, and hydrated.

Proactiv Solution® Repairing Treatment:

This lightweight, oil-free treatment contains 2.5% finely milled prescription-grade Benzoyl Peroxide. Its advanced delivery system ensures that the active ingredient is absorbed quickly and effectively to treat existing blemishes and prevent future breakouts. Allantoin and Panthenol in the formula work to soothe and moisturize the skin, minimizing the potential for dryness and irritation often associated with benzoyl peroxide treatments.


Proactiv+ is a gentler alternative designed for sensitive complexions. This three-step routine features moisturizing and nourishing formulas to keep your skin hydrated. Micronized Benzoyl Peroxide is the star ingredient, which helps kill acne-causing bacteria in pores with minimal dryness and irritation.

Proactiv+® Skin Smoothing Exfoliator:

This gentle cleanser is designed to thoroughly cleanse your skin while removing pore-clogging impurities. The 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide in the formula works alongside Glycolic Acid to effectively eliminate acne-causing bacteria and promote skin renewal. Gentle exfoliating beads help to buff away dead skin cells, revealing a softer, more supple complexion. Ingredients like Butylene Glycol and Glycerin provide additional moisturizing benefits, ensuring that your skin remains hydrated and balanced.

Proactiv+® Pore Targeting Treatment:

This innovative acne treatment features encapsulated Benzoyl Peroxide with patented Smart Target® technology. This technology helps protect the skin's surface while delivering the acne-fighting ingredient deep into the pores, ensuring optimal efficacy. The 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide works quickly to kill acne-causing bacteria, and the inclusion of Sweet Almond Oil offers nourishing and moisturizing benefits to keep your skin feeling smooth and comfortable.

Proactiv+® Complexion Perfecting Hydrator:

This rich, nourishing moisturizer is formulated to leave your skin feeling smooth, bright, and radiant. It contains 0.5% Salicylic Acid, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that helps unclog pores and control oil production, while simultaneously providing gentle exfoliation. Ingredients like Allantoin, Squalane, and Sodium Hyaluronate work together to soothe, moisturize, and plump the skin, while botanical extracts such as Licorice Root and Scutellaria Baicalensis Root provide brightening and anti-inflammatory benefits.

The Verdict

It's important to note that they each offer a distinct three-step routine, featuring different types of products catering to specific skin needs.

Proactiv Solution is focused on a traditional approach with a Cleanser, Toner, and Treatment. This routine is especially beneficial for those with oily or combination skin, as it effectively removes excess oil and impurities, refines the skin's texture, and targets acne-causing bacteria with benzoyl peroxide.

On the other hand, Proactiv+ offers a more gentle and nourishing alternative with an Exfoliator, Treatment, and Moisturizer. This routine is well-suited for sensitive complexions or those seeking additional hydration.

While both Proactiv Solution and Proactiv+ are effective in treating and preventing acne, the choice between them ultimately depends on your specific skin type and concerns. If you have oily or combination skin and prefer a traditional approach, Proactiv Solution might be the better fit. However, if you have sensitive skin or desire a routine with additional hydration and nourishing benefits, Proactiv+ may be the ideal choice for you.

Related articles

Proactiv vs Curology 2023 (The Definitive Guide)

Proactiv vs Murad 2023 (The Definitive Guide)

Proactiv vs Proactiv MD (The Definitive Guide)

Read more

Biore Watery Essence vs Gel (The Definitive Guide)

Proactiv Plus vs Proactiv MD (The Definitive Guide)