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Which acne treatment works best, costs less?

November 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Americans spend almost $400 million a year on over-the-counter acne treatments. Star-appeal aside, is Proactiv the best choice?

Consumer Reports has the test results of several treatments to see if the products deliver clear results.

Young celebrities like Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne, Julianne Hough and Katy Perry are pushing Proactiv on television commercials.

Consumer Reports tested Proactiv along with two other acne treatments.

"All the products evaluated contain benzoyl peroxide," said Consumer Reports tester Dr. Orly Arvitzur. "That's one of the best over-the-counter options for most people."

Proactiv, a three-step treatment, costs around $40 for a two-month supply.

AcneFree, also a three-step treatment, goes for about $20.

OXY Maximum, a single-step wash, costs around $5 for a two-month supply.

"We had more than 80 volunteers with moderate to severe acne use one of the treatments twice a day for eight weeks," said Arvitzur.

Medical professionals documented the volunteers' skin conditions throughout the testing. The results? You might call them "a wash."

"As far as acne reduction, there was no statistical difference between any of the products," said Arvitzur.

None of the volunteers saw their acne wiped out completely, no matter which product they used. But most did have fewer blemishes.

If you order Proactiv online, after a month you're automatically billed for a three-month supply at almost $60, plus $7.99 for shipping and handling. And you'll keep getting billed until you cancel.

So Consumer Reports recommends trying OXY Maximum to save yourself a lot of money.

Consumer Reports also tested two quick-treatment devices for red acne blemishes.

The Zeno Hot Spot and a product called no!no! Skin only eliminated about 13 percent of red blemishes in the tests. And they're pricy, at $40 and $180.


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