Is There Bleach in Proactiv? (Interesting Things, Tips & More)

Proactiv is one of the most common acne treatments out there. Due to some negative feedback, the efficacy of this product is on the table for scrutiny.

This product uses a three-step approach to get rid of acne and pimples—Proactiv uses facial cleanser, toner, and lotion to give your skin the glow it needs. 

Proactiv has bleach. Proactiv contains several active ingredients that attack or reduce the outburst of acne and pimples on one’s face. However, one of the active ingredients, benzoyl peroxide, is a bleaching agent. Despite the little addition of this compound in the chemical formula, it can still bleach linens.

Does Proactiv Contain Bleach?

 Is There Bleach in Proactiv

Yes, Proactiv contains a bleaching agent called benzoyl peroxide in its formula. Although Proactiv contains only 6% of the compound, it will still affect clothes when it comes in contact with them.

The US Food and Drug Administration has given Proactiv the approval to use that amount of the compound in their products. 

Benzoyl Peroxide is a powerful bleaching agent. It is one of the most powerful bleaching agents because it is a peroxide.

The approved usage of this agent in any product in the States is 2.5 to 10%. The FDA made this the standard after proper research and results. 

But this poses the question, if it is such a powerful bleaching agent, why is it allowed? Although Benzoyl Peroxide is a powerful bleaching agent, it is the most effective treatment for most forms of acne in minute quantities. 

Benzoyl peroxide dominates in treating acne because it has a potent antibacterial effect.

In addition, unlike other compounds, acne doesn’t develop a resistance to the compound after a while. This compound remains the most effective way to combat acne for this important reason. 

Proactiv can take a while to kick in and reduce the acne on your face. For some skin types, the time required for this agent to work is very short, while others may have to wait as long as 12 weeks. 

What is the Active Ingredient in Proactiv?

Benzoyl peroxide is the active agent present in Proactiv. The skincare line Proactiv makes use of this ingredient because it is the most effective way to counter acne. 

The compound reduces the production of pimple-causing bacteria on your skin. Therefore, decreasing inflammation and keeping your pores clean and clear.

Some products in the skincare line of Proactiv also contain glycolic acid as the active ingredient.

Glycolic acid is an acid that works as an exfoliant in simpler terms; it loosens the bonds between dead skin cells.

This action, in turn, reduces blockage in pores and creates a healthy environment for your skin to thrive and glow.

Aside from benzoyl peroxide and Glycolic acid, they are a couple of other active ingredients in Proactiv.

Below is a rundown of the remaining active ingredients and how they help reduce the presence of acne on the skin:

#1. Sulfur

Sulfur targets areas of the skin that are affected by acne triggered by bacteria, dirt, or even hormone imbalances.

This compound works similarly with benzoyl peroxide, the key active ingredient in Proactiv. But sulfur does this without causing your skin to dry. 

#2. Adapalene

Adapalene is also one of the active ingredients in Proactiv. It works similarly with benzoyl peroxide. 

#3. Salicylic acid

While benzoyl peroxide attacks the bacteria causing inflammation on the skin, salicylic acid cleans up the dirt and bacteria in your pores. 

Does Proactive Bleach Your Skin?

Yes, but for some people, this is a good thing. I said so because Proactiv smoothens your skin and gets rid of acne.

It also evens your skin tone, producing an overall even skin tone. And since these active ingredients are in small quantities, the reaction on your skin is limited. 

However, in some cases, benzoyl peroxide, the prominent acne-fighting ingredient in this compound, can cause your skin to peel, revealing newer skin cells.

However, it is important to note that the constant peeling of your skin is also dangerous. 

Suppose the compound keeps peeling off your dead cells and the oil that protects your skin from millions of microbes that affect the skin.

This continuous peeling will expose you to bacteria and fungus infections which can ruin your skin texture. In simpler words, your skin will become pale and fragile.

Does Proactive Bleach Your Clothes?

Because of benzoyl peroxide, every piece of clothing that isn’t white will bleach upon contact.

Proactiv has a bad effect on clothes because its major ingredient is benzoyl peroxide, a powerful bleaching agent. 

And that goes for everything that isn’t white. So if you are using this product or plan on using it, don’t have anything of color near you.

Or it will bleach it. That goes for face towels as well. You can also find the active ingredient in Proactiv in regular bleaches.

However, the bleaching effect of Proactiv on your clothing shouldn’t be so severe. Because its percentage is small, the effect should take a while to notice. 

If you constantly sleep on a colored pillowcase or colored sheets, those will start losing their color. A lot of customers of this product have this major concern about it. 

To prevent the product from ruining your fine linens, apply the product at least 30 minutes before you sleep.

Furthermore, because the active ingredients in the product are mild, it isn’t effective on all skin types and all forms of acne. 

What are the Side Effects of Using Proactiv?

Proactiv is very effective for some skin types, but it is important to note that the acne-fighting agent isn’t compatible with all skin types; hence, there could be side effects.

You might opt for Proactiv since it’s what most people use. But it would be best if you visit a dermatologist or doctor for the best prescription for your skin type.

Your doctor can conduct a test for your skin type and recommend the best possible product for you.

Below are some common side effects of using Proactiv: 

#1. Rash

Some users of Proactiv have reported rash development areas where they applied the product.

Although the rash is mild, it can cause skin redness, and it will give your skin a very unpleasant look. 

The time of appearance of this rash varies; for some people, it appears immediately, while for others, it takes a while.

Furthermore, the rash may persist a few minutes or hours after application. But if the rash continues after a while and it becomes severe, you should contact your doctor. 

#2. Itching, Dryness, or Peeling 

You may experience one or all of these side effects if you use Proactiv on your skin.

The affected skin areas will become itchy and flaky; in some cases, it will lead to peeling. However, this side effect occurs after using the product for several days. 

#3. Stinging Sensation

Users of this product feel a stinging sensation during or after applying the product to their skin.

A warm feeling often accompanies this stinging sensation around the site of treatment. This side effect subsides after some minutes or hours after application. 

#4. Allergic Reaction

Certain people have severe allergic reactions to Proactiv. You will identify this allergy by small red dots that appear across the application region.

The skin may appear intensely swollen, scaly, or blistered. Sometimes, this allergy subsides after using the product a couple of times. 

If you have an immediate allergic reaction to Proactiv, you should stop using the product immediately.

Or you can always call your doctor so they can recommend another skin product for you. Proactiv has a couple of upsides to it as well.

Below is a table of the product’s pros and cons, so you can better evaluate the product and choose if it is a product you’re willing to use: 

Pros Cons 
It has an easy three-step processYou may have to wait a while for the results
It’s a reputable brandMild or intense itching
Effective on mild acneIt doesn’t work in severe cases of acne
The product is easily accessibleOne of its active ingredients is a bleaching agent


Proactiv is one of the go-to products for people suffering from mild acne. However, questions have arisen about its efficacy due to benzoyl peroxide, a bleaching agent. 

In some cases, the presence of this compound goes as far as bleaching the user’s skin and clothing. It is, therefore, important that you seek professional advice before using this product.

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