Acne has several different faces—and, as you’re probably aware, none of them are pretty. Because we’re constantly receiving questions from readers as to why their blemishes persist, we’ve been able to gain some insight into how many people go about treating different types of acne. Here, we’re calling out the most common mistakes we come across. Are you guilty?


WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE: Appropriately, blackheads look like small, black dots—and there’s no redness or inflammation associated with them.

MOST COMMON TREATMENT MISTAKE: Because many people don’t think of blackheads as a type of acne, they tend not to use products with acne-fighting ingredients. They often reach for pore-cleansing strips, whose results usually prove mediocre at best.

HOW TO GET RID OF THEM THE RIGHT WAY: When you consider why this form of acne appears black (because a pore has become clogged with excess oil and bacteria that has oxidized) it makes sense that one recommended course of action entails pore-clearing salicylic acid.


WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE: Like blackheads, whiteheads pop up because a pore is clogged with oil and bacteria. Unlike blackheads, whiteheads are covered by a thin layer of skin, which prevents the pore’s contents from becoming oxidized and turning black. That’s why they look white, flesh-toned, or yellowish.

MOST COMMON TREATMENT MISTAKE: We get it: squeezing whiteheads is tempting. But it’s far and away the most common mistake there is in treating the issue. When you squeeze a whitehead, bacteria from your hands can get into the blemish, causing further irritation. The acne bacteria can also spread to other areas of your face, which will result in more blemishes.

HOW TO GET RID OF THEM THE RIGHT WAY: Whiteheads don’t stand a chance against the classic combination of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. The former provides a means of gentle chemical exfoliation so that the latter has the opportunity to get in the pore and do what it’s great at: killing the bacteria that causes acne in the first place.


WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE: They’re not classified as inflammatory acne for nothing: inflammation and redness are the main characteristics of these two types of acne. If you see pus, it’s a pustule; if you see just a red blemish that seems to live beneath the surface of your skin, that’s a papule.

MOST COMMON TREATMENT MISTAKE: This sort of acne represents the final phase in a cycle that actually takes about two weeks from start to finish. With that in mind, using a spot treatment is an exercise in futility—these products will help to get rid of visible blemishes, but do nothing to keep them from coming back.

HOW TO GET RID OF THEM THE RIGHT WAY: The best approach for treating these incredibly bothersome blemishes is a comprehensive regimen designed to treat and prevent at the same time. Also, it’s important that anyone suffering from severe or cystic acne see a dermatologist for a recommended course of action.


Because it’s a simple 3-step regimen—you cleanse, you treat, and you moisturize—Proactiv+™ takes all the guesswork out of getting clear skin for those suffering from mild to moderate acne. It leverages salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide to clear and help prevent blemishes—and given that it utilizes a unique delivery system to administer benzoyl peroxide in step 2, it does so while minimizing irritation.

Here’s the real kicker, though: Proactiv+™ has been shown to clear acne four times faster than a leading topical prescription.* Pretty impressive, if you ask us. But, considering that the Proactiv® brand was invented by dermatologists and has been around for 20 years, it’s not that surprising, either.

If you’re ready to give Proactiv+™ a try, you’ll be thrilled to know that they created a quick online quiz to help match the right Proactiv® products for your individual skincare concerns. And with kits starting at $19.95—plus free shipping and a free gift—there’s a Proactiv® system available for every budget. And, in the event that you get it, try it, and it doesn’t work for you, you can send back the bottles within 60 days and get a full refund less shipping and handling. So, there’s no worry.

Click here to take the skincare quiz and try a Proactiv® kit today!

*Based on a user perception study after a total of 13 weeks of use.

Presented by Proactiv®