The skin care brand now endorsed by Kendall Jenner has a history of misleading commercials and has been found to work no better than its cheaper rivals.
Jenner caused a storm on social media when she revealed the ‘raw story’ she was sharing with her fans was her unveiling as a promoter of Proactiv skin care products.
The skin care brand is one of the most recognisable names in the industry, running ad campaigns with celebrities such as Jenner, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry.
It offers a ‘three-step’ solution to millions of people suffering from acne, offering subscriptions to its products from $30 a month.
But a study in 2011 suggested the brand was no more effective than cheaper and lower-profile alternatives.
Kendall Jenner’s much-hyped announcement was blasted online after the model announced she was becoming an ambassador for skin care brand Proactiv
The research by Consumer Reports found that three-quarters of patients who used the product saw a 35 per cent reduction in blemishes within two weeks.
Alternative products – AcneFree and Oxy Maximum – performed just as well in the tests despite a much lower price.
In 2014 the FDA named the brand as one of several in the market which could cause ‘rare but serious and potentially life-threatening’ allergic reactions.
The agency said: ‘Rare but serious hypersensitivity reactions have been reported with the use of certain over-the-counter (OTC) topical acne products.
‘Based on adverse events reported to FDA, it is not possible to determine if these reactions were triggered by the active ingredients benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, the inactive ingredients, or a combination of both.’
On its website Proactiv says: ‘Side effects are usually mild and may include drying and irritation in some users.
‘To test for an adverse reaction to your Proactiv system, apply the products to a small patch of affected skin during the first three days.’
Bad skin: Kendall Jenner shared this picture of her spotty face during the advertising launch
TV spot: Kendall’s big announcement was not what fans expected
In 2012 a TV campaign with Perry and Bieber was struck down in the UK after advertising bosses ruled it was misleading.
The British regulator said the UK version of the product did not contain the same active ingredient used in the American brand.
UK advertising chiefs slapped Proactiv down again in 2017 when an advert was banned from children’s TV for suggesting children would be bullied.
The brand was invented by dermatologists Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields, and is majority-owned by Nestle in partnership with marketing firm Guthy-Renker.
Ahead of the reveal Kris Jenner had ramped up interest as she publicly praised her model daughter, 23, for being ‘so brave and vulnerable’.
Talking about her acne, Kendall was seen in a TV advert recalling how she was attacked by trolls for her bad skin, as she promoted the skincare line.
A TV advert for Proactiv spot cream (pictured) starring Katy Perry was banned by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority in 2012 after it was branded misleading
Amid the backlash to Jenner’s announcement one Twitter user recalled a Justin Bieber ad
She said: ‘When I was 14, I couldn’t reach as many people that I can now that I’m 22. Now I have this whole thing behind me, I can speak to so many people and be like: ‘I can help you and it’s ok.’
‘I experience it, I’m very normal, I understand you, I can connect with you…’
She added at the end: ‘I’m going to try and help’ while ‘connect with Kendall, Jan 6’ came up on the screen.
But fans labelled the highly anticipated ‘raw story’ as ‘shameless’ after it saw the model unveiled as the new spokesperson for Proactiv.
One fan wrote: ‘You’re joking me. This is the ‘big announcement’? This is a pathetic cry for attention. @KrisJenner.’
Another added: ‘Women are coming forward every day about being victims to rape, sexual assault, abuse etc and Kendall Jenner is gonna hype up and announce her problem with acne.’
Fans took to Twitter in the wake of the revelation that Kendall’s ‘raw story’ was part of a commercial
The company tweeted: ‘Welcome to the family, dahling! @KendallJenner is the new face of Proactiv.’
Kris Jenner had earlier built up interest in the announcement, saying: ‘I’m so proud of my darling @KendallJenner for being so brave and vulnerable.
‘Seeing you share your most raw story in order to make a positive impact for so many people and help foster a positive dialogue is a testament to the incredible woman you’ve become.
‘Make sure to watch Kendall’s Twitter on Sunday night to find out what I’m talking about and be prepared to be moved.’
She added the hashtags: ‘#bethechange #shareyourstory #changetheconversation #proudmom #finallyasolution #authenticity #mydaughterinspiresme #getready.’