Written By: Robert King, Esq.
Legal Review By: Sandy Fazili, Esq.
The Proactiv Lawsuit is an active lawsuit
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Proactiv Lawsuit Overview

Multiple lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer of Proactiv, alleging the company marketed the acne treatment products containing benzoyl peroxide despite knowing it could break down into benzene, a known carcinogen. Benzene exposure has been linked to an increased risk of the development of certain kinds of cancer. 

Individuals who have been diagnosed with an adverse health condition, such as blood cancer or leukemia, after using Proactiv may be eligible to take legal action. At King Law, our attorneys can help you understand your rights and work to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.

Proactiv Lawsuit – 2024 Update

March 20, 2024: In response to the new study, dermatologists began recommending that Proactiv and other benzoyl peroxide-containing products be stored in the refrigerator or at cooler temperatures.

March 8, 2024: Multiple lawsuits are filed against the makers of Proactiv and other acne treatment products containing benzoyl peroxide. The lawsuits are filed on the heels of a study by an independent testing lab showing that high levels of benzene were detected in products containing benzoyl peroxide particularly when they are stored at high temperatures.

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What Is Proactiv Benzoyl Peroxide and How Does It Work?

Proactiv benzoyl peroxide is an acne-treating product or series of products. It is commonly used to treat mild to moderate acne. Benzoyl peroxide acts as an antiseptic, helping to reduce skin bacteria. 

Acne is caused when pores are clogged by dead skin cells and oil. Proactiv products containing benzoyl peroxide kill the acne-causing bacteria (P. acnes) by delivering oxygen into the pores. Bacteria cannot live in the oxygen-rich environment. It also helps to promote skin peeling and reduce excess oil. 

Proactiv acne treatments are available with various concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, generally 2.5% or 5%. Higher concentrations, up to 10%, are available for more severe conditions.

Ingredients in Proactiv Benzoyl Peroxide Products

There are several Proactiv products containing benzoyl peroxide available. These products include cleansers, toners, and repairing treatments that reportedly treat acne. The inactive ingredients vary by product.

Active and inactive ingredients in popular Proactiv products:

Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator (2.5% benzoyl peroxide):

Inactive Ingredients: Acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, butylene glycol, coconut acid, dimethicone, ethylhexylglycerin, fragrance, glycerin, glycolic acid, lauryl/myristyl benzoate, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, paraffin, phenoxyethanol, sodium cocoyl isethionate, sodium hydroxide, sodium isethionate, water

Proactiv+ Pore Targeting Treatment (2.5% benzoyl peroxide):

Ingredients: carbomer, disodium edta, ethoxydiglycol, fragrance, glycerin, polysorbate 60, polysorbate 80, potassium hydroxide, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, sorbitan stearate, water 

Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief (5% benzoyl peroxide):

Inactive Ingredients: water, ethoxydiglycol, cyclopentasiloxane, methylpropanediol, steareth-2, cyclohexasiloxane, steareth-21, polyquaternium-37, propylene glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate, propylene glycol, PPG-1 trideceth-6, panthenol, allantoin, diazolidinyl urea, methylparaben, propylparaben, fragrance

Proactiv Acne Products Containing Benzoyl Peroxide

A wide range of Proactiv products contain benzoyl peroxide. The levels of benzoyl peroxide vary by product type. Individuals who were diagnosed with cancer or another illness after using Proactiv need to consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

Proactiv Benzoyl Peroxide Products:

  • Proactiv Solution® Renewing Cleanser (6 fl oz/177 ml)
  • Proactiv Solution® Renewing Cleanser (2 fl oz/59 ml)
  • Proactiv+® Oil Control Duo – 30 day
  • Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief (0.33oz/9.45g)
  • Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator (6 fl oz/177 ml)
  • Proactiv Solution® Repairing Treatment (3 fl oz/89 ml)
  • Proactiv Solution® Repairing Treatment (1 fl oz/30 ml)
  • Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief Duo (0.33oz/9.45g x 2)
  • Proactiv+® Oil Control Duo
  • Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator (2 fl oz/59 ml)
  • Proactiv+ Pore Targeting Treatment (1 fl oz/30 ml)
  • Proactiv+ Pore Targeting Treatment (3 fl oz/89 ml)

This infographics lists the Proactiv products that contain benzoyl peroxide and notes what products may be eligible for a Proactiv lawsuit claim.

Benzene Linked to Cancer in Proactiv Acne Treatment Products

A recent study by the independent lab Valisure found that high levels of benzene could form in products containing benzoyl peroxide. In testing, benzene levels up to 800x the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s restricted concentration limit of 2 parts per million (ppm) were detected. Products such as Proactiv’s 2.5% BPO cream had concentrations as high as 1700 ppm.

The findings prompted Valisure to submit a Citizen’s Petition to the FDA, urging for the immediate recall of all benzoyl peroxide-containing products. In the petition, the company notes that federal health organizations have determined that benzene causes cancer in humans. The high levels of benzene detected in the testing indicate that these products may be unsafe for humans.

Health Risks and Side Effects of Proactiv Benzoyl Peroxide Products

There are both short- and long-term health risks associated with the use of Proactiv benzoyl peroxide products. While some side effects are common (occurring in 10% or more of users), others are rare reported by less than 0.1% of users. 

Common side effects of Proactiv:

  • Peeling or red skin
  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Dry skin
  • Skin and eye irritation

Rare side effects of Proactiv:

  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Blisters on the skin
  • Swelling where applied

Inhalation of benzoyl peroxide can result in irritation of the nose, throat, and lungs. It may also lead to coughing and wheezing. Long-term exposure to the substance can cause chronic health problems. 

Benzene Exposure Symptoms and Side Effects

Exposure to benzene can cause substantial damage and may result in the development of certain kinds of cancer. Health effects vary depending on the type of exposure (inhalation, absorption through the skin, etc.).

Ingestion of benzene may cause:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain or discomfort in the stomach
  • Loss of appetite
  • Convulsion

Inhalation of benzene may cause:

  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Drowsiness
  • Euphoria
  • A feeling of tightness in the chest
  • Unconsciousness
  • Shock or collapse
  • Risk of death

It is believed that long-term exposure to benzene may result in excessive bleeding, a weakened immune system, or the development of certain types of blood cancers. Blood cancers associated with the skin absorption of benzene include Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), Multiple Myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Aplastic Anemia.

Proactiv Manufacturer – Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd

Proactiv acne treatment products are manufactured by Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. It is alleged that the company failed to warn consumers about the dangers associated with its use. It is specifically alleged that the manufacturer failed to warn users about the potential for the benzoyl peroxide in the product to break down and form benzene, a cancer-causing toxin.

Proactiv Recalls and Discontinued Acne Products

Despite numerous safety concerns, there are no current recalls for benzoyl peroxide acne treatments. Valisure has filed a Citizen’s Petition with the FDA urging the department to demand a recall of the products after detecting high levels of benzene. 

In some cases, testing found benzene levels up to 12x the FDA’s allowable limit. Benzene levels increased substantially when the products were stored at high temperatures. Proactiv’s 2.5% BPO cream made by Taro Pharmaceuticals was found to have 1761 ppm of benzene when tested.

Eligibility Criteria to File a Proactiv Lawsuit

Individuals who have used a Proactiv benzoyl peroxide acne treatment and suffered an adverse health condition may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer. The widespread use of the product may mean that millions of people were affected. It is essential to consult with an attorney to determine whether you meet the eligibility criteria for filing a Proactiv lawsuit. 

Products that may be grounds for a claim:

  • Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief
  • Proactiv Solution® Renewing Cleanser
  • Proactiv Solution® Repairing Treatment
  • Proactiv+ Pore Targeting Treatment
  • Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator

In order to be eligible for compensation, you must be able to show proof of use of a Proactiv product and a related injury. An attorney can walk you through the process and help determine what evidence you may need to collect.

Evidence to Collect to File a Lawsuit:

Personal injury lawsuits related to the use of Proactiv are often dependent upon evidence. In order to build a strong case, you must prove your case through documents, witness testimony, and other information.

Evidence that may support your claim:

  • Medical records
  • Product purchase history
  • Consumer communications or warnings
  • Lab tests

Working with a lawyer from as early in the process as possible can help ensure you receive the compensation you need to cover all of your losses. Depending on the case, you may be eligible for economic and non-economic damages.

How to File a Proactiv Lawsuit

Filing a Proactiv lawsuit can be challenging without the help of a lawyer. There are several steps that you should take in order to ensure you receive the best possible outcome in your case.

To file a Proactiv lawsuit, you need to:

  • Determine if you meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Evaluate the statute of limitations.
  • Gather the necessary documentation and evidence.
  • Consult with an attorney.

An attorney will help you navigate the often complex legal proceedings associated with a Proactiv lawsuit. Working with legal representation can help ensure you meet all legal deadlines and requirements.

Statute of Limitations for Proactiv Lawsuits

All lawsuits related to the use of Proactiv are governed by state-specific statutes of limitations. A statute of limitation is a legal deadline by which a case must be filed. Failure to file within the statute of limitation can result in your claim for damages being denied. It is strongly recommended that you consult with an attorney immediately after a diagnosis to ensure you meet any legal deadlines that may apply to your case.

Recoverable Damages in the Proactiv Lawsuit

Successful Proactiv lawsuits may result in substantial financial recoveries. Recoverable damages often directly correlate with the severity of the injury, length of product use, and other factors. There may be special considerations for wrongful death or even punitive damages in certain instances. 

Proactiv Lawsuit Settlement and Payout Amounts

Proactiv lawsuit settlement and payout amounts may vary significantly. Settlements are determined on a case-by-case basis but are frequently placed in a tiered system based on low-, mid-, and high-value claims. Settlements may range from $30,000 to $300,000 or more.

Contact a Proactiv Lawsuit Attorney Today

Were you diagnosed with cancer or another illness after using Proactiv? You may be able to take legal action. Contact King Law to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our lawyers have extensive experience handling these complex cases. We will maximize your chances at receiving the compensation you deserve based on the circumstances of your case.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Continue reading for answers to frequently asked questions about Proactiv lawsuits and the risks of benzoyl peroxide.

Is there a class action lawsuit against Proactiv?
Several lawsuits have been filed against Proactiv, including a potential class action.
Is there benzoyl peroxide in Proactiv?
Several Proactiv acne treatment products contain varying levels of benzoyl peroxide. 
How much benzoyl peroxide does Proactiv have?
Proactiv products generally have 2.5% or 5% benzoyl peroxide in them.
Which Proactiv acne products contain benzoyl peroxide?
Proactiv acne products containing benzoyl peroxide may include but are not limited to Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief, Proactiv Solution® Renewing Cleanser, Proactiv Solution® Repairing Treatment, Proactiv+ Pore Targeting Treatment, and Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator.
How much benzoyl peroxide is in Proactiv cleanser?
Proactiv Solution® Renewing Cleanser has 2.5% benzoyl peroxide.
Why is there a lawsuit against Proactiv?
Recent testing shows that Proactiv with benzoyl peroxide may form dangerous levels of benzene. Benzene is a cancer-causing substance.
What percentage of benzoyl peroxide is in Proactiv?
The amount of benzoyl peroxide in Proactiv varies by product but is typically between 2.5% and 5%.
Is the Proactiv lawsuit legitimate?
The evidence showing the high levels of benzene in benzoyl peroxide products is concerning and may lead to financial recovery from a lawsuit. 
How much benzoyl peroxide is in Proactiv Plus?
While the amount of benzoyl peroxide differs depending on the individual product, it is generally between 2.5% and 5%. For instance, the Proactiv+ Pore Targeting Treatment contains 2.5% benzoyl peroxide.
Does the demand for a Proactiv recall warrant a lawsuit?
The demand for a Proactiv recall indicates that the product line may be dangerous or defective, which can be the basis of a lawsuit.
Have any lawsuits been filed against manufacturers of Proactiv?
There are currently lawsuits filed against Proactiv manufacturers.
How much benzoyl peroxide is in Proactiv face wash?
Proactiv products contain between 2.5% and 5% benzoyl peroxide.
Do I qualify for a Proactiv lawsuit?
To determine whether you qualify for a Proactiv lawsuit, you need to speak with an attorney.
How much benzoyl peroxide is in Proactiv MD?
Proactiv and Proactiv+ each contain benzoyl peroxide; however, ProactivMD contains prescription-strength retinoid and Adapalene.
What do the lawsuits allege about Proactiv products?
The lawsuits allege that manufacturers failed to warn consumers about the dangers of using their products since studies show high levels of the known carcinogen benzene.
How can I file a Proactiv lawsuit?
The best way to file a Proactiv lawsuit is by contacting a qualified attorney.