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Neutrogena Complete Acne Therapy System

The power to control your acne now. Clinically proven to start clearing breakouts in just 2 days. What’s the proof that it works? Clinical studies prove that this system works to quickly reduce breakouts and delivers lasting results when used as directed. How does it work? This complete 3-step system takes the dermatologist’s approach to treating acne by combining multiple medicines to treat acne’s multiple causes in one high efficacy kit. Simply cleanse and treat twice-a-day. It is important to use all 3 products daily and consistently to help maintain clear skin. Step 1: skin polishing acne cleanser. Ingredients: salicylic acid 0.5% + microfine beads. Action: deep cleansing, gentle exfoliation of pore-clogging skin cells. Step 2: acne control lotion. Ingredient: prescription- grade benzoyl peroxide. Action: kills acne-causing bacteria to help reduce pimple size, redness and inflammation. Step 3: oil-free SPF 15 lotion (as needed). Ingredients: SPF 15 + proprietary botanical complex. Action: calms and protects irritated acne-prone skin from the sun, and promotes healthy looking skin.

Key features

  • Acne treatment system, containing one 5.1-ounce bottle of salicylic acid acne treatment cleanser; one 1.7-ounce bottle of SPF-15 lotion; and one 1.4-ounce bottle of benzoyl peroxide lotion (8.2 total ounces)
  • Everything you need to help stop the acne cycle and get consistently clear skin; breakthrough combination of therapies treats acne-prone skin while reducing redness and irritation
  • Contains the dermatologist’s choice of acne medicines without a prescription, including salicylic acid and microfine beads to exfoliate pore clogging skin cells and a proprietary botanical complex to calm skin
  • Benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria and treats inflamed breakouts while helping to prevent future breakouts; works day and night for continuous acne control
  • Made in the U.S.A.

Honest reviews


Please don’t waste your $!

I purchased this product after a terrible allergic reaction to the new formulation of Acne Free’s face wash (red and white scaly, painful, cracked “skin goatee and mustache). First off, I dislike this product very much. AcneFree was very effective in removing the acne, but it just about removed the entire top layer of my facial skin along with it! This Neutrogena line is highly inneffective. The face wash is SO thick, that when you squeeze it into your hands it comes out in a solid ball of product. Rubbing the hands together to liquify it is futile. Secondly, there is a day face lotion. What is the purpose of this? This product contains so little salicylic acid that I could not imagine it drying the skin out. Replace that with a toner, please. Lastly, there is a nighttime treatment. It works a little, and is more convenient than the other products… but I just will not be buying this again. Maybe other products from Neutrogena are great; but this one was a mistake for me to purchase.

Mina Yosemite, KY

Works as well as the expensive stuff!

We’ve been shelling out hundreds of dollars for ProActiv for our teenaged daughter for the past couple of years, and all of sudden, it stopped working for her. I did a quick “google” and Neutrogena products came up. We gave it try. It took about 5 days to see results – then her face was clear! For the price – you can’t beat it!11/27/2011: Actually, it doesn’t work as well as Proactiv. My daughters face broke out big time. Never happened before. Might have to see a dermatologist now.

Wilda Fisher, PA

Love This Product

Unfortunately I can only comment on the use of the face wash because I do not use the other two skin lotions as when I did use them I noticed my acne increase. So with the wash only it does the job perfectly. Downfall is having to pay the price for only one product and not the full product line. I have compared there other products and I have yet to find one of there soaps that is excatly the same… so untill then I will be paying the price for nice skin.

Goldie Jolo, WV

Just started using it

I just began using this less than a week ago and I have already seen improvement! I understand that everyone is different and your skin may not react to this treatment as well as others but so far I am seeing great results!I have combination skin, it gets oily throughout the day and I have to use oil blotters at time, but at the same time it can also get very dry! It’s not terribly sensitive, but it leans more to that side.I was afraid that this product would dry out my face and although it does dry it out a little bit initially, the lotion has really helps to balance out the Ph in the skin!This product has already been clearing up my acne and I am so far very happy! Hopefully it will keep on working!2 thumbs up!

Jerry Dennis, MA

Didn’t notice a change.

I don’t have a lot of acne so maybe thats why this didn’t make a difference. I only get acne once a month and its usually only one or two little dots that I screw with until they are huge red scars. I used it and still got acne about once a month. Maybe you need to have a substantial amount of acne in order for this to work.

Nelly Island Park, ID


I use another acne product, but after moving to CA I couldn’t find it anywhere. Since I was busy packing and couldn’t use the internet to order it online I stopped by my local Target and got the Neutrogena Acne System. There’s a cleanser, day lotion, night lotion.The cleanser in the beginning seem pretty good, but after about a month’s use it’s okay. I probably will go back to my other acne system. I only have mild acne that doesn’t break out a lot.The day lotion is useful since it also has 15 SPF. Perfect, since I don’t have to apply two types of lotion in the morning rush hour.The night lotion is awkward…it makes your skin all tight and such. Probably the main reason why I won’t purchase this system. Neutrogena products are great, but I this acne treatment doesn’t do the job for me.

Laverne Rossville, GA

Really need to add in a toner

I really like this combo, but I feel like you really have to add in a toner in order to exfoliate the dead cells off; otherwise, the regimen does not work.

Susanne Elliston, VA

It helps…

I’ve always had acne. This system works.The facial cleanser gets a deep clean.The night lotion makes your face tight.The day lotion fights acne and provides SPF protection.

Norma Kenner, LA

This system does NOT work for me, unfortunately

Things were going very well with a different cleanser,Neutrogena Acne Stress Control, Power-Clear Scrub, 4.2-Ounce Tubes (Pack of 3), but I was running low on moisture lotion so I decided to buy this kit. I figured it’s Neutrogena so it must be good. It turned out to be a big mistake. Over the last several days I’ve used the face wash in this kit, and the pores on my forehead are so irritated they look like craters, and there’s a red tone. I think this formula is too powerful for my skin.The acne control lotion (step #2 in the kit) looks sort of like moisturizer, but it’s not. It is only something you would use as needed to control breakouts. This part is fine, and the moisture lotion with SPF is fine too. The only problem I have is with the cleanser. It has a gritty texture like fine sand particles. If I had some big blemishes on my skin, that is probably the last thing I would want to put on my face. If your skin is already broken out, why would you want to cleanse it with something that feels like an exfoliant?For evening I like a one-step makeup removal/cleansing process, and this does not meet that need. I prefer theNeutrogena Acne Stress Control, Power-Clear Scrub, 4.2-Ounce Tubes (Pack of 3). It is smooth, does the job well, and leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean…not irritated. (And by the way, I don’t consider my skin to be sensitive.)Just as an aside, if you’re looking for an entire cleansing system, I would recommendNature’s Gate Organics Acne Treatment System with Oligopeptide-10, (1 acne treatment system. I used this system and can honestly say it’s the best thing I have found to date. The only problem I had with Nature’s Gate was when I ran out of the cleanser I still had a lot of the moisturizer remaining, and I didn’t want to pay to buy all three products yet. I could not find a listing for just the cleanser.I gave this Neutrogena system two stars, rather than one, because I realize that not all of our needs will be the same, and this product may work for other people.

Gayla Bozman, MD

It works for me

I have hormonal acne, so every once a month I get those painful, just-under-the-skin breakouts that I can’t even get with a comedone extractor. And I noticed that it had gotten worse — usually it clears out after that time of the month, but I guess my sebacious glands are on hyperdrive (I may be lucky to have oily skin way past puberty, but it still has drawbacks). I was skeptical with Proactiv (too costly), and I really didn’t want to spend too much to start with in a 3-stage acne treatment system, so I decided to give this Neutrogena system a shot. I was not disappointed.I bought this a month ago, and I decided to wait for a little over a month to see if it’s effective against my monthly breakouts. I have oily skin (on the T-zone), and it minimized the pimples and whiteheads on my cheeks and forehead in a couple weeks. I really was happy with the difference it made.I only use this twice a day, just a pea-sized amount of the cleanser, and a little less of it for the acne lotion. I wait for a minute or so for it to dry, then apply the SPF15 lotion. Then you can apply whatever makeup you use afterwards.Now, I won’t say it’s 100% effective (nothing is in the real world), I still do get the usual tiny pimples on my pimple-prone areas, but my face cleared out and the mild breakouts I’ve had was not as angry and usually cleared up after a couple days as long as I stuck to my regular application schedule.

Madeleine Sublette, KS


I am 35 and now have skin like i was 17 again.. OKBeen to dermatologist and gave me rx for all kinds of stuff.. They didn’t work ok.This is awesome I received it 2 days ago and had a ingrown pimple.. I used this for 2 days and now its almost GONE! Its a fast working awesome product. My face is so smooth and break out free im a life user of this product and am very pleased with the real results. I have used proactive and this surpasses it by a billion !!!!!!!

Tanisha Tupelo, AR

I have no complaints, but so far I see no improvement.

Although I do like this, and can’t complain about it, I can’t say that my face has gotten any better, and I feel like I might as well be using something 1/4 the price.

Stacy Romeo, MI

Didn’t stand out to me

I was looking for a product to help with adult hormonal acne, and the reviews made me think the Neutrogena (a great brand) Complete Acne Therapy System would be the best. Unfortunately, for me, it didn’t do significantly better or worse than any other acne wash, spot treatment, or moisturizer out there. If I used the wash regularly, I did notice my acne was a little better during that time of the month, and the spot treatment, while very drying, wasn’t as irritating as some other brands. I think my favorite product was the moisturizer, especially for the sun protection it offered, but for the small tube you get, I just don’t know it it really stands out in a crowd. Also, the tubes for the spot treatment and the moisturizer are exactly the same–even the names are similar. More than once, I went for a big dollop of moisturizer, only waste a ton of the spot treatment.Overall, if you have problem skin, I do think you should give this product a try. It’s a good deal and it’s nice to get all components of acne treatment in one kit. Same rules for any acne treatment apply: it’s drying, can be a little irritating, etc. However, for me, it just didn’t stand out enough for me to buy again.

Fannie Smyrna, NY

Awesome for oily skin!

So I just got this product and after skimming the reviews for it, i thought i would take my chances. I can’t afford proactiv so this was the next best thing and a competitor of proactiv. this is awesome for oily skin! my skin changes day to day and even hour to hour. i can get dry flaky skin to really obnoxiously oily skin. i wear make up and it breaks me out pretty bad. i use it this morning and my god my skin feels great under the makeup! i can tell the difference between what i normally use and this product. i usually use Loreal 360 clear sets. the pink bottle burns my face and the orange one drys me out band the blue bottle makes me break out bad and the green bottle makes me flaky. i seriously could not win with those products. from what i can tell, this product is repairing my skin from the inside out! its amazing!Edit: About a week after this review, my face started getting really dried out. Thought it might have been the acne control cream, i was right. it started to burn my face and i had to stop using it as frequently. so, do what the box says and if you cant do every day 2 times a day, go every other day or cut it to 1 time a day. dont burn your skin, it takes forever to repair correctly.

Danielle Clay Springs, AZ

works just as well as proactiv did for me.

I bought this because I was sick of paying for Proactiv.The face wash does not have the exfoliating beads or whatever in it, so its not like a scrub like Proactiv is.There is no Toner with this product, but it doesn’t seem to be making a difference.There are two lotions with this instead of one. The first is an acne lotion and it feels sorta sticky when it starts to dry. I usually wash my hands after applying. The second is like a normal oil-free lotion and the face doesn’t feel sticky after applying just a little of this.I haven’t had any new breakouts since the switch (2 weeks ago), so it seems to be working just as well.

Helen Lowellville, OH

The worst thing i’ve ever put on my face

For me, this was a horrible purchase. I’m 21 and a female. I never had a problem with my skin until I was about 19. I purchased this product when my acne started to get aggressive. THIS MADE MY FACE 100% WORSE! The kit was actually painful (during the first week), it burned! The second step made my face dry and peel. After using the product for almost 2 months I noticed that it GAVE me acne. This product gave me HUGE painful zits.Now I use Clean and Clear Advantage Acne Control Kit (I occasionally buy the mark kit as well). Clean and Clear works so much better. It saved my face!

Roxie Sheridan Lake, CO

Simply wonderful

I am a former pro active consumer. Note that I say former, because I have found the perfect replacement! I have medium tan skin with occasional Nodular Acne breakouts. Those are the hard extremely painful large bumps under the skins surface. The fact that this treatment system is helping heal such a stubborn type of acne for less than 20 bucks is amazing. As others mentioned it does get your skin a little dry, but what acne medication doesn’t?Not only does it successfully cure stubborn acne within a week but also makes my skin glow and look radiant like it never has before, thanks to the cleanser that does a thorough job at removing dead skin cells. But you have to make sure you massage it in gently for a good 3-4 minutes on all of your face to get impressive results. Oh and NEVER leave your home without applying sunscreen!

Ashlee Levant, ME

Didn’t work well for me

I used this for about a month with very little results. Made my more noticeable pimples go away but left all the smaller ones. I would reccomend paying more money for something that actually works.

Gloria Blaine, ME

Worked for me

This product worked well to clear up my acne (not severe, just an occasional 2 or 3 pimples). Neutrogena has a dark spot fading toner I’ve been using that has helped fade the residual marks

Laurel Capron, IL

Give this a try first.

I have relatively clear skin, but I started breaking out in college. I’ve never had huge breakouts that covered my entire face in bumps, just spots around my nose, forehead, and chin. I also have hormonal breakouts and the occasional cystic pimple. So I’d recommend this to people with mild to moderate acne and flareups.I tried this when it first came out because the reviews were so positive, and it worked great for me. Definitely worked better than ProActiv, at a lower price and without the hassle of a monthly bill and getting stuck in an auto-shipment.It doesn’t smell bad- not great, but it doesn’t smell like you’re putting a ton of acne stuff on your face. And I love the two different lotions you get. The day lotion is great, light, and has SPF. The night lotion is heavier and great at zapping zits. The cleanser is gentle but exfoliating. All together, the system works great.I do wish the individual lotions/cleanser were sold separately. It’s convenient having them all in a kit, but I ran out of everything at different times. I used up the cleanser first, then the day lotion, then the night lotion. But I had to buy a whole new kit and replace everything, so it seemed a little wasteful. Also, like any acne kit, this can be drying, so you may need another moisturizer, especially in the winter.My skin has calmed down since I first used this, but I’d still recommend this. Try this product first before you call an informercial- of all the acne systems I’ve used, this one gave me the best results.

Meagan Pryor, MT

A blah buy!

This acne system was blah! to be honest, it really didn’t work for me. My face would get worse and worse as i used it, i guess it was just being stubborn on my skin

Jeanine Crawford, MS


After having two children in my 30’s, I developed this thing called “hormonal acne”. Horrible deep cystic pimples around my chin area. I tried products from the dermatologist. I tried numerous spot treatments and different cleansers. Nothing was working.The other problem is that I have very sensitive skin and is quick to peel when harshly treated. I was afraid to try a system because it might be hard on my skin. After giving up on everything else, I finally decided to try the Neutrogena system. The price is right and it’s available locally.I’m pleasantly surprised! 4 days in and acne is calming down, skin texture is looking better and it does not seem to be irritating my sensitive skin. I’m not calling it a “miracle” yet because it’s been less than a week but I’m impressed so far. I will update.ETA: 1 month use – After one month of use, 2x daily, the results are pretty amazing. My skin is not 100% clear but it’s at least 90% cleared up. Wearing makeup completely covers any problem areas now. Now, I only get a few small pimples and they are shallow. I have not had any of the horrible deep cystic ones since I started the treatment. My sensitive skin does peel a tiny bit but it’s easily cleaned up with a little exfoliation in the morning shower. I’m kicking myself for not having tried this stuff sooner. It’s a miracle worker as far as I’m concerned.ETA: 2 months use – Now been using the Neutrogena system for over 2 months with a Clarisonic Mia and the deep pore brush heads. It’s an amazing combo. My skin is completely clear right now and has been for a couple weeks. Crossing my fingers it stays this way! Definitely recommend.

Robyn Troy, ME

Work very fine

I use it twice for morning and evening, it’s very useful products. the breakout disappear during two days which is a very good time.

Catalina Varney, KY

Good product for mild-moderate acne

This system worked well for me (mid twenties female with mild-moderate acne). Love the lotion, this is the second time I’ve bough this system.

Shelly Canadian, TX

good acne combo

This is a good product bc it uses both acne meds and a non drying and non oily spf lotion. It works well and is gentle. I have seen major improvement with my acne.

Kelly Compton, MD

Irritates my Combination Skin, Rather than Clearing

My skin: Combination. I get mild to low-moderate (depending on my diet / hormonal cycle) breakouts in random spots all over. Face only. No cystic or heavy acne.1. The Salicylic Acid face wash: Even when used as seldom as only once every 3 days, this still dries out my face and causes it to be flaky. It also causes new acne eruptions the day after I use it, every time.2. The Benzoyl Peroxide acne cream: The texture bothers me – it’s slimy and sticky feeling. I feel like there’s a film on my face after I put it on. This feeling does not fade after time. The face feels a bit stiff for as long as the cream is on, even once it’s "soaked in." It also doesn’t seem to be effective. After a month of consistent use, my face is broken out in the same spots, the same amount.3. The SPF-15 oil-free lotion: It smells like sunscreen and leaves my face looking a bit oily and shiny. I have other oil-free noncomedogenic (and similarly priced) facial sunscreens and moisturizers that I prefer.

Aurora Connell, WA

Used to work great

April 5, 2013: Not sure what happened but now I am allergic to BP and can no longer use this. Doc says it may be the carrying agent in the product? This set used to clear up my face and keep it clear.Now I use the 20% glycolic acid wipes (60 count) and salicylic acid with moisturizer.

Fern Harper, OR

works as advertised

Good product as long as you make sure to use it gently (don’t rub the cleanser too hard). The acne control lotion isn’t really a lotion; it’s more like a gel. Aside from that, this is a good product, I would recommend it.My favorite feature is the oil-free sunblock lotion. It comes really useful in Florida.

Camille Cherry Valley, AR

Daughter likes it!

Acne is multi-factorial based problem especially for teenagers. There can be multitudes of reasons why one gets it. One of the main cause is obviously ignoring one’s health and beauty routines. The secondary cause from what I learnt over the years is the fact that your pillow can accumulate various contaminants especially from your hair & oil or simply because of build-up of barely noticeable to the naked eye’s growth of harmful bacteria on your pillow cover from the build-up. What I have understood is that If you put a clean towel every-night where you face skin comes in contact with your pillow cover it can minimize the breakouts.My teenage daughter has frequent breakouts and she has tried various products to combat her breakouts fiasco. She is extremely conscious about the issue and is seen to attempt to keep her face clean, washes her face twice daily withClearasil Daily Face Washthe key ingredient being ‘Salicylic Acid’ but now and then the breakouts happen and she feels upset about the situation.Each individual skin is different, Acne treatment product might work like miracle for one while might completely fail for another with same symptoms. Having said, This product’s complete package for Acne treatment did give her a ‘confidence’ boost and I do see positive effect on her skin. The reason could be the fact that it has Oil-Free Day Lotion with SPF 15 and anything that keeps oil off your face is a good thing! – I am not saying that the pimples are gone! but sure looks minimized.Good Product from a reputable company. Worth trying.

Rosetta Cory, IN

During Pregnancy Acne, This Was What Worked.

When I was pregnant with my middle child I started getting acne on my otherwise smooth skin. The acne was mainly on my forehead and was very unattractive. With my type of skin (combination), I never really did anything special to keep it smooth. I just washed it everyday with whatever cleanser I had and that was it. The bout of pregnancy acne changed all of that. I purchased this product after reading the reviews I gave it a try. After following the directions listed on the box it actually worked! I was very pleased with this product.

Tammy Petersham, MA