Review: X Out One Step Acne Treatment by Proactiv

X Out One Step Acne Treatment
X Out One Step Acne Treatment. Photo: X Out by Proactiv

I've used so many over-the-counter acne treatments over the years, it takes a lot to get me really excited about an acne product.

When I heard about X Out, though, I was immediately interested. X Out is made by the producers of Proactiv. Instead of the 3-step treatment program we're used to, X Out is just one step. Wash it in for 2 minutes, rinse it off, and you're done.

This was a big plus for the teens who tried out this product for me (since it is marketed toward teenagers, I had to get their perspective.) They liked the simplicity of a one-step treatment.

The cleanser itself is thick and creamy feeling, and foams up nicely. It has just enough of that "scrub" feel to exfoliate the face, but not so much that you feel like you're tearing up your skin.

And if you like mentholated products, this one packs a punch. It feels super cooling. Some of my product testers really liked it, but others (myself included) felt it was a bit too overpowering.

Surprisingly, though, there were no complaints about stinging or burning, even with the super strong cooling feel and the high percentage of benzoyl peroxide. But benzoyl peroxide definitely can be drying when you first start using it. You might want to start off using just 3 times per week, and slowly work up to using more often. (Read these tips for using benzoyl peroxide for more info.)

The teens generally really liked this product, and said it made their skin feel clean and smooth. They also liked that the product pulled double-duty as a mask and a spot treatment.

Although, for the record, I've long used regular acne cleansers as masks and spot treatments, too. They've worked just fine.

No one cared for the smell, though. The descriptions I got were "cheap shampoo" to "rubber." Not great.

Scent notwithstanding, the coolest feature of this product is the QR code stamped on each bottle.

(Yeah, I didn't know what a QR code was either. It looks like a funky bar code, but it's really a shortcut to a web address.)

You scan the QR code with your smart phone and it takes you to a new video every time. Each video runs two minutes. Wash your face while watching the video, and when it's done you know it's time to rinse the product off. The makers of X Out call this the "Daily Distraction." Total marketing gimmick, but in this case it works.

Case in point -- when I told my son that he had to wash with the product for two full minutes he complained. He still thinks washing for two minutes is a long time but has told me, "with the video it seems shorter."

Teens who don't have a smart phone (like my kids) can get their "Daily Distraction" online. More of a hassle, my son reported, to have to stand in front of the computer (and who really wants to bring their laptop into the bathroom with them?) But he liked the videos enough to do it.

But does it work?  Like all OTC acne products, this one will work best for mild to (possibly) moderate acne breakouts.

All in all, this has been one of the better OTC acne products I've tried in a long time. And definitely the most interesting.

Active Ingredient

Benzoyl peroxide 8.5%

Price

$19.95 for a 30-day supply, $39.90 for a 60-day supply. You have to pay shipping on that too, which runs between $6 -$8.

Where You Can Buy It

Available online at the X Out website (manufacturer's website)

Pros

  • You can also use it as a mask (leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing) and as a spot treatment. Dab a bit on a particularly stubborn pimple before going to sleep.
  • Cool pump makes it easy to dispense product. Just one pump is enough to do your entire face, so a bottle will last a long time.
  • The cleanser has just enough grit to exfoliate the face and leave the skin super smooth, but not so much that it will irritate the skin.

Cons

  • A 60-day supply, along with shipping, is pushing $50. This may be cost-prohibitive for some people.
  • Probably too strong for anyone with more sensitive skin.
  • The smell isn't fabulous.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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