Taking care of your skin can feel like a full-time job, especially when you’re dealing with acne flare-ups. Finding face washes for acne is easy, but unfortunately, acne skin care isn’t one-size-fits-all.
When choosing the best face wash for acne-prone skin, it’s best to assess your skin first to determine what else you might need to be conscious of. Contrary to popular belief, acne-prone skin isn’t always oily. It can be dry, sensitive, or a combination. Figuring out how to appease acne-prone skin can feel frustrating, exhausting, and anxiety-ridden.
If you aren’t sure exactly what kind of formula you need, start small with ingredients that will gently treat acne. If you aren’t seeing results, choose an acne cleanser with a higher concentration of salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. It also helps to monitor your diet and eat foods like sugar and dairy when possible.
We curated a list of our 10 picks of face washes for acne on your skin. Read on to find your perfect match from our selection of favorite face washes for acne below.
The best mild-strength acne face wash
Acne-Free Oil-Free Acne Cleanser
If you want some benzoyl peroxide action, but you aren’t ready to zap your face with a 10% or even 4% formula, trying out this 2.5% formula is a smart first step. For mild acne or occasional breakouts, this may be the perfect amount of medication to prevent acne without drying or irritation. Plus, it’s affordable and dual-functional (effective for both face and body acne).
The best exfoliating face wash for acne
Clean & Clear Oil-Free Deep Action Exfoliating Facial Scrub
If you’re looking for an acne face wash that’s gentle enough for everyday use but strong enough to penetrate your pores for that deep-clean, fresh feeling, this scrub is for you. The oil-free formula removes makeup, dirt, and oil, leaving you feeling refreshed and invigorated (and without drying you out like other harsher scrubs!).
Another perk: You’ll feel a tingly, cooling sensation as you use this scrub. In other words, it’ll wake you up in the morning faster than your coffee does!
The best cooling face wash for acne
Bioré Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Acne Face Wash
If you’ve ever used Witch Hazel on your skin, you know that it leaves your skin feeling fresh and clean without drying it out. Combine that with a 2% salicylic acid formula, and you’ve got a plan for acne prevention and elimination.
This face wash from Bioré claims to remove 99% of blemish-causing dirt and oil. Prepare to feel clarified and cleansed!
The best salicylic acid face wash for acne
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Face Scrub
This face wash will provide you with a combination of acne treatment and exfoliation. The 2% salicylic acid formula is pretty mild, so it shouldn’t irritate or dry out your skin.
The exfoliators also work to clear and smooth out your complexion and remove the daily buildup of dirt, oil, and makeup.
The best acne face wash for redness soothing
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser
If you have acne, you know that bumps are only half the battle — redness is the other half. That’s why the combination of acne-fighting and redness-reducing medicine in this Neutrogena face wash will boost your glow and confidence.
The secret to the soothe? Naturally derived aloe and chamomile. Not to mention, the 2% salicylic acid is the primary acne quasher, and like all good cleansers, this one also removes dirt, oil, and makeup.
The best maximum strength acne face wash
PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash
Unless you’re willing to get a prescription from a doctor, 10% is the highest content of benzoyl peroxide you’ll find in an acne wash. This foaming cleanser from PanOxyl meets that criteria with antimicrobial properties that kill acne-causing bacteria.
You can use it daily on your face, chest, and back — wherever that stubborn acne resides. Not only does it eliminate existing acne, but it also prevents future breakouts.
The best overall face wash for acne
CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser
CeraVe is long-respected in the skincare world for a good reason. Their lotions and face washes are developed by dermatologists, so it’s generally safe to use for even the most sensitive skin types. And while it’s made from quality ingredients, it’s not much more expensive than other drugstore brands like Neutrogena or Clean & Clear.
This cleanser works to eliminate pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads, while preventing new acne from forming. Its main acne-fighting ingredient is 4% of benzoyl peroxide, and the formula also contains hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and essential ceramides to help your skin retain moisture and protect itself.
The best acne face wash for sensitive skin
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Face Wash
If you have skin that’s both acne-prone and sensitive, you know the drill. Break out, attempt to treat it with a product, break out even more, rinse, and repeat. With this cleanser thought, you may be able to break the cycle once and for all.
The power of this cleanser comes from the 2% salicylic acid. Other than that, it has no scrubbing particles or abrasive materials that can irritate your skin. You know what that means: it’s gentle enough to use on highly sensitive skin.
The best daily face wash
Face Wash by Cetaphil, Daily Facial Cleanser for Combination to Oily Sensitive Skin
Gentle cleansers are great for any skin type, but some people just don’t like the feeling of a creamy, non-foaming wash. This Cetaphil face wash is both gentle, light, and cleansing. Paired with a healthy diet it can be a great, lighter solution.
It’s also non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores. Yet it’s still moisturizing enough to keep your skin from feeling dry. It’s so gentle that you can even use it twice a day, and it’s safe to use for all skin types — normal, dry, oily, and sensitive.
The best cruelty-free face wash for acne
Humane Maximum-Strength Acne Wash
Don’t let the soft package design fool you! This acne wash contains 10% benzoyl peroxide, so approach it with caution. That’s over double the content of what many standard-strength acne face washes contain. If you’re serious about curbing your acne, this wash offers a strong solution.
Plus, you can feel good about the ingredients since it’s free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, formaldehyde, synthetic fragrance and color, GMOs, and animal byproducts.
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