best face wash for acne prone skin

The 15 Best Face Washes To Clear Acne-Prone Skin

Wash away invasive pore-clogging dirt and sweat with these intensive expert-vetted face washes and cleansers. 

Not all acne-treating face washes are created equal because everyone has varying skin issues.

Cleansers are not necessary daily, as are moisturizers or serums in your everyday skin-care routine. However, they’re an infrequent essential, particularly for acne-prone skin suffering from an imbalanced pH. This means skin that’s overly acidic due to locking in moisture and keeping oil in for a long time becomes increasingly inflamed, resulting in clogged pores and major breakouts.

Therefore, a rebalancing face wash is mandatory to exfoliate and unclog pores to keep the bad bacteria at bay. Forget soap, as it’s too harsh on the skin’s surface and doesn’t even remove excess oil or dirt.

Cleansers eradicate malignant pollutants and harmful bacteria from environmental aggressors absorbed daily, as they work deep within the skin. Not to mention facial cleansers essentially gently remove makeup without exacerbating any existing acne.

With acne-specific face washes, there’s no more gunky, greasy skin, just positively glowing ones.

Face washes come in different formulas to cater to everyone’s custom needs.

Whether you’re struggling with cystic acne, whiteheads, or blemishes – you’ll find the right one. A wide array of creamy, foamy, and gel-based face washes will cure clogged pores, minimize blemishes, and reduce redness.

To give your face a real treat, check our reviews for the Best Charcoal Masks to also help with a clearer complexion and the Best Facial Steamers, which are fast becoming a vital part of any professional facial treatment which you can do at home. They are the ultimate skin decongestant tool.

Best Face Washes For Acne-Prone Skin

I’ve scoured the internet to find the 15 best expert-approved face washes that will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized without being stripped dry or irritated. 

Elta MD Foaming Facial Cleanser

EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser, Gentle, Oil-free, Sensitivity-free, Dermatologist-Recommended Enzyme & Amino Acid Face Wash & Makeup Remover

This purifying cleanser greatly revitalizes the skin, completely protects, and gently removes all traces of makeup and debris.

Ella MD’s Foaming Facial Cleanser foams with water to clean and revitalize the skin.

It is a deeply purifying wash that removes dirt, debris, makeup, and mascara and takes care not to disturb the skin’s barrier function.

iS Clinical Cleansing Complex

iS CLINICAL Cleansing Complex, 3in1 Gentle deep pore cleanser Face Wash and Makeup remover. Helps acne and blemish-prone skin

Powered by glycolic acid, this foaming cleanse softens and soothes sensitive skin.

The non-drying iS Clinical Cleansing Complex is powerfully packed with willow-bark extract, chamomile-flower extract, and sugarcane to refine pores and refresh skin without leaving any residue. 

Neutrogena Oil-Free Redness Soothing Facial Cleanser 

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser, Soothing Face Wash with Salicylic Acid Acne Medicine, Aloe, and Chamomile to Reduce Facial Redness

A pampering first step in your skincare ritual.

Reap the benefits of the dermatologically tested Neutrogena Oil-Free Redness Soothing Facial Cleanser.  

The gel, salicylic acid-rich formula beautifully banishes blemishes and breakouts.

Perfectly lush, it gently washes away impurities and makeup, leaving skin soft, smooth , and ready for your go-to make-up look or evening product-layering routine.

Peace Out Balm Cleanser

Peace Out Skincare Blemish Balm. Daily Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser to Wash Away Oil, Refine Skin Texture and Minimize Appearance of Pore

Kick back and relax – Peace Out’s influencer-loved Balm Cleanser makes clean, fresh skin an effortless feat.

After a long day, nothing quite beats the feeling of getting into your best loungewear and removing all traces of makeup – it almost feels like taking the day off.

This sentiment inspires Peace Out’s Take Balm Cleanser – the brand’s bestselling remover, adored by beauty editors for its gritty texture and ability to melt away long-wearing make-up, impurities, and even sunscreen.

The formula’s heart is hyaluronic acid, which hydrates and dissolves oils on the skin, leaving it feeling soft and nourished.

CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

CeraVe SA Cleanser | Salicylic Acid Cleanser with Hyaluronic Acid, Niacinamide & Ceramides| BHA Exfoliant for Face | Fragrance Free Non-Comedogenic

This fan-favorite acne face wash is not only completely non-stripping and non-comedogenic (best non-comedogenic makeup products) but also totally budget-friendly and removes blemishes.

It’s perfect for those with sensitive skin. It’s enriched with salicylic acid for exfoliation and bacteria elimination.

Plus, it’s infused with ceramides to avert dryness and guard the epidermis. Alongside, hyaluronic acid replenishes the skin, and niacinamide reduces redness. 

Dr.Alkaitis Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser

DR. ALKAITIS Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser,

Indulge in the smoothing ingredients of seaweed, Sambucus nigra flower, chamomile, cold-pressed oils, and medicinal herbs.

The type of product you’d take to a deserted island, Dr. Alkaitis’s Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser is a concentrated balm that gives you that after-facial feeling each time you use it.

The unique texture does as it says on the tin and dissolves into your skin while delivering its rich all-natural properties and washing the day away.

Strongly recommend using this balm with micellar water to wash it away effectively and avoid getting it in your eyes as it stings. 

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser, Daily Cleanser with Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment

This popular, dermatologist-approved cleanser is a best-seller for more than one reason.

It’s enriched with salicylic acid to demolish acne. Also, it contains beta-hydroxy acid, which gently exfoliates, instantly removes dead skin cells, and immediately refines pores.

Thanks to it perfectly balancing your skin texture, the result is clear, flawless skin. 

Shu Uemura Porefinist Sakura Refreshing Oil

Shu Uemura Porefinist Sakura Refreshing Cleansing Oil

The water-like Shu Uemura Porefinist Sakura Refreshing Oil will completely cleanse you through and through.

It will leave the skin feeling firm and looking flawless. An oil-based acne cleanser may seem like an oxymoron, but thanks to its innovative technology, it’s not.

It’s enriched with salicylic acid to eradicate excess sebum, dissolve blackheads, and reduce pores to reveal a radiant complexion like no other. 

Mario Badescu Skin Care Acne Facial Cleanser 

Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser for Combination & Oily Skin, Oil-Free Face Wash with Salicylic Acid & Aloe Vera, Deep Pore Clean

Your skin will thank you if there’s Mario Badescu in your bathroom cabinet.

The Mario Badescu Skin Care Acne Facial Cleanser has come to rejuvenate your skin. Its pore-refining formula is infused with salicylic acid, thyme extract, and aloe vera to unclog pores, clear dead skin cells, and soothe skin without drying it out. 

Cetaphil Acne Gentle Cleanser Face Wash

Cetaphil Acne Face Wash, Gentle Clear Clarifying Acne Cream Cleanser with 2% Salicylic Acid, Deep Cleans & Treats Acne Prone Skin, Skin Care for Sensitive Skin

This dermatologist-recommended, salicylic-acid-infused Cetaphil Acne Gentle Cleanser Face Wash will purify, nourish, heal and revitalize the skin while defending against dryness.

It’s entrenched with the perfect exfoliation formula that doesn’t dry out the skin’s barrier, leaving the skin feeling refreshed and replenished.

Salicylic acid is a blemish-busting key ingredient.

This cream face wash melts away environmental impurities and makeup for a radiant look.

Biore Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser 

Bioré Charcoal Acne Cleanser, Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment, Helps Prevent Breakouts, Oil Absorption and Control for Acne Prone, Oily Skin

Biore puts its skin-balancing prowess to work in the Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser.

Harnessing the natural powers of charcoal to draw out impurities, the creamy, salicylic-acid-rich formula refines pores, reduces the risk of spots, and eliminates excess oil without stripping the skin’s natural moisture barrier. 

Derma E Hydrating Gentle Cleanser 

DERMA E Hydrating Gentle Cleanser with Hyaluronic Acid – Moisturizing Facial Cleanser Tones, Moisturizes & Improves Skin Texture – Gently Exfoliating Papaya Face Wash

Infused with hyaluronic acid, this Derma E Hydrating Gentle Cleanser  is a potent hydration blend.

Refresh a tired-looking complexion with Dermalogica’s Intensive Moisture Cleanser, enriched with nourishing hyaluronic acid, camomile, and vitamins A and E to replenish and help increase the skin’s natural resilience.

Leaving the visage feeling clean, soft, and radiant, this gentle, non-stripping formula is perfect for everyday use in preparation for your beauty regime.

Differin Daily Deep Cleanser 

Acne Face Wash with Benzoyl Peroxide by the makers of Differin Gel, Daily Deep Cleanser, Gentle Skin Care for Acne Prone Sensitive Skin

Effectively removes dirt and impurities from the skin with the help of Differin Daily Deep Cleanser. 

It’s infused with benzol peroxide to remove dirt and oil build-up efficiently, revealing a revitalized, more radiant complexion that feels renewed and refreshed.

Kate Somerville EradiKate Daily Foaming Cleanser 

Kate Somerville EradiKate® Daily Cleanser Acne Treatment

Look no further than this sulfur-rich formula for a brighter complexion. Bring more radiant skin to the surface with Kate Somerville EradiKate Daily Foaming Cleanser.

The clinically proven formula helps to deeply cleanse the skin to remove any impurities from the day, leaving it refreshed and purified.

Formulated with a cocktail of three percent sulfur, organic honey, and natural oat extract – this nourishing face wash will cleanse while feeding the skin with essential nutrients, resulting in a healthier and more luminous complexion.

PanOxyl Peroxide Facial Wash with 10 Percent Benzoyl Peroxide

PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Maximum Strength Antimicrobial

For the ultimate purifying experience, try this illuminating PanOxyl Peroxide Facial Wash with 10 Percent Benzoyl Peroxide that leaves skin visibly gleaming and glistening.

A deep benzoyl peroxide-infused facial wash with an innovative foam texture is anti-inflammatory and comedolytic.

It calms irritated skin, dissolves clogged pores, captures excess oil, and absorbs impurities to provide intense triple cleansing. Leaving your complexion feeling purified, refreshed, and luminous.

The skin will appear bright and fresh throughout the day.

Use once a week. Apply an even layer to a dry face, then moisten your fingertips and gently massage in circular motions until a pleasant foam develops. Remove with water or a damp sponge.

Final Verdict 

The absolute best acne face wash is the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser. The budget-friendly blemish-banishing and breakout-bursting cleanser is an all-around winner.

My second favorite is more of a splurge, but worth it. The Shu Uemura Porefinist Sakura Refreshing Oil goes deep where no other cleanser goes to give you that magical glow. 

If you don’t like to leave home without a made up face we have also reviewed the Best Foundations for Acne-Prone Skin. There’s more than one foundation out there, made especially for you.