Not all of us are lucky enough to have permanently glowing or refreshed looking skin. In the US, between 40-55% of the population is thought to suffer from persistent low-grade acne. This is a staggering figure until you remember how profitable the skincare industry happens to be. Every year, we buy lotions and creams in their millions, with the hope of finding that perfect product; the one which melts away imperfections and provides flawless coverage.
The question is, does this product exist?
And if it does, where can you get it from, because it’s going to make a big difference to a lot of lives. Even if your acne isn’t severe, it’s probably caused you some anxiety or led to confidence issues in the past. It can be a major drain on self-esteem, and this is why we want to help you tackle spots, zits, blemishes, and dark patches. So, we’ve put together a list of our seven favorite acne face wash products.
Take a look, pick out one which fits your lifestyle, and move forward without pesky breakouts getting in the way.
Best Face Wash For Acne Prone Skin Review
Liquid to Foam
Liquid to gel
In our search for the best face wash for acne prone skin, we found this cleansing product from Murad. It is designed for use on mild to moderate acne, but it is not a good choice for those with very sensitive complexions. It will produce noticeable effects when applied to severe breakouts. However, as it is formulated for low-grade skin problems, it isn’t a magic cure-all.
What it is very good at is washing out oily pores and leaving the face feeling refreshed and reinvigorated. Our favorite thing about it is that the acne fighting particles actually remain active for hours after application. So, you can wash your face with this product in the morning and know that it’s battling breakouts right through the day.
According to the manufacturer, Murad Clarifying Cleanser kills 99.9% of surface bacteria. While it’s hard to tell for sure if this is the case, it did leave our skin looking very clear and hydrated. It might have something to do with the soothing combination of tea tree and menthol, which work together to reduce soreness and redness around spots.
You might feel a slight tingling for a few hours after you’ve washed with the cleanser. This is because those deep acting particles are still rooting out and eliminating acne bacteria. Whenever you have salicylic acid in a face wash, you know that it’s going to be powerful. Plus, the addition of silver nitrate adds antibacterial fortification and prevents further spots and zits.
What We Liked
- Acne fighting formula works all day
- Soothing tea tree/menthol reduces inflammation
- Salicylic acid eliminates 99.9% of bacteria
- Produces noticeable effects even on severe acne
Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam
Clinique is one of those skincare brands that you just know are worth the investment. It has been around for a long time, and it is extremely popular with the beauty conscious. This Clinique Acne Solutions Foam is no exception. It might not look very exciting on the shelf, but we reckon this is a sign of a solid product.
After all, you don’t need to shout if you know your cleanser is the best in store. We quickly became big fans of the product, because it isn’t just for the face. You can use it on your back, legs, arms, neck, or anywhere else that you tend to breakout. The salicylic acid sweeps away acne causing bacteria and leaves pores clean and fresh. Results are fast and fantastic.
Plus, it’s always nice when a face wash is easy to use. Too many manufacturers don’t put any thought into practical application these days. Clinique, however, has provided a simple pump action bottle. The foam comes out very easily. It might be a little on the thin side for some, but it only gets overly runny if you try to apply too much at one time.
It is lightweight and non-greasy, but it doesn’t lather as you’d expect. So, it isn’t a foam in the strictest sense. It feels more like a very soft, very delicate cream when you apply it. Perhaps the best thing about this Clinique product is that changes start to appear within hours. Yes, that’s right; you could be looking at smoother, clearer skin by lunchtime.
What We Liked
- Pump applicator is easy to use
- Can be used on back, legs, arms, etc.
- Very fast acting (results in hours)
- Replenishes moisture and hydrates skin
For many, this Humane Acne Treatment is the best face wash for acne prone complexions. While some of the other products contain salicylic acid (a naturally occurring acne fighter), this one includes benzoyl peroxide. The two chemicals are very similar. However, benzoyl peroxide is considered to be the most powerful.
For this reason, it is commonly used to treat severe breakouts. It is highly effective, but you are advised to ask a GP or dermatologist if it’s okay for you to use it. Some skin types will just be too sensitive. With the Humane Body and Face Wash, it’s possible to smooth and blend old acne scars, as well as preventing new ones from forming.
It contains no parabens, formaldehyde, or any other harsh substances. These are the things which often end up aggravating skin even while you’re trying to soothe it. The pump applicator is easy to use, and the consistency of the product is satisfyingly firm. This means that it won’t run through your fingers, but it does take a little while to be absorbed into the face.
Over the weeks, you should see breakouts start to get milder and less frequent. The effects will be different for everybody. However, we tested Humane on mild to moderate acne, and it cleared up 70-80% of zits, spots, and blackheads within a week. It isn’t as fast acting as some other products, so you do need to have faith and be a little patient. The results will come.
What We Liked
- Free of parabens/formaldehyde
- Pump applicator is easy to use
- Consistency is thick without being heavy
- Can be used to treat even severe acne
This Amara wash is a little different to the rest, as it is designed to be left on as a face mask. You apply it to your complexion and leave it to set and rest for as long as the manufacturer advises. Fans of natural beauty products should be feeling their ears prick up at the mention of Dead Sea mud. It is a very popular substance, and it has long been used as a skin treatment.
We’ll give you a little warning. This is actual mud from the seabed, so it looks like, well, mud. It is dark in color, and it is a little weird spreading what is, essentially, dirt all over your face. These reservations don’t last long though because the effects are pretty remarkable. Within days of use, skin looks and feels hydrated, smooth, and almost completely blemish free.
Not only does this Amara face mask treat and reduce the appearance of acne, but it also smooths over wrinkles and fine lines as well. It is packed with super healthy minerals like potassium, zinc, iron, calcium, and magnesium. Just remember to stir the pot vigorously before application. As this is a natural substance, with active properties, it needs to be given a good shake.
It is the ideal choice for anybody who wants to stick with all natural ingredients. Generally, dermatologists do recommend products like this. They contain no harsh chemicals and can be applied to sensitive skin. On the other hand, it’s hard to tell for sure whether it’ll cause an allergic reaction because a small percentage of people are sensitive to organic substances.
What We Liked
- All natural, super nourishing formula
- Replenishes lost moisture
- Smooths the appearance of wrinkles
- Smooths the appearance of wrinkles
You’ll be pleased to know that Body Merry is another very nurturing and nourishing brand. Like Amara, they are committed to using natural ingredients. This sumptuous Vitamin C Cleanser, for example, is full of fragrant jojoba, tea tree, and rosehip. The jojoba actually comes in the form of tiny little beads which gently scrub away at dead skin.
This has the effect of brightening and lightening skin tone. Together with glycolic acid, the exfoliating beads clean out pores, eradicate excess oil, and create a fresh complexion. After we had used this cleanser, everything felt more vital and alive. That sense of heaviness and oiliness had gone, and there was almost a coolness about the skin.
One other thing to mention about Body Merry Vitamin C Cleanser is that works wonderfully on a range of skin problems. So, it won’t just clear up your acne. It is also great for blending the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, evening out dark patches, and smoothing over sun spots. While you’re taking care of your complexion, you’re also fighting the signs of aging.
The only downside to this product is those little jojoba beads. Exfoliating beads, in general, have gone out of style recently, with many people claiming that they’re bad for the environment. This is something that you might want to think about hunting for the best face wash for acne. It is entirely up to you whether you’re happy using artificial microbeads.
What We Liked
- Microbeads penetrate deep into pores
- Works on wrinkles/fine lines/age spots too
- Contains all natural ingredients
- Packed with vitamin C for health and hydration
Cetaphil is a very popular acne treatment. You’ve probably seen it in beauty stores and pharmacists even if you haven’t tried it before. So, it has a reputation for being very reliable and effective. We’re pleased to say that we wholeheartedly agree. While it doesn’t look as flashy on the shelf as some other brands, be assured that it’s what is on the inside that counts.
One thing which makes Cetaphil really impressive is its ability to handle combination skin. Most acne lotions, creams, and wash products struggle to restore that balance between freshness and hydration. For example, you might want to get rid of excess oil in one part of your face but retain a healthy degree of moisture in the more balanced areas.
However, if you use this face wash every day, you should find (after 3-4 days) that every part of your complexion feels like it’s in better shape. On the other hand, it does contain a substance called cetyl alcohol. If you are prone to dry skin already, we recommend pairing it with a good moisturizer. The gentle abrasive surfactants literally dissolve dirt trapped in blocked pores.
The formula is satisfying and easy to apply. It has a reasonably thick consistency without feeling heavy on the face. Plus, it comes with a pump applicator which is always a plus. We did notice that it doesn’t remove makeup quite as well as the other face wash products. You might need to take off cosmetics first with wipes or a liquid remover.
What We Liked
- Very kind to combination skin
- Formula is lightweight and non-greasy
- Pump applicator makes cleansing easy
- Dissolves surface oils fast
If you’ve got the time, check out the rest of the Exposed skin care range, because this cleanser is designed to work in conjunction with those products. You can apply it on its own though, and you’ll still see impressive results. The combination of alpha acids and beta hydroxyl forms an acne fighting formula which blows zits and spots away.
It is fast acting, deep penetrating, and very nourishing when it comes to skin cell function. In fact, Exposed face wash products restore vitality to the lipid layer of the skin. This is a big part of keeping it protected from external stressors. There is no soap, parabens, lauryl, or laureth sulfate in this formula. So, there’s no chance of irritation or soreness after daily use.
The addition of olive leaf extract is a nice touch and one of our favorite things about the product. Olive extracts are highly prized within the beauty industry because they are packed full of antioxidants. They reduce the signs of aging and draw moisture back into tired complexions. With this non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic formulation, top results are surety.
What We Liked
- Restores health to skin defenses
- Can be used on sensitive skin
- Free of soap/parabens/other harsh chemicals
- Leaves skin feeling silky soft all day
Buying Guide: Know What To Look For!
When trying to find the best face wash for acne, stick to formulas which contain natural, gentle ingredients. Harsh chemicals and artificial colorings will only steal moisture from your complexion, and they may even cause allergic reactions. The exception here is salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. These substances are very powerful, but they are kind to skin cells.
The two naturally occurring chemicals penetrate deep into pores to flush out dirt and excess oil. This prevents blockages and significantly reduces the number of frequency of black and whiteheads. So, if you use them enough, your breakouts will be less intense and less of a regular occurrence.
We do advise you to ask your GP or dermatologist for advice before applying benzoyl peroxide. It is potent, highly effective, and primarily designed to treat severe acne. Therefore, it’s best to check if your skin type is going to be able to handle it. If you are prone to blockages, you might want to pick up a face wash with exfoliating properties.
That way, you can scrub dead cells away without causing any damage to your face. Don’t forget to prioritize formulas which will restore balance. For example, if you struggle with very dry skin, a slightly oilier product might actually be helpful. It isn’t recommended for naturally greasy zones though. Finding combination products can be tricky, but they are out there.
At a Glance - A Quick Review Of Our Favorite Face Wash's
When it comes to the best face wash for acne, Murad Acne Clarifying Cleanser is a top contender. It is unique because, unlike other products, the acne-fighting formula continues to work for hours after application.
Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam is a product which looks pretty uninspiring. Fortunately, its effects are much more impressive. It is one of the best wash products for handling combination skin because it adds moisture to dry areas.
Humane Acne Treatment Body and Face Wash is one of the stronger face wash products on this list. It is best for treating severe acne because it contains a powerful chemical called benzoyl peroxides. If you really suffer from breakouts, try Humane.
For an all-natural burst of reinvigoration, try the Amara Organics Dead Sea Mud Mask. You don’t get more wholesome than this. Apply it liberally to breakout prone areas. It restores hydration, boosts cell function, and leaves skin looking visibly clearer.
Body Merry Vitamin C Exfoliating Cleanser is packed full of gorgeous plant extracts. It also contains exfoliating microbeads which are designed to gently dislodge dead skin and empty the pores of excess oil. If that weren’t enough, it also fights the signs of aging.
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser is a brand with high levels of customer approval, so you know you’re going to get a high-quality product. This face wash is very effective at controlling combination skin types. It replenishes and drains oil in the right areas.
Exposed Skin Care Facial Cleanser produces the best results when used in conjunction with the rest of the Exposed skin care range. However, it can lead to impressive changes when used alone too. Apply daily for brighter, lighter feeling skin and visibly drier, fresher pores. Easily the best face wash for sensitive skin!
We’ve come to the end of our journey through the best acne products on the market. Now, it’s up to you to decide which ones are worthy of a place on your dresser or in the bathroom cabinet. We hope that they can help you get a grip on stubborn breakouts and give you back control of your complexion.