The Best 10 Acne Body Washes of 2017: Which Is Really Effective?

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Last Updated: October 30, 2017

This guide was first published in 2015. We recently gave it a much needed update with most up-to-date buying tips and recommendations.

Dry, itchy skin.

How many times have you walked out of the shower with your skin feeling too tight, too itchy and too dry?

If it’s frequent, then you have a problem.

And surprisingly, you’re not alone.

A lot of people use the wrong products in washing their skin and it’s causing them more skin problems.

But, guess what?

After spending more than 40 hours going through reviews in Amazon, Reddit and online retailers and analyzing published studies and research findings, we discovered the best cleanser that will work really well with your skin type.

In our search for the body washes that can halt acne, here are our top picks.

A Quick Glance At Our Top Picks

This is the point where you’re probably too excited to know the details. I feel you.

So, here’s a quick look at our top choices for the best body wash for acne-prone skin.

Brand

Key Features

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    Skin Type: All
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    Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, tea tree oil and glycolic acid
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    Skin Type: All
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    Key Ingredients: Fine-grained date seed powder, salicylic acid and triclosan
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    Skin Type: All
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    Key Ingredients: Tea tree oil and tamanu oil
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    Skin Type: All except extremely sensitive skin
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    Key Ingredients: Benzoyl peroxide
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    Skin Type: All except extremely sensitive skin
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    Key Ingredients: 2% salicylic acid

How To Find The Best Body Wash For Acne

Are you sure you’re using the right body wash?

If that question made you think twice, I’m betting that the answer is no. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Honestly, finding the best body wash for acne is never a walk in the park. It can take a series of trial-and-error before you can find one that can really get rid of those annoying zits on your body.

I know the feeling. I’ve been there.

So, listen.

If you want to get clearer skin, you have to pay close attention to what you’re applying to it. Ideally, the best body wash for acne needs to be able to do these three things:


Fights acne-causing bacteria

The first on this list is benzoyl peroxide. It’s one of the best ingredients out there that can kill acne-causing bacteria, particularly the ones in your pores.

However, there’s a catch to this ingredient.

Although it can fight those bacteria, it can’t really increase your skin’s resistance against them. This means that you have to be consistent in using your body wash if you want to prevent new zits from forming.

You should also be careful on how much product you use. It can dry out your skin if you use too much of it.

Now, if you aren’t feeling confident about using benzoyl peroxide or you’re allergic to it, another ingredient you should look for in a body wash is tea tree oil.

Believe it or not, this ingredient actually works similarly to benzoyl peroxide- with fewer side effects. It’s not as drying and it doesn’t trigger new acne.

The problem with this?

Well, most products with tea tree oil have enough of it to smell nice but not enough to fight acne. So, when choosing your body wash, try to find one that has around 5% tea tree oil.


Treats inflammation

Getting rid of acne doesn’t end with killing its cause. Obviously, you’ll have to deal with the inflammation and pain that go with it.

This is where ingredients like witch hazel fit in.

Witch hazel can alleviate swelling, making your zits less painful and noticeable. By tightening the pores, this ingredient works as a natural astringent, too.

It can also alleviate itching which is one of the reasons why post-acne blemishes happen.

You see, popping a zit doesn’t always result in acne scars but it can cause discoloration. It’s your skin’s way of protecting itself against injuries.

And you know what?

That discoloration is a lot harder to treat than the actual acne since it can take weeks or even months to completely fade.

By reducing itch, you’re practically preventing blemishes.

Now, you might be wondering: Is witch hazel the only ingredient that can do that?

There’s actually a lot of other ingredients that can do that. Green team, white willow bark and calendula extract have anti-inflammatory properties, too.


Unclogs pores

If you want your skin to be free from acne, you have to make sure your pores stay clear, right?

You bet!

However, that’s easier said than done. With so many things that can trigger skin breakouts, it can be tricky to keep your pores clog-free.

But, here’s the thing:

There are ingredients that can do that and I bet you know most of them already.

Let’s start with the most common ingredient in a lot of skin care products: Salicylic acid.

This is a form of beta hydroxy acid that’s able to penetrate your skin’s oil glands. There, it dissolves and sheds away impurities clogging your pores.

And as it opens up your pores, salicylic acid can also soothe inflammation.

Apart from salicylic acid, there are other natural ingredients that can help unclog your pores. Neem is one great example since it possesses natural cleansing properties.

Apart from these things, you also have to be careful about formulas. As much as possible, avoid body washes that are too drying.

Dry and dehydrated skin tends to produce more oil to protect itself and this can give you more problems. You should also steer clear from products that contain fragrances as they are known to be notorious irritants.

Now that we got those things covered, let’s dig a little deeper.

Reviews of the Best Acne Body Wash

Why We Love It: Cleanses without overdrying the skin

Don’t you just hate it when your skin suddenly turns flaky and patchy after washing?

Yeah, it’s annoying and frustrating. I know the feeling.

But, guess what?

Among the products we’ve tried for this review, we found one product that doesn’t do that.

Exposed Acne Treatment Body Wash is packed with potent ingredients to fight acne. Despite that, it isn’t as dehydrating as other cleansers.

The secret lies in its formula.

Surprisingly, this body wash combines acne-fighting medicine with natural extracts.

It has tea tree oil which can fight acne-causing bacteria and strengthen your skin’s natural defense. It also has glycolic acid that can break down your dead skin cells, unclog your pores and stimulate collagen production.

And you know what else?

It’s free from parabens and sulfates, too!

Seriously, what more can you ask for a body wash for acne?

Alright, I’ll tell you more.

This product comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. So, if it doesn’t work out for you, you can get your money back.
As for the price?

Here’s a tip:

There’s an Exposed Acne Treatment Kit which you can purchase if you want to save more.

You can compare the kits here, so you’ll know exactly which one is for you. You can get the Basic Kit and save as much as 40% or go for the Ultimate Kit and get 53% off.

Now, going back to the body wash.

To get the most out of it, it’s recommended that you use it daily. You can use your bare hands in applying and concentrating the product on your problem areas.

The body wash, however, is scented. It actually has a nice smell, but if the scent of tea tree oil isn’t that appealing to you, it can be quite an issue.

Why We Love It: Can treat severe acne

If you are looking for something potent, this one is definitely it.

Combining glycolic and salicylic acids, Murad Acne Body Wash can deeply cleanse the skin. And it does so while soothing your irritated skin.

How?

Well, this body wash also has green tea and licorice extract. These two can bring down your skin’s redness and calm any inflammation.

It can take care of your dead skin cells, too. It has date seed powder to make sure your pores stay clog-free.

When your pores are clear, your skin is less likely to break out.

Note:

This Murad Acne Body Wash is developed by dermatologists and is considered as the first step in the Murad acne control regimen.

However, although it’s part of a system, it doesn’t mean that you can’t use it on its own. You can still purchase it and pair it with your existing skin care products.

But, of course, if you want to get the best results, you have to use it consistently. It has a rich lather and a pleasant scent which can easily hook you.


If you are a gym buff and you’re prone to backne, this should definitely be on your list.

Why We Love It: Leaves skin clean and refreshed

Listen:

You don’t always have to rely on strong acne medications just to get clear skin. There are natural remedies that can give you the same results without compromising your skin.

Tea tree oil is one great example. It can target impurities, control oil production and fight acne-causing bacteria.

Sounds too good to be true?

Well, believe it or not, this oil can do all of those things and there’s research to back that up.

Now, you might be wondering: How can you use tea tree oil for acne?

There are actually tons of recipes you can follow but the most efficient way is to just pick a body wash with the said oil. No need to measure or even mix ingredients.

This is exactly where The Body Shop Tea Tree Body Wash fits in.

It’s a skin clearing body wash with a soap-free formula. And while it doesn’t foam as much as the other cleansers do, it can still deliver great results.

In fact, it can make you feel refreshed after use.

The product comes with a refreshing scent, thanks to its tea tree oil. If you’re not a fan of the scent, don’t let this intimidate you as the fragrance easily wears off as you rinse.


Another great thing about this body wash is that it doesn’t contain parabens. You can use the product without having to worry about your health.

This body wash has highest strength benzoyl peroxide available without a prescription. This ingredient can kill acne-causing bacteria without harming the skin.

And you know what else?

Benzoyl peroxide also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and exfoliating properties. It targets the root cause of pimples so using it on a daily basis can help prevent new breakouts.

However, there’s one problem.

Since this body wash is potent, it has the potential to cause irritation and peeling. If you have sensitive skin, use the product with great caution.

If you are new to using products with benzoyl peroxide, it’s a good idea to start off with using it once a day. After your skin has gotten accustomed to it or if you see no negative reactions (read: redness, itching and rashes), you can increase the number of times you use it in a day.

And one more thing.

You shouldn’t use PanOxyl foaming wash with other acne treatments unless recommended by your dermatologist. This is to avoid the risk of cross-reactions.

It can cause staining, too. Make sure you’re not using it near dark colored clothes.

Why We Love It: Exfoliates the skin

Proactiv is a name you can’t easily miss when looking for an effective acne solution and this cleansing wash is one good reason why.

Formulated with 2% salicylic acid, the product can get rid of the dead skin cells clogging your pores. It can help regulate your skin cells, too.

And the best part?

Despite the high percentage of its active ingredient, this one won’t dry your skin out. Instead, you’ll look more radiant, thanks to its exfoliating beads.

A word of caution:

Because the body wash contains a higher percentage of salicylic acid, it’s not the best one you can get for sensitive skin. It’s too much to use on mild acne, too.

So, if you are going to use this product, you have to use it with caution.

Also, there is no pump. This can be a bit of an issue since it doesn’t only make dispensing hard but messy, too.

Why We Love It: Has soothing ingredients

Like Proactiv Deep Cleansing Wash, Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Body Wash also has 2% salicylic acid. With this percentage, the product really does a great job in unclogging pores and treating acne.

Now, here’s where it’s different.

Unlike the other product that relies solely on acne medicines, this one has a triple soothing formula to make sure your skin doesn’t dry out. It has chamomile, aloe and vitamin E.

So, in essence, you won’t just remove acne, but you can also get clearer, smoother and more glowing skin from using this product.

Sounds impressive, right?

Well, the good things don’t end there.

This body wash is also free from soap, dye and oil which lessens the chances of irritation.

Take note, however, that having fewer irritants does not completely guarantee that you won’t have any reaction. Remember, it still has a high percentage of salicylic acid so there is still some risks.

The product has a thin consistency but it still lathers quite well. You can use it with a washcloth or a bristled shower brush to really cleanse your skin.

Don’t scrub too hard, though. 

Why We Love It: Perfect for sensitive skin

Are you sure your body wash isn’t making your skin worse?

Honestly, finding the perfect acne body wash for sensitive skin isn’t that easy. You may have to go through a series of trial-and-error before you can find the right product that won’t harm your skin.

But, guess what?

We’ll end your search here with Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash. This product is recommended by dermatologists to be gentle enough for sensitive skin.

It can take care of the zits on your chest, back and shoulders without drying up your skin. It lathers without leaving any residue, too.

You won’t have to deal with the icky and sticky feeling most body washes come with.

As for acne?

It’s quite effective since it can dry out zits in just a few washes.

But, there’s one small catch.

The body wash has fragrance. This means that it still has the potential to cause allergies, particularly if your skin can’t tolerate that ingredient.

So, what should you do?

I suggest you test the product out and see how your skin will react- just to stay on the safe side.

Why We Love It: Prevents future breakouts

Don’t you just hate it when your skin just can’t stop breaking out despite using an acne remedy?

I know the feeling. I’ve been there.

You see, one of the reasons why your zits won’t go away is because you don’t nip the problems in the bud. You’re probably stuck with a product that simply calms the inflammation and redness of your acne.

Perfect Image Salicylic Deep Gel Exfoliating Cleanser is different from that. Formulated with tea tree oil and salicylic acid, it works to unclog your pores and kill the bacteria inside them.

It means that it doesn’t just treat acne but it makes sure that your skin stays free from acne.

And that’s what you want, right?

But, hang on a minute. There’s actually more.

This body wash is also formulated with green tea. It’s a potent antioxidant that can help your skin recover while protecting it from further damage.

It can soothe irritated skin, too.

Note:

The product is a gentle exfoliator which means that skin peeling can happen. If this type of exfoliation isn’t up your alley or if you have really sensitive skin, this product may not be the best pick for you.

Why We Love It: Reduces acne and acne scars

Just when you thought your problems with acne is over, you have acne scars to deal with.

While some of them fade away in time, there are acne marks that can stay permanently on your skin. And that’s where they become a little frustrating.

Formulated with glycolic acid complex, Peter Thomas Roth Blemish Buffing Beads can help you with that.

Let me explain how:

Glycolic acid is a chemical exfoliator that’s popular for unclogging pores and encouraging cell turnover. What this basically means is that it can get rid of dead and old skin cells so newer, healthier cells can surface.

In addition to that, this body wash also has jojoba beads which gently exfoliate the skin and decrease the appearance of scars.

Now, here’s the thing:

The buffing beads can be a bit irritating for dry skin. So, make sure to use a small amount of product and don’t scrub it too hard on your skin.

Follow up with a good moisturizer after to prevent further dryness.

Why We Love It: Provides continuous moisture without causing breakouts

Promising to provide 24 hours of moisture, Sebamed Face and Body Wash is your best option if you have really dry skin or if you have lots of dry patches because of acne.

It’s so moisturizing that you won’t feel any tightness after rinsing it off. But, of course, you shouldn’t rely on it completely to hydrate your skin.

You should still apply your moisturizer right after taking a shower.

The body wash offers 33.8 fluid ounce of product. Compared with most body washes, this one contains a generous amount.

So, even if it’s costly, you’ll still get your money’s worth.

Apart from the quantity, you’ll definitely love its formula.

It’s 100% soap-free, hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic. It’s safe to use even on sensitive skin.

Three Things You Can Do To Get Rid Of Body Acne

Whether you are dealing with acne occasionally or your skin just can’t stop breaking out, you have to admit that pimples can damage not just your skin but self-confidence, too.

And if you have them all over your body, they can easily drive you nuts.

Now, before you throw your hands up in the air, here are a couple of tips that might actually help you out.

Take a look:


Know what causes your acne

To tell you the truth, there are tons of things that can cause acne. Your diet, physical activity and even the clothes you wear can potentially trigger skin breakouts.

Even the medications you’re taking can be acne culprits, too.

By knowing exactly what causes your pimples, you can get one step closer to finally getting rid of those annoying acne. But, that is where things get tricky.

You see, everyone’s skin reacts differently. This means you can’t really blame your friends’ acne triggers for your own skin breakouts.

Now, you’re probably wondering: How do I know my acne triggers?

Simple.

The trick is in paying close attention to how your skin behaves. Take note of what you eat, do and wear every day and see which of them is causing your acne.

It can take a bit of work but once you know your triggers, trust me, things will get a lot easier for you.


Make it a habit to shower daily

Ok, I know what you’re thinking.

Showering every single day can be an overkill for a lot of people but if you have acne-prone skin, it’s exactly what you need.

Just think about lying in bed with tons of bacteria, oil and dead skin cells and you’ll easily realize why. These are the exact things that can cause acne and if you don’t eliminate them, you’re just encouraging more skin breakouts.

Note:

Although taking a shower is a must, you don’t have to spend too much time in your bathroom. Water can be drying and it can strip your skin’s natural oils, leaving it vulnerable.

Oh, and one more thing.

No matter how long you are in the shower, don’t forget to moisturize right after. It can help restore your skin’s moisture and protection.

Tip: Use a lotion that doesn’t have any of these ingredients to avoid breakouts.


Don’t forget to exfoliate

The skin on your body, much like the skin on your face, accumulates dead skin cells. If you don’t remove them, they are likely to end up clogging your pores.

So, to make sure that doesn’t happen, you should invest in an exfoliator fit for your skin type and use it no more than twice a week. Although you need exfoliation, you still shouldn’t overdo it as that can make your skin more prone to breakouts, oil and damage.
You can use manual exfoliators, like a pumice stone, loofah or a brush. However, if you really want to make sure your pores stay clog-free, your best choice involves exfoliating cleansers.

These cleansers can either contain physical exfoliants or chemical exfoliants.

Let me explain further.

Physical exfoliants tend to be harsher and more abrasive since they typically contain walnut shells, apricot kernels or sugar. If you are going to use them, make sure to rub them gently to avoid damaging your skin.

For a more efficient but gentler exfoliation, go with chemical exfoliants. These products contain enzymes and acids that break the bond that holds dead skin cells together.

The most common ingredients you’ll encounter with such products include glycolic acid, salicylic acid and lactic acid.

Conclusion​

If you don’t spend a lot of time thinking when you’re buying your acne body wash, it’s time to break that habit. Like the other skin care products you use on your skin, your body washes matter, too.

In fact, they can make a huge difference for your acne-prone skin.

With the right ingredients and formula, they can help treat stubborn acne and prevent new zits from forming.

Of course, all those things won’t happen overnight. But, with this list of the best body wash for acne, you will surely be on your way to a good start.

Hannah Do

Hannah is the founder of ThankYourSkin. Having personally battled acne during her younger years, she aspires to provide an invaluable guide to anyone suffering from it.

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4 Comments

  1. This was good info thank you.

    I found throughout years of acne breakouts, products with only sulfuric acid were useless for my face.
    Benzoyl peroxide was the missing ingredient that stopped breakouts for me. I used Proactive at first and it worked great. Problem was I got tired of automatically paying $30/mo and paying way too much for ALL of their products when the only thing I needed was the “repairing lotion” a.k.a. benzoyl peroxide!

    So I did my own research and discovered Acne.org
    It’s been years now and I couldn’t be happier. Besides, I don’t have to be hassled with reordering every month. Acne.org products last a long time (3-6 months).
    I do hope the company and their products get the recognition it deserves.

    Grateful consumer!

  2. Been battling with these dark scars after my acne treatment. I’ll use the top product you’ve recommended and i hope to get better results.

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