Best Face Washes & Cleansers For Acne Prone Skin - 2017 Reviews 

In our commitment to help you end your skin breakouts once and for all, we’ve gone through the hard work of comparing and assessing 20 different products to come up with the 10 best face washes for acne-prone skin. They were selected based on their effectiveness in healing existing acne, controlling the factors that contribute to skin breakouts and preventing new zits from developing

Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Gel Wash has 2% salicylic acid and promises to give you a noticeable difference in your skin in just 12 hours. It can dry up pimples quickly but can also leave your skin a little bit less moisturized.

Instead of salicylic acid, Murad Clarifying Cleanser has silver citrate. It's a great antibacterial agent which can almost completely eradicate those nasty acne-causing bacteria on your skin. Similar with Exposed Facial Cleanser, this product has no parabens.

Infused with natural acne solutions, such as primrose, beetroot and willow bark extract, Burt's Bees Purifying Gel Cleanser ranks third on our list. It's a great choice for a wide range of skin types.

Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam, meanwhile, works well on sensitive skin. It contains salicylic acid and is great to use on both pimples and dark spots.

If you have mild acne, this face wash can do the trick.

One of the most popular names when it comes to treating acne is Clean & Clear. The brand's Continuous Control Acne Cleanser is our top 5 face wash in this list.

As its name implies, this product can provide continuous protection against skin breakouts. With its benzoyl peroxide content and patent pending technology, you can rely on it for daily protection against acne.

What Makes A Good Face Wash For Acne Prone Skin?

When picking a face wash, you need to be cognizant of which cleansers are most appropriate for your skin type.

Acne prone skin isn't exclusive to oily skin types. Several people with dry, sensitive skin experience acne, as do those with combination skin. We also have a buying guide about Best Face Wash for Oily Skin if you want to take a look.

There are a few things to keep in mind when picking a face wash for your specific type of acne.

  • Acne-fighting ingredients: According to WebMD, facial cleansers need to include medicated ingredients — such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid — in order to treat and prevent acne
  • Exfoliation: Dry and dead skin cells exacerbate acne prone skin, which is why cleansers should clean the skin, while also stripping away these cells
  • Terms: Regardless of your skin type, terms like "oil-free" and "noncomedogenic" are two terms to look for when picking a face wash, according to
  • Sensitivity: Consumers also should check with a dermatologist to assess their skin type and level of sensitivity before picking a cleanser, as some ingredients in aggressive washes may irritate the skin. For those with dry and sensitive skin, About Health recommend seeking creamy, gentler cleansers that fight acne as well as inflammation.

10 Best Face Washes For Acne Prone Skin

Below are 10 face washes that are monumentally effective for acne sufferers. Although not every product may cater to your specific needs, you are sure to find at least a few to aid in alleviating your skin ailment, and leading you toward a beautiful complexion.

1. Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Gel Wash

Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Gel Wash is an amazing product- if you’re going to ask me. It can make a visible change in your skin in just 12 hours.

A gentle reminder:

It won’t be able to totally get rid of your acne in the said time but you’ll be able to see an improvement.

The product contains 2% salicylic acid to deeply cleanse your pores from dirt, sebum and dead skin cells that can get trapped there. It also controls oil well, too.

It doesn’t contain a strong scent and a little amount of the product goes a long way. Take note, however, that the product can cause dryness so make sure you follow up with a good moisturizer.

I find its packaging interesting.

Instead of a tube or bottle you can get from other products, this one comes with a pump which is perfect for traveling and great in keeping the product free from contamination. The product flow can even be locked.


  • Has 2% salicylic acid
  • Quick results
  • Lathers up well


  • Can be drying
  • Not for people with dry skin

2. Murad Clarifying Cleanser

Murad Clarifying Cleanser

One of the key ingredients in this product is silver citrate, a potent antibacterial that can alleviate 99.9 percent of irritating bacteria caused by acne.

Free of harmful ingredients like parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, Murad Clarifying Cleanser's encapsulated salicylic acid delivers medicated acne treatment that will continue fighting breakouts and healing acne throughout the day.

The product is not tested on animals and given a thumbs up from dermatologists.


  • Continued release of acne-fighting salicylic acid fights acne and prevents breakouts throughout the day
  • Cools and calms irritated skin
  • Priced at around 25 dollars, it is one of the most affordable Murad products


  • Possible dryness with long-term use
  • May be too powerful for mild acne
  • May irritate combination and sensitive skin types

3. Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions Purifying Gel Cleanser

Natural Acne Solutions Purifying Gel Cleanser

Comprised of 99.4% natural ingredients, this Purifying Gel Cleanser fights acne with salicylic acne, while also calming and soothing irritated skin thanks to beet root and primrose.

While the salicylic acne fights and prevents blemishes and bacteria, the Willow Bark Extract works to reduce inflammation and irritation that is characteristic of acne prone skin.


  • Natural ingredients help avoid irritation and inflammation
  • Geared toward a variety of skin types
  • Heals and fights acne, along with harmful bacteria and grime


  • Some have reported a lack of benefit for blackheads
  • May not be suitable for everyday use when not experiencing a breakout
  • Long-term use may lead to dryness

4. Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam

CLINIQUE Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam

Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam uses a mild, foamy formula to gently fight acne and prevent breakouts without irritating the skin.

As Clinique is known for delivering products with a gentle yet potent effect, this product successfully fights acne while also soothing skin and leaving a silky soft feel.


  • Fights acne without threat of over-drying
  • Soothing for sensitive skin types
  • Priced at approximately 20 dollars, most consumers need only one pump to ameliorate acne, so the product should last a long time


  • A few users have reported the product leading to greater breakouts
  • Some have experienced dryness with long-term use
  • May be too strong for mild acne

5. Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser


Like the other products in this line, Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser fights acne and prevents breakout.

The patented pore-penetrating technology continues preventing breakouts throughout the day.

The product uses benzoyl peroxide — a wonderful acne-fighter for all skin types — to keep fighting acne and killing bacteria continuously. Even severe blemishes and cysts are no match for this cleanser.


  • Pore-penetrating technolong allows continual prevention of breakouts
  • Some reviewers reported skin clearing completely within one week
  • Priced at approximately five dollars and available at most drugstores, the product is affordable and accessible


  • May irritate some sensitive skin types
  • Some report the product has a bleaching effect on towels and fabrics
  • Fragrance may displease some buyers, as some has reported it to be too strong

6. Boscia Clear Complexion Cleanser

CLINIQUE Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam

Boscia Clear Complexion Cleanser combines natural ingredients like willow bark, rosemary, and geranium to cleanse and fight acne while also improving skin's elasticity.

Rosemary leaf extract offer age-defying benefits by tightening to skin and also reducing redness and inflammation.

The product is free from preservatives and irritating ingredients like ethanol alcohol.


  • Heals acne and prevents future breakouts
  • Improves complexion and has age-defying effects
  • Only a small amount is needed for full effect, making this a long-lasting buy
  • Several natural ingredients provide calming effects to the most sensitive skin types


  • Some reviewers experienced over-drying and irritation
  • Some experienced greater breakouts initially
  • The tightening effect caused by rose leaf extract has been uncomfortable for some users

7. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash


Neutrogena has long been touted as a leader in acne fighting products, and this cleanser is one of their staples.Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash gently yet effectively combats blemishes and future breakouts thanks to salicylic acid and oil-free, noncomedogenic ingredients.

Several ingredients combine to sooth the skin without feeling heavy or leaving any residue.

Many users report the cleanser effectively rids their complexion of harmful dead skin cells.


  • Priced at as little as five dollars, the product is extremely affordable
  • Combats blemishes and prevents future breakouts
  • Eliminates grime and dead skin


  • Some have found the product harsh and drying
  • May be too strong for mild breakouts
  • Some have been displeased with scent of product

8. Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser

Aveeno Clear COmplexion Foaming Cleanser

Perfect for all skin types, Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser gently yet effectively clears breakouts, leaving skin feeling smooth and radiant.

The cleanser is hypoallergenic, oil-free, and noncomedogenic in order to cater to acne prone skin.

It also includes a soy formula to moisturize and prevent dryness that can come with cleansing products geared toward acne combat and prevention.


  • Clears skin while also soothing irritation
  • Soy ingredients formulated to prevent dryness from occurring
  • Product doubles as an effective makeup remover


  • Some noticed little difference in breakouts after using product
  • Fragrance has been unpleasant for some
  • Some found it more suitable for mild acne than severe breakouts

9. Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser

Dermatologist recommended, this cleanser from Cetaphil removes dirt, oil, and grime without irritating even the most sensitive of skin types.

With acne, it can be difficult to obtain a fresh, clean feeling, regardless of cleansing time.

Various users report this product leaves their face feeling thoroughly cleansed as well as soft and silky.


  • Dermatologist recommended
  • The non-irritating formula adheres to sensitive skin types
  • Priced at as low as seven dollars, the product is powerful and affordable


  • Some issues have been experienced by combination skin types
  • Some find smell to be displeasing
  • Some report the consistency is too oily

10. Derma Topix Benzoyl Peroxide Wash 10%

Derma Topix Benzoyl Peroxide Wash 10%

The 10 percent benzoyl peroxide contained in this product is a potent acne fighter, as well as a great way to kill bacteria.

Not only does the product fight and prevent acne, it offers thorough exfoliation to strip away dead skin cells and reveal a clear, beautiful complexion.


  • Contains aloe vera to soothe while fighting acne
  • Designed to treat even the most severe acne problems
  • Priced at 15 dollars, the product provides quality and affordability


  • May cause itching
  • Certain consumers have experienced initial increase in acne
  • May be less effective if not used regularly


Clearly (no pun intended), there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to face washes. To benefit the most from a cleanser, you must have an understanding of your skin type, sensitivity, and severity of acne.

What are some of the do's and dont's you have experienced on your skin care journey? What are you still looking to learn?

Read more: 21 easy things you can do today to get rid of acne fast and naturally

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