10 Best Drugstore Face Washes For Acne To Get Clear, Radiant Skin

Written by Kirtana Divakar
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We all want clear, radiant skin, don’t we? However, some of us are cursed with acne-prone skin that prevents us from reaching our dream of flawless skin with constant breakouts that take a big hit on our egos. Here to save the day are the best drugstore face washes for acne that help clear clogged pores and reduce those pesky breakouts. They are infused with ingredients like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide that draw out impurities, cleanse deep pores and regulate sebum production, so acne breakouts are visibly reduced. They also contain tea tree extract and aloe vera to soothe inflammation, keeping skin calm and relaxed. Debunking the common myth that expensive skincare products are what works, these drugstore options clear acne effectively and do so without burning a massive hole in your pocket.

If you’re like us and can’t wait to get your hands on the perfect face wash, take a look at our list of 10 amazing drugstore face washes. These products are perfect for oily and acne-prone skin and will help you keep breakouts at bay while solving the problem that has been eating away at your confidence. Within no time, you will see that your skin has cleared up and you look flawless from every and any angle!

Top 10 ProductsCheck Price
Best With Antibacterial Benefits:PanOxyl Acne Foaming WashPrice on Amazon
Best For Sensitive Skin:Botanic Tree Glycolic Acid Exfoliating CleanserPrice on Amazon
Best Hypoallergenic:Bioré Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Cooling CleanserPrice on Amazon
Best Dermatologist-Recommended:Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne CleanserPrice on Amazon
Best Non-Irritating:Dr Song 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Medical Acne WashPrice on Amazon
Best Non-Drying:Differin Daily Deep CleanserPrice on Amazon
Best For Blackheads:La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel CleanserPrice on Amazon
Best For Oil Control:Murad Blemish Control Clarifying CleanserPrice on Amazon
Best For Skin Softening:Clean And Clear Daily Pore CleanserPrice on Amazon
Best For Sensitive Skin:Vichy Laboratories Normaderm Phytosolution Intensive Purifying GelPrice on Amazon

Get Pimple-Free Skin With The 10 Best Drugstore Face Washes For Acne

1. Best With Antibacterial Benefits:PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash


PanOxyl brings you the best drugstore face wash for acne-prone, oily skin as it contains 10% benzoyl peroxide. In this concentration, the chemical kills bacteria on the skin and unclogs pores. Not only does the acne foaming wash rid your skin of existing acne blemishes, it also works hard to avoid new ones. Even though benzoyl peroxide is an excellent antibacterial ingredient, it can sometimes be harsh. But fret not, as PanOxyl has formulated this drugstore face wash for acne to be gentle on your skin and it can be used on the chest, back, and face too! Need more information? Watch this review video.


  • Contains 10% benzoyl peroxide
  • Antibacterial benefits
  • Unclogs pores
  • Can be used on face, back, and chest
  • Gentle formula
  • Clears existing blemishes and prevents new ones


  • Might stain towels or clothes


2. Best For Sensitive Skin:Botanic Tree Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser


Formulated with 10% glycolic acid, this is the best drugstore face wash for oily, acne-prone skin. If you’ve been struggling with painful cystic acne, blackheads, or dull, spotty skin, Botanic Tree’s got the best drugstore acne wash to combat all these issues. The exfoliating formula contains tiny micro beads that gently remove dead skin cells to pave the way for fresh, healthy skin. At the same time, glycolic acid removes dirt and makeup from your skin without drying it out. As this acid is an AHA, it also brightens the skin, reduces sun damage, and evens out skin texture while smoothing the skin surface. A blend of skin-friendly ingredients like bamboo, she a butter, and tea tree extract dive deep into the skin to cleanse, reducing hyper pigmentation and redness.


  • Cruelty-free
  • Free of SLS
  • Safe for sensitive skin
  • Made with all-natural ingredients
  • Evens out skin texture, and tone
  • Rids skin of acne and blackheads


  • Some people may find it to be a little drying


3. Best Hypoallergenic:Bioré Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Cooling Cleanser

Life with acne can be hard, but there are some cleansers you can try to make it a disappearing act. This cleanser from Bioré is perhaps the best drugstore facial cleanser for acne, as it contains witch hazel to deep clean your pores and unclog them. Witch hazel is also a star astringent and breaks down dirt, so you can cleanse your face without any hassle. The formula also contains 2% salicylic acid which combats blackheads and breakouts. The cleanser fast forwards your skin to be blemish-free with consistent use.


  • Contains 2% salicylic acid to reduce pimples and blackheads
  • Witch hazel unclog pores and breaks down dirt
  • Clears up skin
  • Has a cooling effect
  • Controls oil production
  • Hypoallergenic


  • Contains alcohol

4. Best Dermatologist-Recommended:Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser

A 10% benzoyl peroxide formula in Neutrogena’s best cheap face wash for acne helps combat acne and also keep future breakouts at bay. With consistent use, you’ll definitely notice a reduction in the size of your pimples and the redness they bring about. The gentle formula in Neutrogena’s best drugstore cleanser for acne can be used both day and night, and won’t have a drying effect. Acne, be gone! This YouTuber’s review will offer a deeper insight into the qualities of the product.


  • Contains 10% benzoyl peroxide
  • Fights acne and prevents future breakouts
  • Gentle formulation
  • Won’t dry out skin
  • Dermatologist-recommended


  • May not be the ideal fit for all skin types

5. Best Non-Irritating:Dr Song 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Medical Acne Wash


Free your skin of stubborn acne with Dr Song’s best drugstore acne face wash as it contains a high concentration of benzoyl peroxide. If you struggle with acne anywhere on your body, you can conveniently use this cleanser, as it is a gentle, non-irritating formula that penetrates deep into the skin. Use it for spot treatment or on your teenager’s cystic acne and you won’t be disappointed with its results. Dr Song has the best over-the-counter acne cleanser as it controls oil, reduces pimples, and clears pores.


  • Cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Can be used on face and body
  • Non-irritating formula
  • Can be used as a spot treatment for acne
  • Contains 10% benzoyl peroxide


  • Some may find the scent off-putting

6. Best Non-Drying:Differin Daily Deep Cleanser

If 10% benzoyl peroxide intimidates you due to its drying nature, try Differin’s best drugstore cleanser for sensitive acne-prone skin as it contains only 5%. The micronized formula goes deep into your skin and effectively absorbs oil and also unclogs pores. Now you can wash your face without that dreaded stripping feeling. The lower concentration of benzoyl peroxide in Differin’s drugstore face wash for acne prone skin ensures a powerful treatment of acne with reduced drying and irritation.


  • Non-drying
  • Doesn’t irritate skin
  • Lesser concentration of benzoyl peroxide
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Reduces oil


  • Might cause a burning sensation


7. Best For Blackheads:La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser


 The best drugstore face wash for sensitive, acne-prone skin, La Roche-Posay brings to you a formula with 2% salicylic acid. If excess oil between washes is your eternal enemy, this cleanser will take care of it for you. This cleanser goes to war with acne, blackheads, and whiteheads to give you an even skin surface to boost your confidence. You’ll also find micro-exfoliating lipo-hydroxy acid that renews skin for a fresh, healthy complexion. As acne-prone skin feels a little stuffy, the Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser also contains menthol to give your skin a cooling sensation. Check out this video to better understand the functions of this product.


  • Clears acne, blackheads, and whiteheads
  • Allergy-tested
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Paraben-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Fragrance-free


  • Might leave skin feeling a little tight

8. Best For Oil Control:Murad Blemish Control Clarifying Cleanser


With Murad’s best drugstore acne cleanser, your skin is going to gain freedom from excess oil and acne. A concentration of salicylic acid that is just below 2% provides acne-free effects to skin well after you’re done cleansing. Not only does this powerful ingredient dissolve extra oil, it purges pores and ensures that you remain breakout-free for days to come. It is also enriched with green tea extract that helps soothe skin, preventing inflammation and redness, making it the best drugstore face wash for acne and dry skin.


  • Controls excess oil
  • Cruelty-free
  • Gentle formula
  • Free of parabens, sulfates, gluten, mineral oils, petroleum
  • Heals and soothes skin
  • Prevents future breakouts


  • Might be too mild for some


9. Best For Skin Softening:Clean And Clear Daily Pore Cleanser

A brand that a lot of us grew up loving, Clean And Clear brings the best drugstore cleanser for acne-prone skin. With the help of tiny little micro-scrubbers, the daily pore cleanser has a gentle exfoliating effect and renews skin, leaving it soft and smooth. Clearing your skin of dirt, oil, and sweat, this acne-attacking face wash penetrates deeply into the skin to unclog pores. Work up a rich lather in the mornings and evenings with Clean And Clear’s best drugstore face wash for acne scars and write your acne a farewell letter!


  • Gently exfoliates skin
  • Makes skin soft and smooth
  • Unclogs pores
  • Oil-free formula
  • Ideal for daily use
  • Doesn’t cause a burning sensation


  • Might dry skin out a little

10. Best For Sensitive Skin:Vichy Laboratories Normaderm Phytosolution Intensive Purifying Gel


The best drugstore face wash for acne and oily skin, Vichy contains salicylic acid, zinc, and copper. Zinc has anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce scarring left behind by acne and copper offers anti-aging benefits to improve skin texture. With salicylic acid, you can welcome oil and dirt-free skin, which is also free of the pimples. Enriched with Vichy’s 15 Mineral-Rich Volcanic Water, this is the best drugstore face wash for hormonal acne as it contains 15 naturally occurring minerals that strengthen skin barrier, and fight against stressors. And, no fears about drying skin, as the formula is gentle, and can also be used on sensitive skin.


  • Anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits
  • Gentle formula
  • Allergy-tested
  • Safe for sensitive skin
  • Doesn’t contain sulfates, parabens, alcohol, or oil
  • Fades blemishes


  • Might not be suitable for people intolerant to fragrance

After reading about the best drugstore face washes for acne, let’s break down how you can choose the right one for yourself.

Tips To Find The Best Face Wash For Acne

  • Active ingredients

An active ingredient is what will fight your acne head-on and there are various products that cater to different types of acne and other skin conditions. One of the most common ones is salicylic acid, which helps exfoliate your skin and rid it of blackheads and whiteheads. If you have mild or hormonal acne or the occasional breakout, this is the ideal ingredient for you. Benzoyl peroxide is another ingredient which often makes an appearance in skincare for acne-prone skin. It penetrates deep into the skin to remove bacteria, unclog pores, and also prevents future acne. If you struggle with severe or cystic acne, you can use up to 10% of this chemical or tone it down to around 5% for less severe cases. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as glycolic acid are gentle on the skin yet just as effective as the other ingredients mentioned earlier in reducing breakouts and controlling oil production. Additionally, AHAs also boost collagen production to make skin plump and reduce hyper pigmentation for even-toned skin.

  • Supporting ingredients

As the active ingredients in cleansers for acne-prone skin can be a little harsh and drying, keep an eye out for some calming and soothing elements like green tea, aloe vera, honey, tea tree, and chamomile. If you have oily skin, you can opt for a cleanser with kaolin or niacin amide, and people with dry skin will benefit with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin. While AHAs and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) suit combination skin, activated charcoal or clay can be a good supplementary ingredient for those who have sensitive acne-prone skin. If you have sensitive skin, make sure to avoid products with fragrance as this can trigger inflammation.

  • Form

Cleansers are available in the form of a gel, exfoliant, or foam. Gel cleansers are suited to oily skin and when infused with ingredients like salicylic acid or tea tree, help control excess oil and sebum production. Exfoliants have a thick cream-like consistency and contain tiny beads that help remove dead skin and unclog pores when scrubbed on the face. This ensures that new, refreshed skin shines through and gives you a healthy glow, but this type of face wash might be too drying on already dry skin. Foaming cleansers are almost weightless and lather up in contact with water. They suit those with combination skin the best as they also provide gentle exfoliation without drying skin out.

Benefits Of A Face Wash For Acne-Prone Skin

 A face wash targeted towards people with acne-prone skin can:

  • Unclog pores and shrink them in size
  • Control excess oil production and reduce the grease on your face
  • Control the appearance of pimples and prevent new ones from forming
  • Exfoliate skin to remove dead cells and make way for fresh, healthy skin
  • Reduce blackheads and whiteheads
  • Calm skin down in instances of hormonal, cystic, and adult acne
  • Reduce inflammation and redness

Drugstore face washes help clear clogged pores and reduce dark spots and patches. These face washes also help in regulating sebum production while soothing inflammation and keeping your skin calm and relaxed. Some of these face washes are perfect for oily and acne-prone skin as they help reduce pesky blackheads and control breakouts. Not only on your face but some of these products can also be used on your back and chest. Their gentle formulas clear existing blemishes and prevent the formation of new ones. You should avoid face washes that can stain your clothes, or dry your skin out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a face wash for acne-prone skin show results?

When used consistently, a face wash for acne-prone skin will help reduce instances of breakouts and prevent future ones from appearing. It penetrates deep into the skin to get rid of the acne-causing bacteria and controls oil production and unclogs pores.

Does an acne face wash cause acne?

No, as face washes formulated for acne-prone skin work to reduce the microbes that give rise to acne.

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