25 Best Face Washes And Cleansers For Acne Trusted By Skin Care Gurus

Written by Shiboli Chakraborti
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Is acne becoming a nightmare for you, popping up unannounced any time of the day? From genetic and hormonal factors to diet and lifestyle, anything can trigger breakouts. But with a proper skin care routine, you can keep your skin clear and acne-free.

The skin care routine for acne-prone skin starts with a face wash or cleanser. Acne cleansers are highly effective in cleaning excess sebum without excessively drying out or irritating your skin. They are infused with soothing pimple-fighting ingredients and help reduce noticeable skin problems to offer a youthful glow. They break down traces of stubborn makeup and dirt from the face, freeing up your pores and giving you a rejuvenating look.

To prevent future breakouts, go through our carefully researched list of the best face washes and cleansers for acne. Identify your favorite and get set shopping!

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Best For Dry Skin: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
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Best For Acne Cysts: Humane Maximum-Strength Acne Wash
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Best For Aging Skin: Botanic Tree Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser
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Best Day And Night Cleanser: COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
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Best Everyday Use Formula: Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser
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Best Natural Acne Solution: Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions Purifying Gel Cleanser
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Best Clinically Proven Formula: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser
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Best Skin Renew Formula: Proactiv Cleanse 1 Renewing Cleanser
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Best Pore Cleanser: EltaMD Skincare Foaming Facial Cleanser
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Best For Stubborn Acne: Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser
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25 Best Face Washes And Cleansers For Acne

1. Best For Dry Skin: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser offers a complete skin care solution that helps to restore the protective skin barrier. The unique formula is infused with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides that hydrate your skin without making it too oily or greasy. This non-drying, non-foaming cleanser is dermatologist-recommended. The creamy formula can be used both during the day and at night.

For Skin Type: Normal to dry skin

Key Ingredients: Ceramides 1, 3, 6-II, Hyaluronic Acid, and Niacinamide

Pros

  •  Moisturizing formula
  •  Non-greasy
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Fragrance-free
  •  Soap-free
  •  Non-comedogenic
  •  Non-irritating

Cons

  •  Does not lather

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2. Best For Acne Cysts: Humane Maximum-Strength Acne Wash

Benzoyl peroxide is a potent antimicrobial agent that kills acne-causing bacteria. The Humane Maximum-Strength Acne Wash is formulated with 10% benzoyl peroxide that halts the microbial growth, unclogs pores, and treats inflammation. It controls excessive sebum production, leading to a non-greasy, shine-free face. This dermatologist-tested formula helps treat severe acne on your face and body.

For Skin Type: Oily, acne-prone skin

Key Ingredients: 10% Benzoyl Peroxide

Pros

  •  Controls sebum production
  •  Vegan
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Dermatologist-tested
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Alcohol-free
  •  Paraffin-free
  •  Formaldehyde-free
  •  Mineral oil-free
  •  Synthetic fragrance and color-free
  •  Petrolatum-free
  •  DEA-free
  •  Triclosan-free
  •  GMOs-free

Cons

  •  Unpleasant fragrance
  •  May trigger skin flaking
  •  May irritate the skin

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3. Best For Aging Skin: Botanic Tree Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser

Botanic Tree Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser is ideal for anyone with cystic acne, blackheads, and dull skin. The tiny gentle microbeads, along with antioxidant-rich glycolic acid help to clear debris without making your face look dull. Additionally, this cleanser is infused with tea tree, bamboo, and shea butter that soothe inflammation and moisturize your face. Combined with seaweed, peppermint, and lavender, it reduces dark spots and redness and promotes healthy-looking skin.

For Skin Type: Oily and acne-prone skin

Key Ingredients: 10% Glycolic Acid, Bamboo, Shea Butter, Willow Bark, Tea Tree, Seaweed, and Lavender

Pros

  •  Fights discoloration
  •  Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  •  Combats hyperpigmentation
  •  Controls skin oils
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Cruelty-free

Cons

  •  May dry out the skin

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4. Best Day And Night Cleanser: COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser

Here comes a gentle foaming day and night cleanser from COSRX that resolves your acne concerns. BHA and tea tree oil pull out dirt from the pores and remove all impurities from the skin. It restores your skin’s pH balance and protects it from environmental damage. This mild cleanser hydrates, refreshes, and strengthens your skin barrier.

For Skin Type: Oily, sensitive, and combination skin

Key Ingredients: BHA and Tea tree oil

Pros

  •  pH-balanced formula
  •  Mild formula
  •  Foams up quickly
  •  Hypoallergenic
  •  Dermatologist-tested
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Fragrance-free

Cons

  •  May trigger allergies

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5. Best Everyday Use Formula: Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser is a clinically proven formula that deeply cleanses your skin without stripping away the natural oils. This clear, low-lather formula effectively eliminates excess sebum and unclogs the pores while protecting your skin barrier from environmental damage. Its unique gel to foam formula keeps your skin refreshed, hydrated, and balanced.

For Skin Type: Oily and sensitive skin

Key Ingredients: Glycerin

Pros

  •  Non-irritant
  •  Mild formula
  •  Hypoallergenic
  •  Dermatologist-recommended
  •  Non-comedogenic

Cons

  •  Contains fragrance
  • Contains SLS

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6. Best Natural Acne Solution: Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Purifying Gel Cleanser

Salicylic acid and Cica are two potent ingredients that make the Purifying Gel Cleanser by Burt’s Bees a popular natural acne solution to prevent breakouts. These ingredients cleanse the pores without over-drying the skin. Additionally, the evening primrose and beetroot extracts in the formula exfoliate your skin and eliminate all skin impurities. The gentle formula heals your skin and protects its natural barrier to give you a radiant look.

For Skin Type: Oily and acne-prone skin

Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, Cica, Evening primrose, and Beetroot extract

Pros

  •  Natural ingredients
  •  Non-comedogenic
  •  Dermatologically-tested
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Recyclable bottle
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Petroleum-free

Cons

  •  Overpowering fragrance

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7. Best Clinically Proven Formula: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser

Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser is clinically proven to be gentle on the skin. The creamy texture of this mild formula keeps your skin soft and supple. The polyglycerin formula keeps your skin hydrated and moisturized. This cleanser is developed by dermatologists and can be a great addition to your daily skin care routine.

For Skin Type: Dry and sensitive skin

Key Ingredients: Polyglycerin

Pros

  •  Hypoallergenic
  •  Non-comedogenic
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Soap-free
  •  Oil-free
  •  Eco-friendly
  •  Fragrance-free

Cons

  •  Does not remove waterproof makeup

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8. Best Skin Renew Formula: Proactiv Cleanse 1 Renewing Cleanser

With the Proactiv Renewing Cleanser, you get a comprehensive solution for acne. This medicated cleanser is infused with benzoyl peroxide 2.5% and chamomile that give you clear and fresh skin, while gentle exfoliating beads unclog the pores. Hyaluronic acid balances your skin’s hydration level and prevents moisture loss. The formula is safe to use on all skin types.

For Skin Type: Oily, Combination, Sensitive, and Dry

Key Ingredients: Benzoyl peroxide, Hyaluronic acid, and Chamomile

Pros

  •  Safe for all skin types
  •  Dermatologist-tested

Cons

None

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9. Best Pore Cleanser: EltaMD Skincare Foaming Facial Cleanser

EltaMd Skincare Foaming Facial Cleanser is a dermatologist-tested face wash that cleans your pores gently. The formula does not strip away the natural oil from your skin, keeps it soft, and maintains its pH balance. Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple, helps to reduce inflammation for a soothing effect.

For Skin Type: All, Oily, and Sensitive

Key Ingredients: Bromelain

Pros

  •  Dermatologist-recommended
  •  Infuses oxygen into skin
  •  Gentle formula
  •  Hypoallergenic
  •  Sensitivity-free
  •  Oil-free
  •  pH-balanced formula

Cons

  •  Expensive

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10. Best For Stubborn Acne: Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser

Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser is a medicated acne face wash infused with 10% benzoyl peroxide. The active agent goes deep into the pores to cleanse and remove dirt and grime, leaving your skin rejuvenated. The proven formula cleanses acne and prevents any future breakouts.

For Skin Type: Acne-prone skin

Key Ingredients: Benzoyl peroxide

Pros

  •  Shrinks pores
  •  Dermatologist-recommended
  •  Gentle formula

Cons

  •  May cause burning sensation in eyes

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11. Simple Kind To Skin Micellar Cleansing Water

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Regular soap-based cleansers strip off moisture from the skin, making it dry and itchy. On the contrary, the Simple Kind To Skin Micellar Cleansing Water unclogs pores without stripping your skin’s natural oils. It is made with triple purified water, hexylene glycol, and vitamins B3 and C. Together, these ingredients hydrate and revitalize your skin instantly, leaving it soft and supple. It is free from harmful chemicals or artificial dyes and is safe for sensitive skin.

For Skin Type: All skin types

Key Ingredients: Hexylene Glycol, Vitamin B3, And Vitamin C

Pros

  •  Hydrating formula
  •  Dermatologist-tested
  •  Vegan
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Hypoallergenic
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Dye-free
  •  Perfume-free

Cons

  • Expensive

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12. Laroche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser

This medicated gel cleanser from Laroche-Posay Effaclar is formulated with safe, effective, and gentle ingredients. These ingredients cleanse the debris from the face while maintaining the pH balance of your skin. Besides hydrating thermal water, it contains micro-exfoliating salicylic acid and lipo hydroxy acid. These acids target the dirt and grime clogging the pores and control excess oil. The hydrating formula has no harmful chemicals and feels gentle on your skin.

For Skin Type: Oily, Sensitive, Acne-prone

Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, Lipo hydroxy acid

Pros

  •  Clears blackheads and whiteheads
  •  Reduces excess oil
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Fragrance-free
  •  Hypoallergenic
  •  Dermatologist-tested

Cons

  •  Not suitable for dry skin

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13. Murad Blemish Control Clarifying Cleanser

The premium Murad Blemish Control Clarifying Cleanser dissolves excess sebum, clears pores, and fades blemishes. It is formulated with a combination of two variants of salicylic acid – free form and encapsulated. The free-form version of salicylic acid starts working as soon as it touches the skin to dislodge dirt and pollution from the pores. The encapsulated version has a delayed release and keeps treating the skin even after rinsing. The soothing effect of green tea extract helps to calm irritation and inflammation.

For Skin Type: Acne-prone, Oily, Combination, and Sensitive

Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid and Green tea extract

Pros

  •  Exfoliates the skin
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Phthalate-free
  •  Gluten-free
  •  Vegan
  •  Mineral oil-free
  •  Formaldehyde-free
  •  Oxybenzone-free
  •  Petrolatum/petroleum-free
  •  Cruelty-free

Cons

  •  May leave the skin dry

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14. Acne Free Oil-Free Acne Cleanser

This medicated cleanser treats and prevents breakouts, thanks to 2.5% benzoyl peroxide. The Acne Free Oil-Free Acne Cleanser penetrates deep into your skin to neutralize acne-causing bacteria, bringing down pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, and cystic acne. The cleanser is infused with ceramides to give your skin a nourishing treatment.

For Skin Type: Acne-prone

Key Ingredients: Benzoyl peroxide and Ceramides

Pros

  •  Minimizes pores
  •  Oil-free formula
  •  Fragrance free

Cons

  •  Does not lather well

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15. PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash

The potent, medical-grade PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash is formulated with 10% benzoyl peroxide. This antibacterial agent introduces oxygen into the pores, killing the acne-causing bacteria in the process. Additionally, it removes dead skin cells, preventing them from clogging the pores and causing future blemishes. This foaming cleanser is dermatologist-tested and can be bought without a prescription.

For Skin Type: Acne-prone

Key Ingredients: Benzoyl peroxide

Pros

  •  Creamy formula
  •  Breaks the acne cycle
  •  Dermatologist-tested
  •  Suitable for back acne
  •  Fragrance-free

Cons

  •  High bleaching content
  •  May cause skin peeling

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16. CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser

CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser is a popular acne face wash infused with 4% benzoyl peroxide. It gently exfoliates the skin to prevent acne, blackheads, and whiteheads. The combination of hyaluronic acid and niacinamide helps tame acne while protecting the natural skin barrier. Additionally, this cleanser contains ceramides that soothe the skin and prevent irritation and dryness. You can use this cleanser as a body wash for treating back acne.

For Skin Type: Oily skin

Key Ingredients: Essential ceramides (1, 3, 6-ii), Hylauronic acid, and Niacinamide

Pros

  •  Moisturizing formula
  •  Creamy texture
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Fragrance-free
  •  Non-comedogenic

Cons

  •  May irritate the skin
  •  May cause dryness

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17. Bioré Free Your Pores! Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Cooling Cleanser

Salicylic acid unplugs dead skin cells and dirt from the pores, giving you a fresh, clean face. This ingredient is often used in acne treatment to clear the pores and proactively reduce acne recurrence. Bioré Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Cooling Cleanser is infused in salicylic acid, making it effective for fighting acne and blemishes. Wwitch hazel, a potent astringent, shrinks the pores and helps control sebum production to prevent blackheads in the future. The hypoallergenic formula does not irritate your skin. This face wash is suitable for daily use.

For Skin Type: Oily

Key Ingredients: Salicylic Acid and Witch Hazel

Pros

  •  Lathers well
  •  Clearer complexion
  •  Shrinks pores
  •  Hypoallergenic
  •  Oil-free
  •  Dermatologist-tested
  •  Suitable for daily use

Cons

  •  Contains alcohol
  •  Contains SLS

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18. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Redness Soothing Facial Cleanser

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash is formulated with Microclear Technology to clear breakouts and gives you healthy skin. This face wash cuts through the oil and dirt lodged deep into the pores and prevent acne from popping out. It further protects the natural barrier of your skin, preventing moisture loss. Plant-based ingredients like chamomile and aloe vera freshen up your face and add a glowing radiance to your skin. This salicylic acid-based cleanser is developed by dermatologists and is safe for your skin.

For Skin Type: Acne-prone

Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, Aloe, and Chamomile

Pros

  •  Fights redness
  •  Unclogs pores
  •  Dermatologist-tested

Cons

  •  Overpowering fragrance

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19. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Cleanser

Your acne-prone skin will love this dermatologist-recommended acne cleanser. Its medicated formula protects the natural barrier of your skin, while salicylic acid gently unclogs pores and removes dead skin cells. This non-drying cleanser with MicroClear Technology shrinks the pores and prevents the future occurrences of acne.

For Skin Type: Acne-prone

Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid

Pros

  •  Dermatologist-recommended
  •  Clears back acne
  •  Oil-free formula
  •  Non-comedogenic

Cons

  •  Expensive

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20. Cetaphil PRO DermaControl Oil Removing Foam Wash

Cetaphil PRO Dermacontrol Oil Removing Foam Wash is clinically proven to remove excess oil, dirt, and makeup without leaving your skin dry. It is formulated with soothing zinc technology and helps in clearing sebum from the face and reducing shine. In addition, glycerin moisturizes your skin and keeps it hydrated. The foaming formula dispenses light and airy lather that is easy to rinse off. The hypoallergenic formula is non-irritating for your skin.

For Skin Type: Acne-prone, Oily

Key Ingredients: Glycerin and Zinc

Pros

  •  Reduces oil
  •  Moisturizing formula
  •  Fragrance-free
  •  Paraben- free
  •  Hypoallergenic
  •  Dermatologist-tested

Cons
None

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21. Differen Benzoyl Peroxide

This dual-action cleanser first goes deep into the skin to absorb excess oil and then releases a gentle moisturizer to hydrate the skin without clogging pores. This powerful cleansing formula contains 5% benzoyl peroxide that is highly effective in fighting acne without causing irritation and dryness. The gentle formula can be used in your daily skin regimen.

For Skin Type: Sensitive

Key Ingredients: Benzoyl peroxide

Pros

  •  Oil-absorbing formula
  •  Soothes inflammation
  •  Antibacterial formula
  •  Dermatologist-developed formula
  •  Moisturizes the skin

Cons
None

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22. Laroche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser For Oily Sensitive Skin

The rich, nourishing Laroche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel is a gentle face wash specially crafted for oily and sensitive skin. It eliminates excess oil from the skin without leaving it dry. The gel-based cleanser formulated with zinc pidolate clears excess oil and dirt from the skin while toning down the oily shine. It moisturizes the skin and keeps it hydrated post-wash. It is developed by a dermatologist and gentle on sensitive skin.

For Skin Type: Oily, Sensitive, Acne-prone

Key Ingredients: Zinc pidolate

Pros

  •  Removes excess sebum
  •  Balances the skin’s pH
  •  Soap-free
  •  Dermatologically tested
  •  Alcohol-free
  •  Paraben-free

Cons
● Expensive

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23. Bioré Charcoal Acne Clearing Face Wash

This is another best-seller from Bioré that is formulated with quick-acting skin-purifying agents that clear the skin within a few days. It contains exfoliants – salicylic acid and charcoal – that clean the pores and let you achieve clear and healthy skin. Together, they cleanse your pores and prevent future breakouts. This oil-free formula is a perfect acne solution for oily skin.

For Skin Type: Oily and Acne-prone

Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid and Charcoal

Pros

  •  Absorbs excess oil
  •  Dermatologist-tested
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  Non-comedogenic
  •  Vegan

Cons
None

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24. Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser

Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser breaks down the impurities and cleanses your skin for a balanced complexion. It is formulated with soothing ingredients like thyme extract and salicylic acid that help in exfoliating the skin. In addition, soothing aloe vera and chamomile extract hydrate the skin.

For Skin Type: Combination, Oily, Acne-prone

Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, Aloe vera, Chamomile, Thyme extract, and Hyaluronic acid

Pros

  •  Vegan
  •  Oil-free
  •  Gluten-free

Cons

  •  Not ideal for daily use

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25. Neutralyze Face Wash Breakout Clearing Facial Cleanser

Neutralyze Face Wash Breakout Clearing Facial Cleanser is a powerful skin-strengthening formula that protects your skin from future breakouts. The 2% salicylic acid and 1% mandelic acid in it exfoliate the pores, fade fine lines and wrinkles, and correct uneven skin tone. In addition, the nitric oxide in the formula helps your skin to heal faster.

For Skin Type: All skin types

Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, Mandelic acid, Nitric oxide

Pros

  •  Fades dark spots
  •  Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  •  Eliminates blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples
  •  Non-comedogenic
  •  Cruelty-free
  •  GMP-certified
  •  Paraben-free
  •  Sulfate-free
  •  Fragrance-free

Cons
None

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Here is a quick guide on how to wash your face with an acne face wash.

How To Use Acne Face Wash To See Good Results

Follow these simple steps to wash your face for good results:

1. Splash your face gently with water.

2. Take some acne face wash and rub it gently on your face in a circular motion for a few seconds.

3. Wash it off for ten seconds till your skin is soap-free. Avoid over-washing as it can dry out your skin.

4. Gently pat your face dry without rubbing it roughly.

Cleansing your face twice daily with a suitable acne face wash can help manage several of your skin woes. But, you must choose your cleanser carefully. Here are a few things you need to look for before buying a cleanser for your acne-prone skin.

What To Look For In an Acne Face Wash

Ingredients with acne-fighting properties play a crucial important role when you look for an acne face wash. Here are a few of them:

1. Salicylic Acid: Salicylic acid (a BHA) is ideal for unblocking clogged pores. This ingredient exfoliates the skin and removes dead skin cells, while shrinking the pores.

2. Benzoyl Peroxide: This ingredient is great for fighting bacterial acne. It introduces oxygen into the pores, killing off acne-causing bacteria that gather under your pores.

3. Skin Soothers: Natural and anti-inflammatory ingredients help to cal1m redness, swelling, and inflammation. For example, face washes with aloe vera, tea tree oil, and chamomile help prevent acne scars and speed up healing.

An acne face wash effectively clears up your pores, clearing off existing acne and preventing breakouts in the future. Now that you are aware of the benefits of different cleansing formulas, make a sensible choice from the 25 best face washes and cleansers for acne listed above.

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Shiboli has a Master’s degree in English Literature and is proficient in French. She believes that words have a healing power and considers poetry her lifeline. Her writing background and editorial dexterity help her guide her team members to create crisp and authentic content. Shiboli is also a trained Bharatnatyam dancer and has a fascination for traveling. She is passionate about cooking and dreams of opening a restaurant of her own.