The 7 Best Face Washes for Acne in 2019

Best face wash for acne

When you have acne, you feel unclean.

Your skin is sore and red and oily, sometimes even dry as well – and everyone can see it.

You need a product that’s going to balance your skin out and give you the relief you need to feel fresh and clean again so you’re not constantly worrying about what you look like and how uncomfortable your skin feels.

What is acne?

Acne vulgaris is a skin condition that affects 3 out of every 4 people at some point in their lives.

Usually acne is experienced during puberty when the male hormone, testosterone, stimulates oil production in your skin.

An excess of this oil, called sebum, can mix with hair and dirt in your pores and hair follicles to cause acne.

Things like pregnancy, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and some medications can cause outbreaks of acne as well as a bad diet and being overweight.

A mix of environmental and biological factors can work together to determine the severity of your acne.

With acne, you can experience blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and blind pimples.

As summed up in this medical publication, mild acne, which is generally medically referred to as non-inflammatory acne, is characterized by a few pimples, blackheads and whiteheads here and there.

This kind of acne is mild as it will develop infrequently and disappear quickly with little to no scarring of the skin.

Moderate acne will be characterized by more pustules, blackheads and whiteheads and possibly a few blind pimples.

These acne spots will contain more pus and be a bit more inflamed.

Severe acne is characterized by lots of spots of each kind in abundance on the body or face that are filled with pus and extremely painful.

The skin can be both oily and flakey and if picked at or burst, these spots will cause scarring and/or uneven skin pigmentation.

Cystic acne is a step above this.

The sufferer will experience cystic-like pimples far beneath the skin that are painful and can burst, causing the infection to spread.

These last two types of acne are best treated by a medical professional, like a dermatologist or doctor.

All types of acne are serious, so no matter what severity you’re experiencing, if it’s impacting your daily life, go to the doctor to get it checked out.

They will let you know more about your condition and how to get relief.

How can face wash help for acne?

Washing your face is an already essential part of any skincare routine – it should be what you do at the bare minimum.

Similarly, for acne, this is a vital step for cleansing your skin and preparing it for whatever treatment you will be using directly afterwards, if any.

Additionally, removing dirt, makeup, oils and bacteria from the skin’s surface after a long day is going to do wonders for your acne alone.

Basically, you need a face wash if you want to give your skin the best chance of fighting your acne.

There’s no way around it.

How to choose the right face wash for acne

So, now you know how important it is to incorporate face wash into your daily acne treatment routine, you’re going to need to know the facts on how to choose exactly the right face wash for your skin so you can see positive results.

Here’s some tips:

Choose a quality face wash

Don’t skimp out, this is your face we’re talking about.

Everyone can see it which means everyone can see your acne.

If you opt for a cheaper face wash, it may contain a harsher formula that cuts corners and will cause your skin to breakout even worse than before, dry it out or cause a negative reaction.

A good face wash may set you back a bit, but it will be worth it when you start to see results – we promise!

Choose the right face wash for your skin type

Everyone’s skin is a little different.

But generally, you will fit into one of these categories; oily, dry, combination, sensitive, normal.

You may even fit into a couple of those categories, or your skin might change at different times of the month or year depending on your hormones and the weather – this is super normal! Whatever your skin is like, you need to get a face wash that will cater specifically for your needs.

Here’s a breakdown of the different skin types and what face wash will is suitable:

  • Oily – Characterized by skin that gets oily and shiny quickly, you may also have large pores. Choose a face wash that will inhibit your skins production of oil whilst keeping it nourished at the same time.
  • Dry – Skin that will be flakey and feel “tight” after washing, will feel rough. Get a face wash that will exfoliate your skin gently but won’t strip your skin of its natural oils. Should be rich and moisturizing but not overly oily.
  • Combination – Got both dry and oily skin in different spots on your face? The best face wash for you will be one that’s balanced and combines a good amount of cleansing with exfoliation and moisturization to make sure you’re getting the best of both worlds.
  • Sensitive – You’ll know you’ve got sensitive skin if it ever stings, itches or breaks out when you’re trying new products. You’ll need to choose a product that is milder on the skin, something with more natural ingredients than synthetic chemicals could work for you. Always check the ingredients in the face wash to make sure there’s nothing you’re allergic to in the formula.
  • Normal – This is great news, your skin is neither oily or dry and isn’t too problematic, acne aside. You can go for regular face washes that combats acne by fighting bacteria, clearing out your pores, lightly exfoliating and soothing your skin.

Check the ingredients

Make sure, whatever face wash you buy, that you’re getting one with all the best acne fighting ingredients and minimal fillers.

Look for ingredients like:

  • Salicylic acid – An excellent cleanser, will completely clean out your pores and lightly exfoliate the skin.
  • Clay – Calms the skin and sucks impurities out of your pores.
  • Benzoyl peroxide – One of the most effective ingredients for fighting acne, it kills bacteria, exfoliates the skin and removes any excess oils that will make your acne worse.
  • Tea tree oil – This all natural essential oil has great antibacterial and anti-inflammatory powers that will soothe your skin. Be careful with this one though as many people are intolerant to it.
  • Glycolic acid – This chemical exfoliant is used to increase cell production, meaning that you’ll be able to heal scars and blemishes quicker and get rid of dirt and bacteria inside the pores.
  • Retinoids – Similar to glycolic acid, retinoids are derived from vitamin-A and help in increasing cell turnover. They also have anti-aging properties to prevent wrinkles, a great bonus when treating your acne.
  • Witch hazel – This natural ingredient can work as a toner to even skin tone, shrink pores and dry out oily, troublesome skin and any blemishes you have.

Top 7 face washes for acne

We know it can be a little daunting trawling through thousands of similar products to try and find the right face wash for you, so we’ve done some digging for you.

Here’s the top 7 acne washes we could find and why we recommend them.


#7 Clean & Clear Acne Triple Clear Bubble Foam Cleanser

This foaming cleanser comes from a well-known and reputable skincare brand, it has salicylic acid to clean out your pores and aloe vera to soothe the redness and inflammation in your skin.

It’s oil free so will work on oilier skin types best but will also benefit all other skin types as well.

This is a great all-rounder and an excellent place to start if you’re unsure.


  • Salicylic acid
  • Aloe vera
  • Well-known skin care brand
  • Oil-free


  • Foamy bubbles means product is difficult to get out of bottle when it has almost run out
  • Not as cheap as you’d expect from a larger, mid-range company

Price: Click here to check the price of the Clean & Clear Acne Triple Clear Bubble Foam Cleanser on Amazon’s website


#6 Bioré Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser

Here’s another product from a well-know brand in the skin care sphere.

Charcoal is excellent for drawing impurities out of your skin and towards the surface so that you can wash them away.

As charcoal can be drying, this product will be best for oilier skin.

It also comes with salicylic acid for an extra deep clean.

Oil-free and gentle enough to use daily, this is a product that does everything for an excellent, low price.


  • Cheap
  • Oil free
  • Charcoal
  • Salicylic acid


  • Can be drying, best used only on oily skin
  • Black colour (charcoal) of product can be messy

Price: Click here to check the price of the Bioré Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser on Amazon’s website


#5 Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Cleanser

Charcoal again, and for good reason! But not only does it contain this impurity-fighting ingredient, it’s also got salicylic acid, tomatoes for antioxidants and jojoba spheres for an added bit of exfoliation.

This would be best for combination skin, the charcoal may be a bit drying but the jojoba spheres will offer some extra moisturization so it’s got great balance!


  • Jojoba, tomatoes, salicylic acid, charcoal
  • Good for combination skin
  • Good price
  • Exfoliating


  • Black colour (charcoal) of product can be messy

Price: Click here to check the price of the Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Cleanser on Amazon’s website


#4 Neutrogena Oil-Free Salicylic Acid Acne Wash

There’s a reason that salicylic acid is in each of these products so far – it’s because it’s a powerhouse when it comes to fighting off acne! This product puts a big focus on being oil-free and comes in a larger size with a pump for complete convenience.

It’s got a 4.5/5 star rating on Amazon with over 500 customer reviews so you know it’s a winner.

Gentle enough to use twice daily and claims it will prevent breakouts and fight your current ones.


  • Gentle
  • Oil-free
  • Salicylic acid
  • Well known brand
  • Convenient large size and bottle with pump


  • Larger size might be a bit too much of a commitment for first time users

Price: Click here to check the price of the Neutrogena Oil-Free Salicylic Acid Acne Wash on Amazon’s website


#3 Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser

This acne face wash comes packed with an awesome amount of natural, acne-combatting ingredients that will eliminate excess oil, shrink your pores and keep your face fresh.

It’s got things like saw palmetto to clear your skin, mint for a refreshing cool tingle, lavender oil, ylang ylang and salicylic acid.

The price tag is a little steep but when you’re talking about your skin, it’s worth it!


  • Great, natural ingredients
  • Minimizes pores
  • Reduces excess oil


  • Can be a little drying so best for oily skin only
  • Expensive

Price: Click here to check the price of the Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser on Amazon’s website


#2 Peter Thomas Roth Acne Clearing Wash

This is going to be a great product for those of you with skin that’s on the more sensitive side.

It contains the normal 2% of salicylic acid but it’s also got allantoin which is an ingredient that soothes and heals the skin whilst removing dead cells and vitamin B5 to promote young looking skin that is free from redness.


  • Allantoin and vitamin B5 to make sure formula is gentle on the skin
  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Salicylic acid


  • Expensive
  • Not many reviews on Amazon

Price: Click here to check the price of the Peter Thomas Roth Acne Clearing Wash on Amazon’s website


#1 Exposed Skin Care Acne Facial Cleanser

‘This is a spa-quality product that comes with a rich and gentle hypoallergenic formula to cleanse the skin and kill the bacteria that causes acne.

With sage leaf and vitamin B5 to fight aging, salicylic acid and tea tree oil to fight dirt and olive leaf extract to moisturize and soothe the skin, this is a product that’s packed with beneficial ingredients that’s definitely worth a try.


  • Great, natural ingredients
  • Spa quality
  • Part of a system of cleansing so there are other products in the line if you like this one
  • Great for all skin types


  • Expensive

Price: Click here to check the price of the Exposed Skin Care Acne Facial Cleanser on Amazon’s website

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