The 5 Best Facial Cleansers for Acne Prone Skin

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It’s pretty much a universally known fact that acne is a bacterial demon that haunts this earth.

The idea that it only curses teenagers at the height of puberty can more or less be debunked as myth at this point because, though we can’t speak for everybody, it has followed us and many people we know even into their 40s (or later).

Acne can be particularly difficult to battle because too much of a good, powerful acne-fighter can end up having the opposite effect. Skin is certainly a fickle friend.

That’s why it’s important to have a balanced and well-developed skincare regimen to combat those nasty blemishes that decide to make our faces their homes.

And one of the most important parts of that skincare regimen is the facial cleanser.

Picking the proper facial cleanser for your skin can help set your skin up for acne-fighting success. It creates a clean slate on which your other products can work their magic.

So, if you’re having trouble finding an acne-fighting cleanser that works well for you, we’ve put together a little list of some of the best facial cleansers to help you out.

Why Is Facial Cleanser So Important?

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The first key step to fighting acne is to prep your skin so it can absorb other products more efficiently – and to prep it, you must cleanse.

Cleanser helps remove the build-up of excess oil, unclog your pores, and get rid of any makeup, sweat or other residues from the surface of your skin.

That in and of itself is a huge step when it comes to fighting breakouts.  

For many people, breakouts occur thanks to the build-up of all sorts of grime and dirt that acne bacteria thrive on.

So, if you slather on a bunch of salicylic acid cream, but your face is still kind of dirty or oily, that cream isn’t going to get you very far. It’s like the equivalent of shoving some sugar packets under the leg of a rickety table – you’re making yourself feel like you’re taking action, but you aren’t actually finding a real solution.

If you’re going to make any headway at all on fighting your acne, then you need to use a facial cleanser.

How to Properly Cleanse Your Face

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So, we’re pretty sure you now have it ingraine din your head that cleansing is one of the most important steps in fighting acne, and you should cleanse your face very well.

However, you do not want to over-cleanse. This can do more harm than good.

In general, it’s important to gentle with your skin, but especially during the cleansing process. We know how tempting it is to drop the skincare equivalent of a nuclear bomb on your acne, but the fact of the matter is that being rough with your skin won’t do you any good.

Your brain may tell you to buy those rough scrubbing pads or extreme-exfoliating washcloths when you cleanse your face,but trust us when we say your brain is lying to you. These types of products and methods won’t get your skin any cleaner.

Rather, you want to cleanse only using your fingertips or a very soft washcloth and be sure to thoroughly wash your entire face including the jawline, neck, and around the ears.

If your skin tends to get extra sweaty or oily or if you wear moderate to heavy amounts of face makeup, you may want to consider double cleansing at night. So cleanse your face, rinse it well, and then repeat to make sure you get rid of all unwanted excesses.

But, no matter what cleansing technique you use, it doesn’t matter much unless you have the right facial cleanser for your skin. And we’re not going to lie – it can be difficult to find one that works well for you.

How We Chose Our Ratings and the Best Facial Cleansers

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It’s clear that facial cleansers are a vital part of any skincare routine – which is why we wanted to show off the best ones for you.

There are key ingredients that we looked for when we hunted down the best facial cleansers, namely salicylic acid or anything that is considered a “medicated” face wash. It seems obvious, perhaps,but having basic ingredients known to fight acne is very important in our book.

That being said, we also didn’t want to list any acne-fighting facial cleansers that are too strong.

Though these facial cleansers contain acne-fighting ingredients, they also contain ingredients that can help soothe and heal the skin. After all, the best long-term solution for acne is well-rounded skin care.

Plus, these cleansers all have excellent reviews from customers and even some beauty publications – so you have proof that they’ve worked for other people.

And finally, we picked the best facial cleansers based on how accommodating they are of different skin types. A higher rating here means it’s generally better for a variety of skin types, though we can’t promise it will be a perfect match for you. After all, everyone’s skin is different!

The 5 Best Facial Cleansers for Fighting Acne

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No matter what your skin is like, there is a cleanser out there that will help you clear up acne breakouts.

And, though there are some great higher-end cleansers out there, a lot of the time all you need is a dependable drugstore brand cleanser. You don’t need to throw down an arm and a leg in order to achieve clear and radiant skin.

So here are the best facial cleansers to help you on your quest to find your ideal skin!

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Cleanser, 6.76 Fl. Oz.
  • Acne wash to target excess oil
  • Helps clear acne breakouts, blemishes, pimples
  • Clinically tested to reduce excess surface oil by up to 47%, leaving skin less oily throughout the day

If there is any group of people that knows skincare, it’s the French.

This medicated gel cleaner from LaRoche-Posay has been named the 2017 Nylon Magazine “Best Acne Cleanser” and given the 2016 Allure Best of Beauty award for the Ultimate Skin Cleanser.

It removes excess oil, clears breakouts and gently foams on the skin. It’s also formulated with micro-exfoliating lipo-hydroxy acid to remove impurities without harsh scrub particles that could further irritate your skin. So you’ll have smoother, clearer skin.

To top it off, the Medicated Acne Face Wash is oil, paraben, and fragrance-free,making it suitable for sensitive skin.

We couldn’t rave enough about this acne-fighting facial cleanser. It’s truly a skin savior in a tube.

Formulated with saw palmetto fruit extract(which prevents germs from proliferating on your skin), mint and salicylic acid, this gentle foaming cleanser is amazing at battling breakouts and leaves your face feeling soothed and refreshed.

Origins’ famous face wash will leave your skin tingling and cool, but more importantly, it clears pores, minimizes excess oil, and reduces shine.

Take a closer look at the ingredients and you’ll also find essential oils of citrus and lavender, ylang-ylang oil, and sage leaf water. So not only will you be washing your face, but you’ll be practicing a relaxing and aromatic ritual while you cleanse.

This cleanser is a bit more expensive than the first, but it will seem like a small price to pay once you start consistently waking up with clear, glowing skin.

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Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser, 6 fl. oz.
  • Aloe Vera and chamomile repair, soften and heal inflamed skin
  • Thyme and salicylic acid disinfect and exfoliate
  • Prevents future breakouts

This clarifying face wash from Mario Badescu will seriously change your life (in fact most products from this company will).

It’s formulated to effectively, but gently,address acne-prone or acne-erupted skin. Like most of the cleansers on this list, it contains salicylic acid to deep clean and minimize pores. But that’s just the start.

The Acne Facial Cleanser is also made with botanical extracts from aloe, chamomile and thyme to soothe and help improve the look of blemished skin – without stripping it of essential moisture.

Though it is ideal for oily acne-prone skin, this face wash still works wonders on all skin types. Even those who don’t experience acne can benefit from this cleanser.

That’s because this face wash is so balanced in terms of providing acne-fighting ingredients, and a formulation that retains moisture and is gentle on the skin.

However, some might find that this isn’t quite strong enough to combat their acne. So if you aren’t seeing a difference,then you may need something a little less gentle.

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Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Cream Facial Cleanser,...
  • 6-ounce tube of Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Cream Facial Cleanser to treat breakouts for clear skin
  • Contains clinically proven salicylic acid acne medicine to help treat breakouts while MicroClear Technology boosts the...
  • Acne-fighting face wash formulated with naturally derived grapefruit extract and Vitamin C to provide an uplifting blast

Pink grapefruit is amazing when it comes to combatting acne, and you get a whole bunch of fruit-derived benefits and more with this cleanser.

It’s oil-free – as you gathered from the name – and contains maximum strength Salicylic Acid and Vitamin C to help prevent breakouts and leave your skin glowing (Vitamin C is so great for reducing dark spots and acne-related discoloration, by the way). It’s also non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores.

This cleanser will eliminate oil and dir tbut shouldn’t over dry your skin, which as we all know can cause your skin to produce excess oil, thus catalyzing more acne breakouts.  It’s even powerful against blackheads.

Seriously, this wash is a cult favorite and you can usually find it for under $10 at most major big box or drug stores. Our only complaint is that it can make dry skin-types feel even drier – but like we said, not every face wash is perfect for everyone.

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Biore Charcoal Acne Cleanser, 6.77 Ounce
  • Deep cleans, penetrates pores, and absorbs oil to clear breakouts without overdrying or irritation
  • Helps to control and prevent the development of new acne blemishes
  • With natural charcoal, salicylic acid, and skin purifying technology, skin is clearer in just two days

Our ears tend to perk up a little every time we here the words “charcoal” and “skincare” in the same sentence.

Bioré brings this amazing facial cleanser to you, and it throws a double-whammy at tough acne with the combined forces of charcoal and salicylic acid.

These two ingredients penetrate deep into pores to absorb acne-causing dirt, oil and icky skin cell build-up. It not only fights existing acne but also prevents the development of any new signs of acne.

It also leaves your face feeling cool and tingly. And best of all, your face will feel completely purified.

Like the other cleanser on this list, the Charcoal Acne Cleanser is oil-free and therefore excellent for particularly oily skin.

However, of all the cleansers on this list, this one is potentially the most drying. The charcoal and salicylic acid combination is a force to be reckoned with, and seriously fights a good fight against acne.

But with this strong acne-fighting combo comes dryness because so much oil is being lifted out of the skin. You can also combat this side effect with a thick and creamy non-comedogenic moisturizer,but for some people, this dryness could be a bit too much to handle.

So, if you have extra oily skin then this charcoal facial cleanser could be a match made in heaven. But if you already tend towards dry skin, you may want to look elsewhere.

Comparison Table

Buyer’s Guide

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Cream Facial Cleanser,...

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Ta-da! Those are some of the best facial cleansers out there that help get rid of acne (in our humble opinion).

But if none of these work for your skin, that’s ok!

We cannot stress enough that not every facial cleanser works for every skin type. Our skin is like a unique snowflake that must be nurtured in a unique way.

So if something doesn’t seem to be working, don’t push it. Try something else.

Just try to find something that isoil-free, contains acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, and isn’t too harsh on the skin.

If you’re shopping in a beauty store, were commend chatting with one of the sales associates because they will listen closely to your skin concerns and point you in the right direction.

Also, don’t be afraid to consult a dermatologist if you’re feeling like you just can’t kick your acne breakouts.

And Remember, This is Just One Step in Your Skincare Routine

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Finding the best facial cleanser for you is one of the smartest things you can do to help fight acne-prone skin.

So many of these cleansers have ingredients that specifically target breakouts, while also leaving your skin fresh and clean.

But, of course,

you want your skin fresh and clean, so it properly absorbs other acne-fighting products.

The two words to keep in mind with acne prevention are gentleness and balance.

You can’t pull so much oil and dirt out of your skin without providing it with much-needed moisture and vitamins.

We strongly urge you to develop a fully-fledged skincare routine with whatever products work well on your skin.

Typically, this might include a toner, perhaps some serums, and definitely a moisturizer post-facial cleansing.

And if you are only going to add one other product to your regimen, make sure it’s a moisturizer.

Next to facial cleansers, moisturizers are one of the most important tools for fighting acne because they nourish your skin and prevent it from overproducing oil, which in turn causes acne.

It may take a little work and a little time, but you can absolutely find the perfect skincare routine to fight your acne.

So give one of our suggested facial cleansers a try and remember to moisturize!

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