The Best Acne Cleanser of 2024

Struggling with acne can feel like a never-ending battle. The right cleanser is out there, with Neutrogena’s oil-free wash leading the pack. Our guide will help you find the best acne cleanser for your skin type and concerns, equipping you to fight those pesky breakouts effectively. Ready? Let’s clear things up:

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Acne Cleanser

Consider the cleanser’s ingredients and whether they suit your specific skin type. Also, assess the effectiveness of the product in addressing your acne concerns.


Carefully read labels to spot acne-fighting champions like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. These ingredients tackle pimples by unclogging pores and reducing inflammation, giving you a clearer complexion.

Opt for cleansers that contain soothing elements to calm irritated skin; ingredients such as aloe vera or niacinamide can help. Avoid harsh additives that might strip your skin of essential oils, leading to more breakouts.

Look out for non-comedogenic formulas that won’t clog your pores further, ensuring the product works with your skin rather than against it. Seek products with a balanced pH level close to your skin’s natural state, which helps maintain its barrier function.

This approach minimizes irritation and preserves the delicate balance needed for healthy-looking skin.

Skin Type

Knowing your skin type is crucial when searching for the best acne cleanser. If you have oily skin, look for products that can help regulate oil production without over-drying. These often contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, ingredients known to target pimples effectively.

For sensitive skin types, gentler formulations with soothing components like aloe vera are ideal; they cleanse while reducing potential irritation.

People with combination skin should opt for a balanced cleanser that addresses dryness and excess oil in different face areas. Those dealing with hormonal acne might benefit from specific formulas designed to tackle fluctuations in acne causes.

Black skin also requires a thoughtful approach; aim for products that prevent breakouts while addressing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation common among darker skin tones. No single product suits everyone—finding the best acne cleanser means considering how it will interact with your unique skin traits and concerns.


The best acne cleanser quickly reduces breakouts, soothes redness, and helps clear up your skin. Ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are key players in fighting off pimples.

They get deep into pores to remove dirt, oil, and bacteria that cause acne in the first place. With consistent use, these ingredients can significantly diminish the appearance of blemishes.

A good cleanser also prevents new spots from forming. It does this by keeping your skin’s oil production under control and reducing inflammation that could lead to more pimples. Look for options proven effective through tests and reviews, such as Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash or CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser if you have sensitive or eczema-prone skin.

These products are designed to combat current flare-ups and protect against future ones, making them essential tools for maintaining clearer skin over time.

Top Recommended Acne Cleansers

Biossance Squalane + Amino Aloe Gentle Pore-Minimizing Cleanser

Exceptional results

Deeply cleanse, remove makeup, and hydrate for glowing clear skin.
Best Overall

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  • Contains squalane and amino acids
  • Gentle on skin and minimizes pores
  • Cruelty-free and vegan formula
  • Refreshing aloe vera scent
  • Gel-based cleanser for easy application
  • Compact packaging, convenient for travel

If you’re battling acne, you know how important it is to find a cleanser that effectively tackles breakouts without stripping your skin of moisture. The Biossance Squalane + Amino Aloe Gentle Cleanser stands out as a top pick. Its unique blend of amino acids dives deep into pores to wash away the buildup that leads to acne, while squalane ensures your face doesn’t lose its natural hydration.

Moreover, adding soothing aloe vera leaf juice means inflammation and redness don’t stand a chance. Imagine washing your face, and instead of feeling tight and dry afterward, you’re greeted with calm, hydrated skin ready to heal from any blemishes. For those who wear makeup regularly, this foaming gel acts like a magnet for stubborn cosmetic residue yet remains kind enough not to upset sensitive skin.

We’ve selected this product as our number one choice because it masters the delicate balance needed for acne-prone skin: potent against impurities but gentle on the complexion. With its commitment to clean beauty—being vegan and free from harsh chemicals like parabens—you get effective cleansing action suitable for daily use without harming your health or the environment.


  • Deeply cleans pores and removes makeup
  • Vegan, cruelty-free, and made without parabens or synthetic fragrances
  • Amino acid complex breaks down impurities to eliminate pore-clogging dirt
  • Provides deep, fast-absorbing moisture


  • May not effectively remove heavy or waterproof makeup
  • Some users may find the fragrance to be too strong
  • The price point may be considered high for some consumers

This gentle pore-minimizing cleanser is perfect for the clean beauty enthusiast seeking a safe and effective solution to remove makeup, unclog pores, and leave their skin hydrated and glowing. Say goodbye to impurities with Biossance Squalane + Amino Aloe Gentle Cleanser – the must-have addition to your daily skincare routine! Try it now and experience the ultimate deep cleanse for your best acne-fighting results.

CeraVe Acne Control Cleanser

Cleanses and smoothes

Effective acne treatment with gentle exfoliation for clearer, smoother skin.
Runner Up

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  • Non-comedogenic and paraben-free formulation
  • Fragrance-free for sensitive skin
  • Specifically designed for oily and acne-prone skin
  • Gel-based formula for easy application
  • Made in the USA by CeraVe
  • Compact 8-ounce bottle

CeraVe Acne Control Cleanser earns the second spot on our list by hitting a sweet spot for those battling oily skin and persistent breakouts. Expertly developed with dermatologists, this powerful yet gentle cleanser dives deep into pores with 2% salicylic acid to tackle acne head-on and prevent new pimples from forming. It doesn’t stop there; the formula also includes hectorite clay, renowned for its oil-absorbing properties that keep the skin looking matte without over-drying.

What sets this CeraVe cleanser apart is its meticulous blend of three essential ceramides (1, 3, 6-II), which strengthen and preserve your skin’s natural barrier during the acne-fighting process—an often overlooked aspect in many treatments that can lead to irritated skin. Plus, niacinamide plays a crucial role in soothing your complexion. Users rave about how effective it is at minimizing blackheads and shrinking pore size while maintaining hydration levels—no tight or uncomfortable after-feel here!

Our team recommends CeraVe’s face wash not just because it addresses the full spectrum of typical concerns for acne sufferers but also due to its commitment to healthier-looking skin overall. Its non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, paraben-free formulation respects sensitive complexions and aligns well with a variety of skincare routines aimed at clear skin without harsh side effects. So, if you need an ally against acne that won’t strip away your peace of mind and impurities, this cleanser stands out as a reliable choice for clearer days ahead.


  • Developed with dermatologists for various skin types
  • Contains 3 essential ceramides to maintain the skin barrier
  • Helps prevent new breakouts with oil-absorbing technology and niacinamide
  • Features salicylic acid to exfoliate, reduce blackheads, and treat/prevent acne


  • May cause dryness or irritation for some skin types
  • Not recommended for use with other exfoliating products to avoid over-exfoliation
  • Some users may find the gel-to-foam texture less appealing

This powerful CeraVe Acne Control Cleanser is the perfect solution for anyone with pesky breakouts and oily skin. Designed with dermatologists and packed with essential ceramides, this fragrance-free cleanser effectively treats and prevents acne while gently exfoliating to reveal smoother, clearer skin. Say goodbye to harsh face scrubs and hello to a gentle yet effective salicylic acid foam wash – try it now!

Paulas Choice 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant

Star ingredients

Kind-to-skin exfoliator for clearing blackheads and tightening pores.
Best Brand

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  • 2% Salicylic Acid for gentle exfoliation
  • Suitable for oily, combination, dry, and normal skin types
  • Green Tea Extract for added antioxidant benefits
  • Liquid serum form for easy application
  • Manufactured in the USA by Paula’s Choice

Paula’s Choice SKIN PERFECTING 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant stands out for its practical, science-driven formula. This exfoliant tackles some of the most frustrating skin issues that acne sufferers deal with, such as blocked pores, uneven texture, and persistent blemishes. The gentle yet potent 2% concentration of salicylic acid dives deep into pores, clearing them out without causing irritation or over-drying. It’s a game-changer for those battling constant breakouts and seeking a product promoting clearer, smoother skin.

This facial exfoliant earns its spot at number three on our list because it goes beyond fighting acne. In addition to targeting blackheads and enlarged pores, common culprits behind breakouts, it addresses signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines. Users will appreciate how this leave-on solution brightens their complexion while actively smoothing away roughness— all without abrasive scrubbing that can damage sensitive skin.

Choosing Paula’s Choice means investing in a cruelty-free treatment that respects your skin’s natural balance while relentlessly pursuing clarity and youthfulness. Its hydrating properties ensure you don’t have to trade moisture for effectiveness when streamlining your routine toward healthier-looking skin.


  • Unclogs and diminishes enlarged pores
  • Exfoliates dead skin cells for a more even tone
  • Visibly reduces fine lines and wrinkles
  • Combats redness, aging, and blackheads


  • May irritate some sensitive skin types
  • Not suitable for use on broken or irritated skin
  • Some users may find the price to be high

The Paulas Choice 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant is perfect for improving their overall skin texture, reducing wrinkles and fine lines, clearing out blackheads, and tightening pores. If you want a leave-on exfoliator that is gentle yet effective on all skin types, try it now and see the results for yourself!

Anua Heartleaf Pore Control Cleansing Oil

Ultimate relief

Ideal for sensitive and acne-prone skin: Gentle, effective pore cleanser.
Best for Sensitive Skin

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  • Anua Heartleaf Pore Control Cleansing Oil is a generous 6.7 Fl Oz size, providing long-lasting use.
  • The cleansing oil regulates and minimizes pore size for smoother-looking skin.
  • Originating from Korea, this product utilizes the natural benefits of heartleaf to promote healthier skin.
  • It has received high praise with a 4.4 out of 5-star rating based on over 2,200 customer reviews.
  • The black color palette adds a sleek and modern aesthetic to your skincare routine.
  • This cleansing oil offers effective facial cleansing without harsh chemicals or irritants.

Anua Heartleaf Pore Control Cleansing Oil revolutionizes the daily cleansing routine for those battling acne. The gentle yet potent formula dives deep into pores, sweeping away stubborn makeup and persistent blackheads without triggering more breakouts. It’s a game-changer in maintaining clear skin thanks to the heartleaf extract, which calms inflammation and soothes sensitive areas with its natural properties.

Acne sufferers understand the struggle of finding a product that cleans without over-drying or irritating their delicate skin. This Korean facial cleanser is hypoallergenic and passes non-irritation tests with flying colors. The inclusion of safe, mild ingredients creates a reliable shield against further irritation while effectively managing sebum levels on all skin types.

Imagine ending your day with a simple double cleanse routine that refreshes your skin and frees it from clogged pores—not an ounce of oiliness or dry patches in sight. Anua Heartleaf Pore Control Cleansing Oil makes this possible, offering tranquility to your complexion and nighttime ritual. Acne-prone individuals can finally rejoice in discovering a cleansing ally that promises clarity without compromise.


  • Easily removes makeup residue, blackheads, and sebum
  • Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone skin
  • Gentle on the eyes with no stinging experiences
  • Formulated with mild ingredients such as Heartleaf extract for soothing effects


  • Potential for oiliness if not properly emulsified
  • May not effectively remove all waterproof makeup
  • Scent may be too strong for some users

This cleansing oil from Anua is perfect for the skincare enthusiast looking for a gentle yet effective way to remove makeup and keep pores clear. Ideal for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin, this hypoallergenic formula will leave your complexion feeling clean and refreshed. Take your double cleansing routine to the next level and achieve that coveted glass skin look with Anua’s Heartleaf Pore Control Cleansing Oil. Try it now!

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Facial Cleanser

Worth the splurge

Upmarket acne treatment with oil control and gentle cleansing.
Best Luxury

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  • Oil-free gel formula for oily, sensitive, and acne-prone skin
  • Non-scented for those with fragrance sensitivities or preferences
  • Manufactured by La Roche-Posay, a trusted skincare brand
  • Convenient 8-ounce size that lasts a long time
  • Designed to be climate pledge-friendly
  • UPC: 883140040231

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Facial Cleanser could be a game-changer for anyone who battles acne. Infused with 2% salicylic acid, this powerful face wash dives deep into pores to clear acne breakouts and manage oily skin without causing dryness or irritation. It’s oil-free and fragrance-free, making it suitable for sensitive skin seeking effective yet gentle solutions.

The cleanser’s ability to control oil is especially beneficial for those who experience midday shine or feel like their skin never fully gets clean. With regular use, users have noticed a significant decrease in blemishes and improved skin texture. Imagine starting your day with a refreshing cleanse that fights existing acne and prevents new pimples from forming—this is what the Effaclar Medicated Gel Facial Cleanser offers.

Salicylic acid, known for its exfoliating properties, works tirelessly to unclog pores while soothing ingredients from La Roche-Posay’s signature thermal spring water calm the skin. People rave about the cool sensation upon application and how it leaves skin feeling purified without over-drying. Fast-forward a few weeks: you might find yourself with a clearer-looking complexion and newfound confidence in your skincare routine.


  • Clears acne breakouts and minimizes their recurrence
  • Controls excess oil production to keep skin clean and fresh
  • Formulated with salicylic acid for effective acne treatment
  • Fragrance – free and gentle on the skin


  • May cause dryness for those with sensitive skin
  • Some users may find the fragrance-free formula to lack a pleasing scent
  • Not recommended for individuals with allergies to salicylic acid

The La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Facial Cleanser is perfect for anyone looking to clear up acne breakouts and control oily skin, as it contains salicylic acid and is oil-free and fragrance-free. If you want a gentle yet effective solution for your acne troubles, try the best acne cleanser on the market now!

Amazon Basics Daily Acne Control Cleanser

Great value

Powerful 10% benzoyl peroxide formula with potent ingredients.
Best Fragrance-Free

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  • Paraben-free, fragrance-free daily acne control cleanser
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Liquid formula for easy application
  • Made in the USA by Amazon Basics

Amazon Basics Daily Acne Control Cleanser takes charge in the battle against breakouts. With a powerful 10% Benzoyl Peroxide formula, this cleanser dives deep into pores to eliminate acne-causing bacteria. It keeps working even after rinsing it off, providing continuous acne control throughout the day. Its fragrance-free composition appeals to those who prefer their skincare routine without overpowering scents, making it an excellent choice for sensitive skin.

The convenience of Alexa-enabled voice shopping means that restocking your supply is as simple as a spoken command—a boon for anyone who’s ever reached for their cleanser only to find an empty tube. Users will appreciate its paraben and formaldehyde donor free promise, aligning with a growing demand for cleaner skincare options. This Amazon offering mirrors the effectiveness of popular brands like Clean & Clear but comes with the ease and accessibility expected from the online giant.

This daily cleanser understands the plight of acne sufferers looking for effective treatment without further irritating already troubled skin. Those seeking maximum strength solutions will find solace in its potent benzoyl peroxide content while enjoying peace of mind knowing they are using a product free from harsh chemicals. It’s not just about clearing up current flare-ups; it’s also about safeguarding your complexion against future outbreaks, making Amazon Basics Daily Acne Control Cleanser a stalwart ally in maintaining clear skin.


  • Provides daily control for battling breakouts
  • Contains 10% Benzoyl Peroxide to help treat acne
  • Keeps fighting acne even after you wash
  • Paraben and formaldehyde-free


  • May cause dryness or irritation for users with sensitive skin
  • Contains Benzoyl Peroxide, which may bleach fabrics if not used carefully
  • Some users may find the formula to be too strong for daily use

The Amazon Basics Daily Acne Control Cleanser is perfect for busy individuals seeking a no-nonsense solution to their acne woes. With its powerful 10% benzoyl peroxide formula and Alexa voice shopping compatibility, it’s ideal for those who want maximum strength without sacrificing convenience. Say goodbye to breakouts and hello to clear skin with just one simple command: “Alexa, reorder Amazon Basics Acne Control Cleanser.” Try it today and see the results for yourself!

Cetaphil Acne Face Wash

Trusted formula

Cleans pores, leaving you with freshly-buffed skin.
Top Pick

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  • Fragrance-free, hypoallergenic gel face wash
  • Specifically designed for sensitive skin
  • Non-comedogenic formula to prevent clogged pores
  • Manufactured in the USA by Cetaphil

Cetaphil Acne Face Wash is a game changer for those struggling with sensitive, acne-prone skin. This powerhouse cleanser incorporates 2% salicylic acid to cleanse and combat breakouts effectively deeply. Yet, unlike many aggressive treatments that leave the skin feeling parched and uncomfortable, its unique blend of soothing aloe and white tea extract hydrates and calms the skin. This balance makes it stand out; while diligently clearing your complexion, it simultaneously protects against roughness, irritation, and tightness—and even reinforces your skin’s natural barrier.

This product offers hope for anyone who has experienced the frustration of finding an effective acne solution that doesn’t exacerbate sensitivity issues. Users often report how pleasantly surprised they are by its cream-to-lather formula—that it neither strips nor leaves any heavy residue but instead results in refreshed and visibly clearer skin without adverse effects. Picture waking up each morning to see less inflamed blemishes and more radiant skin; Cetaphil Gentle Clear Clarifying Acne Cream Cleanser can make this a reality for many seeking treatment and comfort in their skincare routine.


  • Defends against five signs of skin sensitivity, including a weakened skin barrier, irritation, roughness, tightness, and dryness.
  • Hydrates and soothes the skin with specially formulated balanced formulas containing hydrating and soothing ingredients to nourish the skin.
  • Clears and prevents breakouts in acne-prone sensitive skin using a clinically proven regimen specifically designed for sensitive skin.


  • May cause dryness in some individuals
  • Some may find the scent too strong
  • Not suitable for severe or cystic acne conditions

This gentle yet effective acne face wash is perfect for someone with sensitive skin who struggles with breakouts. Say goodbye to irritation and hello to clear, healthy-looking skin with Cetaphil Acne Face Wash. Try it now and see the results for yourself!

PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash

Packs a punch

Maximum-strength acne cleanser for better skin, ASAP.
Also Consider

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  • PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash is specifically formulated for acne-prone skin
  • The non-comedogenic formula helps prevent clogged pores and breakouts
  • Made in the USA by PanOxyl, a trusted brand known for effective acne products
  • This foaming wash comes unscented, making it suitable for sensitive skin
  • Convenient item form as a wash for easy application during your skincare routine

PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash packs a powerful punch against persistent pimples with its maximum strength formula. Featuring 10% benzoyl peroxide, this potent antimicrobial foaming wash tackles acne head-on by killing the bacteria responsible for those frustrating breakouts. Designed to penetrate deep into pores, it doesn’t just stop at clearing current blemishes; it works diligently to prevent future ones from popping up on your face, chest, or back.

Regular users of PanOxyl often share stories of their transformation from battling constant flare-ups to enjoying clear skin. Unlike many treatments that can leave skin feeling tight and dry, this product cleanses thoroughly while maintaining the natural moisture balance of your skin. By effectively removing dirt and excess oil, PanOxyl ensures your complexion stays fresh and vibrant throughout even the most stressful days. If you’re searching for a reliable warrior in the fight against acne, consider adding this powerful foaming wash to your daily skincare arsenal for visibly clearer results.


  • Clears existing acne and prevents new blemishes
  • Cleans and unclogs pores on face, chest, and back
  • Maximum strength antimicrobial formula kills acne-causing bacteria
  • Contains 10% Benzoyl peroxide for maximum effectiveness


  • May cause dryness or peeling of the skin, especially if overused
  • Possible irritation for those with sensitive skin
  • Bleaching effect on hair and colored fabrics

Ideal for teens and adults with acne-prone skin looking for a powerful but gentle solution. Experience clearer, fresher skin with PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash, the maximum-strength antimicrobial cleanser that targets bacteria and unclogs pores. Say goodbye to blemishes and hello to confidence. Try it now!


Q: What is an acne cleanser?

A: An acne cleanser is a type of face wash formulated to target and manage acne-prone skin, often containing ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

Q: How does salicylic acid help with acne?

A: Salicylic acid is known for its ability to exfoliate the skin, clear pores, and reduce inflammation, making it an effective ingredient in many acne cleansers.

Q: Can I use an acne cleanser if I have sensitive skin?

A: Yes, there are acne cleansers specifically designed for sensitive skin, formulated to be gentle and non-irritating.

Q: What is the best face wash for acne-prone skin?

A: The best face wash for acne-prone skin varies for each individual, but options with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are often recommended.

Q: How can I choose the best acne face wash for my specific type of acne?

A: It’s essential to consider your specific type of acne and select a face wash that targets its underlying causes, such as oily skin, cystic acne, or mild acne.

Q: Can an acne cleanser be suitable for dry skin?

A: There are acne cleansers designed specifically for dry skin, often in the form of gentle, hydrating gel cleansers or foaming cleansers that do not overly dry out the skin.

Q: Do acne cleansers help with acne scars?

A: While some acne cleansers may contain ingredients aimed at reducing the appearance of acne scars, it’s often more effective to use targeted treatments for this purpose.

Q: Is it safe to use a face wash with benzoyl peroxide for acne?

A: Yes, benzoyl peroxide is a common and effective ingredient in acne cleansers, known for its ability to combat acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation.

Q: Can an exfoliating cleanser exacerbate acne?

A: Exfoliating cleansers can potentially irritate your skin, especially if overused, which may exacerbate certain forms of acne, so it’s essential to use them carefully.

Q: What are some tips for choosing the best acne face wash?

A: When selecting an acne face wash, consider your skin type, specific acne concerns, and opt for products that do not overly dry or irritate your skin to ensure the best results.


In your battle against acne, reliable cleansers are vital allies. Biossance Squalane + Amino Aloe Gentle Pore-Minimizing Cleanser pampers your skin while tackling stubborn pores with its vegan formula.

For those with oily skin prone to breakouts, CeraVe Acne Control Cleanser offers a fragrance-free solution designed just for you. Choose these top-tier products and take a confident step towards clearer, healthier-looking skin!

About the Author

Tanja is an advocate of all things clean-beauty. She's forever on the lookout for new and exciting products, whether they come from faraway Korea or the beauty labs of Paris.

Her favorite brand is Shiseido, a Japanese company who craft luxurious, high-end makeup in gorgeous packaging.

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