The Best Face Wash For Acne

Struggling with acne can feel like a never-ending battle. A great face wash is key, and Neutrogena’s oil-free option tops the list. This post will guide you through choosing a cleanser that fights acne without harshness. Keep reading for clearer skin!

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Face Wash for Acne

Consider your skin type, as well as the ingredients and effectiveness of the face wash. These factors can help determine which product will work best for your specific needs.

Skin Type

Understanding your skin type is crucial when selecting the best face wash for acne. For those with oily skin, a cleanser that contains benzoyl peroxide, like Differin Daily Deep Cleanser, helps control excessive oil and combats bacteria.

If you have sensitive skin, gentle formulas such as the Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser or Get Clarity Foaming Acne Cleanser can cleanse without causing irritation.

Dry skin types should aim for hydrating ingredients to prevent stripping away natural oils while treating breakouts. Look for products designed to address multiple issues, including acne scars, pimples, and dark spots, if they are a concern.

Regardless of whether your skin is prone to dryness or oiliness, it’s important to choose a face wash tailored specifically for acne-prone skin to ensure effective and targeted treatment.


After determining your skin type, closely examining the ingredients in a face wash is crucial for effectively managing acne. The best face washes often include natural elements that soothe irritation while targeting blemishes.

Look for key ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, which are proven to combat acne by clearing away dirt and reducing inflammation. These components work deep in the pores to fight stubborn pimples and prevent future breakouts.

In addition to these powerful acne-fighting agents, some products may contain hydrators like glycerin or hyaluronic acid that maintain moisture balance without causing oiliness. For scars and dark spots, ingredients such as vitamin C or niacinamide can help lighten these areas over time.

Choosing a cleanser with the right mix of potent actives tailored for acne-prone skin makes all the difference in achieving clearer, healthier-looking skin.


The right face wash does more than just clean your skin; it helps combat acne and prevents future breakouts. To tackle stubborn blemishes, look for products with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, key ingredients known for their pimple-fighting powers.

A great example is Neutrogena oil-free acne wash, often hailed as the best face wash for reducing pimples and improving overall skin health.

Your chosen cleanser should also address related issues like acne scars and dark spots to enhance your complexion. Options such as the Vichy Normaderm Phytosolution Purifying Gel Face Wash not only treat active acne but work on smoothing skin texture, too.

Consistent use of an effective face wash can result in clearer, healthier-looking skin over time without irritating sensitive areas or stripping away essential oils.

Top Recommended Face Washes for Acne

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Acne Cleanser


Gentle, effective acne treatment for clear and radiant skin.
Best Overall

Find on Amazon


  • Contains 2% Salicylic Acid (BHA) for effective acne treatment

  • Formulated with Green Tea Extract for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits

  • Suitable for all skin types: oily, combination, dry, and normal

  • Comes in a serum form for easy application

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Acne Cleanser is a game changer for anyone battling acne. Powered by 2% BHA (Beta hydroxy acid), it tackles deep-set concerns without the harshness of physical exfoliants. Picture this: you’ve tried countless scrubs that promised clear skin but left you with irritation instead. Say goodbye to that cycle because this product works differently; it gently lifts away dead skin cells and dives deep into pores, sweeping out the buildup that leads to breakouts. Daily use can visibly even out skin tone, smooth fine lines, and reduce redness while keeping your acne in check.

Why does this cleanser top our list? It’s simple – effectiveness meets gentleness. With Paula’s Choice commitment to fragrance-free and cruelty-free formulas, they’ve crafted an exfoliant suitable for all skin types. No more worrying about the typical drying effects of acne treatments; hydration comes hand in hand with its pore-clearing ability here. Users rave about waking up to smoother complexions and fewer flare-ups over time – proof that sticking with it pays off.

Its balanced approach secures its spot as number one because people don’t just want temporary fixes; they’re after sustainable health for their skin. This cleanser delivers both immediate relief from active blemishes and long-term benefits by maintaining clean pores and minimizing signs of aging—a complete skincare package for those who are serious about tackling their acne head-on.


  • Unclogs and diminishes enlarged pores

  • Exfoliates dead skin cells for smoother, brighter skin

  • Visibly reduces fine lines and wrinkles

  • Combats redness, aging, and blackheads


  • Strong smell may be off-putting to some users

  • Can cause dryness or irritation for sensitive skin types

  • Some customers may find the packaging inconvenient

Looking for clear, bright, and youthful skin? Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Acne Cleanser is the perfect solution for those with all skin types looking to combat redness, wrinkles, enlarged pores, and blackheads. Ditch abrasive face scrubs and try this gentle BHA leave-on exfoliator for a radiant and even complexion. Say goodbye to pesky breakouts and hello to glowing skin! Try it now and see the difference for yourself!

Murad Clarifying Cleanser

Powerful ingredients

Effective acne control with science-backed salicylic acid and green tea.
Runner Up

Find on Amazon


  • Murad Clarifying Cleanser is suitable for oily, combination, sensitive, and normal skin types

  • The gel-based formula features exfoliating properties

  • Manufactured by Murad, a trusted brand in skincare

  • Unscented for those with fragrance sensitivities

  • Specifically designed for women

Ease into your morning routine with Murad Clarifying Cleanser, a powerhouse blend of salicylic acid and green tea extract that tackles acne head-on. This scientifically-backed face wash goes beyond surface level, delivering a deep clean to unclog pores while soothing the skin with the antioxidant properties of green tea. Ideal for those fighting daily against breakouts, this cleanser is designed to keep blemishes at bay without over-drying your complexion.

Murad’s unique formula also includes exfoliating agents that gently remove dead skin cells to reveal a brighter, clearer complexion. Users often rave about the refreshing tingle that awakens their skin – an experience that transforms an everyday chore into a revitalizing ritual. Recognized for its effectiveness and user-friendly attributes, we’ve ranked this hardworking product at No. 2 on our list due to its strong combination of treatment and care tailored specifically for acne-prone individuals.

Every application empowers you to face the world with renewed confidence, knowing that Murad’s Clarifying Cleanser works tirelessly in your favor. By consistently incorporating it into your skincare regimen, expect reduced flare-ups and enjoy stepping out with visibly healthier-looking skin – making it clear why it’s a top choice among users seeking clarity in their fight against acne.


  • Clears and prevents acne breakouts

  • Exfoliates to remove dead skin cells

  • Soothes and calms irritated skin with green tea extract

  • Helps to control oil production


  • May cause dryness for sensitive skin

  • Some users may find the scent too strong

  • The price point might be high for some consumers

The Murad Clarifying Cleanser is perfect for someone struggling with acne and looking for an effective, science-backed solution. With its combination of salicylic acid and green tea extract, this face wash exfoliates and controls breakouts while providing nourishment to the skin. Say goodbye to stubborn pimples and hello to clean, clear skin by trying out the Murad Clarifying Cleanser today!

PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash


Powerful acne treatment with maximum-strength formula for clear skin.
Best Potent

Find on Amazon


  • Non-comedogenic formula to prevent clogged pores

  • Specially designed for acne-prone skin

  • Made in the USA

  • Unscented for sensitive skin

  • Foaming wash format for easy application

  • Compact and lightweight packaging

Experience the deep-cleansing power of PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash, armed with a hefty 10% Benzoyl Peroxide to tackle even the most stubborn acne. Designed for those who struggle with persistent skin breakouts, this maximum-strength wash digs deeply into pores on your face, chest, and back to eradicate acne-causing bacteria. With every use, it not only combats existing pimples but also lays down defenses to prevent new ones from claiming territory on your skin.

The unscented foaming formula is a game-changer for people dealing with oily and acne-prone complexions. Users rave about its effectiveness in removing excess oil without overly drying out their skin—a common complaint among many cleansers targeting severe acne. It’s been chosen as No. 3 in our list because it balances aggressive acne-fighting capabilities while still being gentle enough for daily use without necessitating a prescription.

PanOxyl positions itself as more than just an average face wash; it’s a refreshing defense against the relentless cycle of breakout and healings we know all too well. Consistent users report seeing dramatic changes in their skin’s clarity and texture within weeks—giving them not just clearer but healthier-looking skin day after day.


  • Clears existing acne and prevents new blemishes

  • Works on face, chest, and back to clean and unclog pores

  • Maximum strength formula kills acne-causing bacteria on contact


  • May cause dryness or irritation for those with sensitive skin

  • Could bleach fabrics and colored hair

  • Some users may experience initial increase in breakouts before seeing improvement

For those struggling with stubborn acne and looking for an effective solution, PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash is a perfect choice. This maximum-strength foaming wash is best for individuals seeking to clear existing acne and prevent new blemishes from forming. Don’t let acne hold you back any longer, try PanOxyl today!

Clearasil Rapid Rescue Deep Treatment Acne Face Wash


Rapidly clears acne for radiant complexion in 12 hours.
Best Budget

Find on Amazon


  • Deep treatment acne face wash for sensitive skin

  • Exfoliating cream formula to help unclog pores and prevent breakouts

  • Unscented for those with fragrance sensitivities

  • Made in the USA by Clearasil, a trusted skincare brand

  • Compact product dimensions for easy storage and travel

Clearasil Rapid Rescue Deep Treatment Acne Face Wash is a lifeline for those battling with persistent acne. Infused with 2% salicylic acid, this maximum-strength medication dives deep into pores to uproot the very beginnings of bothersome breakouts. With every wash, users can experience the dual power of intensive cleansing and day-long oil control, two critical allies in maintaining a clear complexion.

Imagine waking up to visibly clearer skin after just 12 hours – that’s what Clearasil promises and delivers. This product doesn’t just talk; it shows results by exfoliating dead skin cells and preventing future acne from taking hold. People who have felt the burden of acne understand how important a dependable face wash is in their daily routine—Clearasil fulfills this need without over-drying or irritating the skin, making it an essential tool in any skincare arsenal.

For anyone seeking a relentless ally against acne flare-ups, Clearasil Rapid Rescue Deep Treatment does more than cleanse; it rescues your confidence one rinse at a time. Its ability to quickly reduce redness and pimple size turns what once was an anxiety-inducing reflection in the mirror into a moment of relief and hope for healthier-looking skin each day.


  • Controls oil production for all-day shine-free skin

  • Deeply cleanses pores to prevent and treat acne

  • Contains 2% Salicylic acid for effective anti-acne action

  • Achieves visibly clearer skin in as little as 12 hours


  • May cause dryness or irritation in some skin types

  • Not recommended for use on sensitive or broken skin

  • Some users may experience a temporary increase in acne before seeing improvement

Ideal for individuals with oily and acne-prone skin, Clearasil Rapid Rescue Deep Treatment Acne Face Wash is the ultimate solution to achieve visibly clearer skin in just 12 hours. With its powerful formula containing 2% salicylic acid, this facial cleanser effectively targets and prevents breakouts while controlling excess oil production. Say goodbye to stubborn acne, and hello to a radiant complexion! Try Clearasil now and experience the best face wash for acne.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Face Scrub

Buff away spots

Powerful acne-fighting exfoliating face wash for clear, smooth skin.
Best Scrub

Find on Amazon


  • Boosts delivery of acne medicine to the source of breakouts

  • Speeds up treatment deep to the source

  • MicroClear Technology clears and smoothens skin

  • Gentle exfoliators cut through oil and dissolve dirt

  • Ideal for acne-prone skin

  • Leaves skin clear and smooth

Take control of your acne-prone skin with Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Face Scrub. As the leading dermatologist-recommended brand, Neutrogena understands the struggle against breakouts and has expertly crafted this daily face wash to meet your skin’s needs. Its 2% salicylic acid formula penetrates deep into pores, targeting acne at its source by dissolving trapped dirt and oil. The addition of MicroClear Technology amplifies the effects, ensuring that this potent ingredient works harder for clearer, smoother skin.

Incorporating this facial scrub into your routine is effortless and rewarding. Users rave about its gentle exfoliating beads that work wonders without irritating sensitive skin—a true testament to its thoughtful design. With consistent use, you can expect a visible reduction in redness and inflammation, paving the way for an even complexion free from pesky blemishes. And since it’s unscented and free from oils, it leaves behind no residue—just pure freshness.

Embrace a clear-skinned lifestyle where confidence shines through with each application of Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Daily Face Scrub. This powerhouse cleanser sweeps away stubborn acne-causing factors while nurturing your skin back to health—providing you with both immediate relief and long-term results. Give it a try; watch how transformatively it slots seamlessly into your life as you wave goodbye to breakouts once and for all!


  • Prevents breakouts and fights acne with 2% salicylic acid

  • Gentle enough for daily use as part of an acne-prone skincare routine

  • Contains exfoliators to dissolve oil, dirt, and impurities to help unclog pores

  • Utilizes MicroClear Technology to boost delivery of acne medication


  • It may cause dryness or irritation for some users.

  • The unscented formula may appeal to something other than those who prefer scented products.

  • Some users may find the exfoliating effect too harsh for daily use.

The Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Face Scrub is perfect for anyone struggling with acne-prone skin. If you want a gentle, daily exfoliating face wash that helps prevent breakouts and leaves your skin clear and smooth, this product is the one for you! Try it today and see the difference it can make in your skincare routine.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Facial Cleanser

Oil-free formula

Ideal for acne-prone skin, it fights and prevents breakouts effectively.
Best Gentle

Find on Amazon


  • Fragrance-free formula for sensitive skin

  • Specifically designed for acne-prone skin

  • Oil-free facial cleanser for a non-greasy feel

  • Made in the USA by Johnson & Johnson

  • Conveniently sized packaging for easy handling

  • Unscented to avoid irritation

If you’re battling acne, the Neutrogena Oil-Free Facial Cleanser with Salicylic Acid may just be your new skincare ally. This top-rated cleanser is praised for its ability to dive deep into pores, clearing away dirt and reducing breakouts before they even start. Formulated with salicylic acid, a known acne fighter, it targets pimples and blackheads effectively while being gentle enough for daily use.

The standout Micro-Clear technology in this cleanser sets it apart by ensuring that the powerful acne medicine gets right where it needs to go. Users frequently note that their skin feels refreshed and clean without any irritating dryness or oil residue after use. Plus, at 9.1 fluid ounces per bottle, this Neutrogena face wash lasts a long time, even with regular use. Whether you’re dealing with occasional blemishes or more persistent acne issues, incorporating this product into your routine could help pave the way to clearer skin.

Neutrogena’s commitment to non-comedogenic products means you won’t have to worry about this cleanser clogging your pores as some other products might. Many users observe a visible improvement in their complexion over time – fewer breakouts and softer skin are common accolades shared in reviews of satisfied customers who’ve made Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash a permanent addition to their skincare regimen.


  • Unclogs pores and treats acne with its oil-free, non-comedogenic formula

  • Uses clinically proven Micro clear technology to deliver acne medicine for clearer skin

  • Gently cleanses deep into pores with conditioners while preventing future breakouts

  • Recommended by dermatologists for daily use on acne-prone skin


  • May cause dryness for some users

  • The pump bottle can be prone to leakage if not stored upright

  • Some individuals may find the scent too strong

The Neutrogena Oil-Free Facial Cleanser with Salicylic Acid is perfect for individuals with acne-prone skin. This dermatologist-recommended product effectively fights and prevents breakouts, leaving your skin clear and smooth. Say goodbye to oily residue and hello to a clean, refreshed face! Try it out now and say hello to clearer skin.

CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser

Nurtures your skin

Provides extra hydration as well as skin barrier support.
Best Foaming

Find on Amazon


  • Non-comedogenic formula for oily skin

  • Fragrance-free

  • Foaming cream cleanser

  • Made in the USA

  • Formulated by CeraVe

  • Item dimensions: 1.58 x 2.44 x 7.56 inches

Experience relief from stubborn acne and pave the way for clearer skin with CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser. Developed alongside dermatologists, this cleanser harnesses the power of 4% Benzoyl Peroxide to tackle existing blemishes and ward off new breakouts. Its unique formula transitions smoothly from a comforting cream to a luxurious foam, ensuring deep cleansing without stripping the skin of vital moisture.

The cleanser is packed with hyaluronic acid, which pulls in hydration to keep your skin supple throughout your battle against acne. Niacinamide steps up by soothing your complexion, making this an ideal choice for those seeking calmness in addition to cleanliness. And no worries about clogged pores or irritation—this product is non-comedogenic and paraben-free, respecting your delicate skin barrier thanks to three essential ceramides.

Incorporate CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser into your daily routine and witness its transformative effects firsthand—a gentle yet effective approach that leaves both you and your skin feeling refreshed and revitalized. Say goodbye to harsh treatments that leave you dry; embrace this nourishing face wash tailored for life’s acne challenges.


  • Helps clear acne, pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads

  • Maintains skin’s natural moisture with Hyaluronic Acid

  • Niacinamide helps calm the skin

  • Formulated with 3 essential ceramides to maintain the skin’s natural barrier


  • May cause dryness or irritation for some users

  • Not suitable for individuals with benzoyl peroxide sensitivities

  • Cream-to-foam transformation may not be preferred by all users

Calling all acne sufferers! Say goodbye to breakouts with CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser. Perfect for anyone looking for a gentle yet effective solution, this face wash is ideal for those with oily and acne-prone skin. With its powerful blend of 4% benzoyl peroxide, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide, it helps clear acne and prevent future breakouts while keeping your skin hydrated. Don’t let acne hold you back any longer – try CeraVe today!


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

A: Look for a gentle cleanser specifically formulated for sensitive skin, free from harsh ingredients and fragrances that could potentially irritate the skin.

Q: Does a face wash with benzoyl peroxide work for acne?

A: Yes, benzoyl peroxide is an effective acne-fighting ingredient that helps to reduce bacteria on the skin and unclog pores, making it a popular choice for acne treatment.

Q: How often should I use an acne foaming wash?

A: It’s recommended to use an acne foaming wash twice a day, in the morning and evening, to effectively cleanse the skin and manage acne breakouts.

Q: What is the role of salicylic acid in an acne face wash?

A: Salicylic acid is known for its exfoliating properties and its ability to penetrate the pores, making it effective in removing excess oil and dead skin cells, thus helping to prevent acne breakouts.

Q: Can I use a face wash with benzoyl peroxide on dry skin?

A: While benzoyl peroxide can be drying, there are formulations specifically designed for dry skin that contain moisturizing ingredients to prevent excessive dryness.

Q: What are the best ingredients to look for in an acne face wash for oily skin?

A: Look for ingredients like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and clay which help control oil production, unclog pores, and prevent acne without overly drying the skin.

Q: Should I use an acne face wash with exfoliating properties?

A: Exfoliating acne face washes can help remove dead skin cells that may clog pores, but individuals with sensitive skin should be cautious as over-exfoliation can aggravate acne.

Q: What is the recommended cleansing routine for acne-prone skin?

A: It’s important to cleanse the skin twice a day with a mild acne face wash to remove excess oil, dirt, and impurities without stripping the skin of its natural moisture.

Q: Can I use a foam-based acne wash on dry skin?

A: While foam-based acne washes are designed to be lightweight and non-drying, individuals with dry skin should look for formulations that provide hydration and won’t further dry out the skin.

Q: Is it safe to use acne face washes with active ingredients during pregnancy?

A: It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional before using any acne face wash with active ingredients during pregnancy to ensure the safety for both the mother and the baby.


Embrace confidence in your skincare routine with Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Acne Cleanser and Murad Clarifying Cleanser. Each brings unique benefits to the table, from salicylic acid for combating acne to gentle exfoliation suitable even for sensitive skin.

Step up your fight against pimples and dark spots by choosing these top performers today. Clear skin is within reach, so why not give these recommended products a try?

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.

Why Trust Us

Since 2007, TotalBeauty has been committed to helping millions of people find the right makeup, skincare, and haircare products for their needs. Our experts know what works best for every face shape, skin type, hair type, and more. They are here to share that knowledge with everyone looking to upgrade their beauty routines or try something new.