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What facial cleanser is best for acne

No one wants to deal with acne, especially since it tends to come up when you least expect it. You’ve probably tried a few products already, but learning how to take care of acne effectively is a challenge. You’ve probably tried some of the best skincare for acne, but you’re going to want to know what is the best facial cleanser for you.

The benefits of having a skincare routine for acne are endless. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with where to start, then I’d suggest the first step – a facial cleanser important element is the acne treatment. From clearing your skin to prepping your face for skincare and helping to break down dirt, oil and bacteria, everyone could do with a facial cleanser in their life.

Listen to this.

You might feel that no matter what you try, it doesn’t work. Don’t despair. Dealing with acne is not easy, especially when there’s an abundance of products out there that end up drying your skin further and stripping it of moisture. Today I am going to show you the best cleansers to help you combat breakouts but without drying out your skin.

What about trying a diy facial cleanser for acne? If you have sensitive skin or simply prefer a more natural cleanser, then making your own homemade cleanser is a good way to go.

You’re going to want to stay tuned!

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A review of the best facial cleanser for acne prone skin


PanOxyl Foaming Acne Wash

best facial cleanser for cystic acne

If you have acne prone skin, then a dermatologically tested cleanser is a good place to start.

The PanOxyl acne foaming wash is formulated with benzoyl peroxide to actively treat acne and breakouts. Daily Foaming Wash is ideal if you want to maintain the moisture whilst getting rid of bacteria from the day. It’s perfect for those who want to cleanse their face whilst treating acne. No wonder it’s the number 1 recommended face wash by dermatologists for acne prone skin.

I love that the PanOxyk helps to clear existing acne as well as preventing more breakouts. It deep cleans without stripping the skin of moisture, and at the same time treats acne. Made with 10% benzoyl peroxide in an all in one solution, meaning you can use this for your body and your face. You can use it for your body too, it gentle washes away dirt without overly stripping the skin.

But wait.

An extremely important feature of the PanOxyl is that aside from being a medicated maximum strength 10% benzoyl peroxide, it also helps combat dryness. The face wash has moisturizing ingredients and is fragrance-free and paraben-free, so your skin will love it. No wonder it is recommended by dermatologists!

What more can I say? PanOxyl is a strong hydrating gentle cleanser that promises to deliver 24-hour moisture from dry, sensitive skin and treat acne skin gently. I’d say it does the job pretty well. Enriched with sweet almond oil and vitamin E, and value for money, it’s a winner!

Click on the blue button below to take a look for yourself!

  • 10% Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Treats acne
  • Combats dryness
  • Free from fragrance and parabens
  • Does not foam

Latest deal: PanOxyl Foaming Acne Wash


La Roche-Posay Effaclar Facial Cleanser

best facial cleanser for hormonal acne

This one is a drugstore favorite.

La Roche Posay is ideal if you want oil-free, everyday gentle cleansing. I’m talking about restoring moisture with a light, non-greasy feel that won’t strip your skin or be too harsh when cleansing. This medicated gel cleanser for face is tough on acne but full of the right ingredients so you can cleanse your face and at the same time look after your skin.

I love that this cleanser has been dermatologically tested and includes key ingredients to look after your skin. This includes 2% salicylic acid and acne medication to prevent breakouts, and clean out your pores. Your everyday skincare routine needs to be working towards getting breakouts rid of acne without damaging the skin’s barrier, including your cleanser.

But wait let me tell you about this.

A great feature of this is the famous La Roche Posay thermal spring water, a key ingredient in all their products. This is a soothing antioxidant and ideal for delicate, sensitive skin. Together with a clean, foaming texture and micro exfoliating lipo hydroxy acids to renew the skin. Plus, you dont have to worry about your skin drying out because it contains glycerin to plump your skin. This cleanser will help to tighten your pores after cleansing, to prevent breakouts.

La Roche Posay is known to be a leading skincare brand that provides all the right ingredients in its products so you can keep your skin hydrated. It is also fragrance-free and has a lightweight texture to nourish your skin and cleanse gently. It’s a winner!

Click on the blue button below to take a look for yourself!

  • 2% salicylic acid
  • Lipo hydroxy acids skin exfoliant
  • Glycerin
  • Oil free
  • Packaging leaks

Latest deal: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Facial Cleanser


CeraVe SA Cleanser

best for teenage acne

You’re going to want to check out

The Cerave Salycilic Facial Cleanser is a gentle way of cleansing the oil and bacteria from your skin whilst at the same time treating breakouts. If you have acne prone skin that gets itchy and sore from using stripping cleansers, then this one is worth having a look at.

This cleanser comes with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and salicylic acid to help target acne and breakouts skin without stripping moisture. It provides intense hydration and maintains the skin’s moisture levels for 24 hours. This in turn contributes to the barrier function of the skin, so you get a healthy glow.

But that’s not all.

The best part about Cerave is that it has essential ceramides that are found in the skin and in the lipid barrier. That means you know you can trust what’s in the product, knowing it has exactly what your skin needs to maintain and restore the barrier. This is particularly useful since most dry skin is caused by a lack of ceramides in the skin.

Whether you have sensitive, or oily, acne-prone skin, the Cerave cleanser has a thin texture consistency can help to deep cleanse and treat acne, helping to smooth rough bumps without stripping the skin. It contains everything your skin needs to be healthy and is fragrance-free and paraben-free.

Check out the 5-star reviews!

  • Contains Salycilic acid
  • Gently cleanses
  • Smooths textured skin
  • Fragrance free
  • Can be stripping

Latest deal: CeraVe SA Cleanser


Face Wash by CETAPHIL

best drugstore face wash

If you are using strong acne medications then Cetaphil face wash is a good option.

The Cetaphil Daily Cleansing Wash is ideal if you want to maintain the moisture whilst getting rid of bacteria from the day. It’s perfect for those who are taking strong acne medications that dry their skin, or have a damaged skin barrier.

I love that the Cetaphil lotion has an all-in-one approach, meaning you can use this for your body and your face. You can use it for your body too, it gentle washes away dirt without overly stripping those dry parts such as elbows and knees that can sometimes become cracked and painful. More than that, it won’t dry your skin further but it will not clog your pores or add oil to your face.

But wait.

An extremely important feature of the Cetaphil is that it is fragrance-free and paraben-free, so your skin will love it. No wonder it is recommended by dermatologists!

What more can I say? Cetaphil is a strong hydrating gentle cleanser that promises to deliver 24-hour moisture from dry, sensitive skin and clean the skin gently. From the over 29,000 five-star reviews, I’d say it does the job pretty well. Enriched with sweet almond oil and vitamin E, and value for money, it’s a winner!

  • 24 hour moisture
  • Fragrance free and paraben free
  • Dermatologically tested
  • Hypoallergenic and soap free
  • Not cruelty free

Latest deal:Face Wash by CETAPHIL


Simple Water Boost Micellar Cleansing Water

best for sensitive acne prone skin

This one is a must if you have sensitive skin.

The Simple Micellar cleansing water has long been a favorite not only for removing makeup but also for gently cleansing the skin. Made with skin loving ingredients that soothe your skin and break down oil and bacteria. The Simple Micellar water is a great addition to any skincare routine.

This oil-free micellar cleansing water has plant essential minerals and plant extracts to nourish your skin as it cleanses. That means that your skin will not only feel, but look naturally healthy. Not tight or itchy skin that makes your breakouts worse. Even better is that it contains no artificial perfume or color, and doesn’t contain harsh chemicals.

But that’s not all.

The best part about Simple Micellar water is that it is gentle on your skin but tough on dirt. You don’t have to worry about clogged pores and bacteria causing you breakouts. This gentle cleanser can be used as a makeup remover or simply to wash your face. All you need to do is take a cotton pad, and pour a couple of drops and gently swipe the cotton ball across your face. It’s important you do this in circular motions, and if you’re wearing makeup then you need to concentrate on the eye area especially.

Simple micellar water has everything you need to see results from day 1. Did I mention is free from chemical ingredients? Whether you have sensitive combination skin or mature skin, you won’t find another like it

Overall, I’d say this is the cleanser for sensitive oily skin.

  • Lightweight
  • No harmful chemicals
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Skin minerals and plant extracts
  • Green/gray color

Latest deal: Simple Water Boost Micellar Cleansing Water


Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser

best acne wash for blackheads

Looking for the best moisturizer for combination skin? Look no further.

Neutrogena is ideal if you are on a budget but want oil-free, everyday cleansing. I’m talking about a face wash with a light, non-greasy feel that you can that you can use before prepping your skin. It provides everyday hydration without clogging your pores or leaving your skin shiny.

I love that this cleanser contains salicylic acid to target acne and breakouts. Infused with micro clear technology, it helps to boost salicylic acid delivery so that you can prevent breakouts from happening in the first place. has been dermatologically tested to keep shine at bay, including mattifying the skin and clearing pores. It contains oil absorbing technology, so you can say goodbye to excess oil, without drying out your skin.

But let me tell you about this.

A great feature of this is that it doesn’t contain oil, and is non-comedogenic providing lightweight cleansing that leaves your skin fresh and clean. It contains chamomile and aloe extract to help calm irritation. This face wash will help to cleanse your skin, making it more recipient to acne treatment and medication that you use.

What more can I say? Neutrogena is also fragrance free and alcohol free so you won’t be irritating your skin or drying it out. If you want a face wash that helps to penetrate the source of breakouts, unclog congested pores, remove dirt and impurities, but without overly drying your face, then it’s a winner!

Click on the blue button below to take a look for yourself!

  • Non comedogenic

    Oil free and alcohol free

    All day matte finish

    Oil control system

  • Can leave skin shiny in warm weather

Latest deal: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser

What is the best facial cleanser for acne – A Buyer’s Guide

Trying to find an acne face wash for you?

Let me help you out. If you want to remove excess oil, dead skin cells, and calm your oily skin, then you could do with an acne face wash. Look out for good ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide as well as beta hydroxy acid or aha’s in your face washes. I also love hyaluronic acid for dry skin, but the truth is the best acne face wash will depend on your skin.

Face washes come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s important you have the right one in your skin care routine. Whether that means one with tea tree oil, aloe vera, glycolic acid to remove dead skin, or alpha hydroxy acids suited for different skin types.

Acne face washes help to clear hormonal acne and acne causing bacteria as well as remove dead skin cells.

Whether you have dry or sensitive skin having the right face wash in a skin care routine is essential. No one wants to go through painful pimples, or acne vulgaris with inflammatory acne. That’s why you need to find the right gel cleansers or creamy cleanser that can absorb excess oil and kills acne causing bacteria.

Which cleanser is right for you?


What to look for when choosing an acne cleanser

There’s a few things you need to keep in mind when picking out a cleanser for your acne.

Skin type

Before you can shop for an acne face wash, it’s important you know beforehand what your skin type is. Apart from being acne prone, your skin can also be dry, oily, sensitive or mature, all of which affect which cleanser you should be getting. For example, if you have sensitive skin, go for a low concentration of acne fighting active ingredients to prevent irritation. If you have very oily skin, then you might be ok to use stronger active ingredients. For dry skin types, it’s important to use skincare that contains hydrating active ingredients like hyaluronic acid. Check with your dermatologist if you’re not sure what your skin type is.

Active ingredients

Technically you don’t need to have active ingredients to fight acne in your cleanser, but it definitely helps. The most effective active ingredients to target acne include salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid is very good for reducing the swelling and redness in inflamed areas of acne and helps to unclog pores and deep cleanse. Benzoyl peroxide works as an antiseptic to break down bacteria on your skin that can cause breakouts. Depending on how serious your acne is, you can use a higher or lower percentage of actives. If you are struggling with cystic acne, it’s better if you can find a cleanser with at least 2% salicylic acid. Your dermatologist can provide stronger treatments with higher concentrations of active ingredients such as chemical peels.

Here’s a tip – You don’t need to use both benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid at the same time, as each one will treat and prevent future breakouts. Over the counter treatments go up to 2% salicylic acid and 10% for benzoyl peroxide.


Another key point to look at is the texture of the cleanser. This is personal preference as well as your skin type. If you have dry skin, then using a creamy textured cleansing milk will help restore hydration, whereas a foaming cleanser or gel cleanser can be more drying for your skin. Some people also prefer to use a cleansing oil to break down makeup and dirt without drying the skin.

Noncomedogenic and oil free formula

When choosing a facial cleanser, you need to find one with a noncomedgoenic formula, meaning it doesn’t clog pores. This is key if you struggle with acne and breakouts, regardless of your skin type, Some other ingredients to avoid include oil, fragrance and sulfates. These can be very aggressive on your skin and clog your pores as well as irritate your skin.

The best active ingredients for acne prone skin

If you want to find the best acne face wash for your skin type and needs, then you need to be checking out the formula and ingredients. Here are some of the most effective active ingredients that are commonly found in face washes for acne prone skin:

Salicylic acid

This is one of the most popular ingredients. It’s great for exfoliating your skin to get rid of dead skin cells and unclog pores. Its often found in acne products and is great for treating blackheads and whiteheads.

Benzoyl peroxide

This is another great ingredient for exfoliation. Benzoyl peroxide has antimicrobial properties and helps to eliminate acne causing bacteria that could be in your pores. This ingredient is also great for getting rid of dead skin cells and preventing breakouts.

AHA’s and direct acids

Personally, I think everyone should have a skincare product with aha’s or bha’s, also known as alpha hydroxy acids. They are great for exfoliation, collagen production and excess oil. Not only do they promote collagen production and break down sebum or oil on the skin, but they help to unclog pores too. This helps with cell rejuvenation and is especially useful for aging and oily skin types.

Aha’s are usually used to exfoliate dead skin cells that clog pores. But you can also use them to even out discoloration and boost collagen production.

Final Thoughts

Finding a cleanser with anti acne ingredients to combat acne is not easy.

I’ve picked out various acne face washes with anti inflammatory properties such as salicylic acid to help you find the best acne face wash for you. Want to dry a foaming face wash to get rid of excess oils on your oily skin? The make sure to scroll through this buyer’s guide for my top picks.

Which one is your favorite cleanser?

jess rowley

Jess Rowley

Cheif Editor & Nail Technician Expert


Jess Rowley, a veteran nail tech, has been studying beauty over the last 11 years and has completed the nail technology program in California. Watching the latest trends in beauty, Jess searches for the highest quality products that make your nails feel loved.