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A person with acne may consider specific types of face wash. While they should not over-wash the face, it is important to maintain balanced potential hydrogen (pH) levels. Some face washes have specific formulations to benefit those with acne or acne-prone skin.

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) states that acne is most common in teenagers and young adults. However, it can continue into adulthood.

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According to NIAMS, acne develops when hair follicles below the skin become clogged. Outbreaks on the skin’s surface can occur when oil and dead skin cells clog the pores.

To help reduce acne, a person with acne should not over-wash their face, as this can lead to the skin becoming too dry, which may worsen the condition.

Some companies formulate face wash specifically to help reduce the symptoms or complement the treatment of acne. The products generally do this by balancing the skin’s pH levels and helping remove any bacterial buildup that could contribute to a breakout.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) offers some tips on managing acne:

  • Avoid changing skin care products frequently: Giving a particular product time to work is important. The AAD advises it could take 6–8 weeks of product use before a person can start seeing results.
  • Ensure even product application: Spreading the product evenly, rather than applying to blemishes only, may help prevent further breakouts.
  • Read the labels: For all products that make contact with the skin, such as make-up, hair care products, and sunscreen, individuals should look for noncomedogenic ingredients, which will not clog pores, including beeswax, mineral oil, and sunflower oil.
  • Reduce excessive face-washing: Over-washing the face can lead to increased irritation. The AAD recommends only washing the face when first waking, after any activity that causes sweating, and before going to sleep.

Medical News Today has careful vetting processes to ensure products are safe to use. For the skin care products in this article, the vetting team looked at several factors, including:

  • Medical accuracy and integrity: The brands included in this article do not make any inappropriate health claims.
  • Trust indicators: The brands have transparent certifications and no legal concerns.
  • Best practices: Companies provide full ingredient lists, so those with sensitivities or allergies can stay informed. The brands also have privacy policies in place to protect an individual’s data.
  • Reputation: The companies are reputable and have profiles or accreditation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Below, we list some face wash products to consider.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publishing.

Neutrogena Oil-free Acne Face Wash

Best oil-free

This face wash contains salicylic acid to help combat acne and further breakouts.

It also contains Neutrogena’s Microclear technology, which can help reduce blackheads and boost the delivery of acne medicines.

This product is also oil-free and reportedly does not have an oily texture.

A pack of three bottles is available to purchase online for around $16.

CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

Best renewing

This product contains ingredients that help remove dead skin cells while hydrating and cleansing the skin. It contains:

  • salicylic acid
  • hyaluronic acid
  • niacinamide
  • vitamin D

It also features three essential ceramides that offer natural skin protection. The formula does not contain microbeads, as these may irritate the skin.

This cleanser is fragrance-free, nondrying, nonirritating, and it will not clog pores.

CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser is available to purchase online for around $10.

DERMA E Hydrating Gentle Cleanser

Best for various skin types

This liquid product is suitable for oily, combination, dry, or normal skin.

It contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin, chamomile to soothe, papaya to remove dead skin cells and reduce acne, and lemongrass to tone and firm the skin.

In addition, it features vitamins A and E, which have anti-inflammatory properties.

DERMA E Hydrating Gentle Cleanser is available online for around $14.

Biore Charcoal Acne Clearing Face Wash

Best for deep cleansing

This product contains natural charcoal, which helps deep clean pores and absorb excess oil. The face wash does not contain oil as an ingredient.

It also features salicylic acid to help limit further acne breakouts. The manufacturer states the product is suitable for daily use.

The company also advises that a person may use their Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account to purchase this product.

Biore Charcoal Acne Clearing Face Wash is available online for around $7.

SkinCeuticals Clarifying Exfoliating Cleanser

Best for luxury

This product contains both salicylic and glycolic acids to remove dead skin cells. Salicylic acid also acts as a natural antibiotic.

The company claims it can also double as a body wash to prevent full-body acne breakouts.

This product is available to purchase online for around $100.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel

Best foaming

This unscented face wash targets excess oil, blackheads, and acne.

It is a foaming face wash that does not contain harsh scrubbing particles, so it should not irritate the skin.

The company claims this product has undergone dermatological and allergy testing for safety. It is also reportedly paraben-free and suitable for people with sensitive skin.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel is available to purchase online for around $15.

Differin Acne Face Wash

Best for oily skin

This face wash contains 5% benzoyl peroxide. Typically, products contain 10% benzoyl peroxide, but the company claims this product is just as effective but causes less irritation and dryness.

Differin claims dermatologists developed this formula, which features a dual action that penetrates the skin deeply to absorb excess oil and moisturize while avoiding clogging pores.

This product is available to purchase online for around $10.

COSRX Good Morning Gel Cleanser

Best low pH

According to COSRX, this product will cleanse without stripping the skin and is suitable for all skin types.

The key ingredients include tea tree oil and beta hydroxy acid, which can remove excess oils and dead skin. The cleanser also claims to maintain the skin’s natural pH natural levels, balancing and protecting the skin and preventing irritation.

It is hypoallergenic, dermatologist-tested, as well as cruelty-, paraben-, and sulfate-free.

This product is available to purchase online for around $9.

Humane Acne Wash

Best maximum strength

This product is suitable for the face and body and reportedly fights the main cause of acne growth. It also tackles excess oil production and helps remove the excess oil, dead skin, and debris responsible for clogged pores.

Humane states that their maximum-strength, minimal-ingredient formula is vegan-friendly and free from ingredients such as:

  • sulfates
  • alcohol
  • paraffin
  • parabens
  • formaldehyde
  • artificial colors and fragrance

The company also claims it can clear up blackheads, whiteheads, bumps, and underskin cysts while soothing soreness and inflammation.

Humane’s Acne Wash is available to purchase online for around $25.

Kate Somerville EradiKate Daily Foaming Cleanser

Best scented

This medicated wash features a honey scent and 3% sulfur to balance oily skin, clear spots, unclog pores, and prevent future breakouts.

The product also contains rice bran and natural oat extract, which is calming and helps reduce oil.

Kate Somerville EradiKate Daily Foaming Cleanser is available to purchase online for around $40.

A person should consider speaking with a doctor if they have concerns over their acne and its associated physical symptoms, including scarring or skin marks. However, acne may also affect a person’s mental health, so individuals should also consult a doctor if they feel anxious or depressed or if the condition negatively affects their well-being.

There are different types of acne, and each may require a different treatment approach. The AAD states there are several options to treat the following skin conditions:

  • Whiteheads, blackheads, or a combination of both: Treatment will likely include topical options, such as antibiotic creams, that a person applies to their skin.
  • Pimples: Treatments include topical options that an individual applies to their skin, including antibiotics.
  • Cysts and deep, scarring acne: Using prescription topical treatments that a person applies to the skin. They can also take an oral antibiotic.

A dermatologist may sometimes recommend other treatments, including corticosteroid injections, laser therapy, and following a nutritious diet.

A person should consider using face wash twice each day: when waking and before going to sleep. The AAD also recommends washing the face after any activity that causes sweating.

For people with acne, some face wash can help unclog pores and remove excess oil. This can reduce pimples and prevent further breakouts.

A person should consider consulting a doctor or dermatologist if they have concerns about the physical or emotional effects of acne.