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Best Face Washes & Cleansers For Acne Prone Skin

by Christine GlasgowJune 2, 2017

Finding the Best Acne Face Wash for Your Unique Skin

For those who deal with the everyday problem – and pain in the you know what – that is acne prone facial skin, there are certain things that are a given. One of the most important is that the skin care routine they follow is one that will help improve, and hopefully combat, their pimple problem rather than make it worse.

The very beginning of any such routine is squeaky clean skin. Dirt is always an enemy of acne prone skin and no matter what products, potions, home remedies and tricks you might try to battle facial acne the instructions for use always begin the same way; cleanse the skin thoroughly. Therefore, choosing the acne cleanser that is most effective – and effective for use on your unique skin, not someone else’s – is a must.

Why Use a Specialist Acne Facial Cleanser at All?

Before we start looking at products let’s examine a simpler issue; why bother with a specialist acne cleanser in the first place, especially if you are going to make use of other products?

The simple fact is that a standard soap based cleanser is rarely very kind to acne prone skin. Soap is rather drying, something that sounds like a good thing at first. After all, oil is something that causes and aggravates acne, so if your skin is a little dry that means that all that nasty sebum is gone, right?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. The oil is gone temporarily, for a few hours at most. It is then the skin’s natural reaction to try to re-hydrate itself, mainly by producing even more oil than it normally does, something that acne prone skin certainly doesn’t need! In addition, many standard cleansers have a PH that is a little too alkaline for acne prone skin, resulting in dry patches, redness and irritation.

Acne facial cleansers are designed to be safe and gentle for acne prone skin. Some offer extra medicated help as well, while others are all about giving you that clean base you need before starting other treatments.


Breaking Down the Best Acne Face Wash Choices

There really is no such thing as a perfect acne face wash. Different skin types, different skin ages and occasionally even different genders react differently to even a very good product. And price is no real indicator of quality either much of the time, as some people find that a $4 drug store choice is far more effective for them than a $50 product from a posh beauty counter.

There are however some choices that are considered by many experts to be the best in general. An individual will still have to be willing to experiment a little to figure out just which one is best for them, but when faced with dozens and dozens of choices on the shelves in front of you, the information we are going to share here should help you make a more informed purchasing decision.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Salicylic Acid Acne Wash

This is a product that you’ll find in almost any drug store, as well as more than a few grocery stores. It usually costs little more than $5 and it’s often one of the first products a teenager will try when they first start having to deal with the hormonal acne that can make their lives even harder than they already are. It’s also been around for years and years. Given all the very advanced skin care products available these days the burning question must be how is it still a best seller?

The answer lies in the salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a great acne fighter and if yours is only mild acne then the chances are good that washing your face a couple of times a day with this simple formulation, and then following up with a good, oil free moisturizer will give you visible, consistent results in terms of a reduction in acne prevention.

This is not, however, a good choice for those with sensitive skin. It is a little drying, and so redness and irritation is often the result if used on skin that is a little more delicate.


Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

You might think that if you ask a dermatologist to point you in the direction of the best acne face wash that they will inevitably tell you to head off to Sephora with a healthy credit card balance and invest in a technologically complicated, probably rather medicated

potion that will cost you about a half week’s wages. Often though that is not the case. Instead they’ll recommend this reasonably priced, no frills solution, as it really is a dermatologist’s favorite.

There is actually no special ingredient involved here at all. Water and sulfates is really all that it contains and its gentleness is near legendary. For a great, everyday clean it’s an excellent choice, but it may not do the trick for those fighting severe acne who would benefit from something a ‘little stronger’.


Olay Foaming Face Wash Sensitive Skin

This is a great choice for those who wear a significant amount of makeup on a daily basis, as it is as good at removing that as it is at removing dirt and oil. It can even handle waterproof mascara without leaving you looking like a red eyed monster, as that is simply how gentle it is.

Like Cetaphil, it does not contain a specific acne fighting medication or ingredient, just mild cleansers. The fact that it is 100% oil free will be a big bonus for those with already oily skin and if your acne problem is only a mild, but persistent, one then this could be a great daily choice.

On the downside it may not be great for those fighting stubborn, cystic acne and the scent isn’t that pleasant, although that is very much a secondary consideration as it’s only going to be on your face for a few minutes at most.


Spectro Jel Cleanser for Blemish Prone Skin

There are a number of different kinds of acne pimple that can affect the skin and blackheads and whiteheads can be some of the hardest to banish. Yes, they are usually smaller than those red, inflamed cystic acne pimples but they dull the skin and make it look almost perpetually dirty, no matter how often it is washed.

This gel based cleanser is a great choice for helping to banish blackheads and their lighter cousins. It helps to unplug pores with a gentle scrub action, allowing the oil ‘plugs’ that cause black and white heads to be gently rinsed away. It’s ingredient combination is also good for balancing skin PH.

pHisoderm Deep Cleaning Cream Cleanser

Many people hope that as they age they will grow out of their acne. And are then horrified that they don’t and they also begin facing other skin problems related to aging, like fine lines and wrinkles. There are others who sail through their teenage years with a lovely clear complexion only to have acne rear its ugly head when they are adults. For older skin that is acne prone, this is a facial cleansing solution that many recommend, including more than a few dermatologists.

The key here is that skin is cleansed effectively but still nourished by ingredients like aloe, Vitamin E and chamomile. It boasts an oil free formula, so there are no worries there and it’s even pretty good at removing makeup. It is a more expensive choice, and can be a little harder to find, but for most adults is a great way to start a daily skin care routine that will result in a consistently clear complexion.


Tree to Tub Soapberry for the Face

Some people like to ‘live organic’. They try their very best to avoid artificial ingredients in anything they buy, including the beauty products they use. If you are one of those people then this may very well be the acne face wash for you.

The key ingredient here, as the name suggests, is the soapberry. Soapberries have been found to have natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties as well as the ability to cleanse and remove dirt and oil without drying out the skin too much. The cleanser also makes use of aloe vera and acai and smells good enough to eat to boot!


Dr Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap

Many people who live with acne don’t just have to fight it on their face, it affects their body too, limiting their style choices when it comes to their wardrobes as well as their cosmetics. Dr Bronner’s is another product that has been around for decades, and yet, as a great all- around acne fighter it remains a very valid choice.

Many people have found that this peppermint based, simple looking concoction is even effective on severe acne and the fact that it is a single solution for face and body makes it great for travel and for those very busy days when you have ten minutes to get ready rather than an hour. Its great scent is also a great stress reliever, an additional plus.

These are just some of our favorite, tried and tested choices, there are obviously many more out there, but for most thy are a great place to start. Turning to you though, is there a product we didn’t mention here that you have found to be effective? If so, please let us know, we’d love to hear about it.

Christine Glasgow
Canadian girl addicted to beauty and fashion. I'm a Blogger, Entrepreneur and web influencer 👑 I mostly talk about anything related to skin care and beauty. I created this site to share science-based information on skin conditions, treatments and skin care.

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