Face Washes for Treating Acne

By Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / Honayst

Washing your face during a breakout—or even just touching it—isn't anyone's definition of a good time. But, as we all know, it can be extremely necessary. Whether you're currently working to minimize pimples and redness or looking for preventative skin care, the best face washes for acne-prone skin feature ingredients for every step, while helping skin still feel its best during the tumultuous cycle. Our 11 favorite cleansers, ahead, prove that just washing your face really can be one of the most powerful ways to nip acne in the bud.

1 Acne Clearing Cleanser

If you've found salicylic acid or glycolic acid treatments to be too intense for your skin, try them as a wash-off cleanser instead. They still deep-clean pores and exfoliate in this formula, just at a gentler, easier-to-adapt-to pace.

2 Salicylic Acid Acne + Pore Cleanser

Shopping for acne-prone skin can get very expensive very quickly. The Inkey List's salicylic acid cleanser is a savior for budget-conscious shoppers everywhere—it's only $10, yet wins over a new fan with every foamy rinse.

3 Regenerating Cleanser

On the other hand, you might be ready for a skincare splurge. Tata Harper's kaolin clay and white willow bark cleanser is worth its price tag and it's powerful enough to act as a weekly acne treatment.

4 Purifying Face Wash

A balanced, non-stripping cleanser is really all you need if you only experience the random pimple or blackhead here and there. This one is great for that, plus burdock root and mandarin extracts are specifically included for acne-prone skin.

5 Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Face Wash

La Roche-Posay walks the fine line between drugstore affordability, chic packaging, and effective ingredients—somehow, it does all three. 2% salicylic acid will help with acne, while the other fragrance-free ingredients clean without irritation.

6 Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam

Rinsing your face with soft, fluffy clouds of foam just feels luxurious, and can be so much more soothing than a gel during an active breakout. Clinique's cleansing foam is made for acne, too, so you can fight current pimples and prevent future ones.

7 Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Wash 2.5%

Bacteria, blackheads, whiteheads, and overactive pores don't stand a chance against this extremely powerful benzoyl peroxide wash. No wonder it's a hit with Dermstore shoppers, who've given it five out of five stars.

8 Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser

The salicylic acid in this cleanser might be the hero ingredient, but cooling menthol and redness-preventing green tea extract are like its sidekicks.

9 Deep Cleansing Foam

Shiseido's skin care is just as good as its makeup. This scrub-cleanser hybrid whisks away excess sebum, while leaving behind a healthy glow courtesy of Japanese mineral spring water and botanical extracts.

10 EradiKate Daily Cleanser

Kate Somerville's everyday, sulfate-free acne cleanser uses 3% sulfur as its fighter of choice, making this an ideal option if other ingredients haven't worked for you in the past.

11 Oil-Free Acne Face Wash With Salicylic Acid

Neutrogena's ubiquitous orange face wash is famous for a reason. It's a legit, certifiable cult favorite—who can't recognize it by the bottle alone?—and delivers acne-clearing results for under $10. The Best Organic and Natural Face Washes