What’s The 10 Best Acne Face Wash For Adults? Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

What Is The Best Face Wash For Acne And Pimples Feature Image

Finding the best face wash for acne-prone skin can be challenging. Sensitive or dry skin types require a hydrating but gentle face wash. Similarly, if your epidermis is oily, you’ll need a face wash that balances oil production, thus protecting your face from breaking out.

Among the different types of face washes for acne-prone skin, you’ll first need to understand the basic information about a particular product. Is it free of dyes? Does it have skin-sensitive preservatives? What skin type is it meant for? And finally, has it been dermatologist-tested?  In this review, we will analyze the top ten best acne wash for face as well as provide a detailed buyers review to help you choose a product that’ll serve you perfectly.

Top 3 Editor’s Choice: Face Washes For Acne (2020 Updated)





Vanicream Gentle Face Cleanser Is Our Recommendation For Best Acne Treatment

1. Vanicecream Gentle Facial Cleanser

  • Free of fragrance, dyes, and preservatives such as formaldehyde releasers, parabens, and lanolin
  • Does not lead to blackhead formation due to its non-comedogenic and oil-free properties
  • Removes grease, makeup, and dirt without leaving skin dry
  • Ideal for oily skin and treating blackheads
  • Does not clog pores making it ideal for acne-prone skin
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of December
Neutrogena Oil-Free Cleanser

2. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

  • Contains salicylic acid that is crucial in treating acne and preventing breakouts
  • Cleans the epidermis layer without leaving a heavy, oily residue
  • Ideal for treating blackheads and eliminating excessive skin grease due to its non-comedogenic properties
  • Used in deep cleaning pores, more so clogged pores
  • Uses micro clear modern technology to boost the delivery of acne medicine and salicylic acid
CeraVe Renewing SA Face Cleanser (Contain Salicylic Acid)

3. CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

  • Known for its cleansing and skin smoothening properties
  • Contains ingredients like hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, niacinamide, vitamin D and salicylic acid that removes dead skin cells
  • Formulated with three main ceramides (1, 3, 6-II) which help to restore the skin's protective barrier
  • Doesn't contain any microbeads known to damage skin or harm the environment
  • Fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, thus leaving pores free and fresh

Our 10 Best Acne Face Washes

1. Vanicecream Gentle Facial Cleanser (Best Seller)

Vanicream Gentle Face Cleanser Is Our Recommendation For Best Acne Treatment


This world-renowned face wash is known for its gentleness on the skin. Its formula contains no chemical irritants or harsh detergents, which makes it ideal for all skin types.  One of the Vanicream facial cleanser’s best properties is its ability to remove makeup and dirt without leaving the epidermis layer dry.

The Vanicream gentle facial cleanser is gluten and betaine free, which eliminates the chances of skin irritation and the clogging of pores. Whether you have eczema, ichthyosis, psoriasis, or winter itch, this high-quality cleanser will leave your skin feeling soft and clean.

The main ingredients used in this face cleansing formula include purified water, mica, sodium cocoyl glycinate, coco-glucoside, glycerin, titanium dioxide, and disodium EDTA among other dermatologist-approved ingredients.

Vanicecream was formed in 1975 and has since established itself as a leading company in the manufacture of skincare products for users with sensitive skin types. The company is regularly tested by the FDA and is known to use technologically advanced formulas to improve its regimen.


  • Does not cause blackheads due to its non-comedogenic and oil-free properties
  • Free of fragrance, dyes formaldehyde releasers as well as other preservatives
  • Free of amides and amines such as betaine, gluten, and sulfates
  • Removes makeup and dirt without leaving the epidermis layer dry
  • Ideal for dry or sensitive skin associated with psoriasis, eczema and other skin conditions


  • Has a mild medicinal smell that some may not like
  • Does not remove waterproof mascara

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2. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

Neutrogena Oil-Free Cleanser

This Neutrogena face wash boasts of a unique formula that helps to cleanse pores. It integrates a micro-clear technology that is clinically proven to help deliver salicylic acid that helps to clear acne and blackheads. Its non-comedogenic properties and oil-free formula prevent your pores from clogging, thus leaving your skin healthy, supple, and soft. 

This product is oil and residue-free, which helps rinse your skin without irritation or dryness. For best outcomes, it is advisable to use this daily as a basic part of your skincare routine to eliminate acne-causing bacteria.

Neutrogena is a highly trusted brand that is part of the Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., one of the leading skincare brands in the country.  To keep up with industry standards, Neutrogena conducts consumer-based research to ensure that its face washes are ideal for different skin types.


  • Clinically proven to treat blackheads and clear breakouts
  • Ideal for eliminating excess oil, thus preventing the formation of acne
  • Deep cleans clogged pores
  • Contains salicylic acid for acne treatment and doesn't clog pores due to its non-comedogenic properties


  • Inconsistent use can lead to undesirable outcomes
  • Requires proper application to prevent skin numbness and irritation

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3. CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

CeraVe Renewing SA Face Cleanser (Contain Salicylic Acid)

This acne face cleanser by CeraVe is a proven performer in the treatment of skin sensitivity. Unlike other skin cleansers that leave the skin irritated after multiple usages, this cleanser removes grease and dirt while smoothening and softening your skin.

Among the best features of this product, is the presence of hyaluronic acid, salicylic, niacinamide, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin C, and antioxidants, which help to rejuvenate the skin while shedding off dead skin. Additionally, the presence of essential ceramides [1] such as 1, 3, and 6-II helps to maintain your skin’s natural barrier, thus leaving it fully protected at all times.

What made this brand prominent among the other brands lies in its ingredient and formulas to prevent skin problems. All CeraVe products are researched and developed by the company’s team of experienced dermatologists, which helps ensure that it protects the skin and leaves it healthy. 


  • Contains three essential ceramides that help to rejuvenate the skin
  • Helps in preventing acne outbreaks as its non-comedogenic properties help free up pores
  • Ideal for sensitive and oily skin due to its gentle formula
  • Contains salicylic acid that smoothens and softens skin cells
  • Cleanses and hydrates skin


  • Might take some time to eliminate acne and dead skin cells
  • Not ideal for those with excessively dry skin

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4. Biore Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser

Biore Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser

This cleanser comes with natural charcoal as an ingredient that helps to decongest pores, treat acne, and prevent future breakouts. It also contains salicylic acid and uses Biore’s skin purifying technology that leaves your skin looking clear and rejuvenated in two days.

The charcoal is pivotal in detoxing and keeping your skin purified. By using an oil-free formula, the Biore charcoal acne face wash helps to treat oily skin by balancing oil production and consequently preventing acne outbreak.  The Biore acne clearing cleanser is oil-free and non-comedogenic, which its features make it an ideal option for users with different skin types.


  • Has charcoal and salicylic acid as its active ingredients
  • Its salicylic formula penetrates pores to control acne and prevent outbreaks
  • Clears acne and softens skin in two days
  • Contains natural charcoal that draws out trapped grease and dirt


  • May have an adverse effect on people with extra sensitive skin (Don't leave it on for too long)

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5. Cetaphil Pro Oil Removing Foam Wash

Cetaphil Pro Oil Removing Cleanser

This foam wash is ideal for treating acne-prone skin. The foam wash contains a modernized zinc technology that helps to leave skin looking less greasy, shiny, and healthy. Its gentleness allows for daily use and is also safe for use with other acne treatments.

Cetaphil is a well-reputed company that has been active in the skincare industry since 1947. You can count on this acne cleanser to reduce shine while leaving your skin moisturized. It contains zinc coceth sulfate, a conveniently mild surfactant that allows for effective and gentle cleansing.


  • Non-acnegenic, mild and non-irritating for all skin types
  • Safe to combine with other acne treatments
  • Ideal for daily use as it contains gentle ingredients
  • Reduces skin shine without drying and irritating the skin


  • Can lead to mild rashes for extra sensitive skin
  • Can have a strong smell that some might find irritating

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6. Differin Daily Deep Cleanser With Benzoyl Peroxide For Acne (Sensitive Skin Formula)

Differin Daily Deep Cleanser

This Differin acne cleanser contains 5% benzoyl peroxide, which is as powerful as 10% benzoyl peroxide formula used in other cleansers. The low percentage of benzoyl reduces the chances of skin dryness and irritation.

It also boasts of a micronized formula that penetrates deep into pores and absorbs excess oil. This cleanser is ideal for users with sensitive skin looking for a powerful cleanse that won’t irritate the skin. The face wash helps in reducing and preventing acne, thus leaving your skin feeling great and looking healthy.


  • Boasts of a unique, dual-action formula that absorbs excess oil and removes makeup with ease
  • The 5% benzoyl peroxide is enough to cleanse your skin without causing irritation
  • Ideal for preventing acne breakouts and day to day use due to its gentle formula
  • Penetrates deep into skin cells, thus leaving the pores healthy and acne-free


  • Might take time to clear out existing pimples
  • Must be used daily, which can be costly as you must replace regularly

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7. Dermalogica Clearing Skin Wash

Dermalogica Clearing Cleanser

The Dermalogica skin wash is ideal not only for treating and preventing acne but also for the concealment of aging lines. It is known for its gentle skin oil balancing benefits, which helps prevent skin damage and irritation.

Dermatologica is a well-known brand that prioritizes skin care over profits. It was founded by a skin therapist, which explains the company’s commitment to research. All Dermatologica products are gluten-free and vegan.


  • Helps in treating and preventing the emergence of acne
  • Contains soothing botanicals that help to calm irritation and rejuvenate skin cells
  • Ideal for those with sensitive, dry and even oily skin
  • Contains camphor and menthol ingredients that help in skin cooling


  • Might initially react to super sensitive skin
  • Not one of the fastest-acting cleansers

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8. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser

La RochePosay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser

This brand needs no introduction when it comes to skincare products. The skincare and beauty company has won several awards, including the Allure Best of Beauty Awards, 2016. This Medicated gel cleanser targets excessive oil and helps clear acne.

This acne face wash contains Lipo Hydroxy Acid, a micro-exfoliating ingredient that allows for cell-by-cell elimination of dirt and debris. It also contains sodium laureth sulfate, water, glycerin, coco-betaine, and sodium hydroxide as inactive ingredients.


  • Dermatologist tested and contains no paraben, fragrance, and oil
  • Contains menthol that acts as a coolant for all skin types
  • Non-comedogenic and contains salicylic acid that targets whiteheads, pimples, blackheads, and excess oil
  • Promotes cells health by strengthening the skin barrier


  • Can be sensitive when applied to the eye area
  • Incorrect application can lead to rashes

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9. Acne Free Oil-Free Acne Cleanser

Acne Free Oil-Free Acne Cleanser (Contains glycolic acid for dead skin cells exfoliation)

This oil-free skin cleanser is dermatologist recommended due to its low 2.5% benzoyl peroxide concentration, which makes it extra gentle on your epidermis. You can count on this foaming cleanser to clear out all acne-causing bacteria as it also contains glycolic acid that aids in buffering away dead skin cells.

The micronized benzoyl peroxide present in this cleanser penetrates deeply into your skin to clean pores as well as skin-caring ceramides.  Applying this cleanser twice a day will leave your skin looking shiny and healthy due to its cleansing properties.


  • Can be used on the face and the body as well
  • The gel formula makes a light foam that flushes impurities and unclogs pores
  • Sensitive and effective due to the low concentration of micronized benzoyl peroxide
  • Infused with ceramides that help to maintain your skin's moisture barrier
  • Contains glycolic acid that helps to exfoliate dead skin cells


  • Can cause breakouts if applied daily without extra care
  • The packaging is not the best

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10. Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser

Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser

This medicated gentle cleanser not only eliminates and prevents acne but also reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It is formulated for acne-prone skin and helps to clear blemishes while also purifying the epidermis without making it too dry.

The presence of ingredients like salicylic acid cleanser provides a continuous release of acne treatment while hyaluronic acids, combined with amino acids, ensure your epidermis retains extra hydration. This foaming cleanser does not contain parabens, sulfates, gluten, and phthalates as active ingredients.


  • Rejuvenates the epidermis layers and helps it to retain moisture
  • Treats acne scars and helps in removing aging lines and wrinkles
  • Contains hyaluronic acid and amino acids that help maintain skin moisture
  • Purifies the epidermis and removes zits without irritation or over-drying


  • Smooth texture that doesn't create a cleansing feeling
  • May not be suitable for everyone - some reviews stated that this made them breakout even more

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Good facial washes for acne breakouts and blemishes - improve your complexion

Ingredients You Should Look For When Buying Face Wash for Acne

  • Salicylic acid: Best for acne treatment as it helps to clear blocked and congested pores while also reducing swelling
  • Sodium Sulfacetamide: Contains a useful antibacterial component as well as a drying agent to prevent bacteria growth and promote healing for acne scars.
  • Benzoyl Peroxides: Helps in the elimination of bacteria that causes acne, which allows the sensitive skin to dry and consequently peel.
  • Ceramides: These lipids help to reinforce the skin’s barrier, thus preventing itching, dryness, and irritation. It also helps in moisture retention as they make skin cells healthy.
  • Humectants and Emollients: The best face washes contain emollients such as petrolatum, mineral oil, and lanolin as they help keep your skin hydrated. Humectants such as glycerin are vital in preserving hydration while exfoliants (alpha-hydroxy acids) help smoothen the rough areas in your epidermis.

Anyone with adult acne and blemishes can develop low confidence - find the best face cleanser option

What Should You Avoid When Buying Facial Wash for Acne?

  • Alcohol: Avoid alcohol-based facial wash products as alcohol breaks down lipids and weaken your skin’s natural protective barrier.
  • Oils: While some oil-derived ingredients help to act as useful hydration ingredients, harmful types can clog your pores, thus leading to zits. Avoid propylene glycol, butylene glycol, paraffin, petrolatum, isopropyl alcohol. Consider settling for those that are plant-based as they never clog your pores.
  • Fragrance: Avoid a face wash that has fragrance as they contain hundreds if not thousands of chemicals that can cause allergies, headaches, and ruin your epidermis layer. Instead, go for products that use plant or fruit extracts or essential oils as scents.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: Although sodium lauryl sulfate might leave you feeling squeaky clean after use, it can strip the epidermis of the basic oils needed for protection

Reviews on dermatologists approved cleanser that work for breakouts and blemishes

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my face breaking out?

Your face is breaking out due to the overproduction of an oily substance called sebum that seals in moisture to protect the epidermis from being too dry. An excess supply of sebum, however, will clog your pores, thus leading to acne and skin irritation. Sebum production depends on several factors, which is why you must be careful about the foods you consume, skincare products you use, and stress due to hormone levels.

Can face wash make acne worse?

Facial cleansers can make acne worse if overused. Washing your face all too often can end up stripping the good oils, which are necessary for making your skin supple. Also, buying a low-quality acne face wash can lead to zit formation and clogged pores, especially if it contains harmful animal oils.

How can I clear acne?

You can clear acne by using an acne face wash, acne-friendly type of toner, and other dermatologist-tested skincare products. Acne is caused by a variety of reasons, including skin type and hormones. The best way to clear acne is to understand your body and what works best for you.


Finding the best facial cleanser for acne-prone skin might not be easy, but the above product review and buyer’s guide should help you identify the best cleansers that suit your skin type.

Remember to check for ingredients and skin type before settling for a particular product. You might also need to be patient to allow most of these products to work. However, since finding the perfect fit is mostly trial and error, do not hesitate to stop using a product immediately it causes sensitivity or worsens the acne.

Vanicream Gentle Face Cleanser Is Our Recommendation For Best Acne Treatment

Editor's Choice

Vanicecream Gentle Facial Cleanser

  • Free of fragrance, dyes, and preservatives such as formaldehyde releasers, parabens, and lanolin
  • Does not lead to blackhead formation due to its non-comedogenic and oil-free properties
  • Removes grease, makeup, and dirt without leaving skin dry
  • Ideal for oily skin and treating blackheads
  • Does not clog pores making it ideal for acne-prone skin
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of December