Acne is a skin condition that typically affects teenagers, but it is also prevalent among adults. In fact, studies say that it affects about 40 to 50 percent of adults aged between 20 and 40 years old. In the United States, there is reportedly 85 percent of people aged between 11 and 30 who have acne. Of these, the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology says that 54 percent aged 25 and above are women.
There are many reasons that are associated with acne, such as genetics, weather patterns, skin products, anxiety and stress, and hormones. Symptoms range from closed and plugged pores (whiteheads) to painful lumps filled with lumps that form beneath the surface of the skin (cystic lesions). Treatment options also abound, including home remedies, over-the-counter cleansers, and prescription medication.
Although it is not dangerous, acne can provide emotional distress to many of us. Nobody wants to see their faces covered in spots, especially if they recur every so often. And some of them do not completely fade, even after they have healed. 25 percent of people with acne reportedly retain scars after the symptoms have faded.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options that we can choose from when it comes to treating acne. And one of the most popular and effective are acne face wash products. Below are the best 10 of them.
One of the most popular brands on the market, the Exposed Skin Care Facial Cleanser combines scientific and natural approaches to treating acne in many users. It contains 0.5% salicylic acid, olive leaf extract, and vitamins such as pro b5. It is also ideal for all skin types. In fact, unlike many other popular products, it is known to protect those with sensitive skin from any potential for irritation or inflammation, as its special blend of ingredients specifically steers clear of ingredients that may compromise the skin such as parabens and sulfate.
In addition, Exposed has been found by some users to be more effective than other brands in treating acne fast. The brand even offers a guarantee that their cleanser, as well as other products, will work in as short as a month. And for holistic care, the cleanser can be used alongside other equally effective products from the brand in one kit.
- Soap-free, non-comedogenic, and hypoallergenic
- Can be used twice a day
- Perfect for all types of skin
- Some users have found it to be a little expensive
Another well-regarded product, this foaming cleanser is different from the competition by offering a moisture-rich soy formula that promises to improve skin texture and tone. Like the best acne face washes, it is oil-free, non-comedogenic, and hypoallergenic. It features 0.5% salicylic acid, can be used every day and is effective at taking care of blemishes and breakouts, as well as preventing them from recurring, all without over-drying the skin. It is also known to foam gently, but effectively unclogs pores. And it doubles as a makeup remover.
- Best for dry and sensitive skin, but also ideal for all skin types
- Gentle oil-free, non-comedogenic, and hypoallergenic cleanser that is ideal for daily use
- Helps lock in moisture with its ACTIVE NATURALS soy formula
- Also contains no soap
- While it is made by a brand that is known for formulating products for people with eczema, it is not necessarily ideal for eczema
- May not be suitable for those with severe acne
- Some people think it has an unpleasant smell
With its dermatologist-tested formula, this foaming facial wash from Clearasil delivers fast and immediate results for acne treatment. In fact, it is considered to be among the most effective products to use if you want to wake up with visibly better skin, even when you have acne spots. Granted, the condition does not go away in 12 hours but results evidently deliver satisfactory relief. This is because this product contains 2% salicylic acid, its Acceladerm Technology, and PHAs or polyhydroxy acids. Working all together, they unclog your pores, soothe and calm the skin, and kill bacteria. The brand also offers a money-back guarantee.
- The fast-acting formula that provides visible results in 12 hours
- Ideal for most skin types, such as normal, oily, and combination skin
- Also comes with a compact pump packaging, so it is good for people-on-the-go
- Not ideal for sensitive skin, as it may cause inflammation or dryness
This Special Cleansing Gel from Dermalogica features two specific blends that make it a top five among the best acne face washes. First, it contains an astringent lavender extract that is formulated to maintain the skin’s natural moisture balance and keep it from drying out, as well as keep pH balance levels stable. In addition, it has a balm mint extract that counters inflammation, while keeping the skin as clear as possible. For deep cleaning and bacteria protection, it also features alpha hydroxy acids and Quillaja Saponaria. And it works with all skin types, even sensitive skin.
- Combines essential oils with balm mint for optimal skin care
- Ideal for all skin types
- A little expensive according to some users
With 2% salicylic acid, the Neutrogena acne wash provides immediate and effective treatment for acne. It is formulated to be both a cleanser and acne treatment, so if you don’t want to have too many products in your kit, you can hit two birds with one stone in this product and, in that way, get your money’s worth. It is also oil-free, which means that it does not inflammation, as other products can. And it rinses off well while ensuring that the skin does not get over dried but not oily.
- Dermatologist-tested, with a micro-clear technology that enhances its anti-acne ingredient
- Ideal for normal, oily, and combination skin types
- Some users think it has an unpleasant smell
- Not ideal for mild acne, as it may be too harsh
Cetaphil’s Daily Cleanser for Acne is a dermatologist-tested, cruelty-free product that provides gentle but effective cleansing to unclog pores, boost cell growth and protection, and maintain skin health. One of the best things that set it apart from all the other products on the market is that it does what it is meant to do without stripping the skin off its natural oils. It also provides a very mild lather, which ensures that it does not irritate skin. And it rinses off well, leaving no residue on the skin.
- Dermatologist-tested, cruelty-free gentle formula that offers effective cleaning without stripping natural oils
- Comes with an easy-to-dispense pump packaging
- Not ideal for sensitive and dry skin, as it may produce dryness
- Some people think it can be too oily
The Kate Somerville Eradikate Daily cleanser works for most skin types, such as normal, oily, and combination skin. A foaming product, it is known to effectively unclog pores, remove impurities, and eliminate blemishes, while also mitigating redness and excess oil production. It is formulated with 3% sulfur, which helps keep skin clear, treat current acne breakouts, and prevent future ones.
- Delivers fast results, with some users saying it improved their acne in as fast as a week
- Provides deep cleansing while maintaining skin health
- Ideal for most skin types
- Comes with fragrance to cancel out the smell of the sulfur, which some users say can be overpowering
The Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser is made with a pore-penetrating technology that promises to consistently make skin clearer with use. This special formulation also releases acne-fighting ingredients, even after you are done washing your face. It contains 10% benzoyl peroxide, which is an ingredient that is known to be effective at fighting acne and preventing it from recurring in the future. It is also ideal for daily use, for most skin types, including normal and oily skin.
- Comes with a pore-penetrating technology that provides effective and consistent acne treatment
- Ideal for daily use
- It contains alcohol, so it may be drying to people with sensitive skin
- It may also produce bleaching effects on towels and other fabrics
This charcoal acne cleanser from Biore contains, as its name suggests, charcoal combined with one percent salicylic acid for deep and efficient unclogging of pores and treatment of acne. A key characteristic of this product is that it yields a mild tingling effect, which many users have reported feel refreshing, and helps keep the skin rejuvenated. It also maintains skin moisture, but in most cases, it is recommended to be used with a non-oily moisturizer after. It works best for people with oily and combination skin but those with the latter can skip the moisturizer after washing.
- Provides effective cleansing and moisturization
- Ideal for daily use
- Not ideal for dry and sensitive skin, and it may cause redness
- Can dry out natural facial oil
As its name denotes, this one from Olay is specially made for people with sensitive skin. It contains no allergens that may trigger inflammation or other unpleasant reactions, as it features no soap and fragrance. It is also non-comedogenic and is known for effective cleaning and purification without drying out the skin or leaving it taut. And it comes with a glycerin-based formulation, which makes it ideal not only for keeping pimples at bay, but also removing dirt, oil, and makeup.
- An effective and gentle cleanser that works for all skin types, especially for sensitive skin
- Provides deep cleaning without drying out the skin
- Does not contain active anti-acne ingredients
Who Needs Acne Face Washes
Acne face washes are recommended to anybody who wants to mitigate the extent of the damage that acne can do, without needing to go on prescription for it. In other words, these products are best for those whose acne is not caused by hormonal imbalances that may merit the use of pills. In addition, they are recommended to those who want to try face washes as their initial line of defense before they can consider other and more serious treatment options for acne.
These face washes are also best for people of all skin types, as some of them are formulated even for those with sensitive skin. In many cases, some products are specially formulated for specific skin types; there are face washes for sensitive skin, and there are face washes for other skin types.
Benefits of Acne Face Washes
Acne face washes provide various benefits for users. Two of the most important of them are as follows:
- Special Formulation for Acne Treatment
Acne face washes are specially formulated to target the issues that are inherent to acne, as opposed to regular pimples. Many of these products contain specific ingredients that reduce sebum production, provide deep cleansing, treat spots, and lower potential for scarring. Their blend of ingredients is also specially crafted to provide multiple necessary actions that supplement one another, in order to provide a comprehensive treatment against acne.
- Ideal for Various Skin Types
Acne face washes also come in various types so that they can suit different skin types. For example, gels are great for people with oily and combination skin, while creams are best for those who have dry skin. If you have sensitive skin, you can also find product options that contain all-natural ingredients, without allergy-inducing ingredients such as harsh alcohol.
- Maintenance of Skin Health
Finally, acne face washes help ensure that your skin stays in good condition so that it doesn’t fall prey to acne again and other good things. For instance, some face washes come with moisturizing benefits that leave the skin not only looking and feeling good but staying hydrated to reduce irritation, redness, and other issues. Also, some products provide deep cleansing, which effectively unclogs pores and keeps dirt and contaminants away.
What is Acne Face Washes?
There are many types of acne face washes that you will find on the market, but many of them contain the same blend of ingredients. These ingredients are:
Salicylic Acid. Salicylic acid is considered to be instrumental in dissolving sebum or oil buildup, as well as protecting the skin against blackheads and whiteheads. An active ingredient, it is usually found in many acne face washes in 2% concentrations. Too much of this can dry the skin, so when it is used, a moisturizer must always follow.
Glycolic Acid. Harnessed from fruits, glycolic acid boosts the production of collagen and elastin, which both provide anti-aging benefits. It also removes dead skin cells, thus aiding skin cell turnover, and keeps them from clogging up pores. Consistent use of this ingredient delivers even-toned, clean, and fresh skin.
Allantoin. Allantoin is used a skin protectant and conditioner that mitigates the effects of flakiness, irritation, and dryness. In face washes, it is usually found between .5% to 2% concentrations, as per regulations of the US Food and Drug Authority. It is also known as 5-ureidohydantoin and glyoxyldiureide.
Glycerin. Glycerin works like allantoin, in the sense that it also helps keep irritation and dryness at bay, which has a direct consequence on potential acne formation. In addition, it serves as a lubricant and a humectant, which means that it hydrates and enhances skin smoothness. In other products, it is labeled as ‘glycerol’.
Triethanolamine. An emulsifier and surfactant, triethanolamine helps balance acidity levels in products, as well as boosts their water and oil solubility capacities. If found in your acne face wash, it should have no more than 5% in the product.
Propylene Glycol. Propylene glycol is an organic alcohol that helps seal moisture in the skin, thus promoting hydration. It is considered safe to use in up to 50% concentrations, in face washes and cleansers.
Types of Acne Face Washes
Acne face washes usually come in two types: creams and gels. Creamy face washes and other products contain moisturizing ingredients that actively prevents drying of the skin, so they are best for those with dry skin. Gels, on the other hand, help break down oil, so they are ideal for people with oily skin. People with combination skin are recommended to stick to acne face washes that moisturizing and oil-fighting.
In addition, some acne face washes are part of a complete skin care regimen. Some brands have more than one product in their acne-fighting kit and harnessing the benefits of the facial wash is better assured if you use its supplemental products as well. When choosing, make sure that you know if the wash is a standalone product or part of a larger kit.
Why You Need the Right Acne Face Wash
Acne face washes are important, yes, but it bears noting that the right product must be chosen. The wrong selection will not only damage your hopes of treating the condition, it may even worsen it. A good acne face wash provides the best combination of providing deep cleaning, reducing oil production, and strengthening the integrity of the skin.
In some cases, you may find that you will have to test and try a range of products before you find one that best suits your skin’s specific needs. This is okay. Just make sure to let your skin rest before switching to a new product to reduce any potential for issues. If you also notice unpleasant signs while using a product, discontinue use and talk to your doctor.
Safety Considerations in Using Acne Face Washes
Using acne face washes for the treatment of the condition is generally considered safe, with little to no side effects. However, that does not mean that we can just go ahead and choose just any product off the rack. When selecting face washes, it is best to:
- Consider non-abrasive, alcohol-free, and gentle cleansers – especially if you have dry and sensitive skin; and
- Consult a dermatologist for guidance in choosing an acne skin care regimen that suits your skin, and your specific acne condition
Acne Face Washes for Special Situations
Choosing the right face wash is always important, but it is even more critical if your skin has special needs. For example, if you have sunburned skin, it is best to choose cleansers that contain healing and soothing ingredients such as chamomile, aloe, and feverfew. If you have dark brown spots and acne scars, you should steer clear of products that contain irritants. And if you get sun spots, supplement your facial cleanser with an exfoliant that contains glycolic acid.
Product Use Limitations
While most acne face washes are considered safe for use, avoid those that contain sodium laureth or lauryl sulfate. This is because this ingredient, which is responsible for the foaming action in some face washes, has been found to have carcinogenic properties.
In addition, make sure that you read product labels properly. Most face washes for acne can be used every day, but some of them may come with harsher formulations than most, which should be used according to their prescribed frequency.
Important Factors to Consider
What to Look For in Acne Face Washes
In over-the-counter acne treatments, the best ingredients to look for
- Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs)
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid
- Sulfur; and
- Tea tree oil
In prescription medication, the best acne-fighting products typically contain:
- Azelaic acid
- Estrogen and progestin; and
What to Avoid If You Have Acne
Similarly, when you are breaking out, try to steer clear of anything that contains fragrance, parabens, or talc. In some cases, avoiding washes with alcohol may also be ideal, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Other Pointers to Consider
When it comes to treating acne, you need to more than just choose the right face washes. Holistic skin care is important for reversing the damage that acne can do to your skin, preventing it from recurring, and ensuring optimal skin health. Where that is concerned, there are a couple of things that we need to know.
Proper Way to Wash Your Face
For acne-prone skin, washing the face with the right products is not the only thing that you need to do. You should also make sure that you wash your face properly. To start, get your face wet and lather the cleanser up to your face. It is best to use your fingers when gently rubbing the product onto your skin, as a washcloth can be irritating to the skin. It is also important to remember to limit the application of the product to 10 to 15 seconds.
After, rinse your skin with warm water, taking care to remove any remaining product. Do not rub your skin. To finish, gently pat it dry with a clean towel.
Hidden Cause of Acne
Did you know that aside from the usual causes, there are common, everyday things that can trigger acne? Three of the most normal of them are as follows:
Smartphone. Smartphones contain germs, and germs that touch the face can irritate your pores, leading to inflammation, and produce acne. When using your phone, make sure to clean your face with a disinfecting wipe after. For long calls, it is also better to use earpieces and other related accessories.
Hair products. Hair products are designed to coat hair strands, and if some of them land on your face, they can clog your pores and lead to breakouts. Even if they only go as far as the skin on your forehead, acne can still develop. Make sure to clean your face properly after every shower, or after every time that you have to use hair products.
Weight changes. Another possible cause for sudden acne breakouts is a significant increase or decrease in weight, as this can affect hormone levels that may trigger increase sebum production.
Food That May Help Fight Acne
Some food products may also help lend a hand in fighting acne. Load up on:
- probiotics: kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, and the like.
- omega-3 fatty acids: salmon, walnuts, and the like.
- antioxidants: dark greens, berries, and the like.; and
- zinc: cashews, almonds, and the like.
Food Options That May Aggravate Acne
Similarly, some foods have been associated with exacerbating breakouts. Manage your consumption of:
- coconut oil
- whey protein
- high glycemic food; and
- dairy products
Other Lifestyle Tips to Keep Skin Clear and Healthy
Holistic skin care is important to fighting and preventing acne and, more often than not, it means that we have to be mindful about the exact things that we do, as well as the things that we don’t. Here is a rundown of some of the most important tips to keep your skin clear and healthy.
Keep your body hydrated. It is important for our bodies to stay hydrated to maintain optimal health and when it comes to getting clear and acne-free skin, it is also crucial. The skin is an organ of elimination, and it requires the right amount of water in order to function efficiently. Dehydration, for your skin, means that pores can get clogged, dead cells pile up, and inflammation from over-drying can occur. Also, keep your intake of beverages such as alcohol and coffee in moderation. These are diuretics, and they can deplete the body of the water that it needs.
Sweat out the toxins. Exercise also helps rid your body of toxins, while reducing stress and boosting blood circulation. Exercise also reinforces the bacterial diversity of the body’s biome, which enforces better health for the skin. And what’s good is that there are so many ways to exercise, so you can choose one that best corresponds to your requirements and preferences. Just remember to wash up every after a session as sweat can cause breakouts.
Get enough sleep. Finally, catch up on the necessary sleep. Not having enough sleep produces stress, which lowers the body’s resistance to anything that is not good for it and debilitates immune system function, which can exacerbate or trigger acne. Also, while you’re at it, do your best to manage your stress levels through various activities such as meditation.
Acne is a skin condition that can hamper our emotional happiness and self-esteem, and it is something that merits immediate care before it gets worse. Acne face washes, as a baseline treatment, do an excellent job of taking care of the symptoms of acne, while also preventing future recurrence. The fact that there are plenty of options on the market also makes it easier for many of us to find a product that best suits us, our preferences, and our needs.
This selection is of paramount importance to the resulting benefits that we will enjoy out of the products. First and foremost, our chosen acne regimen must be suited to our skin type and formulated to offer good results without compromising skin health or personal comfort. In addition, it should be sustainable. Some products take more than a week of application to start showing results, and if we cannot commit to their frequent use, we miss out on the good that they can do.
It also bears noting that treating and preventing acne do not end with slathering on some products on our faces. Acne is a multi-factorial condition, which means that it is not caused by only one reason. In many cases, it is exacerbated by the congruence of many things that happen all at once – on our skin, and inside our bodies. This is why we also have to be mindful of our habits, lifestyle, and even eating patterns. And if acne continues to persist despite the adjustments that you have made to try and correct it, seek medical guidance.
If you are also dealing with specific skin issues that may get in the way of safe and proper treatment, talk to your doctor before you choose a product. And if you have other skin conditions in addition to acne, talk to your doctor, as well, before you start any regimen.