10 Best Acne Face Washes in 2019

Acne can be very troublesome. It can also be extremely common. Some of the reasons many men and women face acne issues are hereditary conditions, junk food consumption, makeup, pollution, unhygienic face products, blocked pores, and hormonal imbalances. To protect your skin from all this damage, there are acne creams, serums, and treatments, but you need a specialized face wash that will suit your skin type and protect you from recurring acne. Some face washes harm your skin, while some are too mild to bring about positive change.

There are dozens of face washes available in the market today, but not all of them actually do what they claim. We spent a lot of time researching those which were the best for people genuinely suffering from acne issues. We figured out that, invariably, people who suffer from acne also have mildly sensitive skin. This is not always the case since weather changes, oily food intake, and exercise can also cause changes in skin texture and type. Also consider other products that you use on your skin, things like tanning lotion can block your pores and allow sebum build-up.

There are usually four types of skin types – normal, oily, dry, and combination skin. Oily skin is one that secretes excess oil throughout the day. Dry skin is one that secretes less oil, while combination skin is dry first and then turns oily (but maintains a balance between the two). Normal skin well, is just well balanced, known as eudermic. However, these skin types are further classified into sensitive and non-sensitive. Before you select a face wash, you should always confirm which skin type you have, and which products seem safest for your skin so you don’t do it any harm.

This list features the 10 best face washes for acne prone skin according to our research. We also cross-checked these products with their user ratings, customer feedback across e-commerce retail sites and got the opinions of dermatologists on their favourite acne face washes.

CleanserSkin type
Biore Charcoal Acne CleanserOily & combination skin
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Facial CleanserExtreme break-out & oily skin
Panoxyl Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Creamy WashCombined & sensitive skin
Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore CleanserOily skin
Peter Thomas Roth Acne Clearing WashAll skin types
Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne CleanserSeverely acne prone skin
Christina Moss Naturals Organic Face Wash for AcneAll skin types
CeraVe Foaming Facial CleanserNormal & oily skin
Humane Acne WashExtremely oily non-sensitive skin
Cetaphil Dermacontrol Foam WashSensitive skin

Biore has an excellent blend of salicylic acid and charcoal that cleans out all the oil from open pores to leave your face feeling clean and moisturized. It also has a mild tingling effect that feels rejuvenating for the skin. If you want to give your skin an added boost, use a non-oily moisturizer once you’re done. Your skin will be fresh and clear.

Best for: Oily skin types; can also be used for combination skin. Combination skin types can avoid the use of moisturizer.

Active Ingredient: 1% Salicylic Acid


  • Deeply cleanses skin to leave you feeling fresh
  • Unclogs pores to avoid acne build up
  • Absorbs oily residue left behind on skin
  • Daily use facial wash


  • Not ideal for dry skin
  • Not comfortable for severely sensitized skin – can cause slight redness
  • Can dry out natural facial oil (sebum) rapidly
  • Best used during summer to fight sweat, oily skin, and pollution

Neutrogena has lived up to their reputation with this stellar face wash. The pink grapefruit cleanser is a boon for people with blackheads, breakouts, and rough skin. It contains Vitamin C that naturally battles out excess oil secretion and has a wonderful scent that makes you feel rejuvenated. Neutrogena products leave skin feeling refreshed.

Best for: Extreme acne break out on oily skin

Active Ingredient: 2% Salicylic Acid


  • This face wash has an oil-free formula to remove excess oils (sebum)
  • Vitamin C extract helps with its astringent properties
  • Prevent reappearance of acne and pimples
  • Treats acne by systematically breaking it down from the roots


  • Requires continuous usage
  • Can cause skin to become excessively dry due to oil control
  • Delayed response time (takes time to start acting soon)
  • Tightens skin so usage of moisturizer is recommended post use of face wash

Panoxyl Benzoyl (BP) has a patented formula that medically works in reducing skin irritations and inflammations due to acne. The BP Acne Creamy Wash works wonders in reducing redness and soreness caused due to acne and skin problems. It helps reduce oil secretion and unclogs pores to leave your skin feeling soft and supple.

Best for: Combination skin type and sensitive skin

Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO) 4%


  • Can be used on your face, shoulders, and back in case of acne breakout
  • Gentle cleansing action
  • Creamy face wash for a luxurious feel
  • Comes in a thick tube for less wastage
  • Budget-friendly


  • Usage is by prescription
  • Skin irritation can occur if used with topical medication
  • Avoid intense sunlight and use a sunscreen of minimum SPF 30 if necessary
  • May dry the skin out fast – use only according to requirement

The Origins facial cleanser is a super luxurious foamy face wash that lathers beautifully when mixed with a little water. This face wash has berry extract that helps battle oily skin secretion and stops germs from multiplying on the skin. A refreshing wash, the cooling mint infusion keeps acne and other impurities free from your face leaving you with a wellness glow on your face. Origins Zero Oil Cleanser also helps in reducing shine on your face.

Best for: Oily skin

Active Ingredient: Saw Palmetto that has excellent antiseptic properties


  • Origins Pore Cleanser helps shed dead skin cell buildup
  • Reduces pores gradually
  • Reduces blackheads and acne
  • Effective in controlling excess oil secretion


  • To be used twice daily
  • Slightly pricey
  • Might cause dryness because of oil control

This face wash is excellent at clearing acne from clogged pores. It contains salicylic acid to battle open pores and gently reduces oil secretion (sebum) in them to prevent reoccurrence of acne and pimples. Pro-Vitamin B5 helps in reducing redness and keeping your skin supple and soft. The Peter Thomas Roth facial wash also helps in reducing the sensitivity of the skin to make it more resilient.

Best for: All skin types (normal, oily, dry, sensitive, and combination skin types)

Active Ingredient: Allantoin which helps in calming and soothing the skin


  • Helps in eliminating acne breakout cycle
  • Leaves skin without added residue
  • Excellent for use after daily and party makeup
  • Helps remove excess oil from the skin


  • On the expensive side
  • Requires regular usage for best results
  • Has to be used only in specific areas on the facial skin

This facial cleanser from Neutrogena is a heavy duty face wash that attacks bacteria present on the face. It also helps in reducing dark spots caused to due to acne breakout and pimples. Neutrogena Rapid Acne Cleanser also promotes clearer skin with regular usage and is clinically proven to reduce acne redness within a day.

Best for: Severely Acne-prone skin

Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide formula 10% to reduce irritation of skin


  • Helps to eliminate dark spots
  • Reduces swelling around acne
  • Eliminates redness and discomfort caused by acne
  • Available in different sizes


  • Extremely heavy duty face wash
  • To be used gradually and stopped once treatment is successful
  • Should be used for spot control

This natural, preservative-free, herbal face wash is free from allergenic reactions, rashes, and skin abrading side-effects. The Christina Moss face wash helps in fighting acne without drying the skin out. It only uses natural ingredients like sunflower seed oil, Aloe Vera juice, and rosemary essential oil. The Christina Moss face wash is also the only vegan face wash on our list.

Best for: All Skin Types (normal, oily, dry, sensitive, and combination skin types)

Active Ingredient: only natural products


  • Hypoallergenic – no allergic reactions to the skin
  • Cruelty-free – No Animal Testing
  • Cleanses in a gentle, smooth manner
  • Can be used daily


  • On the expensive side
  • Short shelf life – 6 months from removal of seal
  • Delayed response time, requiring regular usage for best results

CeraVe have added another feather to their cap with the facial wash/ cleanser. It has a gentle foaming action that cleanses the skin to remove excess oils and restore the moisture to the natural state. The ceramides present in the formula help in removing oily secretions (sebum) without disrupting the skin barrier. It is a clear liquid that foams as you rub onto the skin in small circular patterns.

Best for: Normal to Oily skin

Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic Acid to retain moisture and Niacinamide to calm skin


  • Non-comedogenic properties – doesn’t clog pores
  • Foaming action refreshes and cleanses the skin
  • Contains mild smell to avoid nasal and skin irritation
  • Helps in clearing acne while retaining natural moisture


  • Does not help with blackhead removal
  • Does not heal black spots and discoloration of skin
  • Is usually only available in the United States

The acne wash from Humane is a heavy duty face wash that is not meant for sensitive skin types. Containing 10% Benzoyl Peroxide (BPO), this face wash kills bacteria present on the skin. Humane Acne Wash comes in a non-foamy lotion that is quick absorbent and fast-acting. The Acne Wash prevents breakouts and is fragrance-free to reduce skin and nasal irritation.

Best for: Extremely oily non-sensitive skin

Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide 10% to decrease redness and swelling instantly


  • Can be used as a body wash for breakout and acne in other parts
  • Completely cruelty-free and not tested on animals
  • Starts working directly on the pores to reduce them
  • Prevents acne reoccurrence


  • Not for daily usage. This can only be used for severe acne cases
  • Mild redness, peeling, and irritation may occur
  • Dryness of skin is possible
  • Requires sunscreen and moisturizer post use

The Cetaphil Dermacontrol is last but not the least on our list. It has clinically proven qualities to remove oil and makeup from the skin without causing redness or irritation. Instead, it helps in soothing irritated skin. It also reduces shine on the skin to leave you with a dewy glowing morning look all day long. Specially made for people with acne skin issues, this formula does not cause excessive drying of the skin.

Best for: Sensitive skin

Active Ingredient: Zinc technology to reduce irritation


  • Designed for daily use
  • Oil control formula can work with other prescription medication for skin issues
  • Helps in maintaining pH balance of the skin
  • Gently cleans oils and impurities like clogged makeup


  • Does not work on dark spots and blackheads
  • Must be used twice daily for best results
  • Requires regular usage for best results

This was our list of the 10 Best Acne Face Washes. If you think there are others that also make the mark, please let us know.

Always remember to keep your skin clean, especially when covered with acne. Please do not try any topical medications without prior consultation and if any of these products work adversely on your skin, please visit a physician or dermatologist immediately to get the required help. In case of allergies, please only use non-allergenic creams and washes to protect your health.


Acne Facewash Buying Guide

Acne is probably the worst enemy your skin could ever have. It starts with a pimple and then spreads to boils, sensitive skin, open pores, and constant breakouts.

The environment is so polluted that you get an unhealthy dose of dirt, dust, bacteria, and dead skin coating your pores and infecting your skin daily. The sebum (natural oil) produced by your skin, clogs all this dirt and gunk in your open pores and causes all sorts of skin conditions.

Due to these reasons, it is necessary to have a strict skincare regime. A good acne face wash, toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen can help protect your skin from the ravaging effects of pollution, dirt, grime, age, wrinkles, fine lines, cysts, whiteheads, blackheads, acne, blemishes, and sun diseases. Any stress can cause acne too check out our review on nail fungus treatment It’s causing you trouble.


What should you consider when using acne face washes?

If your skin has a large mixture of sebum and bacteria that clog your pores, there’s a good chance you will have an outbreak of acne. The whole purpose of a face wash for acne is to clean the sweat, dirt, and makeup from the skin and cleanse the pores. A good face acne cleanser will help keep your pores healthy while protecting them from drying out completely.

Since sebum helps protect the skin against harmful bacteria and keeps the skin moist and humid all day long (protecting it from the harshness of the weather), it is necessary to use a good facial wash that helps maintain the levels of sebum on your skin. When buying a facewash, select one that helps protect your skin type and its oil levels from all harm.


How does acne face wash help different skin types?

Acne face wash on dry skin:

Dry skin doesn’t hydrate very quickly and can start looking flaky and scaly. The two most significant causes of dry skin are lack of lipids or hydration, sometimes both. Winter and cold weather tend to aggravate dry skin conditions to get worse over time.

For people with dry skin, it is ideal to switch to an oil-based acne face wash that helps protect the pores from drying out completely. Using a creamy facial moisturizer after showers, and after cleansing the face, helps keep the moisture inside the skin without letting it leach out with the weather. Shaving can also cause dry skin, be careful when using your safety razor and acne face wash, ensure you moisturise after.

Face wash for acne on oily skin:

Oily skin tends to produce excessive sebum and causes the dirt, grime, and pollution to mix with the oils and cause infections. Harmful bacteria also activate the virus and cause breakouts and acne. Oily skin holds the moisture in firmly and does not allow the skin to breathe naturally.

For people with oily skin, using an oil-free formula in their acne face wash is extremely helpful. Oil-free acne face washes help cleanse the surface of the excess sebum while protecting the skin beneath from drying out completely. Using a face wash with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide will help protect the skin and prevent pimples.

Acne face wash for combination skin:

Combination skin is a blend of oily and dry skin. Some people have patches on their face that are alternatively oily and dry, making it very difficult for them to select any one type of face wash. Common oily skin areas are the forehead, neck, cheek and nose areas. Dry skin areas are usually on the jawline, cheekbones, and under eyes.

People with combination skin tones should consider using a mild face wash that does not contain too many chemicals. An organic or natural face wash would also work best to cleanse the skin while maintaining the pH balance of the skin. Mild acne face washes will not bleach out the sebum nor turn the skin extra dry.


How often should you use an acne face wash?

While it would be a fantastic idea to wash your face often, it is not always advised. Over washing of the skin can strip it of its natural oils and cause acne and breakouts.

Like disinfectant or antibacterial wipes, using facewash excessively will pull out the helpful bacteria and oils along with the harmful ones. Ideally, using a face wash once in the morning, and just after you’ve come back home in the evening, would help maintain the pH balance of the skin, and also help protect it from adverse reactions.


How will you know which face wash for acne is best?

Select an acne face wash from a reputed company that specializes in skincare products. Avoid using face washes for acne that contain soap in them, and opt for ones with ingredient bases like aloe, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid.

Reading the ingredients and instructions at the back of the facewash bottle or tube are also excellent ways to select the best face wash.