The Best Acne Facial Cleansers and Cleansers of 2021

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Taking care of your skin can seem like a full-time job, especially when dealing with acne breakouts. Finding the right facial cleanser is fundamental, but unfortunately acne skin care isn’t universal. Contrary to popular belief, acne-prone skin is not always oily. It can be dry, sensitive or a combination.

We’ve put together a list of our 14 favorite acne cleansers to make it easier to find the right facial cleanser for your skin. Read on to find your perfect match from our selection of favorite facial cleansers for acne below.

The Best Acne Facial Cleansers You Can Buy

Photo credit: Amazon

Price: $ 11.97

CeraVe has long been respected in the skin care world for good reason. Their face lotions and cleansers are developed by dermatologists, so it’s generally safe to use even for the most sensitive skin types. And while it’s made from quality ingredients, it’s not much more expensive than other drugstore brands like Neutrogena or Clean & Clear.

This cleanser has a dual function, removing pimples, whiteheads and blackheads from your skin while preventing new acne from forming. Its main anti-acne ingredient is benzoyl peroxide (4%). It also contains hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and essential ceramides to help your skin retain moisture and protect itself.

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Price: $ 7.18

If you have acne, you know that bumps are only half the battle. Redness can draw special attention to blemishes. This is why the combination of anti-acne and anti-redness drugs in this Neutrogena facial cleanser is really great.

The secret to appeasing? Aloe and chamomile of natural origin. On the other hand, 2% salicylic acid is the main anti-acne. And like all good cleansers, this one also removes dirt, oil, and makeup.

Photo credit: Amazon

Price: $ 14.99

If you have sensitive, acne-prone skin, you know the cycle. Have a blast, try to treat it with a product, have more fun. Rinse, repeat. With this cleanser, breaking the cycle may be possible.

The power of this cleanser comes from 2% salicylic acid. Other than that, it does not contain any abrasive particles or abrasive materials that can irritate the skin, making it gentle enough for everyday use, even for the most sensitive skin types.

Photo credit: Amazon

Price: $ 8.12

Have you tried everything. Unfortunately, you cannot wash your face and drink lots of water. If your current cleanser isn’t working for you, you may just need to crank it up a notch.

This fast, stubborn, clear acne cleanser contains 10% Benzoyl Peroxide, compared to the 4% Benzoyl Peroxide found in many standard strength acne facial cleansers. Still, it is safe for everyday use. Start with just once per day and increase to 2-3 washes per day if needed.

Photo credit: Amazon

Price: $ 23.95

Don’t be fooled by the flexible design of the packaging – approach it with caution. It contains 10% benzoyl peroxide. That’s more than double what many standard strength acne facial cleansers contain. If you really want to fight your acne, this cleanser offers an effective solution.

Plus, you can feel good about the ingredients. Not only does this brand not use parabens, phthalates, sulfates, formaldehyde, synthetic fragrance / color, GMOs or animal by-products. They also do not test on animals.

Photo credit: Amazon

Price: $ 5.98

If you’re looking for an acne cleanser gentle enough for everyday use but powerful enough to penetrate your pores and provide a feeling of freshness and deep cleansing, this scrub is for you. The oil-free formula removes makeup, dirt and oil while refreshing the skin, leaving you feeling invigorated and clean without the drying effect of some more aggressive scrubs.

Another plus: You will feel a tingling and cool feeling when using this scrub, making it even more refreshing. If you’re looking for something to add to your morning wake-up routine, this scrub is like a cup of coffee for your face.

Photo credit: Amazon

Price: $ 6.17

Even those with “perfect skin” break out every now and then, but if your skin is already in good balance, you don’t have to create a problem with a facial cleanser that’s too dry. This foaming cleanser from Neutrogena is an excellent cleanser because it prevents acne by cleansing the skin well.

It’s non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog your pores. It removes dirt, oil and even waterproof makeup while being free from oil, soap and alcohol. If you already have acne, this wash won’t do much to dry it out. But it does a great job of cleaning the skin and therefore preventing future breakouts.

Photo credit: Amazon

Price: $ 9.48

Unless you want a prescription from a doctor, 10% is the highest content of benzoyl peroxide you’ll find in an acne cleanser. This foaming cleanser from PanOxyl meets those criteria, with antimicrobial properties that kill acne-causing bacteria.

You can use it daily on your face, chest and back, anywhere that stubborn acne lives. And not only does it eliminate existing acne. It also prevents future breakouts.

Photo credit: Amazon

Price: $ 6.47

So you want a little acne treatment and a little exfoliation. This facial cleanser kills two birds with one stone. The 2% salicylic acid formula is fairly gentle, so it’s a great first step for someone who isn’t sure exactly what kind of strength they need in a cleanser.

Exfoliators are also wonderful for smoothing and brightening the complexion, as well as removing the daily build-up of dirt, oil, and makeup. Do not hesitate to use this gentle but effective scrub every day.

Photo credit: Amazon

Price: $ 9.97

For whatever reason, a bubbling or foaming cleanser makes it seem like it’s doing a good job. However, cleansing creams are often gentler and just as effective. So if you have sensitive skin, a cleansing cream is often the answer.

This cleanser has a dual-action formula that works to get rid of rashes with 2% salicylic acid while hydrating and soothing the skin. It also protects against five signs of skin sensitivity including weakened skin barrier, irritation, roughness, tightness and dryness.

Photo credit: Amazon

Price: $ 11.49

Gentle cleansers are great for any skin type, but some people just don’t like the feeling of a creamy, non-foaming wash. Sometimes it can be difficult to feel clean without a foaming action. Fortunately, you can have both a mild formula and a foamy consistency.

This Cetaphil cleanser is non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog pores, but it’s hydrating enough that your skin won’t feel dry. It’s gentle enough to use twice a day for all skin types – normal, dry, oily, and sensitive.

Photo credit: Amazon

Price: $ 13.00

Gel is another unique and soothing texture for washing the face. This cleanser from Paula’s Choice is the perfect balance of cleaning without drying out. It also dissolves pore-clogging impurities like oil and dirt to prevent rashes, redness, dullness and uneven skin tone.

You can use this cleanser twice a day, morning and evening, regardless of your skin sensitivity. You can also use it in combination with the entire Paula’s Choice acne skincare line.

Photo credit: Amazon

Price: $ 6.46

If you’ve ever used witch hazel on your skin, you know how this natural astringent leaves skin feeling fresh and clean without drying it out. Combine that with a 2% salicylic acid formula and you have an acne prevention and elimination plan.

This facial cleanser from Bioré – the makers of such satisfying pore bands – talks about a pretty big game, claiming to remove 99% of blemish-causing dirt and oil. Prepare to feel clarified and cleansed.

Photo credit: Amazon

Price: $ 5.99

If you want Benzoyl Peroxide action but aren’t ready to zap your face with a 10% or even 4% formula, trying this 2.5% formula is a great first step. For mild acne or occasional breakouts, this may be the perfect amount of medication to prevent acne without drying out.

It clears and prevents rashes including pimples, cystic acne, blackheads, and whiteheads. Plus, it’s effective for acne on the face and body, working to deeply penetrate day and night.

Photo credit: Amazon

Price: $ 21.97

Although most people have to learn by trial and error, treating acne can seem like a financial drain. It can be difficult to make the decision to invest in another product, even if it has a quality formula, for fear of wasting more money on a product that doesn’t work for your skin. And while it’s one of the more expensive options on this list, we think it’s worth it.

Plus, this 10% Benzoyl Peroxide cleanser takes some of the commitment anxiety away, providing a money back guarantee. If that doesn’t reassure you when buying, know that the formula is paraben and cruelty-free.

Our hot plug

Figuring out how to soothe acne-prone skin can be frustrating, exhausting, and anxious. When choosing an acne facial cleanser, it’s best to assess your skin first to determine what you might need to be aware of, such as dryness or sensitivity.

If you’re not sure what kind of formula you need, start small. These gentle products will remove dirt, oil and makeup without unnecessary drying. If you don’t see results, choose a cleanser with a higher concentration of salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

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