What is the Best Face Wash for Acne Treatment

By | April 13, 2014

At some point or another, everyone will have to deal with acne on our faces. Most of us struggle with the issue for some period of time during our teenage years. But it’s not uncommon at all for acne to follow us into our adult years to some degree. Though this affects millions of people, it doesn’t make the affliction any more comfortable to have around. So if you have acne on your face, you probably can’t wait to start addressing it. One of the most common treatments is simple face wash. However, with so many on the market, you might be struggling to figure out which is the best face wash for acne. Keep reading, then, as we discuss what to look for so you’ll have a better chance of finding the help you need.

The Best Face Wash for Acne Prone Skin

One of the hardest parts about fighting acne is that there are so many potential causes for it, meaning what helps your skin fight the affliction off may not be right for others. However, when it comes to those of you who are especially prone to acne, the best face wash for acne will have a number of things in common.

First of all, you don’t want to make things worse by picking a cleanser that will dry out your skin. This is always a good rule of thumb, but it is especially important for people who are constantly being hit with the onset of acne.

You also don’t want anything facial cleansers that have an exfoliating effect to them or are otherwise gritty. Using these can irritate your skin which will only make things best face wash for acneworse. It can also cause further redness which, while not actually being acne, will draw more unwanted attention to the problem area.

While it’s not actually a face wash tip, if you’re constantly seeing acne pop up, topical treatments may simply not be enough. You may need to focus on solutions that involve letting go of stress, eating better or even addressing hormonal imbalances.

Salicylic Acid

Just about any good face wash for acne will contain salicylic acid. This important ingredient comes from plants and packs a potent punch against even the most problematic forms of acne.

That’s because salicylic acid works by actually getting into the follicles on your face. There, it helps with the shedding of dead skin cells which could potentially be clogging your pores. Clogged pores are one of the number one reasons for facial acne, because they keep dirt trapped where it can inflame and otherwise agitate the skin.

The best drugstore acne face wash options will have somewhere between .5 to 2% salicylic acid. Prescription versions can have much higher amounts. When you first begin using it, don’t be alarmed if it irritates your skin at first. This is to be expected and isn’t a sign anything is wrong. Fortunately, it should only take a few days of regular use for your skin to adapt and allow the salicylic acid to begin doing its work. Furthermore, it could take weeks before you finally see the results you want. Again, this is natural.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Another popular ingredient for helping to clear acne from your face is known as benzoyl acid.

This is another component of most successful over the counter cleansers and most of the kind you can order off the television. Much like the last ingredient we covered, benzoyl peroxide works by digging into your face’s follicles and cleaning out the dead skin cells that can be causing buildup.

Also like salicylic acid, it will take some time before you see results. It’s pretty typical for people to apply the ingredient to their face for four to six weeks before they see positive results.

You can also get benzoyl peroxide in a wide range of potencies. Start with about 2.5%, as this should be enough. If it’s not, simply work your way up from there to greater strengths.

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids

Alpha-hydroxy acids are another great ingredient for ridding your face of all the dead skin cells that can cause pimples and your pores to clog. The result is not only cleaner skin, but skin that’s smoother too.


Sulfur is another ingredient that helps to gently exfoliate dead skin cells. However, this mineral is also great for removing excess oil from your skin which can be just as important. If you suffer from rosacea on top of your acne, sulfur is a great choice.


Store-bought applications like clay masks are great for bringing down the inflammatory characteristics of your acne. As a result, you’ll get smoother, more attractive skin. Plus, clay is good for ramping down your face’s oil production.


For years, all the best skin cleaning options contained heavy amounts of alcohol. Obviously, alcohol has a sterilizing effect which may be just what your skin needs if it’s getting overly dirty all the time.

Unfortunately, alcohol can also dry out your skin. Whether it’s being applied as a facial cleanser, aftershave or anything else, the result will be dryer skin and that means skin that’s more vulnerable too. Not only will you most likely gain wrinkles quicker, dry skin has a harder time protecting itself from dirt, grime and debris. Plus, dry skin becomes damaged and dead skin cells is what you’re trying to avoid in the first place.

Gentler Options

What is the best face wash for acneFor some skin types, no amount of the above two popular ingredients will be right. Even the lowest doses will cause some type of agitation or inflammation that makes them not worth it.

This might be a good time to see a dermatologist about possible options. However, there are two common solutions you can purchase over the counter and still see great results.

One is simply any antibacterial bar or soap you can use on your face. If you can’t use a product that will get into your actual follicles, one that will help keep dirt, grime and other debris from traveling from your face to your pores might do the trick. Plus, it’s easy to find extremely gentle versions.

Another option is to go with tea tree oil. This is an extremely gentle ingredient that is used in everything from bar soap to shampoos. Best of all, it’s extremely antibacterial, so you get the cleaning you need without any of the additional irritation.

Providing Your Skin with Protection

Cleaning your skin isn’t enough all by itself, so even the best facial cleanser can leave you wanting to some degree. So be sure you pick a lotion with an SPF level of at least 30 or just use a flat out sunscreen before leaving the home each day. You’ll also want to make sure you solution of choice comes with protection against UVA and UVB rays.

This is especially important for those of you with sensitive skin. Too much sun exposure is a great way to exasperate your current acne issues. Obviously, too much sun can cause a host of other skin problems too.

When deciding on the best over the counter acne face wash for you, consider the above ingredients. You’ll have to do some experimenting to find out what works best for you, but when you find out, acne should stop being a major problem.