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11 Face Washes for Acne-Prone Skin That Get to Work Fast

Glowing, blemish-free skin starts with the right cleanser.

best face washes for acne
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When it comes to treating acne-prone skin, you can and should try the most sophisticated pimple-banishing formulas out there, from face masks to spot treatments. But one essential and often overlooked part of stopping the acne cycle? A good face wash.

How do face washes control acne?

If you think about it, it's obvious: A cleanser removes dirt, debris, and excess oil to improve the overall condition of skin and stop it becoming a breeding ground for acne. Good acne-fighting face washes go a step further, warding off bacteria and excess oil production while gently exfoliating and renewing your skin. And they do all of this without over-drying it or causing more irritation (because that's the last thing your skin needs, right?)

So, where to start? Whatever kind of skin you're in, there's an acne-fighting face wash on this list that's just right for your needs.

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The Drugstore Favorite
Oil-Free Acne Wash

We can't talk acne-clearing face washes without mentioning this drugstore hero. This oil-free wash is highly recommended by dermatologists and contains salicylic acid to effectively unclog pores as well as prevent new blemishes from forming. 

For Sensitive Skin
Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser
La Roche-Posay

If you have sensitive skin, this fragrance- and oil-free gel cleanser is a must-have. Not only is this face wash cost-friendly, it does wonders to dissolve acne-causing bacteria from pores, while whisking away dead skin cells. 

The Blemish Blaster
Acne Facial Cleanser
Acne Facial Cleanser
Mario Badescu

Salicylic acid, thyme extract, and aloe vera are infused into this cleanser to erase blemishes and smooth skin. For optimal acne-clearing results, follow up with a few dabs of Mario Badescu drying lotion on stubborn pimples. 

The Gentle Exfoliator
Active Clearing Skin Wash

This gel-based cleanser is super gentle but still manages to clear breakouts and smooth rough texture without drying out your skin or causing irritation. Salicylic acid, green tea, tea tree, zinc, and menthol work together to simultaneously exfoliate and calm inflammation over time. 

The Pore Minimizer
EradiKate® Daily Cleanser
Kate Somerville

If you're dealing with ongoing breakouts, it's time to get familiar with Kate Somerville's EradiKate skincare range. This sulfur-based cleanser does wonders to wipe out blemishes. It also balances sebum production and minimize the appearance of large pores.

The Benzoyl Peroxide Option
Daily Deep Cleanser BPO 5%

Here's a deep cleansing wash that'll get down into the crevices of clogged pores to absorb debris and excess sebum without causing irritation. It's powered by benzoyl peroxide, which is known to clear blackheads and whiteheads in a flash. 

The Splurge-Worthy Choice
The Cleansing Foam
La Mer

The price tag may be steep, but hear us out—this cleansing foam draws out impurities without stripping the skin of its beneficial oils. Just a dime size amount goes the distance to effectively clear away dirt and debris from congested pores. 

For Hydration
Cleansing Complex
iS Clinical

Here's a clarifying, yet hydrating powerhouse cleanser to add to your daily routine. It's packed with vitamins A, C, and E, plus exfoliating ingredients like salicylic acid and white willow bark to promote cell turnover. Chamomile and centella asiatica round out the formula to help calm inflammation. 

The Hydrating Cleansing Milk
Lait U
Biologique Recherche

If you find that your skin dries out from constant use of harsh acne treatments, give this milky formula a try. It's rich in hydrating oils like jojoba, squalane, and vitamin E, which keep skin moisturized while simultaneously breaking up dirt and debris for a clear, blemish-free complexion. 

For Oil Control
Clarifying Cream Cleanser

Minimize breakouts and control excessive sebum production with this clarifying cream cleanser. Salicylic acid cleans the pores while menthol and green tea work to keep skin calm.  

The Mattifier
Clarifying Blemish & Oil Control Cleanser
Tata Harper

A host of naturally derived ingredients power the skin-clearing efforts of this Tata Harper classic: prickly pear flower enzymes aid in clearing buildup from pores, juniper fruit balances sebum production, and chlorella soothes irritation. With consistent use of this cleanser, you'll begin to notice smoother texture and a more glowy, less shiny finish overall. 

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