Best Face Washes for Adults with Acne

Acne problems are more common than any of us can ever care to admit, the condition affects approximately 650 million people globally. Moreover, this skin condition doesn’t affect only teens; studies have shown that acne may affect men and women of all ages.
The good news is that there are lots of cleansers best suited for acne-prone skin, some of them double up as exfoliators and antibacterial treatments.
These cleansers basically contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid and benzoyl peroxide, key components when it comes to treating acne; moreover, aside from deeply exfoliating and unclogging your pores, cleansers with these ingredients can also help ease inflammation, reduce pore size, and stimulate collagen production, leaving your skin refreshed, glowy, and healthy.
But before you decide what cleanser to go for, it is essential to understand what it does for your skin; this is in terms of your skin type, sensitivity, among other personal preferences such as fragrances.
In this article, we will be reviewing some of the best face washes for adults with acne.

EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser

EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser - Best Face Washes for Adults with Acne
EltaMD’s Foaming Facial Cleanser is a mixture of enzymes and amino acids meant to break impurities on the skin; as a result, it gently exfoliates the skin for a brighter appeal, erasing any blemishes.
The main components of the cleanser are bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapple that helps exfoliate dead cells and reduce inflammation, and ultra-fine massaging bubbles for effective and deep cleansing. It might not be suitable for those sensitive to various fragrances; however, it is subtle on the skin and does not cause irritation or dryness to those with sensitive skin.

What We Like:

  • Contains enzymes that help reduce inflammation.
  • Oil-free.
  • PH-balanced.
  • Sulfate, phthalate, and paraben free.
  • Cruelty-free.
  • Safe for all skin types.

Murad Clarifying Cleanser

Murad Clarifying Cleanser - Best Face Washes for Adults with Acne
Murad Clarifying Cleanser is a powerful cleanser that uses two types of salicylic acid to remove all the pore-clogging impurities and excess oil from your skin, treat acne, and prevent future breakouts; the best part is that, thanks to the encapsulated salicylic acid contained in its formula, it continues treating acne even after washing it off.
It is packed with powerful ingredients such as green tea extracts that soothe the skin and protect against environmental stressors, menthol for its antiseptic benefits, and citrus oil known for its ability to minimize the pores and control oil production.
Dispense a small amount of the cleanser and apply to your damp skin using your fingertips, then rinse with warm water and dry.

What We Like:

  • Contains two types of salicylic acid.
  • Sulfate, phthalate, and paraben free.
  • Cruelty-free.

Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser

Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser - Best Face Washes for Adults with Acne
This cleanser from the 60s is ideal for oily, troubled skin. It contains skin cleaning components and salicylic acid for fighting acne. Also, it is formulated with a soothing blend of botanical ingredients such as aloe vera, chamomile, and thyme to leave the skin feeling soft.
Daily use of the product promotes healthy, clean skin, clear from any form of acne. However, the cleanser is only recommended for people with oily skin.
Use this cleanser twice a day. Gently massage the cleanser in circular motions on damp skin, leave it on your face for 1 to 2 minutes, then thoroughly rinse using warm water and dry, follow with an appropriate moisturizer.

What We Like:

  • Formulated with acne-fighting salicylic acid.
  • Contains thyme, aloe vera, and chamomile.
  • Affordable.

Humane Face & Body Acne Wash

Humane Face & Body Acne Wash - Best Face Washes for Adults with Acne

This natural vegan cleanser is known to kill acne-causing bacteria, soothe skin inflammation, and unclog clogged pores, it contains 10% benzoyl peroxide, well known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, aqua, carbomer, Cocamidopropyl, gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, and sodium hydroxide.

Most essential, this dermatologist-tested acne wash is oil and paraben-free. Also, it is approved for use on the whole body and goes perfectly with a moisturizer. However, it is pretty strong; therefore, it is not recommended for use on sensitive skin.

For maximum results, apply a layer on damp skin, gently massage, let the skin absorb the solution for a minimum of one minute, make sure that you rinse the product off completely with warm water, pat dry with a white towel, and then hydrate your skin with an oil-free moisturizer, don’t forget to apply a high SPF sunscreen during the day.

What We Like:

  • Contains 10% benzoyl peroxide.
  • Also targets blackheads, whiteheads, and cysts.
  • Sulfate and paraben free.
  • Oil-free.
  • Dermatologist-tested.
  • Cruelty-free.
  • Money-back guarantee.

Obagi CLENZIderm M.D. Daily Care Foaming Cleanser

Obagi CLENZIderm M.D. Daily Care Foaming Cleanser - Best Face Washes for Adults with Acne
This light Salicylic Acid acne clearing Cleanser does not only treat acne, but also prevents future breakouts, it is ideal for people with acne prone skin, oily skin, and combination skin.
Obagi CLENZIderm gets down deep into the pores to eliminate impurities, oil, and makeup from the skin; therefore, it leaves your skin feeling clearer and healthier.
This daily care foam Cleanser also contains 5% benzoyl peroxide that effectively kills acne-causing bacteria and reduces clogged pores, and menthol, which is great for soothing and cooling the skin.

What We Like:

  • Contains 2% salicylic acid.
  • Contains 5% benzoyl peroxide.
  • Specifically formulated to help treat acne.
  • Soothes inflammation.
  • Ideal for oily, acne-prone and combination skin.
  • No side effects.

iS CLINICAL Cleansing Complex

iS CLINICAL Cleansing Complex
iS Clinical Cleansing Complex is a clarifying lightweight cleanser that is gentle enough to cleanse the most sensitive of skin but powerful enough to deeply cleanse the pores, sloughing away dead skin cells, acne-causing bacteria, and impurities, to give you a blemish-free, soft, and supple skin.
This amazing cleanser is specially designed to solve clogged pores, acne, and hyperpigmentation problems. White Willow bark and salicylic acid will exfoliate and help decongest your pores, while the antioxidants derived from chamomile and Centella Asiatica will help heal skin damage and soothe the skin.
We love the fact that this cleanser can be used as a mask as well, all you need to do is to let it sit on your skin for 2 to 3 minutes before rinsing it off.

What We Like:

  • Contains Salicylic acid.
  • Contains vitamins C, A, and E.
  • Also treats hyperpigmentation, large pores, and rosacea.
  • Lightweight.
  • Sulfate, phthalate, and paraben free.
  • Dermatologist-approved.

Proactiv Renewing Cleanser

Proactiv Renewing Cleanser -
This oil-free cleanser is also a scrub that contains fine particles that gently exfoliate the skin without causing irritation, it leaves the skin clean and free from flakes, oil, and dirt that can be clogging pores and causing acne.
Proactiv Renewing Cleanser also contains 2.5% Benzoyl peroxide, a key element when it comes to acne treatment, hyaluronic acid that helps keep skin plump and hydrated, and chamomile that helps calm and soothe the skin.
This gentle product is highly recommended for all skin types prone to acne.
Use this cleanser morning and night for maximum results.

What We Like:

  • Contains 2.5% benzoyl peroxide.
  • Contains hyaluronic acid.
  • It is also a scrub.
  • Dermatologist-tested.

SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser is an amazing exfoliating cleanser that contains a combination of different naturally-derived alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acid to help exfoliate the skin and reveal a smoother, younger-looking appearance, as well as jojoba oil to deeply hydrate, soften and rejuvenate the skin.

To maximize the results, use this cleanser every morning and every night, spread a small amount over your damp face, lightly exfoliate in small circular motions, rinse thoroughly.

What We Like:

  • Long-lasting and cost-effective, a little goes a long way.
  • Also targets fine lines, wrinkles, large pores, and hyperpigmentation.
  • Sulfate, phthalate, and paraben free.
  • Dermatologist-recommended.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Salicylic Acid Pink Grapefruit Acne Wash and Facial Cleanser

Neutrogena Oil-Free Salicylic Acid Pink Grapefruit Acne Wash and Facial Cleanser

This natural acne wash and Facial Cleanser contains a combination of naturally derived grapefruit extract, 2% Salicylic Acid, and vitamin C to deeply unclog pores and powerfully clear breakouts and blackheads, leaving your skin feeling deeply soothed and refreshed.

Users report that the grapefruit scent is quite nice and refreshing.
However, this cleanser leaves the skin dry, which might result in skin irritation for those who do not use it with a moisturizer.

What We Like:

  • Contains 2% Salicylic Acid.
  • Contains vitamin C.
  • Oil-free.
  • Nice scent.

Cleansing Tips for Acne-Prone Skin

For more effective results while using any of your desired products above. It is important that you:
  • Damp your skin with warm water, then apply the cleanser over your skin and exfoliate gently using your fingertips, rinse thoroughly with warm water.
  • Use the cleanser twice a day, morning and evening, to meticulously cleanse and deliver acne-fighting ingredients to your skin.
  • Apply an astringent after cleansing to remove excess oils and tighten pores.
  • Always go for oil-free or water-based skin products because they are less likely to clog your pores.
  • Avoid using harsh scrubs on your face because they only end up irritating your skin.


As you can see, using the right face wash with the right ingredients can be a great ally in fighting and treating acne.
You don’t have to spend countless hours searching for the right face wash for acne as we have got you covered. Any of the above products will give you great results, you may have to spend more on some of these products, but it is definitely worth it.
Judy Rose

Hi, it’s Judy!

I’m a passionate skincare specialist and writer. I have more than 7 years of experience as a beauty, fashion, and lifestyle writer and editor, and I’m extremely passionate about what I do.