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22 Best Face Washes for Cystic Acne

By newadmin / Published on Tuesday, 21 Nov 2023 18:40 PM / No Comments


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While acne can be a damaging skin condition that predominates within your teenage years, nothing compares to its more severe form, cystic acne. Clinically recognized as painful, deep-rooted cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that can be both physically and emotionally scarring, this chronic inflammatory condition is hard to ignore. The disease originates from hormonally aberrant and stress-induced states, which promotes excess oil secretion – a process that supports the overgrowth of acne-forming bacteria leading to pore obstruction. However, don’t be alarmed as there is now a selection of facial washes that have unparalleled acne-fighting capabilities!

In a nutshell, face washes serve to unclog pores, reduce the inflammatory ‘storm’, and free your skin of breakouts. Often it is best to look out for exfoliating agents, such as beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), that serve to remove sebum (oily substance), debris, and dead skin cells – all of which clog pores and promote acne formation.

Additionally, it is important to find a face wash with non-comedogenic properties, meaning the product is formulated with ingredients (e.g. glycerin, vitamin C, and aloe vera) that won’t block pores and hence reduce breakouts.

Furthermore, anti-inflammatory ingredients (antioxidants like vitamin E) that directly target the pathogenesis of cystic acne should be on the radar when trying to pick the best face wash for your skin needs. During inflammation, volatile chemicals called free radicals are produced, which react with tissues in order to regain stability (oxidative damage). Accordingly, antioxidants neutralize the effect of free radicals, thereby reducing redness and acne flares.

Lastly, considering some agents are more aggressive and strip the skin of its natural oils, dryness is a common dilemma sufferers face. Therefore, looking for humectants (hyaluronic acid, glycerin, etc) or compounds that enhance moisture retention is vital to keep your pesky acne at bay. Given the  abundance of face washes currently on the market, finding the right one can often be an uphill battle. To lend a helping hand, and save you countless hours, we have come up with our very own list of the best face washes for cystic acne.

1. Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser

Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser

We couldn’t make an acne-specific face wash list without mentioning the team at Blu Atlas. While it’s a newcomer on the skincare scene, Blu Atlas is quickly becoming a staple brand for those seeking naturally derived solutions to aid their skincare concerns. One product in their range that we particularly love to employ against cystic acne flares is the Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser.

Having identified the importance of our skin’s microbiome, Blu Atlas has formulated this cleanser with lactobacillus ferment lysate filtrate. To help understand this a bit better, our skin’s microbiome is normally filled with microbes that have co-evolved with our body, and serve as a means to fortify our skin barrier. However, during acne flares, our skin can become overrun with acne-inducing bacteria, which disrupt our skin’s microbiome and ultimately the health of our skin. Therefore, using a product with a probiotic ingredient such as lactobacillus ferment lysate filtrate helps to restore balance in our skin, soothe irritation and prime our skin against aggressors – all of which help prevent acne.

To directly mitigate cystic acne flares, this cleanser also contains volcanic ash, which works by absorbing excess sebum from your skin, and withdrawing impurities from your pores. This ultimately gives your skin the chance to breathe and helps minimize the appearance of pores themselves. Lastly, pomegranate oil, which is naturally dense in antioxidants and vitamins, has been added to reduce the damage caused by free radicals. This not only helps reduce signs of inflammation and nourishes the skin, but gives your skin some added protection from environmental stressors and pollutants that can aggravate acne.

Available in three scents (classic, coconut apricot, and fragrance-free), this vegan, cruelty-free, and powerfully formulated cleanser serves as the perfect base to build your cystic acne routine on.

Key ingredients: Lactobacillus ferment lysate filtrate, volcanic ash, and pomegranate oil

Benefits: Microbiome-restoring, antioxidant-rich facial cleanser with oil-absorbing properties

Suited skin types: While this product is suited for all skin types, we would recommend opting for the fragrance-free option if you suffer from particularly sensitive skin

2. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser

As a brand renowned for providing dermatologically approved solutions to a range of skin concerns and conditions, La Roche-Posay has helped to pioneer the skincare industry into what it is today. One such product that has earnt global recognition for its innovative design when helping those who suffer from both cystic acne and sensitive skin, is La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser.

Within this gel cleanser, three key ingredients (2{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} salicylic acid, lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA), and glycerin) work in unison to respectively exfoliate and clear pores, whilst restoring hydration to your skin barrier. Derived from willow bark, salicylic acid is an oil-soluble BHA that is able to deeply penetrate into your skin to initiate keratolytic processes. Through its keratolytic activity, salicylic acid breaks down the top layer of your skin to encourage your skin cells to soften and slough away. Although this process sounds harsh, it actually helps to prevent dead skin cells from building up within your pores – which if left, clogs the pores and leads to the development of acne.

Comparatively, as the little sister of salicylic acid, LHAs take a much slower approach to exfoliation. Specifically, LHAs are known to penetrate less deeply into your skin and promote skin cell shedding at a rate that mimics that of normal physiological turnover – meaning that this product can both quickly clear clogged pores, and act over time to prevent buildup. Lastly, to keep your skin hydrated and your skin barrier nourished, the humectant glycerin acts to encourage water retention in the top layer of your skin – making your skin appear healthy, plump, and nourished.

If you are wanting a product that will exfoliate congested skin, without requiring harsh physical exfoliants that strip your skin of natural oils, then La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser is perfect for you!

Key ingredients: 2{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} Salicylic acid, lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA), and glycerin

Benefits: Exfoliating and hydrating properties

Suited skin types: All skin types, including those with sensitive skin

3. CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser

CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser

What happens when one of the biggest brands in skincare formulates a product with goodies specifically targeted at getting cystic acne prone skin back to its former glory? Well, you just so happen to get CeraVe’s Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser.

Integral to this face cleanser’s powerful action is the acne-fighting superstar benzoyl peroxide. Designed to target and kill acne-causing strains of bacteria, prevent pores from clogging, and rid your skin of excess sebum, benzoyl peroxide does not play around when it comes to acne. While benzoyl peroxide works at ridding your skin of acne, CeraVe’s signature blend of ceramides comes into play to fortify and nourish damaged skin barriers. Ceramides are a group of lipids naturally produced within the upper layer of your skin, which help stick cells together to prevent bacteria from entering, and water from leaving.

As we age, are exposed to environmental stressors, and have bouts of inflammation (such as within cystic acne) our levels of ceramides deplete – meaning our skin barrier is in harm’s way. Therefore, opting to use a product (such as this one) enriched with ceramides is the perfect way to help boost your skin’s protection capacity, and enable it to heal. Hyaluronic acid then draws moisture into your newly formed skin barrier, and niacinamide diminishes the appearance of pores – leaving you with hydrated, well-nourished skin.

Developed by dermatologists, this cleanser is the ideal addition to the skincare routine of anyone wanting to get on top of their cystic acne, whilst giving your skin the chance to repair.

Ingredients: 4{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} Benzoyl peroxide, ceramides (ceramide NP, ceramide AP, ceramide EOP), niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid

Benefits: Contains benzoyl peroxide as an active ingredient to kill bacteria, whilst the cleanser promotes skin barrier repair

Suited skin types: As benzoyl peroxide can dry the skin out, we suggest checking in with a dermatologist before applying this product to sensitive or eczema-prone skin

4. Murad Clarifying Cleanser

Murad Clarifying Cleanser

If you’re after a face wash that is tough on breakouts but gentle on the skin, then the Murad Clarifying Cleanser is what you need. The cutting edge formula features two types of salicylic acid (1.5{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28}), a fast-absorbing and encapsulated slow-release form. This aids in immediately exfoliating the skin, which rids the skin of debris and dead skin cells while providing a prolonged effect long after rinsing.

The addition of green tea extracts, chiefly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), as a natural anti-inflammatory helps to soothe the skin, and abolish irritation. As an antioxidant, EGCG reduces free radical attack by neutralizing their detrimental effects. More recently, a study showed that EGCG also inhibits sebum production, and silences the immune system by suppressing pro-inflammatory cytokines. The resultant benefit is that you achieve an environment that is less prone to harboring bacteria, whilst reducing redness and flare-ups.

If we already haven’t sold it to you, then the raving reviews might change your mind. In a 3-day clinical study, 97{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} of sufferers said that the Murad Clarifying Cleanser curbed their skin of excess oil, while 88{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} indicated an overall improvement in skin appearance. In the public we trust, and so should you!

Key ingredients: 1.5{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} salicylic acid (fast-absorbing and slow-release form), and green tea extracts

Benefits: Assists in the exfoliation of acne-prone skin, while green tea extracts work on reducing inflammation and flares

Suited skin types: All skin types

5. Oxygen Skincare 2 in 1 Cleanser

Oxygen Skincare 2 in 1 Cleanser

If you are after something a little more natural to tackle irritated acne, then Oxygen Skincare’s 2 in 1 cleanser might be the product for you! Scientifically proven to kill 85{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} of the acne-causing bacteria on your skin within 24 hours, this cleanser is living proof that sometimes, simpler is better.

Within this cleanser, the antibacterial properties of New Zealand Hop extract have been utilized to create an environment that is unfavorable to five of the main bacteria that cause acne. Additionally, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, this extract is ideal for soothing and reducing the redness and irritation associated with acne flares. Antioxidant-rich coconut balm has been incorporated into this product to help prevent damage induced by free radicals from our environment and produced within the pathogenesis of acne. Lastly, aloe vera extract helps to soothe and promote moisturization of dry irritated skin – and delivers a healthy load of nutrients to your skin itself.

Plus with its light mandarin fragrance (all-natural – don’t worry, we checked) this product is the perfect refreshing cleanser to start your day off right.

Key ingredients: New Zealand hop extract, coconut balm, and aloe vera extract

Benefits: Gentle skin cleanser with anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties

Suited skin types: All skin types

6. First Aid BeautyDeep Cleanser with Red Clay

First Aid BeautyDeep Cleanser with Red Clay

Ever felt like you just wanted to slap a band-aid on your acne and pretend it wasn’t there? Well, clearly the team at First Aid Beauty did too, which is why they designed their cleanser to be a one-stop shop for fixing acne-prone skin.

To firstly draw out impurities and absorb excess sebum, this facial wash has been formulated with a healthy concentration of red clay. This nutrient-dense mineral compound has held its own as a skincare staple utilized in traditional medicine, where it was used to improve blood circulation. This in turn helps your skin to produce more collagen and elastin, and can help fight off inflammation. Rosemary leaf oil, which has been clinically proven to hold efficacy against a plethora of bacteria, then gets to work in ridding your skin of acne-causing bacteria, whilst glycerin promotes long-lasting hydration.

Ultimately, this dermatologically supported, cruelty-free facial cleanser is the ideal product for those whose skin needs a helping hand to surface congestion and repair itself from within.

Key ingredients: Red clay, rosemary leaf oil, and glycerin

Benefits: Draws out impurities, targets acne-causing bacteria, and hydrates

Suited skin types: All skin types including those with sensitivities

7. Panoxyl Acne Foaming Wash

Panoxyl Acne Foaming Wash

Just to preface, this product is not for the faint of heart! Formulated with 10{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} benzoyl peroxide, the Panoxyl Acne Foaming wash is the end of the line for medicated skincare before you require a prescription from your doctor.

This product is the ultimate skincare edition for those suffering from cystic acne and requiring a product to break the vicious cycles of flares, and prevent new breakouts from forming. As mentioned previously, benzoyl peroxide acts by targeting acne-causing bacteria, removing excess sebum from pores, and increasing cellular turnover – leaving you with acne-free skin. If this isn’t convincing enough, clinical studies show that this wash kills over 99{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} of acne-causing bacteria 15 seconds after its application, and it shows in the raving reviews left by satisfied customers.

Whilst, Panoxyl Acne Foaming wash has been fortified with hydrating agents, we would have to recommend following this product up with a highly hydrating moisturizer, as benzoyl peroxide has been known to dry out the skin. Overall, for those suffering from severe bouts of cystic acne, this product might just be the one for you on our list of the best face washes for cystic acne.

Key ingredients: 10{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} benzoyl peroxide

Benefits: Maximum strength product for ridding the skin of bacteria

Suited skin types: Not suitable for those with sensitive, eczema-prone, or dry skin

8. Medicube Zero Foam Cleanser

Medicube Zero Foam Cleanser

Granted that you’re a person driven by scientific validation, then the Zero Foam Cleanser by Medicube is the product for you! Clinically tested in the publicly renowned P&K Skin Clinical Research Centre, the Zero Foam cleanser has proven efficacious in removing micro-dust and unclogging acne-prone skin. First popularized within the Korean market, the unique blend of natural salicylic acid, metallic chelate polymers, and potent antioxidants gives this product an upper hand.

Within this cleanser, plant-derived salicylic acid (sourced from wintergreen leaf extract) serves to take care of those problem pores, and free your skin of blemishes and contaminants. Comparatively, the ingenious metallic chelate polymers function to remove free radicals and external pollutants, therefore reinforcing the skin barrier to prevent irritation. Lastly, through supplementation with quince, lemon balm, and orange blossom extracts, this product works to tighten pores and boost your antioxidant stores to reduce oxidative damage.

Management of acne can be a tortious ordeal, but with the Zero Foam Cleanser, daily pore care and sebum control are made that little bit easier!

Key ingredients: Salicylic acid (derived from wintergreen leaf extract), metallic chelate polymers, and antioxidant blend

Benefits: Deep exfoliation, antioxidant power, and sebum and pore control

Suited skin types: Caution for those with sensitive skin

9. Paula’s Choice Pore Normalizing Cleanser

Paula's Choice Pore Normalizing Cleanser

With 96{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} of its users seeing a difference in the size of their pores, and 88{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} seeing a decrease in the severity of their acne, the team behind Paula’s Choice keeps on going from strength to strength when developing iconic skincare products. Formulated with salicylic acid, glycerin, and panthenol, their potent Pore Normalizing Cleanser acts to dissolve debris trapped within pores, without causing irritation to delicate skin barriers.

One point of difference that truly sets this product apart, is that it has been formulated for those who suffer from sensitive skin. Unlike other acne-targeted cleansers, which dry the skin out in the process of clearing it, this cleanser has been fortified with two potent moisturizing agents. Specifically, glycerin and panthenol (the precursor of vitamin B5) act as humectants that draw moisture from deep within your skin, and from the surrounding environment, and bind to it, trapping it within the top layer of your skin.

While other brands focus on fighting acne with tough ingredients, Paula’s Choice has opted to instead focus on gently clearing pores with salicylic acid to treat and prevent acne and keep your skin in a state that will help it to heal. If you are sick and tired of having to sacrifice the hydration of your skin for it to remain clear, this product might be exactly what you are missing.

Key ingredients: Salicylic acid, glycerin, and panthenol

Benefits: Non-irritating and pore cleansing

Suited skin types: Specifically designed for easily irritated skin

10. The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser

The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Cleanser

You may be seeing a trend with these face washes and their bioactive constituents, and the INKEY list salicylic acid cleanser is no exception! Formulated with 2{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} salicylic acid, zinc compounds, and 0.5{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} allantoin, this cleanser works to respectively dislodge debris from occluded pores, soothe irritated skin, and promote regeneration. Zinc compounds have been investigated as sebo-neutralizing agents, meaning they act to control sebum secretion. In synergy, their antibacterial properties help to reduce inflammation caused by skin-harboring microbes, ultimately reducing irritation and associated redness.

In contrast, allantoin serves to retain skin moisture, which is inadvertently lost with harsh exfoliating agents. However, more anecdotal evidence has suggested that allantoin accelerates skin healing and visibly lessens scarring. So if you are in search of a product that tackles those emotionally-taxing battle scars, then the INKEY List salicylic acid cleanser is your best bet.

Key Ingredients: 0.5{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} allantoin, 2{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} salicylic acid, and zinc compounds

Benefits: Works to reduce inflammation, promote skin healing, and boost hydration

Skin types: All skin types


11. Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Blemish Cleanser Treatment

Kiehl's Blue Herbal Blemish Cleanser Treatment

If you are looking for a herbal alternative that is free of synthetic drying agents, then your search stops here! With Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Blemish Cleanser Treatment, a blend of cinnamon bark, ginger root extract, and salicylic acid eliminates excess oil, calms redness, and improves acne-prone complexions overall.

Cinnamon bark yields bactericidal (bacteria-killing) properties, making it an effective agent against acne and skin blemishes. A secondary action of cinnamon extracts is to improve cutaneous blood flow to aid in skin repair while dislodging microdust and pollutants. Ginger root on the other hand, minimizes sebum secretion while nourishing the skin to reduce dryness. So give this herbal remedy a go, as it is well worth the hype!

Key Ingredients: Cinnamon bark, ginger root extract, and salicylic acid

Benefits: Antibacterial, and skin rejuvenating properties

Suited skin types: Specific for sensitive skin users


12. Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser

Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser

When it comes to making skincare fun, Glow Recipe truly is strides above the rest. As a brand, Glow Recipe designs innovative products that harness the natural goodies found within fruit, to help your skin throughout various rough patches. One product that we couldn’t miss off of our list of the best cystic acne face washes for is their very own Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser.

Infused with antioxidant and nutrient-rich blueberry extract, this cleanser helps mitigate damage induced by free radicals produced as a result of inflammation – a process at the heart of cystic acne. Whilst this helps to hydrate, calm, and refresh your skin, a selection of fruit-derived AHAs get to work clearing debris from your pores to calm acne flares. To keep your skin clean and free from residual makeup and pollutants, hydrating micro-foaming bubbles get to work, leaving you with the perfect base to begin your skincare routine. So if you are wanting a gentle cleanser to clean and hydrate your skin in preparation for a busy day ahead, then this product is truly the one for you.

Key ingredients: Blueberry extract, hyaluronic acid, AHAs, and hydrating suds

Benefits: Gently exfoliating cleanser which is packed with antioxidants to calm inflamed skin

Suited skin types: All skin types (including sensitive, dry skin)


13. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

When coming up with this clinically supported list of the best face washes for cystic acne, it was a no brainer to include the Neutrogena oil-free acne wash.  As one of the biggest brands for acne with a cult-like following, this cleanser is an affordable, highly available, and well-formulated solution to tackle those clogged pores. With salicylic acid being delivered to your skin by Neutrogena’s patented MicroClear® Technology, this cleanser is a one-stop shop to regain control of your skin.

Key ingredients: Salicylic acid

Benefits: Pore cleansing

Suited skin types: All skin types


14. Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser

After a luxurious solution to combat excess sebum and clogged pores? Then look no further, as Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip Cleanser has truly earned its praise for good reason.

Within this cleanser, a specialized blend of green clay, bentonite, and white kaolin gets to work on dampening sebum secretion, absorbing impurities from pores, and giving you an overall clean and healthy appearance – free of blemishes. However, having recognized the toll that cystic acne can have on your skin, the team at Sunday Riley has made sure to fortify this cleanser with rice and olive oil esters. These gently cleanse your skin without ridding it of essential oils, whilst helping to repair your skin barrier.

While this product might sound too good to be true, trust us when we say that no one does well-formulated luxury products better than the team behind Sunday Riley.

Key ingredients: Green clay, bentonite, white kaolin, rice, and olive oil esters

Benefits: Absorbs excess oils and promotes healthy skin barrier function

Suited skin types: All skin types


15. Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser

Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser

Renowned for providing skincare solutions for those suffering from skin sensitivities, Aveeno’s  Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser is known to be tough on acne, and not on your skin.

Within this cleanser, 0.5{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} salicylic acid gets to work on tackling active breakouts and preventing the development of flares. Meanwhile, a potent concentration of antioxidant-rich soy extracts gives deprived skin a nutrient boost to help it stay healthy and glowing, whilst dampening inflammation. With an airy, foamy texture, this facial wash is the perfect user-friendly and affordable cleanser to incorporate into your morning and evening routine.

Key ingredients: 0.5{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} Salicylic acid and soy extracts

Benefits: Gentle cleanser

Suited skin types: Suitable for those with skin sensitivities


16. Ethique Deep Green™ Deep Cleaning Solid Face Cleanser

Ethique Deep Green™ Deep Cleaning Solid Face Cleanser

Looking for a product that is tough when it comes to acne and not the environment? Then Ethique’s Deep Green solid facial cleanser might just be what you are after. As a brand, Ethique holds great pride in delivering affordable skincare solutions that are highly concentrated, meaning you get more bang for your buck. Formulated with French clay, sea salt, castor oil, and sweet orange oil, this cleanser acts to absorb excess acne-causing oil without disrupting your skin’s physiological function.

Plus with each solid cleansing bar you use, you are saving 3 x 350 ml bottles from ending up in landfill, 2,750 ml of water from being wasted down the drain, and your wallet from having to constantly repurchase your new favorite cleanser – a win-win if you ask us.

Key ingredients: French clay, sea salt, castor oil, and sweet orange oil

Benefits: Deeply concentrated cleanser for oily skin

Suited skin types: All skin types


17. Kate Somerville EradiKate® Daily Foaming Cleanser

Kate Somerville EradiKate® Daily Foaming Cleanser

A game-changer when it comes to face washes for cystic acne, Kate Somerville’s medicated EradiKate Daily Foaming Cleanser features 3{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} sulfur for that clinical strength blemish control. While sulfur acts in a similar way to benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, where it differs is in its mild pore-cleaning power. This prevents dryness that can accompany some potent exfoliants, all while being equally effective at unclogging dirt-infected pores. A further acne-fighting property is its ability to absorb excess sebum and oil, hence reducing bacterial growth and acne flares. So if you’re willing to pay a little bit extra without compromising on efficacy then this cleanser is the solution to skin troubles!

Key ingredients: 3{fb0bdb3149a05e73489776f586894f1251cba859e99900242093b5d6a2569f28} sulfur

Benefits: Mild exfoliant with sebum-lowering activity

Suitable skin types: All  skin types


18. Origins Clear Improvement™ Zero Oil Face Wash

Origins Clear Improvement™ Zero Oil Face Wash

Wanting to put your skin on a detox to get it back on track? Within Origins Clear Improvement™ Zero Oil Face Wash, salicylic acid and bamboo charcoal work in unison to achieve exactly that – skin free from impurities that has a chance to heal.

Referred to as the “black diamond” of skincare, bamboo charcoal is an ingredient characterized by its ability to absorb 100 times its weight – making it ideal for drawing out excess oil, impurities, and bacteria from your skin. In addition, its porous yet micro-fine texture helps to gently exfoliate dead skin cells which prevents them from building up, and clogging your pores. With a light mint scent, this facial wash is an ideal addition to your morning acne-targeting routine!

Key ingredients: Salicylic acid and bamboo charcoal

Benefits: Gently exfoliating, oil-absorbing facial wash

Suited skin types: All skin types


19. ACNE AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Acne Clear Foam

ACNE AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Acne Clear Foam

In need of a non-stripping face wash that is soft on the skin but tough on acne? Then the dual-action AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Acne Clear Foam by ACNE is one you should definitely add to the list. It’s enriched with 5,000 parts per million (ppm) of salicylic acid to clear those bacteria-laden pores, and 160,200 ppm of Truecica – a trademarked ingredient that has a distinguished role in reducing acne flares. Truecica features a triad of plant-based extracts, namely tea tree, centella asiatica (aka cica), and mugwort. The role of Truecica is to act as a calming agent, naturally fortifying the skin barrier with the hydration it deserves in order to withstand external forces.

Key ingredients: Salicylic acid, and Truecica

Benefits: Fortified with a skin-strengthening agent, and gentle pore-cleaning capabilities

Skin types: For those with ultra-sensitive skin

20. Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel

Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel

As we know by now, when it comes to helping prevent flares of cystic acne, exfoliation is key. Not only does exfoliation help dead skin cells to slough away and not end up blocking your pores, but it also promotes cellular turnover – which in turn signals your skin to heal. Therefore, to help make this process a tad more luxurious, the team at Mario Badescu has developed its very own Enzyme Cleansing Gel. Formulated with grapefruit and papaya extracts, this product works to rid your skin of excess oils and deeply cleanse pores – leaving your skin smooth and fresh.

To use, simply pop this product on for 30 seconds, and let the product do the work for you!

Key ingredients: Grapefruit extract and papaya extract

Benefits: Exfoliating cleanser

Suited skin types: Due to its enzymatic activity we would not suggest this cleanser for those suffering from irritable skin


21. Cetaphil PRO Acne Prone Oil Control Foam Wash

Cetaphil PRO Acne Prone Oil Control Foam Wash

When it comes to wanting a product that has won over the hearts of dermatologists and users alike, you simply cannot overlook Cetaphil’s PRO Acne Prone Oil Control Foam Wash.

Within this cleanser, zinc technology, vitamin E, vitamin B5, and glycerin work to respectively minimize blemishes, soothe irritation, promote skin barrier restoration, and lock hydration within the upper layer of the skin. The result? Clear, hydrated, irritation-free skin that is actively ready to tackle whatever cystic acne has to throw at it.

Key ingredients: Zinc technology, vitamin E, vitamin B5, and glycerin

Benefits: Gentle acne targeting, skin barrier repairing cleanser

Suited skin types: All skin types including those with skin sensitivities


22. Atopis Thoroughly Gentle Cleanser

Atopis Thoroughly Gentle Cleanser

If you want that round-the-clock breakout protection face wash that doesn’t strip your skin bone dry, then the Thoroughly Gentle Cleanser by Atopis has got you covered. It’s supplemented with kumarahou extract, a Native New Zealand herbal remedy that contains a high saponin content. Saponins help to provide antimicrobial action, while simultaneously soothing and hydrating the skin to reinforce the skin barrier. Orange peel is another signature ingredient, which by containing citric acid, serves to de-clog those problem pores and fight the progression of acne lesions.

Key Ingredients: Kumerahou extract, and orange peel

Benefits: Antimicrobial, skin-calming cleanser

Skin types: All skin types


Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best way to apply your acne-specific face wash?

In accordance with the American Academy of Dermatology, it is recommended to follow some general principles when applying your face wash.

  1. Firstly, wash your face with lukewarm water
  2. Apply face wash using your fingertips as opposed to scrubbing the skin, which can cause abrasion, and exacerbate skin irritation.
  3. Rinse again with lukewarm water and pat dry with a delicate towel.
  4. Apply a moisturizer to boost hydration if your skin is feeling extra dry.
  5. Limit washing to twice daily, as exfoliating too frequently can increase your likelihood of drying out. However, it is recommended to wash your face immediately after sweating, as this can further draw out skin moisture.

What is the difference between a cleanser and a face wash?

Although used synonymously, both cleansers and facial washes have key distinguishing features. Face washes are generally water-based foams with astringent activity to unclog pores and ameliorate oil production. Meanwhile, cleansers are thicker formulations that primarily cleanse, hydrate, and calm your acne-prone skin.

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