Best Face Cleansers & Body Washes for Acne in 2021

Prevent breakouts with these pore-clearing cleansers that rapidly transform your complexion.

We won’t pretend that fighting acne is easy. But with solutions tailored to your skin type and concerns, it doesn’t have to be so hard!

Instead of pretending that the answer is the same for everyone, we’ve put together a list of our best acne cleansers for all skin types.

These products will clear and rebalance your skin, be it oily, sensitive, combo, or dry.

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Acne is something that many people continue to deal with well into adulthood. Learning to deal with acne in its different forms—whether it’s facial acne, body acne such as bacne, or acne scars and pigmentation—you need to find cleansers and treatments that are best for the specific problem.

What appears to be body acne can actually be a different condition, keratosis pilaris, which is also responsible for those tiny red bumps on your legs and arms.

While a good acne cleanser is a vital first step, you should also examine our top-rated anti-acne treatments as well as the best makeup removers for acne prone skin.

There are many acne causes, and even more anti-acne treatments. To just scratch the surface of explanations, acne can be caused by hormonal changes, environmental factors, bacteria build-up, and excess oil production.

The first step in your skincare routine, acne cleansers can improve your skin by working to clean away the excess oil and impurities clogging your pores. Many of the cleansers we’ve included are extremely effective because they contain carefully chosen ingredients that exfoliate the skin, soothe inflammation, or fight acne-causing bacteria.

The key to fighting acne is actually about finding balance. This means keeping the skin properly exfoliated, cleansed. and moisturised. But how you do this highly depends on your skin type. Hydrating and calming treatments and cleansers, which won’t irritate or strip the skin, are best for overly dry and sensitive skin types. Whereas exfoliating cleansers and treatments that rid the skin of excess sebum can be a secret weapon for those with oily skin types that don’t suffer from sensitivity. To safely and effectively treat acne on any skin type, a philosophy of moderation is vital.

The cleansers we’ve included feature a range of powerful key ingredients that work well for a range of different skin types. So, you can choose your approach. It’s our aim to outline these ingredients clearly and help you decide what will give your skin the best results. Whatever you choose, it’s important to listen to what your skin is craving and to be open to experimenting with skincare in order to find the right solution.

Exfoliants are often incorporated into many anti-acne cleansers because of their ability to clear pores of built-up oil, impurities, and bacteria. Exfoliating agents are often found in the form of chemical exfoliants, such as:

  • Salicylic Acid, a beta-hydroxy Acid (BHA). Due to its low molecular size, Salicylic Acid can penetrate pores deeply to diminish dead skin cells and other impurities and debris.

If you prefer a more natural approach to skincare, the following ingredients also work effectively to reduce inflammation and decongest pores:

  • Tea Tree Oil contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that clear acne.

  • Kaolin Clay helps detoxify the skin and absorb excess oil.

  • Charcoal works to draw out excess oil, bacteria, and other impurities from the skin without overdrying it.

Our range of foaming, oil-based, and gel-based acne cleansers will help you target acne in a way that suits your personal approach to skincare. All these products work to clear your pores, reduce inflammation, and fight bacteria.

A deeply cleansing, foaming acne wash that leaves your skin clear, bright, and fresh!

Dermalogica’s Clear Start Breakout Clearing Foaming Wash deeply cleanses the skin to remove the build-up of oil and bacteria, providing an instant anti-acne treatment. This affordable cosmeceutical cleanser is a favourite amongst both teenagers and adults for its fast-acting formula, which is still gentle on sensitive skin. This foam cleanser achieves a perfect balance between potent actives and natural ingredients. The formula contains Salicylic Acid, which clears the pores. Lavender and Tea Tree Oil calm and balance the skin. Orange Peel Extract brightens and enlivens the skin, leaving it renewed and refreshed. This is a perfect first cleanser for anyone who wants to minimise acne and prevent future breakouts.

A purifying, foaming gel cleanser that’s perfect for everyday use on oily, acne-prone skin.

La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Foaming Gel promotes healthy skin by sweeping away bacteria and build-up while nourishing and balancing the skin. This foaming cleanser is formulated with Zinc Pidolate, which removes excess oil and makeup while preventing the formation of acne. The purifying formula also contains this French pharmacy brand’s signature ingredient, Thermal Spring Water, which helps calm irritated and inflamed skin and also provides antioxidant protection. While this cleansing formula is soothing, it can be overly drying on very dry skin. This cleanser is best suited to those with oily skin who are looking for a cleanser that will kill harmful acne-forming bacteria and reduce pigmentation from acne scarring.

Multipurpose Acne Cleanser

An invigorating cleanser that targets acne all over, making it an in-shower essential.

Multipurpose Acne Cleanser

Alpha-H’s Clear Skin Face and Body Wash is a multipurpose acne cleanser that works to fight blemishes on problematic areas of the face and body. This lightly foaming acne cleanser from Alpha-H both hydrates and cools the skin with aromatic Eucalyptus, Aloe Vera, Tea Tree Oil, and Thyme, which also contain antibacterial properties. A combination of Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide work together to decongest the skin and reduce oil, bacteria, and debris. While this formula contains a series of anti-inflammatories that benefit sensitive skin, it can become drying with regular use. This is a perfect cleanser for those struggling with very oily skin, as the product is noncomedogenic and balances oil production with regular use. It’s also an amazing solution for those struggling with keratosis pilaris and back acne.

A creamy, clay-based acne cleanser with natural ingredients that won’t clog your pores!

Sodashi’s Clay Cleanser with Lime is a luxurious, creamy cleanser that uses ethically sourced, natural ingredients to banish blackheads and blemishes. The key ingredients in this gentle cleanser are Kaolin Clay and Lime Oil. Kaolin Clay absorbs oil and lightly exfoliates. Lime Oil contains vitamin C and also helps absorb excess sebum. This cleanser is also packed with natural antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and soothing oils such as Apricot and Olive to hydrate and revive the skin. This organic, gentle cleanser is incredibly kind to the skin and won’t strip the skin or cause it to produce excess oil. An amazing option for dealing with adult acne on dry and sensitive skin.

Balance Your Complexion

A natural, balancing foam acne cleanser, perfect for clarifying the skin and combating texture.

Balance Your Complexion

La Mav’s Sweet Orange Foaming Cleanser is a balancing acne cleanser that’s perfect for decongesting oily and combination skin types. This natural cleanser lightly exfoliates and clarifies the skin using Lactic Acid, Papaya, Ginseng, and Sugar Cane. These ingredients also promote skin strength and deliver anti-ageing benefits by encouraging healthy cell turnover. Expect to see significant improvement in the texture and tone of your skin with regular use of this purifying acne cleanser, which can remove even the toughest makeup. This calming cleanser leaves the skin feeling clean and refreshed instead of overly tight and dry. And the citrus scent smells amazing too!

An innovative acne cleanser that pairs detoxifying Charcoal with the dissolving power of a cleansing oil!

Erno Laszlo’s Detoxifying Cleansing Oil breaks down makeup and surface build-up while decongesting the skin and boosting hydration. The key ingredient in this cleansing oil is Charcoal, which works to detoxify the skin and draw out impurities. Jojoba Oil and Shea Butter restore moisture to the skin. Grapeseed Oil and Vitamin E provide antioxidant protection and clarity. Unlike many oil-based cleansers, this purifying cleansing oil isn’t too heavy for oily and combination skin and won’t lead to further congestion. The light gel texture of this detoxifying cleansing oil works effortlessly to dissolve makeup while leaving skin clean, clear, and refreshed.

A super-convenient stick cleansing balm that uses Charcoal to clear acne-prone skin.

Hunter Lab’s Charcoal Cleansing Stick is an Australian-made balm cleanser with a natural formula that works to detoxify and lightly hydrate the skin. Made with certified organic Charcoal, this balm cleanser absorbs impurities and leaves your skin deeply cleansed and renewed. Added Green Tea boosts antioxidant protection, while a blend of Argan Oil and Sweet Almond Oil leaves the skin lightly hydrated and soft. The sleek design of this stick balm is both stylish and practical. It’s a perfect cleanser for travel due to its ease of use. Say goodbye to messy formulations and stripping wipes and cleansers. Say hello to this glorious balm cleanser, which is perfect for all skin types.

A foaming, medicated acne cleanser perfect for oily and combination skin types.

Kiehl's Blue Herbal Acne Cleanser Treatment works to deeply decongest pores and improve your skin’s overall texture. Formulated with Salicylic Acid, this acne cleanser helps deeply exfoliate and prevent further breakouts. It’s a perfect cleanser for acne-prone skin that’s oily or combination. The inclusion of Ginger Root Extract and Frankincense helps soothe the skin and regulate oil production, returning overall balance to the skin. Not only does this foaming acne cleanser improve the texture of the skin over time. It also leaves your complexion feeling comfortable, hydrated, and refreshed, and delivers a minty, tingling sensation to boot.

Looking after you skin doesn't have to be hard, we've collected some of our favourite guides on body care for you

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty’s highly trained Customer Service team. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

This article has been updated on 12/02 to replace discontinued products with our recent product recommendations. Brooklyn from our Customer Service team has helped to bring you our most recommended products and up-to-date information.

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