Best Face Wash for Acne Pimples and Scars

cetaphil-best face wash for acne prone skin

Acne breakouts commonly occur on the face in the form of pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, and cysts (cystic acne), often leaving glaring scars, but they can affect any other area of the skin. Cleansing the face may help to prevent and get rid of acne breakouts but with so many face wash products available, you may wonder what the best face wash for acne pimples and scars and oily, acne prone skin is. Read on to find out the top facial wash products.

Why Use a Facial Wash For Acne Pimples?

Cleansing your face twice daily with warm water and gentle facial cleanser is an easy yet effective home remedy for acne treatment and prevention. It is especially helpful for people with oily, acne-prone skin. Cleansing your face helps to get rid of impurities, excess oil (sebum), and dead skin cells. In fact, according to the WebMD, you should wash your face twice daily (in the morning and evening) regardless of whether you have acne or not.

Best Face Wash Overall for All Skin Types

The best face wash for pimples should be powerful enough to capably remove dirt and excess oil from the clogged hair follicles yet gentle enough to NOT strip your skin of its natural oils.

That would make the skin particularly dry and trigger even more sebum production and thus more severe breakouts.

You can always ask your dermatologist to prescribe you an ideal face wash for acne-prone skin, but you can as well choose from one of the many over the counter face washes for acne available in supermarkets and or drugstore especially if you have a mild acne breakout.

If you choose the latter option, here are some of the considerations to make:

  • The face wash should be alcohol-free.
  • It should be ideal for your specific skin type. For example, if you have sensitive skin, a face wash product formulated for oily skin can dry and irritate your skin, or even culminate in a more severe breakout.
  • Reading through customer reviews may help you if buying the face wash on e-commerce shopping sites such as Amazon.
  • Pay attention to the ingredients. The best face washes for acne prone skin range from those with acne fighting medications such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid to those that contain natural clays and herbs to absorb excess oil from the skin. Salicylic acid is not safe to use during pregnancy.
  • Check that the face wash contains skin moisturizing ingredients the likes of emollients (mineral oil, lanolin, petrolatum etc.) and humectants – moisture holding ingredients – e.g. glycerin.
  • Face wash with exfoliants such as alpha hydroxyl Acid (AHA) also helps to clear acne pimple breakouts and scars.

Based on available user reviews and professional opinions, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is the best face wash for acne prone skin.

Important Clarification: Technically speaking, the term face wash was meant for foaming cleansing products whereas the term cleanser was meant for non-foaming cleansing lotions, milk etc. products that don’t require rinsing off with water i.e. are wiped off. But because these terms have been used so interchangeably as to mean the “same” thing we will treat the terms “face wash” and “cleanser” equally in this research. [Source]

cetaphil-best face wash for acne prone skin

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is a popular over the counter “face wash” with a load of positive user reviews to back its claim for effectiveness in acne control. It is also incredibly popular among dermatologists. It makes for a nice addition to your skin care routine if you have acne prone skin.

As the best face wash for pimples prone skin, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is praised widely for its gentle yet effective, deep cleansing action while at the same time being gentle on the skin.

In fact, the manufacturer of this “acne cleanser” claims that it’s gentle enough for use on delicate baby skin.

It helps to cleanse dirt, dead skin cells, and the bacteria in clogged skin pores leaving your skin clear and blemish-free while preventing new pimples breakouts. This in turn aids in the faster healing of scars.

Cetaphil face wash not only flushes out the dirt and other elements in your skin but also moisturize it while removing any traces of makeup. And above all, it is ideal for all skin types, is easy to rinse off, and doesn’t leave residues.

With all these pimple breakouts fighting benefits, it is not hard to see why Cetaphil has been considered the best face wash for acne prone skin for such long. There has however recently been a concern about some of the ingredients in this classic face wash, especially sodium lauryl sulfate and parabens.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is widely available over-the-counter in supermarkets and drugstores. You can also buy it from the Official Cetaphil store on Amazon.

Best Neutrogena Face Wash for Acne

With Neutrogena being such a big name in the skincare industry and featuring prominently among drugstore products, it’s not surprising to see a growing interest in acne face wash in the Neutrogena line of products.

In my opinion, Neutrogena Oil-free Acne Wash is the best face wash for acne prone skin in the Neutrogena range of products.

This classic acne cleanser contains 2% salicylic acid as the active ingredient and has received largely positive reviews. It is effective in clearing whiteheads, blackheads, and even cystic acne on the face and other parts of the skin but on the downside, it requires you to use a separate moisturizer to curb the drying effect of salicylic acid.

Although Neutrogena Oil-free Acne Wash is designed to be used for all skin types, it is not the best choice for very dry or extremely sensitive skin type. It is widely available in drugstores.

Best Face Wash for Dry Acne Prone Skin

Olay Foaming Face WashWhilst acne is mostly associated with oily skin, it is also possible your skin to have dry, yet acne prone skin. If you have acne and dry skin, your best bet is Olay Foaming Face Wash.

Widely regarded as the best face wash for acne prone, dry skin, Olay Foaming Face Wash, is also ideal for normal and combination skin types but does little to help oily skin. This popular drugstore face wash from Olay is oil-free and has no active ingredient; instead, it features numerous ingredients, both organic and synthetic.

Olay Foaming Face Wash not only helps to remove dirt and dead skin cells from your skin but is also very effective in removing makeup, yet will not leave your face feeling tight or overly dry.

The only major downside to Olay Foaming Face Wash is that it is not that well foaming in spite of its name. It is nevertheless a great starting point in your fight against cystic acne, whiteheads, pimples, or blackheads – and by extension scars – if you have dry, acne-prone skin.

Best Face Wash for Oily Acne Prone Skin

Clean & Clear Clean & Clear Advantage Oil Absorbing Cream CleanserWhat if you have a particularly oily skin that gets shiny within just hours of cleaning? With such skin, you want a product that is formulated to absorb the excess oil and give you a relatively more matte look.

Clean & Clear Clean & Clear Advantage Oil Absorbing Cream Cleanser tops the list of face washes for oily, acne-prone skin.

Based on salicylic acid – which helps in promoting turnover of dead skin cells and thus fight acne pimples breakouts – this product is oil-free and is praised for being not too over dying even when used daily.

What is more, its POWDERPARTICLES™ technology removes excess oil and continues to work even after you have rinsed the face wash from your face to give you a long-lasting matte finish. What more, is required to award Clean & Clear the title for the best face wash for acne and oily skin?

Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Gel Facial Wash also has a great ranking in the oily acne prone skin face washes category.

Best Face Wash for Acne Prone Sensitive Skin

Clearsil Hysra-Blast Oil-free Face WashWhat about sensitive skin with acne? Well, it is possible for some people to have too sensitive a skin type that they even find the face washes listed above too harsh.

Such people should use a very gentle face wash (or cleanser) to avoid harsh treatment of the skin (this could make the pimples, blackheads, cysts etc. worse).

Clearasil Hydra-blast Face Wash, Sensitive is arguably the best face wash for sensitive acne prone skin.

Featuring 2% percent salicylic acid, this popular drugstore face wash is designed to be gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin; including oily skin types with mild acne.

With moisturizer formulated into it, Clearasil is not as harsh as other salicylic acid-based face washes, neither does it require you to apply a moisturizer after using it. Simply add a small amount of this acne-fighting face wash into the palm of your hands, massage gently to lather it up, apply on wet face paying close attention to the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin), and wash it off with water and you are good to go.

Note: Clearasil is not the best face wash for acne prone skin, sensitive skin that is also dry; Olay Foaming Face Wash is an ideal choice.

Best Face Wash for Men with Acne

Unlike women, men have a preference for products that are not too strongly-scented products. Cetaphil is faintly-scented and most guys have no problem using it. If you however still want to choose from face washes that are specifically formulated for use by men, then your best bet is Rugged & Dapper Skin Fuel for Men.

Best Natural Face Wash for Acne Prone Skin (DIY/Homemade)

If you would rather use a homemade natural cleanser that is devoid of chemical ingredients, then you can use a lemon juice and baking soda cleanser as outlined below:


  • Warm water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  1. To a ¼ cup of the warm water, pour in the lemon juice followed by baking soda and mix thoroughly.
  2. Wash your face with the resulting mixture.
  3. Leave it on for 5 minutes and then rinse your skin with water.

Now that you know the best face wash for pimples prone skin, isn’t it time you laid grounds for skin that is free of whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, and pimples? If you do or have previously used face washes for treatment of teenage or adult (hormonal), please share with us in the comments which one works – or doesn’t work – best for you in the comments section below.