Best cleansers for acne-prone skin - 2020 update

Washing your face is one of the more important steps in your daily acne-fighting routine. Unfortunately, many people with acne-prone skin end up using the wrong kind of cleanser, leading to dried-out skin, flakiness, and new breakouts. For people with eczema or rosacea, using the wrong type of cleanser may even worsen the condition.

Here’s a rundown of cleanser types.

Foaming cleansers for people for acne

Foaming cleansers - are fun to use but unfortunately are not the best choice for people with acne. The chemical compounds that produce foam (aka surfactants) remove lipids from the skin’s surface and damage the skin barrier. Thus, foaming cleansers should ONLY be used only by people with oily skin.

Non-Foaming cleansers for people with acne

Non-Foaming cleansers are creamy and milky. These products usually have a neutral PH and are the best choice for people with acne-prone skin and normal to dry skin.

Medicated acne cleansers with Salicylic Acid

Mild medicated cleansers with salicylic acid are the best choice for people with acne. Salicylic acid is lipophilic and can penetrate through the sebum derived lipids into pores. They’re the most effective cleansers to unclog pores and reduce skin inflammation. Cleanser with 0.5% of salicylic acid will be the optimal choice for most skin types. People with very oily skin or body acne can use a cleanser with 2% salicylic acids.

Should I use a benzoyl peroxide wash for my acne?

Benzoyl peroxide is the most effective anti-acne topical medications. That said, to be effective, the benzoyl peroxide should stay on the skin for 20 minutes. If washed off the skin in 30 seconds, it does have the time to be effective. Thus, Benzoyl peroxide washes are usually more irritating and less effective than other medicated cleansers and should be used by most people with acne.

Best Acne cleansers for people with post-acne dark spots and scars

Some premium medicated acne cleansers contain in addition to their cleansing active ingredients that can further reduce skin redness and dark spots. Examples are licorice and green tea extracts that are potent antioxidant, that prevents and helps fade brown spots. Vitamins C and E that help lighten pigmentation, even skin tone, and boost the skin's natural healing, and Aloe Vera leaf extract that helps hydrate and soothes the skin.


Best cleanser for people with acne (face)

Best Cleanser for people with body acne and very oily skin

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