9 best acne soaps of 2021


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To keep acne under control, several treatments may be required, starting with daily soap. "When you have acne, it is important to think about the products you use to wash your face, but also your body, especially if you are prone to acne on your body," explains Nazanin Saedi, MD, a dermatologist at Thomas Jefferson. University. But there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating acne. "Not all people with acne have the same skin type," he says.

If you have dry skin , he offers you a moisturizer to cleanse your face. For people with sensitive skin, products with delicate ingredients are best. "For oily skin, salicylic washes are a great option and help unclog pores and blackheads," says Dr. Saedi. Both blackheads and whiteheads can benefit from a benzoyl peroxide rinse , which will help kill acne-causing bacteria on the skin's surface.

These are the best acne cleansers on the market to try.

Final verdict

Of all the products on the market, it's best to go for a fragrance-free product that is less likely to irritate acne-prone or dry skin, compared to a product with more powerful acne-fighting ingredients. CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is not only affordable but effective. It's also a great facial cleanser if you rely on a topical acne remedy, prescription or over-the-counter, since you don't want to duplicate products with harsh chemical ingredients like benzoyl peroxide. If you have specific acne problems or a skin type that is not dry or normal, you may want to consider one of our other options, such as Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, which works on a variety of skin types.

What to look for in acne soap

Skin type and acne

Inflammatory pimples are caused by bacteria and consist of swelling, redness, and clogged pores. This type comes in many forms , such as cysts and nodules , and can be more difficult to treat because the inflammation penetrates deeper into the skin's barrier. "If you have inflammatory acne like pimples, nodules, or pustules , I recommend a benzoyl peroxide cleanser because it can help reduce inflammation," says Skylar Suyul, MD, a dermatologist at the South Shore Skin Center in Norwell, Massachusetts ….

On the other hand, comedonic acne does not cause inflammation and includes flesh-colored patches on the surface of the skin. These pimples are closer to the skin and are not caused by bacteria, but by excess oil and dead skin cells , which clog pores. Salicylic acid removes dirt or oil from pores and keeps them clean .

Pimples can also appear on the chest or back . To get rid of these stains, Dr. Suyul recommends a cleanser that contains 5 to 10 percent benzoyl peroxide. "Be careful though, benzoyl peroxide bleaches your towels, so be sure to use white towels to dry your body and face," he says.


Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are two main ingredients to consider when purchasing a cleanser that works directly on acne. "If you suffer from blackheads and whiteheads, I generally recommend salicylic acid in your cleanser," says Joshua Zeichner , MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. "This beta hydroxy acid helps remove excess oil and dead skin cells to keep pores clean." Benzoyl peroxide reduces acne caused by bacteria and removes any inflammation on the skin.

Side effects

Using a cleanser should improve the condition of your skin, not irritate it. But sometimes the ingredients used in these products can cause side effects , so it's important to pay attention to how your skin feels after using a new soap or cleanser. "If you experience redness, irritation, burning, or tingling, it could mean that the cleanser is too harsh for you or it may contain an irritating ingredient," says Dr. Zeichner.

Sometimes these side effects can be caused by combining prescription acne medications with cleansers that contain active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide. "I caution patients that prescription creams can cause dryness and irritation, so they may want to use a mild cleanser to prepare their skin for topical treatments ," says Dr. Suyul. 'Using too many active ingredients or products can dry out the skin and cause more problems. Sometimes it is better not to complicate things.

"If you have comedonal pimples, mainly white and blackheads, I recommend a cleanser with salicylic acid, which helps unclog dead skin cells and pores." —Skilar Soyul, MD, is a dermatologist at the South Shore Skin Center in Norwell, Massachusetts.

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