8 Best Face Cleanser For Acne Prone Skin

The Top 8 Face Cleansers For Acne Prone Skin

While commonly associated with teens, acne can affect anybody.

The lucky ones of us can get past the worst of it as we move into adulthood, but acne in people 20 years and above is far from unheard of.

Potential causes of acne include:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Bad diet
  • Stress
  • Clogged pores
  • Unhealthy environment/dust/pollution

For many people, these causes are fully within our control – you can often reduce your acne simply by eating a better diet, drinking a lot of water, and taking up the appropriate skincare/cleansing steps.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Some people may have a permanent hormonal imbalance due to health issues, or be unable to avoid stress or damaging environments due to their careers. Such people need to use the right cleansing products to keep their skin clear and clog free.

Studies have found that retinoids are vital in the fight against acne and, combined with other skincare mainstays like hyaluronic acid, can help to clean out pores and reduce acne in the long term. According to skinseas.com, when shopping for the best cleansers for acne and blackheads, you should look for non-comedogenic formulas. Also, you should opt for products that are oil-free and contain exfoliating ingredients such as salicylic acid, lactic acid, and glycolic acid. 

With that in mind, we have put together our list of the best cleansers for acne prone skin.

Let’s jump right in:

1: Retinol Serum Acne Solution by Luminositie

Our pick for the best face cleanser for acne is a lovely blend of retinoids, hyaluronic acid, green tea, and some added vitamins and herbal ingredients such as witch hazel which is a natural anti-inflammatory. The solution is very smooth and easy to use, almost absorbing into the skin immediately.

The brand claims it can help reduce uneven textures and reduce the signs of ageing alongside being highly effective for acne, and based on our tests we had to agree.

We experienced clearer and brighter skin after the first day, reduced acne after three days, and within a week even wrinkles and acne scars became less noticeable. 

Luminositie also claims 100% natural and cruelty free ingredients which will be a huge selling point to many.


All in all, this is a surprisingly powerful anti-acne skin cleanser and comes highly recommended for anybody looking to reduce their acne symptoms.

2: EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser

In second place is a gentle foaming cleanser that we would highly recommend for those with sensitive skin or skin that reacts easily to changing circumstances.

It contains both bromelain and apple amino acids in order to help maintain hydration and reduce inflammation.

Similarly to Luminositie, they prioritise natural ingredients and avoid any synthetic chemicals or additives that could potentially irritate your skin or dry it out – both things that can make acne worse.

Despite having less active ingredients overall, EltaMD’s offering provides a gentle and effective acne cleanser that is usable by pretty much anybody, even for the most sensitive of skin types, making it a solid runner up.

3: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Deep-Cleansing Foaming-Cream Cleanser

In number three we have this deep cleansing cream cleanser that is high in salicylic acid and is a great exfoliator.

We wouldn’t recommend this cleanser for people with very dry or irritable skin, because it is quite a rough exfoliator and could cause more damage in such cases.

However, for most other people this is a good thing – the cleanser cleans away dead skin cells and encourages new ones to grow more quickly, leading to reduced pimples and blackheads.

We don’t recommend mixing this with other products as this could also increase the risk of dryness, but when used alone or with one or two simple products, it is highly effective at reducing oiliness and the appearance of zits.

4: Biologique Recherche Lait U

Biologique’s product is great for those who prefer a luxurious, creamy face cleanser. It does take a little longer to absorb in as a result, but the upside is a lot of good oil content such as vitamin E, jojoba and squalane.

This has the double benefit of reducing dryness and replacing bad oils with good ones, leaving your skin clear and hydrated either way.

We would recommend combining this with an exfoliator as it isn’t quite as good as the other options here when it comes to actually removing grime and blackheads, but it does kill bacteria effectively and help keep skin smooth and clear.

5: iS Clinical Cleansing Complex

This fancy cleanser contains glycolic acid sourced from sugar cane, as well as extracts of willow and chamomile, both of which are soothing for sensitive skin and help the cleanser to exfoliate your pores and spots without leaving any soreness or irritation.

The brand claims it is completely “non drying.”

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We would disagree as we did experience some slight dryness after use, but outside of this small disclaimer, it is a high performing cleanser for use against acne and deserves it’s spot on our list regardless.

6: SkinCeuticals Clarifying Exfoliating Cleanser

Unlike the other cleansers on our list, this is more of a physical exfoliator than a chemical one.

Because of this, it’s best used 2-3 times per week instead of daily to avoid causing irritation.

You can even alternate it with one of the more gentle options on the list for a skincare version of “interval training.”

Its combination of salicylic, glycolic and lactic acids help to smooth out the skin and reduce inflammation, but it’s the tiny pumice beads included that really work to scrape away stubborn spots and reduce acne. It is not recommended for cystic acne for this reason, but will be highly effective for comedonal acne.

7: Eminence Organic Skin Care Acne Advanced Cleansing Foam

The closest thing to our first place selection, Eminence’s cleansing foam combines salicylic acid with aloe vera, vitamin E and a range of natural herbs to provide both chemical and remedial results at the same time.

It was specifically formulated for oily, acne prone skin and we found less oiliness and reduced redness within six days.

This product has also won a small but passionate group of supporters, suggesting it is highly effective for some specific types of skin, perhaps more than others. 

8: PCA Skin BPO 5% Cleanser

This cleanser includes 5% benzoyl peroxide to attack acne spots and reduce breakouts.

This would usually make it quite harsh and irritable but a combination of cucumber, chamomile, and aloe work to reduce this side effect and enhance the soothing effect.

It doesn’t lather and just feels like rubbing water into your skin, which might be a downside for some – but it does an amazing job of washing away grime, cleaning out pores and leaving your skin in the best condition.

This one comes highly recommended for anybody who needs something a bit tougher on acne but without most of the downsides that usually entails.

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