Best Facial Cleansers for Acne-Prone Skin

These popular cleansers contain salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid commonly used to treat acne. It also works as an exfoliant helping to slough away dead skin, which makes it a great tool for fighting wrinkles. It's best to use a 2% concentration, which all the picks are below. 

More on acne:

  • 5 Reasons Your Acne Isn't Going Away
  • Help! I Have Back Acne, How Do I Get Rid of It?
  • Acne & Teens: How to Treat Pimples (& Cover Them Up)
  • 8 Adult Acne Facts (Plus, How to Treat it)

Glo Therapeutics Hydrating Gel Cleanser

Glo Therapeutics Hydrating Gel Cleanser.

When my favorite beauty blogger, Lisa Eldridge, touted this on the great blog, Into the Gloss, I had to look into it. Eldridge, who is in her 30s and British and gorgeous and beloved for her frank, smart beauty videos, told ITG that she uses this cleanser because, "I’ve got really annoying acne-prone skin that can break out, but it can also get dehydrated. My skin’s what I call a ‘lazy’ exfoliator, so I need to exfoliate but in a very gentle way."

This is what she uses. It gets great reviews on and is affordable at about $22. Plus it lasts a long time.

Obagi Clenziderm M.D. Daily Care Foaming Cleanser

Obagi is one of those products women go ga-ga for. Based on reputation alone, this cleanser gets my thumbs up. It has 2% salicylic acid and is a light cleansing foam designed for those who suffer from normal to oily and acne-prone skin. It gently resurfaces to allow new skin cell growth and is also great for people with combination oily skin. It also has Butyl Avocadate, which regulates the skin's oil production.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

This ia a basic drugstore version of a 2% salicylic acid cleanser. Neutrogena is also an excellent skincare company known for its products. You can't go wrong if you're trying to save money. It can be drying on sensitive skin.

Murad Clarifying Cleanser

According to Murad's Website, their acne product eliminates 99.9% of bacteria in 60 seconds, it clears blemishes and prevents new breakouts. Users report loving the way it keeps their acne at bay without drying skin out too much.

Glytone Facial Cleanser

Glytone is known for its glycolic acid products which make this a unique product in their line. Both teens and adults love the way it keeps acne in check. Great for oily skin (it can dry out dry skin further) and best when used two times daily.

Every Man Jack Face Wash Skin Clearing 2% Salicylic Acid Acne Cleanser

This fragrance-free acne product is not expensive and is a product you can share with a guy. Some users report the consistency is too thin, others think it's a perfect basic cleanser. 

Proactiv Solution Deep Cleansing Wash

This wash is designed for the face and body (great for sufferers of back acne, or psoriasis on the backs on the arms) and is perfect for teens and adults with mild to moderate acne-prone skin. 

Patricia Wexler Dual Action Foaming Cleanser

Patricia Wexler's cleanser is created with anti-aging in mind. The salicylic acid removes dead skin cells, while promoting cell renewal. It also helps with adult acne.

Aveeno Clear Complexion Cream Cleanser

Aveeno Clear Complexion cleanser. Aveeno

Like many of the cleansers above, this comes with beads that help exfoliate skin, but can be harsh on sensitive skin. It's non-foaming which some don't like, but overall it's a good cleanser for the price.