Have you struggled with acne? Then you know the fight for clear skin is endless! Acne can appear out of nowhere and can leave behind scars as well. However, by using a face wash containing strong acne-fighting agents such as salicylic acid, retinol, or benzoyl peroxide, you'll be able to get rid of impurities, unclog your pores, and say goodbye to stubborn acne. Many products also contain antioxidants and moisturizers to help restore your skin and soften the appearance of acne scars.
We searched the internet to find the best men's face washes for acne and chose our favorite 10. Our best overall men's face wash is No. 122 Men's Facial Scrub by Marlowe. M. Blend. It's suitable for all skin types and leaves your skin feeling smoother and more moisturized. Its exfoliating properties also make it the perfect preparation for shaving. Also, make sure to check out the buying guide for some great tips and commentary from a certified dermatologist!
Dr. Levy is a board certified dermatologist practicing in NYC and Westport, Connecticut. She has expertise in treating inflammatory skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.
She has an interest in skincare and takes a personalized approach to all of her patients. You can follow her on Instagram! She was kind enough to review our buying guide below, so read on for her insight and tips.
To choose the 10 best men's face washes for acne, we chose by evaluating the following criteria:
Make sure to keep these features in mind when searching for your perfect face wash! Check out our buying guide for more in-depth tips on how to choose, too, backed by a board certified dermatologist.
MARLOWE. M BLEND
The INKEY List
Brickell Men's Products
Beauty by Earth
No. 122 Men's Facial Scrub
Deep Cleansing Foaming Cream
Salicylic Acid Cleanser
Purifying Charcoal Face Wash
Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser
Bamboo Charcoal Detoxifying Soap Bar
Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser
Foaming Face Wash Peppermint Tea Tree
10% Benzoyl Peroxide Medical Acne Wash
All Natural Detoxifying Face Wash
Best for Exfoliation for Smoother Skin
Best for Keeping Your Skin Moisturized
Best for Cleansing Pores
Best for Sensitive Skin
Best for Stubborn Acne
Best for the Eco-Conscious
Best for Reducing Inflammation
Best for Eliminating Toxins
Best for Controlling Oil Production
Best for Older Skin
|Formulated with||Green tea extract, willow bark extract, passionflower extract, deep sea algae extract||Glycerin, coco-glucoside, salicylic acid||Salicylic acid, zinc compound, allantoin||Activated charcoal, olive oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera||10% benzoyl peroxide, glycerin, menthol||Bamboo charcoal, tea tree essential oil, bergamont essential oil||4% benzoyl peroxide, 3 essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide||Tea tree, peppermint, sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, orange oil||10% benzoyl peroxide||Activated charcoal, rooibos and green tea extracts, aloe vera, coconut oil, orange peel, vitamins B5 and C|
|Highlights||Cruelty-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free||Paraben-free, allergy-tested||Sulfate-free, paraben-free, phthalates-free||60% certified organic, 99% natural, cruelty-free||Non-comedogenic, oil-free||Vegan, cruelty-free||Fragrance-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic||Sulfate-free, vegan, cruelty-free||Paraben-free, cruelty-free||Hypoallergenic, paraben-free, cruelty-free|
|Amount||6 oz.||4.22 oz.||5 oz.||8 oz.||5 oz.||4 oz.||5 oz.||5 oz.||8 oz.||6 oz.|
Here are the 10 best men's face washes for acne based on important factors such as the effectiveness of the ingredients and reviewer satisfaction. Hopefully, you'll find your new favorite face wash here!
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Dr. Lauren Levy.
|Formulated with||Green tea extract, willow bark extract, passionflower extract, deep sea algae extract|
|Highlights||Cruelty-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free|
|Formulated with||Glycerin, coco-glucoside, salicylic acid|
|Formulated with||Salicylic acid, zinc compound, allantoin|
|Highlights||Sulfate-free, paraben-free, phthalates-free|
|Formulated with||Activated charcoal, olive oil, jojoba oil, aloe vera|
|Highlights||60% certified organic, 99% natural, cruelty-free|
|Formulated with||10% benzoyl peroxide, glycerin, menthol|
|Formulated with||Bamboo charcoal, tea tree essential oil, bergamont essential oil|
|Formulated with||4% benzoyl peroxide, 3 essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide|
|Highlights||Fragrance-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic|
|Formulated with||Tea tree, peppermint, sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, orange oil|
|Highlights||Sulfate-free, vegan, cruelty-free|
|Formulated with||10% benzoyl peroxide|
|Formulated with||Activated charcoal, rooibos and green tea extracts, aloe vera, coconut oil, orange peel, vitamins B5 and C|
|Highlights||Hypoallergenic, paraben-free, cruelty-free|
The right face wash for men with acne should be packed with ingredients that don't clog pores and can regulate your sebum production. So pay attention to the ingredient list carefully when choosing! To know what ingredients are good for your skin, take a look at this buying guide.
There are a plethora of ingredients that can effectively drive away acne, but you should choose those that work the best for your type of acne!
Non-inflammatory acne includes blackheads and whiteheads. They are actually the mildest types of acne and generally won't cause swelling or pain. To treat non-inflammatory acne, you can opt for face washes containing salicylic acid.
This acid has amazing exfoliating power and can slough off dead skin cells that trigger blackheads and whiteheads. It can also prevent breakouts and is pretty gentle on the skin.
You might also want to consider alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) including lactic acid, mandelic acid, and glycolic acid. They can dry out non-inflammatory acne and give your skin a deep clean. However, AHAs might be quite drying and can cause redness or irritation for some people. They can make your skin susceptible to UV rays as well.
Topical retinoids are another great option to break down non-inflammatory acne. They can effectively unblock your pores and eliminate skin cells. At the same time, retinoids accelerate skin cell turnover and blur acne scars, giving your skin a much cleaner, healthier look!
Salicylic acid washes are great for removing excess oil, unclogging pores, and clearing up blackheads and whiteheads. Salicylic acid can be drying when left on the skin, so using it as a wash is a great option if you have dry skin and acne.
Topical retinol or prescription retinoids are powerful ingredients to help unclog pores and even out skin texture and tone. They also have an anti-aging benefit, so use these if you have acne and also want to help improve fine lines and wrinkles. Also, glycolic acid is a great chemical exfoliator.
Using these products in combination can lead to excessive dryness, so avoid using them all at once. Sometimes, one of these is all you need to clear up whiteheads and blackheads.
If you see red and swollen spots on your face, chances are that you have inflammatory acne. This type of acne happens when your pores are severely clogged with excess sebum, skin debris, or bacteria. There are many forms of inflammatory acne as well, with the most common being papules, pustules, and cysts.
It's tough to get rid of inflammatory acne, but there are various effective treatments that you can go for! Benzoyl peroxide is one of the best options out there since it can reduce swelling while removing excess sebum and bacteria from your skin. Retinoids work well for inflammatory acne as well since they can unclog your pores, prevent breakouts, and reduce the appearance of acne scars.
Tea tree oil is frequently used in acne treatment as well. It contains potent anti-inflammatory properties that can calm redness, swelling, and inflammation while removing skin debris. Plus, it's completely natural!
Benzoyl peroxide washes are great for cystic acne on the face and especially on the body. They also can be very drying, so make sure you are using a moisturizer if using these products.
Choose a higher strength benzoyl peroxide if you have acne on the chest and back, as these thicker areas can tolerate it over the thin and gentle skin of the face.
Make sure you thoroughly wash off benzoyl peroxide products as they can bleach towels. If you are using a leave-on product be aware that your sheets may become bleached.
If your acne is mostly caused by impurities, dirt, or buildup, you might want to use an exfoliating cleanser a couple of times per week to keep your pores clean. Some effective exfoliants include lactic acid, glycolic acid, and malic acid.
However, be aware that not all exfoliating agents are created equal nor are safe for all types of skin. While glycolic acid is extremely potent and ideal for deep congestion, it might be harsh on sensitive skin. In that case, choose milder exfoliants such as multifruit acids or jojoba beads.
If you have sensitive skin and also have a tendency to get rosacea with redness and flushing, avoid glycolic acid as an exfoliator. This acid can trigger rosacea flares and lead to painful and red skin. Exfoliation does not have to be done every day but can be added to the skincare routine one to three times a week depending on how much your skin can tolerate.
Activated charcoal has made waves among the beauty community as an acne-fighting hero. It's highly porous and acts as a magnet to draw out skin cell gunk and excess sebum to unclog your pores. You'll have no more worries about blackheads or whiteheads! Activated charcoal can also reduce inflammation and calm inflammatory acne.
Plus, activated charcoal is the ultimate detoxification weapon! Clearing out toxins helps brighten your complexion and leave your skin feeling smooth. It can fade the appearance of acne scars as well. However, using a charcoal face wash can dry out your skin, so you might want to opt for a product with added moisturizers to counteract its drying effect.
To prevent acne from happening in the future, you should look for antioxidants such as vitamin E, C, and A. Those vitamins can protect your skin from the damaging effects of free radicals, reduce sebum oxidation, and restore the condition of your skin.
When it comes to regulating oil production and preventing breakouts, green tea, zinc, aloe vera, and niacinamide are some other powerful options as well. With strong anti-inflammatory properties, they can effectively alleviate redness, swelling, and skin irritation.
These antioxidants can also rejuvenate your skin, improve your overall complexion, and make acne scars become much less visible.
After you have an active acne pimple, red marks or dark marks can occur, known as postinflammatory erythema or postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, respectively. This can be very frustrating because the acne has cleared up, but you're still left with marks.
Using products with Vitamin C, azelaic acid, and niacinamide can help reduce the red scars and improve hyperpigmentation. For deeper acne scars, like little divots or pits in the skin, topical retinoids can help rebuild collagen and remodel the skin. If you have acne marks or scars, use a daily sunscreen to prevent the worsening of these marks.
People often assume that drying out skin or clearing out oils will help clear acne. But, too much dryness can actually backfire and further exacerbate your acne. Your skin no longer has the appropriate level of sebum to shield you from bacteria, which can actually cause more oil!
It's important to keep your skin moisturized at all times. However, choosing a suitable moisturizer isn't easy! A lot of oil and butter-based ingredients, such as coconut oil, lanolin, and almond oil, are ultra-hydrating but can actually block your pores and cause even more breakouts.
Instead, you should look for lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizers such as aloe vera and hyaluronic acid. Those ingredients can help prevent moisture loss without increasing sebum levels of your skin.
There is a common myth that people with acne or oily skin shouldn't use a moisturizer. This is simply not true. Your acne treatments will dry your skin out and could leave your skin red, irritated, and flaky if you do not provide enough hydration to the skin with a moisturizer.
A gel-based moisturizer, which tends to be more lightweight, is a good option for those with oily skin. You may need to add something heavier, like a cream-based moisturizer, if using topical retinoids or AHAs.
A face wash might contain moisturizers, emollients, or harsh chemicals that can actually worsen your acne. Take a look at the ingredient list carefully and avoid all of those potentially acne-causing ingredients.
Butter and oil-based ingredients, such as apricot kernel oil, almond oil, and avocado oil, are nutrient-rich ingredients that can keep your skin hydrated and healthy. However, they might be too rich for your skin and can actually block pores, leading to acne. So try your best to avoid those ingredients in your face wash.
Synthetic lanolin is another ingredient that you should be careful with. Lanolin is a natural oil extracted from the skin glands of sheep that's ultra-hydrating and doesn't clog pores.
However, the synthetic form of lanolin can actually be quite irritating to those with acne-prone and sensitive skin. It can trigger breakouts and worsen your acne condition as well. To prevent such cases, always choose 100% pure lanolin!
Emollients, such as petrolatum, mineral oil, isopropyl palmitate oandethylhexyl palmitateare, are frequently used in cosmetics as refatting agents to supply skin with essential fats. However, they can be a nightmare for acne-prone skin.
Although those emollients are generally safe for most people, they can be too heavy and worsen acne problems for some. So try to stay away from them if you can!
Ingredients like alcohol and sodium lauryl sulfate are often found in face wash since they contain strong cleansing properties and can wash away impurities effectively. However, they have been proven to cause breakouts if used frequently. For those with sensitive skin, these cleansing ingredients might even trigger skin irritation.
Be careful of synthetic fragrance as well! Cosmetic products, including face washes, often contain fragrance to add an enticing scent. However, synthetic fragrance might trigger breakouts and irritation, especially for sensitive skin. So if possible, opt for a fragrance-free product, or one with naturally-derived fragrance.
Coconut oil in your skincare or even in your hair care products can lead to acne outbreaks. I do not recommend using this ingredient if you are acne-prone. Coconut oil can also lead to pityrosporum folliculitis, or "fungal acne," which can be itchy and extensive and require topical or oral antifungal medications to treat.
When you're not sure which products contain ingredients that can block your pores and trigger breakouts, simply choose a product labeled "oil-free" or "non-comedogenic." Oil-based ingredients are usually pore-clogging and can trigger breakouts. So using an oil-free product will guarantee that you don't run the risk of getting any stubborn acne.
Non-comedogenic products are also formulated without any pore-clogging ingredients. By choosing one, you won't have to worry about getting breakouts. However, they're different from oil-free products!
Non-comedogenic face washes can still include oil-based ingredients like argan oil, rosehip seed oil, or hemp seed oil. However, these types of oil won't clog your pores.
Dr. Levy says, "No matter what product you choose to treat your acne, consistency is key. It takes at least six to eight weeks to notice a significant improvement, so don't give up after a few days of your new routine. Always use sun protective measures when using any of these products as you may be more likely to burn when using them."
Acne never feels nice to have. That's why you need to take care of your skin. Make sure to give it the love and care it needs, and if you need an extra helping hand, preventative and treatment products can work wonders.
Salicylic acid is great for preventing acne. It's gentle and clears up your pores from unwanted dirt, which, if not cleared, can result in blackheads. We have plenty of cleansers with the ingredient in it on our list, but if you want a tried and true option, check out this one from COSRX. It comes recommended by beauty blogger, Amelie.
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