If you've been wondering about choosing the right soap for your acne-prone skin, you're finally at the right place.
Top 3 - Editor's Picks
Before I dig into all of the information, here's a quick summary table of the top 3 best acne soaps products I'd recommend.
Best For: All skin types
5 / 5
Active Ingredient: Organic tea tree oil.
4.5 / 5
Best For: All skin types.
4.0 / 5
Best For: All skin types
Active Ingredient: Organic tea tree oil.
Best For: All skin types.
Table of Contents
I know how daunting it feels when besides spending your hard earned money, all you’re left with is an awful soap that does nothing but worsen your acne.
Now before moving on to evaluating the best acne soap for you, let me explain a few important things…
Using an acne-fighting soap is not dumb!
Perish all thoughts that suggest your hygiene has nothing to do with your acne. Choosing a right acne fighting soap is just as important as choosing a right cream, serum, or pill for treating acne.
But only when you do it the right way…
Let me explain why.
Don’t bother thinking that just by buying and using soap, you’ll be able to eradicate your acne.
The development of your acne has a lot more to do with complex interplay of inner balance of your body than just using a soap topically.
Don’t expect too much from a soap!
Keep in mind that the best a soap can serve is to fade acne causing bacteria, eliminate pore-clogging, moisturize your skin, and keep it clean and refreshed; nothing more than that.
It cannot go deep inside your body to control several internal factors like hormonal imbalance, dietary deficiencies, heredity, stress, certain cosmetics (not these foundations for acne prone skin, though) etc., that are the root causes of acne. Therefore, an acne-fighting soap can only help in fading your existing lesions and can’t guarantee to prevent future breakouts.
And that’s where our realistic approach to making use of acne fighting soaps comes into play.
3 Steps for an Effective Use of Anti-Acne Soaps
Step 1: Don’t neglect the root causes of acne
If you aren’t targeting the main hideout of acne, from where it’s deployed all over your skin, using a soap topically will only put temporary patches on it.
This is a thorough discussion indeed, which is beyond the scope of this post, but you can begin with these handy tips to ensure that you’re also treating your acne internally:
- Drink lots of water – 12-14 glasses a day: Water helps to dispose of toxic waste, control calories, energize muscles, and most importantly, it promotes your skin health.
- Eat lots of vegetables and fruits: They’re the biggest source of essential nutrients that are responsible for your well-being. You have to keep a greater percentage of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Exercise on a regular basis: It relieves stress, promotes better sleep, controls your weight, and boosts energy. But don’t allow excessive sweat to buildup on your skin as it might clog your skin pores.
Now let’s go towards the second step.
Step 2: Determine your skin type
This is important if you don’t already know your skin type. It’ll help you in the third step, in which you’ll begin evaluating the right soap for yourself.
You can simply go through the following steps to determine the type of your skin.
- Thoroughly wash your face – may be with your cleanser.
- Leave it for an hour and avoid touching your face during this time.
- Now dab your face with a tissue while paying more attention to the T-area of your face.
Once you’ve done that, the condition of the tissue will determine your skin type:
- If the tissue is neither flaky nor oily, you most likely have a normal skin.
- If it feels rather greasy, it’s a sign of oily skin.
- If the tissue seems flaky or feel taut, you have dry skin.
- Finally, if the tissue exhibits each of these three traits, you have the most common skin type, i.e. combination skin.
Let’s head on towards the third and the last step.
Step 3: Evaluate the Best Acne Soap for Yourself
You can now begin to choose the best acne fighting soap according to your skin type and needs. Here they are:
Claridad’s Acne Wash is by far our favorite liquid acne soap. This product really hits the nail on the head in terms of providing a powerful acne treatment and prevention system. The Acne Wash focuses on treating the problem, rather than the symptom. It uses the right concentration of Benzoyl Peroxide to effectively clear your skin and minimize redness and irritation without causing excessive dryness.
Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide 2.5%
- Clears acne fast.
- Effectively clears up blemishes without drying the skin due to using a lower concentration of Benzoyl Peroxide. (Products with a higher concentration of B.P. can cause excessive dryness, without being anymore effective.)
- Treats and prevents future breakouts. Claridad’s Acne Wash gets to the root of the problem by using Benzoyl Peroxide to kill acne-causing bacteria deep within the skin.
- Anti-inflammatory. Helps to reduce inflammation and redness of the skin.
- Guilt Free: Paraben-free. Cruelty-free. No animal testing.
- 100% money-back guarantee.
- Don’t use this product if your skin is allergic to Benzoyl Peroxide.
- Benzoyl Peroxide is known to produce dryness. Although this product does already have a low concentration, we recommend pairing it with Claridad’s Retinol Moisturizer, or your favorite acne-prone skin moisturizer.
- This acne wash is a little pricier than its competitors (selling at $21.99). However, it does come in a generous size. The 8 fl. Oz. bottle will last you 2 to 3 full months.
Gently massage Claridad Acne Wash onto your back, shoulders & neck or any acne prone areas until a lather forms. Rinse off well. Repeat Daily.
We’re starting off with the mildest choices.
If you’re looking for a soap that fights acne effectively, as well as it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals that might irritate your sensitive, acne prone skin, this soap is one of your best choices.
This tea tree soap from Keeva organics boasts a unique combination of anti-bacterial properties of tea tree oil to fight acne causing bacteria, along with other soothing ingredients such as aloe vera and coconut oil.
- All natural product, free of harsh chemicals. This makes it one of the best choices for sensitive acne prone skins.
- Doesn’t leave your skin excessively dried, rather it leaves a soft and clear skin.
- Can help minimizing severe conditions such as cystic acne.
- Guilt Free: No animal testing. I like when products claim they’re cruelty-free upfront, but unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the norm.
- All Keeva products are made with natural organic ingredients, if you suffer from allergies to any of the natural ingredients labeled please do not use their products.
- If you’re expecting a tea tree smell out of this soap, you’ll regret.
- The size of the bar isn’t that big, so careful usage will be required to make it last for long.
- Use on face and/or body.
- Gently massage your face and over your back, shoulders & neck or any acne prone areas.
- Rinse off well.
- Repeat Daily.
If you’re looking for a soap wash that’s specially manufactured to combat stubborn acne, you should look nowhere else than this body wash from Exposed Skin Care.
Though it doesn’t contain salicylic acid in its mildest concentration, and it also has glycolic acid present in it, but because there’s also addition of the soothing tea tree oil in it, this makes it a fair choice for even sensitive skins.
Active Ingredient: Salicylic Acid (0.5%). Also contains glycolic acid and tea tree oil.
- The best choice, by far, if you’re looking for a soap wash to get rid of your body acne.
- Salicylic acid acne treatment penetrates deep into your clogged skin pores, eliminating excess oil that may be causing pore clogging.
- Glycolic acid helps exfoliating dead skin cells from your skin, while the soothing properties of tea tree oil ensure this treatment doesn’t get harsh on your skin.
- Folks at Exposed back all their products with a money-back guarantee. This gives an extra layer of protection to your buck if nothing goes your way.
- Just as the name suggests, it is a body wash, not one you can use to cleanse your face.
- Don’t go for it if you have a history of messing up with BHAs/AHAs like salicylic and glycolic acid.
- Use in the shower or bath.
- Gently massage over your back acne prone areas (or any area on your neck or shoulders where the breakouts are.). Rinse off well.
- If possible, follow up with a gentle dabbing (not rubbing) of Derm-X (included in Exposed body acne kit) cloth over these areas to remove any remains of dead skin cells.
If you are looking for a soap that doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals that might exasperate your sensitive skin and battles with acne effectively, then Christina Moss Naturals Organic Body Soap is one of your best picks.
- Coconut Oil
- Safflower Oil
- Olive Oil
- Vegetable Glycerin
- If you have a sensitive skin and looking for all natural product, free of harsh chemicals, then this is a good choice for you.
- It doesn’t leave your skin excessively dried, rather it leaves a soft and clear skin.
- Guilt Free: No animal testing. Christina Moss products claim they’re cruelty-free upfront.
- All Christina Moss products are made with 100% natural organic ingredients. If you suffer from allergies to any of the natural ingredients labeled, don’t use their products.
- Fairly Expensive. The size of the bar isn’t big, careful usage is required to make it last for long.
- Doesn’t prevent future breakouts.
- Not to be used as your facial bar exclusively.
- It is best used under a shower to tackle body acne.
If you’ve ever been to a dermatologist, it’s probably not the first time you’ve stumbled upon Cetaphil. This is the brand most of the Derms and Pediatricians love to recommend, and rightly so.
Why? Because it effectively clears your skin of excessive oil and bacteria without drying it out too much.
Cetaphil products are gentle enough that even a baby’s skin can tolerate it. A mother at Amazon claimed she cleared her daughter’s baby eczema with it. Moreover, I’ve also heard a guy using it as an after-shave – it’s that soothing!
Active Ingredient: Triclosan 0.3% (A prominent ingredient used in most of the soaps, detergents, and surgical treatments as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent.).
- It’s fragrance free but still smells nice!
- Leaves your skin with a smooth, soft, and refreshed sensation after rinsing off.
- Can also help with itching problems.
- Can act as your anti-acne moisturizer.
- There’s also anti-bacterial version of cetaphil bar available if you’re looking for an extra strength treatment (though, its just as gentle).
- Can’t remove your makeup well.
- It’s thick and doesn’t lather much like an ordinary soap.
- The bar doesn’t last long; you have to follow the best practices of using soaps.
- Nothing fancy, just apply to skin when bathing or washing and rinse.
Sulfur is one of the most effective non-prescriptive acne treatments, and this soap makes full use of it. Officially, you’re required to do 1-8 weeks of trial before being able to observe improvement.
Not as gentle as Cetaphil, so not a great choice for dry and sensitive skin. But it can do wonders for an oily skin!
Active ingredient: Sulfur/Azufre = 10% Biosulfur = 0.1%
Sulfur is a mild anti-microbial. It is a known inhibitor of the growth of P.acnes (an acne causing bacteria.), which is why most of the anti-acne products make use of it.
- The antiseptic and antibacterial properties of the soap clear your skin of excessive oils and dirt.
- Also has anti-fungal properties.
- If used persistently, can do wonders for your acne prone skin.
- Besides using sulfur as an active ingredient, this soap doesn’t smell that
- Not for children under 12 years.
- Has lanolin so that it kind of “coats” your skin with a thin film.
- Smell might not inspire all.
- It can leave your skin a bit peeled; use a moisturizer if it does so.
- Wet your face (or other body parts) with lukewarm water.
- Apply the soap.
- Leave for 10 minutes (if it doesn’t irritate.).
- Rinse with cold water.
Two washings a day are always sufficient; too much cleansing might further worsen your acne.
Another dermatologist recommended soap that uses a non-medicated formula to combat skin dysfunctions like acne.
Active Ingredients: There’s nothing like active or inactive ingredients in it, it’s a long list but there’s no BP or SA for sure. Here are the first four: Tiethanolamine, TEA Stearate, Sodium Tallowate, and Glycerin.
- Smell is nice.
- Clears your skin of all pore clogging residues and excessive oils.
- Cleanses effectively and it can easily remove your makeup (unlike cetaphil).
- Doesn’t dry out much but can be over-drying if used along with other treatments.
- Size is small as compared to others.
- Makes use of glycerin, which is known to promote milia – you have to be careful of that!
- Pro-allergic – but in extremely rare cases.
- Wet your face and hands with lukewarm water.
- Lather soap in hands.
- Massage lather onto skin with a gentle, circular motion.
- Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry with a soft towel.
Yet another soap loved by the skin experts all over the world. Although not as gentle as cetaphil, if I were to suggest the only soap that could effectively remove your makeup and clear your face of acne, while being gentle enough, I suspect that would be it.
Active Ingredients: Again, no active ingredient. Here’s the full long list though: Sodium Tallowate, Sodium Cocoate, Water, Glycerin, Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, BHT, Trisodium HEDTA, D&C Yellow 10, and D&C Orange 4.
- It lathers up nice and cleanses effectively.
- Removes dirt and oil without over-drying.
- Can be used as a full body soap and help clearing your back acne.
- Can even help with rosacea.
- Effective for all; works for entire family.
- Scent is a bit strong.
- In rare cases, it can dry out your skin.
- Increasingly disappearing from stores but you can find them at Amazon!
- Wash face with the bar twice a day.
- Rinse with lukewarm water.
- Pat your skin dry.
Upkeep is the key to an acne-clear face; you have to continuously use it for optimum results.
If you haven’t heard of the benefits of tea tree oil for acne, it’s high time you did. Because of its unique disinfecting and soothing properties, tea tree oil can effectively help in eliminating your acne while not causing further damage to the skin.
And there’s no better option than using this soap to exploit it!
Ingredients: There are several, but the prominent ones are: Shea Butter, Coconut Oil and/or Palm Oil, TheobromaCocao, Lemongrass Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, etc.
- Can help bringing down inflammation.
- The best part – it’s all natural.
- It can also help getting rid of hyperpigmentation or dark spots.
- Can last for two whole months if you use it twice daily.
- Can help to get rid of rosacea.
- It has mixed effects. For some people, it left their skin moisturized, and for others, it dried out their skin.
- If you don’t like strong scents, its smell might irritate you.
Directions: Just lather and rinse.
You’ve heard enough about U.S. made soaps, now how about the one made in Africa?
Made in Nigeria, this soap makes full use of all natural ingredients that safeguard you from all skin problems.
Ingredients: Pure Honey, Shea Butter, Osun (camwood), Palm kernel Oil, Cocoa Pod Ash, Palm Bunch Ash, Glycerin, Aloe Vera, Lime Juice and Oil, Lemon Juice and Oil, Water, and Fragrance.
- Can fade dark spots and stretch marks.
- Lathers up so well that you only need to just take your wet fingers, run them over the bar a bit, then rub them together and you have enough to wash your face.
- It sounded crazy, but a guy had used THE SAME BAR for almost ONE YEAR.
- Cheaper than the rest.
- Can dry out your skin.
- Can cause itchiness and irritation.
- All ingredients are natural except fragrance.
- Just use it as a normal soap but try not to apply the product using a cloth towel, use your own hands instead.
- Most of its users feel a burning sensation in the beginning, but they slowly get used to it.
- It’s better to use a good moisturizer after its usage.
But the bottom line is, if it doesn’t respond well in the first usage, stop using it right away.
New Addition: 1 Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Bar
Although, Clinique is more popular because of their lotions and perfumes, they also have a nice collection of soaps to help keeping your skin clean and clear.
- Extra Mild (For very dry to dry skin)
- Mild Soap (For dry to combination skin.)
- Oily Skin Formula (For combination oily and oily skin.)
- And the one for all skin types.
Ingredients: Sodium Palmate/Cocoate Palm Kernelate, Water, Petrolatum, Glycerin, Sodium Chloride, TrisodiumHedta, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Yellow 5.
- Separate soaps targeting different skin types.
- Comes with a convenient soap dish.
- Seamlessly removes your makeup.
- Use twice a day, morning and night.
- Lather between palms with tepid water.
- Massage over makeup-free face.
- Rinse thoroughly; pat skin dry.
- Choose the right one according to your skin!
New Addition 2: Defense Soap
Another soap that makes use of tea tree oil and is specially designed to gain anti-fungal and anti-bacterial benefits. Defense soap can also help eliminating acne causing bacteria and help keeping dirt and oils away from your skin.
It’s carefully manufactured to maintain skin friendly pH, which helps even your skin tone.
Active Ingredients: Active-tea tree oil, eucalyptus leaf oil.
- It’s a pricey product but lasts for long time and that’s why it’s totally worth it.
- Can help with clearing up skin rashes.
- Can’t just help with acne, but with other diseases like ringworm, and can even help with fungal infection.
- Can also help with treating jock itch.
- The tea tree oil makes it an anti-fungal agent.
- If you have a lot of skin to skin contact or sweat a lot, buy yourself some defense soap.
- The smell of Tea Tree Oil and Eucalyptus Oil might irritate you.
- Might not work well with eczema.
- Don’t bother to pay more for defense body soap in search of a better effect. Both defense soap and defense body soap have same effects.
- Doesn’t lather up nicely, but has super rinsing action – great for deep cleansing.
Directions: It’s better to use it with a sponge or with gentle scrubbing in circular motions.
New Addition 3: Tree to Tub Soapberry for Body
When it comes to body wash, Tree To Tub is hands down the winner, especially for those who prefers a gentle, organic clean. Their signature ingredient, the soapberry, creates a creamy, luxurious lather that’s naturally pH balanced, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial. It gently keeps your protective barrier intact, preventing breakouts. With organic cucumber, aloe vera, and chamomile, the wash leave your skin smooth and calm.
Active Ingredient: Soapberry extract (85%)
- Naturally calms inflamed areas and prevents bacterial infections with the soapberry
- Protect your natural lipid barrier with its pH balanced formula
- Helps regenerate healthy skin cells with organic cucumber, aloe vera, and chamomile
- Feels clean after wash. Does not leave oily residue, and no feeling of tightness.
- Great for not only acne prone skin, but also normal and other sensitive skin types.
- Comes in Awakening Peppermint for a refreshing morning, Relaxing Lavender for the nighttime, and Raw Unscented if you skin is very sensitive.
- The brand only uses essential oils instead of artificial fragrance, so no allergic reactions.
- Comes in a beautiful care box and a few raw soapberries (which could also be used as face wash).
- It’s the only product on the list that’s organic, vegan, cruelty free, eco-friendly, and dermatologist recommended.
- Just like their facial cleanser, the body wash is more liquid than usual too. So make sure you don’t squeeze too much.
- The bottle cap is not designed very well for its liquid consistency. Be careful to not squeeze too much.
Directions: Nothing fancy, just apply to skin when bathing or washing and rinse.
New Addition 4: X-Out Washin Treatment With Free Soap Bar
X-Out is always one of the top picks when it comes to finding an acne treatment that works fast. And the strong 8.5% benzoyl peroxide acne treatment is the main reason behind it.
This acne treatment system, developed by one of the most prestigious brands in the industry, Proactiv, is targeted towards teenage acne treatment. The simple 1-step formula is designed to work out the hectically energetic lifestyle of the youngsters, but it can also work for elder age groups.
Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide (8.5%)
- Strong benzoyl peroxide acne treatment can help fighting even severe forms of acne.
- A simple, 1-step acne treatment system.
- Claims to get rid of your acne fast.
- Can also work as as acne spot treatment if need to quickly get rid of a zit before an outing, date, or party.
- Not suitable for sensitive skin.
- Second most important issue is with the payment. Whichever package you order, you keep getting billed for a new product delivery every month – until you cancel. So, pay attention when and when not should you cancel its subscription.
- Keep it far away from fabrics as it bleaches everything it touches!
- Since it contains a strong acne medication, its recommend, even for non-sensitive skin types, to start using it as a spot treatment.
- If you see positive results, you can use it as your cleanser to get maximum impact.
- Follow all additional instructions on the package.
What’s Your Best Acne Soap?
If you think there should be some more worthwhile names added to this list of best acne soaps, you can mention it in the comments below!