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5 Best Acne Cleansers | Where to start your acne routine

Starting to get breakouts and cruising the aisles at your local drugstore grabbing any product that seems to promise it will clear your skin quickly? Before wasting money on lots of products, find out which ingredients to look for and which acne cleansers really can work to best help manage your acne breakouts effectively! Read more...



best acne cleansers

Photo: Techei

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Which ingredients are best for acne?

There are ingredients in acne cleansers that are considered active ingredients; i.e., ingredients that are tested to be both safe AND effective. And, there are ingredients that may be in cleansers and reasonable to try but only tested for safety and not necessarily effectiveness. As with all products, I recommend shopping for acne cleansers based on the active ingredients on the label and not the lofty claims or suggestive marketing on the labels.

In evaluating 50 cleansers at Target that filtered through searches for cleansers and specifically for acne, 37 had active ingredients including salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and sulfur. The rest had marketing claims suggestive of being beneficial for acne such as "pore cleansing", "blemish clearing", "purifying", "clarifying", and even for "acne-prone" skin but none of these had active ingredients listed. This is really misleading at a time when consumers are vulnerable to seeking treatment options that work and can lose time on results and money as they seek options.

Video: Techei

Which acne ingredient should I start with?

I tend to recommend starting with salicylic acid as an active ingredient for cleansers, making sure you tolerate it, then gradually considering either increasing the strength or switching to benzoyl peroxide if you can tolerate it. Salicylic acid is found in over-the-counter acne cleansers in concentrations of 0.5% to 2.0%.

Benzoyl peroxide is likely more effective to manage acne as it addresses the buildup of oil, sebum, and keratin on the skin in addition to the bacteria in our pores called Cutibacterium acnes. Benzoyl peroxide is found in acne cleansers over-the-counter in concentrations from 2.5% to 10.0%

Sulfur is an underrated ingredient for acne that can manage acne as well as overlap with other diagnoses such as seborrhea, rosacea, and pityrosporum folliculitis (aka, "fungal acne"). I have not found sulfur in many cleansers however it is out there!

Top 5 Acne Cleansers | Best Acne Washes to Consider

best acne cleanser salicylic acid

best acne cleanser salicylic acid scrub

best acne cleanser benzoyl peroxide

best acne cleanser benzoyl peroxide

best acne cleanser sulfur

Best acne cleansers


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