7 Pro-Approved Cleansers That Beat Breakouts Without Drying Out Your Skin

aimee simeon

Ask any dermatologist and they'll tell you that one of the most important ways to treat and prevent acne is by washing your face twice a day, every day. "Cleansing is an important part of your skin-care routine if you have acne," says New York City-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD"A good cleanser keeps the skin barrier in healthy shape when you're using potentially-irritating acne treatments."

Consistency in cleansing is key, but not all acne washes are created equal — and some contain harsh ingredients that can actually exacerbate your skin concerns. "The two ingredients to look for if you have acne-prone skin are salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide," says Zenovia Gabriel, MD, a Newport Beach, California-based dermatologist. She notes that salicylic acid helps gently exfoliate the skin, while benzoyl peroxide reduces acne-causing bacteria.

If you're on the hunt for a face wash that will reduce breakouts, while keeping your skin clean and healthy, check out seven expert-recommended formulas, ahead.

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<h2>CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser</h2>"One of my favorite cleansers for acne-prone skin (and just in general) is CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser," says Dr. Gabriel. "Many people find a lot of anti-acne products drying, but this one will rid your skin of bacteria and impurities without stripping the skin’s delicate moisture barrier." <br> <br> <strong>CeraVe</strong> CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.target.com%2Fp%2Fcerave-hydrating-facial-cleanser-for-normal-to-dry-skin-fragrance-free-12oz%2F-%2FA-13977968" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Target" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Target</a>

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

"One of my favorite cleansers for acne-prone skin (and just in general) is CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser," says Dr. Gabriel. "Many people find a lot of anti-acne products drying, but this one will rid your skin of bacteria and impurities without stripping the skin’s delicate moisture barrier."

CeraVe CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, $, available at Target
<h2>Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Redness Soothing Cleanser</h2> <br>"This cleanser is light and has salicylic acid that will help unclog pores and reduce acne," Dr. Gabriel says. "It also has soothing ingredients like aloe and chamomile to calm irritation and reduce redness."<br><br><strong>Neutrogena</strong> Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Redness Soothing Cleanser, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cvs.com%2Fshop%2Fneutrogena-oil-free-acne-wash-redness-soothing-facial-cleanser-6-oz-prodid-1020005" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:CVS" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">CVS</a><br>

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Redness Soothing Cleanser


"This cleanser is light and has salicylic acid that will help unclog pores and reduce acne," Dr. Gabriel says. "It also has soothing ingredients like aloe and chamomile to calm irritation and reduce redness."

Neutrogena Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Redness Soothing Cleanser, $, available at CVS
<h2>Image Skincare Clear Cell Salicylic Gel Cleanser</h2>WE CAN KEEP THIS IF THERE IS A <br>Janna Ronert, the founder of IMAGE Skincare, recommends this salicylic-acid cleanser for frequent breakouts. In addition to salicylic acid, the gentle foam also has tea-tree oil and botanical extracts to cleanse pores deeply. "It'll gently lather away excess sebum, but leave your skin super smooth, not tight," Ronert says. "If you're experiencing breakouts on your body, you can also use this to target those areas, too." <br><br><strong>image skincare</strong> CLEAR CELL Salicylic Gel Cleanser, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dermstore.com%2Fproduct_CLEAR%2BCELL%2BSalicylic%2BGel%2BCleanser_80948.htm" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DermStore" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">DermStore</a><br>

Image Skincare Clear Cell Salicylic Gel Cleanser

WE CAN KEEP THIS IF THERE IS A
Janna Ronert, the founder of IMAGE Skincare, recommends this salicylic-acid cleanser for frequent breakouts. In addition to salicylic acid, the gentle foam also has tea-tree oil and botanical extracts to cleanse pores deeply. "It'll gently lather away excess sebum, but leave your skin super smooth, not tight," Ronert says. "If you're experiencing breakouts on your body, you can also use this to target those areas, too."

image skincare CLEAR CELL Salicylic Gel Cleanser, $, available at DermStore
<h2>Eminence Organic Skin Care Acne Advanced Cleansing Foam</h2> <br><br>Josie Holmes, an aesthetician at <a href="https://www.skinneymedspa.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Skinney Medspa" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Skinney Medspa</a> in New York City, recommends this Eminence cleanser to her clients who prefer clean beauty products. "This has vitamin E and aloe vera to help calm redness, irritation, and inflammation," she says. <br><br><strong>Eminence Organic Skin Care</strong> Acne Advanced Cleansing Foam (5 oz.), $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dermstore.com%2Fproduct_Acne%2BAdvanced%2BCleansing%2BFoam_77849.htm%3Fgclid%3DEAIaIQobChMIicDZ3rKT6QIVVODICh3vhQsQEAQYASABEgIFjvD_BwE%26scid%3Dscplp77849%26sc_intid%3D77849%26iv_%3D__iv_p_1_g_105743645744_c_424622113669_w_pla-917786071884_n_g_d_c_v__l__t__r__x_pla_y_6790012_f_online_o_77849_z_US_i_en_j_917786071884_s__e__h_9004339_ii__vi__%26utm_source%3Dfro%26utm_medium%3Dpaid_search%26utm_term%3Dskin%2Bcare%26utm_campaign%3D500221" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DermStore" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">DermStore</a><br><br>

Eminence Organic Skin Care Acne Advanced Cleansing Foam



Josie Holmes, an aesthetician at Skinney Medspa in New York City, recommends this Eminence cleanser to her clients who prefer clean beauty products. "This has vitamin E and aloe vera to help calm redness, irritation, and inflammation," she says.

Eminence Organic Skin Care Acne Advanced Cleansing Foam (5 oz.), $, available at DermStore

<h2>EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser</h2> <br><br><br>Holmes also suggests her clients with acne pick up this formula from EltaMD, a line many dermatologists and experts swear by. "It's oil-free and has enzymes, like bromelain, to help gently exfoliate," she says.  <br><br><strong>EltaMD</strong> Foaming Facial Cleanser, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dermstore.com%2Fproduct_Foaming%2BFacial%2BCleanser_32762.htm" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DermStore" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">DermStore</a><br><br><br>

EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser




Holmes also suggests her clients with acne pick up this formula from EltaMD, a line many dermatologists and experts swear by. "It's oil-free and has enzymes, like bromelain, to help gently exfoliate," she says.

EltaMD Foaming Facial Cleanser, $, available at DermStore


<h2>AcneFree Oil-Free Acne Face Cleanser </h2> <br>The critical difference in this drugstore favorite cleanser, according to New York dermatologist <a href="https://www.drhadleyking.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Hadley King" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Hadley King</a>, MD, is that it contains <em>micro</em> benzoyl peroxide, which is less irritating than the traditional acne-fighter. "It's a great choice for comedonal and inflammatory acne," Dr. King says.<br><br><strong>AcneFree</strong> AcneFree Oil-Free Acne Face Cleanser, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cvs.com%2Fshop%2Facnefree-oil-free-acne-face-cleanser-with-benzoyl-peroxide-8-oz-prodid-1910049" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:CVS" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">CVS</a><br>

AcneFree Oil-Free Acne Face Cleanser


The critical difference in this drugstore favorite cleanser, according to New York dermatologist Hadley King, MD, is that it contains micro benzoyl peroxide, which is less irritating than the traditional acne-fighter. "It's a great choice for comedonal and inflammatory acne," Dr. King says.

AcneFree AcneFree Oil-Free Acne Face Cleanser, $, available at CVS
<h2>Good Janes Deep Tox Cleanser</h2> <br>"Charcoal is popular because it absorbs sebum and has great antifungal and antibacterial properties," Dr. King says. "But depending on the formulation, some charcoal cleansers may be too drying for dry or sensitive skin." She recommends this formula, which also contains glycolic acid, humectants, and vitamin C to exfoliate, hydrate, and brighter, respectively. <br><br><strong>Good Janes</strong> Deep Tox, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fgoodjanes.com%2Fproduct%2Fdeep-tox%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Good Janes" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Good Janes</a><br>

Good Janes Deep Tox Cleanser


"Charcoal is popular because it absorbs sebum and has great antifungal and antibacterial properties," Dr. King says. "But depending on the formulation, some charcoal cleansers may be too drying for dry or sensitive skin." She recommends this formula, which also contains glycolic acid, humectants, and vitamin C to exfoliate, hydrate, and brighter, respectively.

Good Janes Deep Tox, $, available at Good Janes
<h2>Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser</h2> <br>"This one removes excess oil and dead skin cells from the surface of the skin to keep your pores clear," Dr. Zeichner explains. "It won't irritate your skin and it works." <br><br><strong>Aveeno</strong> Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser, $, available at <br>

Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser


"This one removes excess oil and dead skin cells from the surface of the skin to keep your pores clear," Dr. Zeichner explains. "It won't irritate your skin and it works."

Aveeno Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser, $, available at

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