Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Sritama Dutta (Medical Science) on 03rd Feb 2021

Looking for the Ideal Face Wash for Acne-Prone Skin? Here’s What You Need!

the Ideal Face Wash for Acne-Prone Skin

Distressed with pimples popping up with no prior warning and leaving behind stubborn scars? Acne-prone skin can be quite nerve-wracking, but diligent care can help to improve the skin conditions. And proper cleaning of your face is the first and foremost step in taking care of acne-prone skin. But with hundreds of different cleansers and face washes out there in the market, all promising to be beneficial in one way or the other, choosing the one ideal for your unique skin becomes a daunting task.

Thus, to make things easier for you, we have come up with a concise guide to help you choose the best face wash ideal for acne-prone skin. Keep reading to know what you should look for in a face wash suitable for acne-prone skin and what should be avoided. 

What is Acne? 

Acne is a skin condition that usually occurs when skin pores get congested due to clogging with dead skin cells and sebum. Microbes also play a major role in the formation of acne. One such bacteria is Propionibacterium acnes (P.acnes), which can aggravate the skin. The condition can worsen due to various factors and results in a more severe form of acne known as Acne Vulgaris.  

Acne-Prone Skin:

If your skin is more sensitive to acne, acne, scars, and blemishes and often develop comedones and pimples, then your skin type is classified as acne-prone skin. This can result due to various factors.

Let's look into the causes which make the skin sensitive to acne and pimples.  

How does Skin Become Acne-Prone? 

1. Genetic predisposition: 

Individuals with oily skin are more prone to acne and pimples, which can happen due to the genetic build they've received from their parents. 

2. Hormone Imbalance 

Fluctuation in hormone levels can also be responsible for making your skin more prone to acne. This is most common during puberty when the androgen level in males and progesterone levels in females rise. This, in turn, stimulates the sebaceous glands to secrete excessive sebum that often gets accumulated in the pores due to lack of drainage and causes acne and pimples.  

3. Diet and Medications 

What we consume in our daily diet also plays a role in making the skin acne-prone. It has been seen that diet with higher glucose content and higher dairy content can trigger acne formation. Certain medications like steroids can inflame the skin and develop inflammatory skin conditions such as pimples and blemishes. They can be painful and leave behind scars after healing.

4. Stress 

Stress is supposedly the most common cause to trigger acne formation. It can induce excessive sebum secretion by fluctuating the hormone level and aggravating acne.  

5. Improper Skincare 

Leaving behind makeup on the skin while sleeping, using harsh chemicals, or excessively oily cosmetics can also make the skin susceptible to acne.

Why is Cleansing Your Face So Important?  

Every day, as we step out of our house, we expose our skin to hundreds of pollutants, bacteria, viruses, and several other toxic elements that can have detrimental effects on our skin's health. If not cleaned properly, these pollutants and microbes, along with the sebum secreted by our skin, can accumulate in the skin layers and clog the pores. Together, all these factors can contribute to the skin breaking out into acne, blemishes, dehydration, and premature aging.

Thus, to remove these microbes, dirt, excess oil, and dead cell debris that continually build up on the skin, washing the face with a good cleanser is indispensable. However, now the question arises, what is a cleanser?

A cleanser is a skincare product that helps remove the accumulated dirt, dead cell debris, excess sebum, microbes, and the makeup residue from the surface of your facial skin. Cleansers can be of foaming and non-foaming types. The foaming ones are the most popularly used and are known as face washes.  

How to Choose a Face Wash for Acne-prone Skin? 

The skincare industry has widened the cleansers' market and face washes by introducing specific products for different skin types. But brand advertisements can often be misleading.

Here's what you should do while choosing a face wash for acne-prone skin: 

Look for something which suits your skin. 

Acne-prone skin is very sensitive. Thus, it would help if you chose something that is non-comedogenic. The face wash should have a lighter, water-based texture rather than a heavier, oil-based consistency.  

Search for deep cleansing solutions 

Some face washes can be so powerful that they can strip the natural moisture and oil from your skin. You might like the oil-free, matte feel momentarily, but this can be harmful in the long run. For acne-prone skin, a deep cleansing face wash is a preferable choice that such over-cleansing face washes. These face washes can pull out the dirt and debris from deeper skin cells.  

Avoid harsh chemicals  

Exposing your skin to harsh chemicals can sensitize it and exacerbate acne and breakouts. Face washes with natural organic ingredients are ideal for acne-prone skin.

What to Look for in a Face Wash for Acne-prone Skin?

Some active ingredients have been proven to be very helpful in improving acne and blemishes. A face wash with such ingredients should be an excellent choice for sensitive, acne-prone skin.  

Let's look into what ingredients we should search for in our face wash: 

1. Salicylic Acids

Salicylic Acid 2%
Salicylic Acid 2%

Salicylic Acid 2%

₹ 545
A daily gentle exfoliant with 2% salicylic acid that wards off blackheads and keeps your oils in check for that flawless matt look everyone dreams.
View details

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid proven to help treat non-inflammatory skin conditions like blackheads and whiteheads. It is a natural peeling agent that exfoliates the skin and helps cleaning the clogged pores. Salicylic acid molecules are small and light enough to penetrate the deeper skin layers and dissolve away the accumulated cellular debris and sebum that clog the pores.  

2. Benzoyl Peroxide 

Benzoyl peroxide is also an exfoliating agent that has bacteriolytic properties. It works best on inflammatory acne-like pimples and blemishes. Apart from sloughing the superficial dead skin cell layer, this ingredient can also kill acne-causing bacteria such as P.acnes. It can also reduce excess oil from your skin.  

3. Alpha Hydroxy Acids  

AHA 25% + PHA 5% + BHA 2%
AHA 25% + PHA 5% + BHA 2%

AHA 25% + PHA 5% + BHA 2%

₹ 689
A powerful peeling trio of 25% AHA, 5% PHA & 2 % BHA that provides multi-level exfoliation, both on the surface & inside the pores, giving you a healthy, plump, and glowing skin.
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Alpha hydroxy acids or the AHAs are best known as chemical peels that help to exfoliate the skin. It promotes cell regeneration by removing the dead skin cells from the superficial surface of your face, thus greatly improving cell turnover rate. It can help brighten your skin tone by bringing out the newer, younger-looking skin and reducing aging signs. It also enhances collagen production in your skin, keeping the skin healthier, firmer, and more resilient.  

4. Honey 

Honey is known to possess antibacterial and antiseptic properties that keep the acne-causing bacteria in check and promote faster wound healing. Existing inflammatory acne can be treated too by using raw honey. Honey is also a natural ingredient that helps in keeping your skin moisturized

5. Glycerin

An optimally moisturized skin is a sign of having healthy skin. And glycerin can help you achieve that. Apart from hydrating the skin, glycerin can also help cleanse excess grease and dirt from the skin, making it an ideal ingredient for acne-prone skin.  

What to Avoid in a Face Wash If You Have Acne-prone skin? 

1. Alcohol 

Alcohol can quickly remove grease from your skin surface and instantly give you a matte feel. But, in reality, alcohol can worsen skin breakouts and make the skin dry, flaky, and tight by stripping off the skin's natural moisture. Alcohol can also cause skin irritation and redness in sensitive, acne-prone skin.  

2. Mineral Oil 

Tough mineral oils are often beneficial to the skin; some believe that they can have comedogenic properties and clog open pores. This might aggravate acne formation in the skin.  

3. Lanolin 

Lanolin is the sebum produced by sheep that keep their wool moisturized and conditioned. It has a thick consistency with a waxy texture that is not considered suitable for acne-prone skin. Though a great emollient, this ingredient can exacerbate skin breakouts.  

Frequently Asked Questions:  

How to Use a Face Wash Properly? 

Just follow these simple steps:

  • Rinse your face with lukewarm water to wet your skin. 
  • Take a small amount of your preferred face wash on your fingertips and gently massage on your face until it foams (for a minute or two). Do not rub your skin too hard, as this can irritate and sensitize acne-prone skin.  
  • Rinse off your face again with lukewarm water and gently pat dry your skin with a soft towel.  

Can I leave the face wash on my face? 

No, it is advised not to leave the face wash on your skin for a long time as the dried-up residue can irritate the skin and aggravate breakouts.

How often should I wash my face? 

Washing your face too often can strip off the natural moisture and required sebum from your skin, leaving your skin dry and flaky. Thus, skin experts recommend that washing your face twice daily with a mild face wash is beneficial for your skin's health.

Wash once when you start the day to make your skin feel fresh and rejuvenated. And once before you go to bed to wash off the deposited grime and grease from your face and let your skin be ready for its natural reparative process.  

The Bottom Line: 

No one can recommend the best face wash without studying your skin properly. In this post, we have tried to put forward what can improve your skin condition and the ingredients that can benefit you.

However, you are the only person who can truly understand what your skin requires. Thus, if you have acne-prone skin, the only way to find the ideal face wash for yourself is to listen to what your skin has to say about its needs. If you're confused and want a clearer idea, going to the dermatologist to better understand your skin type isn't a bad start!