Face Washes for Acne – What They Should Contain


Acne is one of the worst things that can happen to your skin. It sometimes looks and feels awful and is very hard to treat. Most treatments are either expensive, inefficient, or too invasive. Cleaning and taking care of your skin every night before bedtime is the best thing you can do to avoid or get rid of acne.

In this article, we are going to tell you what to look for in a face wash. For further reading on best natural face wash for acne check this article on SoundBodyLife.  There you will find five of the best natural face washes for acne that actually work. Now, let’s see what to look for on a face wash’s label when having acne issues.

The ingredients that do the job

1. Salicylic acid

If you are looking for an efficient face wash with mostly natural ingredients, you should always search for face washes that contain a natural form of salicylic acid. While salicylic acid may sound like a chemical ingredient that can harm your skin, it is actually the one that cleans your face.

The substance is a beta hydroxy acid which makes sure to clean all dirt, dead skin cells, and oil. If you have an oily face, you can use face washes with more significant concentrations of this ingredient. However, don’t overdo it because it can dry your face. Also, you should consult with a dermatologist, as the regularly accepted concentrations are 0.5-5 percent.

You can find it on the label as 2-hydroxybenzoic acid, benzoic acid, 2 hydroxy, 2-hydroxybenzoic acid, phenol-2-carboxylic acid or in a similar form. This standard gold agent is among the top preferences of many dermatologists thanks to its potential to reduce oil production. Salicylic acid is a standard component of both face washes and topical treatments for spots, whiteheads, and blackheads.

2. Benzoyl peroxide

Also, another critical ingredient in super-efficient face washes is benzoyl peroxide. This ingredient kills the P. acnes bacteria which causes breakouts. It is the best solution to under-the-skin zits. However, use a white towel when handling benzoyl peroxide products because they can bleach fabrics.

You recognize this agent by one of these names: dibenzoyl peroxide, dibenzoyl, peroxide, Aztec bpo, benzol peroxide, bzf-60, cadat bpo and others. Benzoyl peroxide is available in concentrations of 2.5-10 percent.

You may encounter some of the rare side effects such as redness, burning and stinging, and dry skin. Even though they’re just temporary, you should consult with a dermatologist and see whether your skin is over-sensitive.

3. Prebiotics

Prebiotics are extremely useful for teenage skin as counteracts the acne-causing bacteria’s action. It provides your skin with enough weapons to shield itself by producing beneficial bacteria that restores the clear complexion.

Prebiotics minimize the sebum production and reduce the number of cysts, and blackheads.

4. Vitamins

Vitamins and minerals are very important for your skin, especially if you have acne problems. A good face wash should contain vitamin A and E. They make your skin look radiant without adding an oily touch. Also, purchase a face wash that has a pH similar to our skin (5.5).

These two vitamins work together with zinc to decrease skin inflammation, prevent pimples and redness.

Vitamin C cannot miss from any product that cleanses and protects your skin from the dust that clogs your pores. Citrus provides manufacturers with an ingredient that shields your pores from any environmental aggressor, including pollution and the sun. If you don’t find vitamin C on products’ labels, look for citrus fruit extracts such as orange, lemons, limes or grapefruit. Some manufacturers even extract vitamin C from pomegranates or onions – though you won’t see onion extract too often in face washes for acne.

5. Natural extracts

Aloe Vera and Manuka honey are some of the best ingredients in face washes for people with acne. They keep the skin hydrated long enough without letting it get oily. A great face wash should also contain botanic ingredients that have antioxidant properties, like green tea.

Tea tree is a natural anti-blemish ingredient that is also used to treat skin inflammations. It has potent antibacterial properties that reach the effectiveness of benzoyl peroxide – so you might consider it a sustainable alternative if you want to only go for natural products.

Willow bark might replace salicylic acid as it’s a natural source with similar effects to the chemical compound. It enhances the skin cell turnover and makes the skin smoother by balancing its sebum production.

Witch hazel has astringent properties which refine your pores, eliminate excess oil and prevents the development of blemishes. Witch hazel also reduces the size of spots and breakouts thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Ingredients you should avoid

1. Alcohol

There are also some ingredients that can make your acne worse. Alcohol is one of those ingredients. People with acne have sensitive skin and alcohol can cause irritation because it dries the skin. Instead of alcohol-based cleaners, use micellar water because it cleans the skin without drying it.

The fragrance is also a destructive ingredient that contains alcohol. So, the floral-scented face which might stop you from eliminating zits, whiteheads, and blackheads, along with the bacteria that causes them. The fragrance is irritating because it’s comprised of hundreds of chemicals. Aroma typically contains phthalates which might be risky.

Moreover, perfume or fragrance is irritating and can lead to allergies or dry out the skin. There are plenty of unscented face washes for acne which can have a delicate cream scent you’ll like to feel on your skin. Some use plant and fruit extract to add a scent to their products.

2. Retinol

Retinol is another ingredient that you should steer clear of. It is too harsh because it exfoliates the skin. When you have acne, you don’t want any ingredients that promote exfoliation because your skin is sensitive enough and you don’t want to cause irritation or skin dryness.

Retinol is typically found in anti-aging creams and serums. It has been clinically proven to treat uneven skin tones and fine lines – if you don’t have any acne issue whatsoever.

You can use retinol if acne is a problem you’ve solved years ago and look for a product to treat the most common types of acne scars. However, you should consult with a dermatologist to make sure that using retinol-based products doesn’t lead to breakouts.

3. Oils

Also, essential oils and shea and coconut oils should be avoided. They will make your face look oily and make acne worse. These oils are recommended for people with very dry skin.

Coconut oil is rich in vitamins and benefits. However, it clogs the pores because it’s highly comedogenic. If you already own coconut oil in the house, you can still use it for fried hair ends and dry elbows.

4. Sodium lauryl sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a highly addictive chemical agent that is also part of almost all shampoos, except for the all-natural ones.

SLS is conventional for most face washes because it makes them foam. When you use face washes for acne, your skin is stripped of all of its natural oils that it uses for protection. In case you were wondering, the same thing happens to your scalp when you wash your hair.

Your pores are directly exposed to damaging environmental factors. Moreover, your pores produce more oil to compensate for the loss. SLS is also irritating and a common allergy trigger.

5. Talc

Surely you don’t want your skin to get a rash, so stay away from talc. Make sure to read the label of all products because talc is found in most cosmetics. This ingredient can inflame your skin. Also, stay away from any type of fragrance.

While you might want your face wash to smell amazing, a subtler natural fragrance like Aloe Vera or the green tea is less irritating.

Tips and tricks for preventing acne

  • Always remove makeup before bed so that your pores don’t get clogged;
  • Search for makeup and skin care products with natural ingredients to avoid rashes;
  • Use a face wash and a hydrating cream at least three times a week;
  • Avoid parabens, talc, alcohol, and fragrance in your cosmetic products;
  • Refrain from using scrubs as they are too abrasive for a skin that needs to save its natural oils;
  • Try cleaning towelettes and cloths to remove dead skin cells;
  • Don’t overuse face washes for acne. Only apply them to problem areas;
  • Complete the routine with an oil-free, water-based moisturizer to alleviate dry skin;
  • Protect your skin from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing and a hat, instead of applying sunscreen which might lead to excessive oil.

Final thoughts

These are some of the most important ingredients you should look for in a face wash for acne. Also, make sure to avoid any harmful ingredients because they can worsen your skin problems. Acne is a temporary condition which only prolongs because your skin didn’t adequately react to specialized products yet. Remember that results are gradually visible, so you should be ready for long-term use.

Face washes for acne are efficient ways to cleanse your road to healthy skin. Follow our tips and tricks if you want to wake up with a fresh, radiant skin every day.


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