Best Salycylic Acid Face Washes

John Kopischke
Written by
Last update:

If you have acne prone skin (like myself), you know that the key to healthy skin is keeping your pores clean.

Salicylic Acid is an excellent active ingredient to help eradicate pesky spot forming bacteria, Micrococci and Staphylococcus aureus, along with removing excess oil and dead skin.

Despite slathering my face and neck with the latest beauty treatments, I personally still get the odd pimple develop on my face; however, I am usually able to keep it at bay with a good salicylic acid face wash.

All of the products listed here are amazing for oily, acne prone skin and will help keep your pores clean and cleanse dead skin cells.

I’ve read all the reviews from hundreds or so people across the net, so you don’t have to.

NameCategoryProduct
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash ScrubBest OverallNeutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Scrub
Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser 150milliliter / Foam CleanserBudget PickSalicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser 150milliliter / Foam Cleanser
IMAGE Skincare Clear Cell Salicylic Gel CleanserUpgrade PickIMAGE Skincare Clear Cell Salicylic Gel Cleanser

1. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Scrub

Our rating: 9 / 10

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Scrub

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Very Affordable
  • Not Overdrying
  • Leaves Skin Feeling Fresh
  • Clears Acne On Your Face
  • Reduces Pores
  • Won’t Make Your Skin Feel Dry Or Itchy After Using It
  • No Drying Formulation
  • Ideal for all skin types
  • Fragrances from natural ingredients
  • Won’t Dry Out Skin

Cons:

  • Advertisement is Misleading
  • Can’t be Easily Purchased
  • Can cause irritation for sensitive skin

If you’re looking for an acne wash to buy from the drugstore, Neutrogena’s Pink Grapefruit Acne Wash Scrub has been getting very positive reviews.

Even the advertisements for this face wash offer a brilliant information about how to control your acne.

It includes salicylic acid which is a type of acne-fighting ingredient. With this ingredient, Neutrogena has created a formula for controlling acne.

2. IMAGE Skincare Clear Cell Salicylic Gel Cleanser

Our rating: 9 / 10

IMAGE Skincare Clear Cell Salicylic Gel Cleanser

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Great for men and women (works for acne-prone skin)
  • Gentle on the skin
  • Helps acne-prone skin by drawing out impurities underneath the skin and open pores
  • Great for treating acne, whiteheads, blackheads, and all types of acne
  • Works on sensitive skin
  • Gets rid of dirt and oil
  • Leaves your face feeling soft and hydrated
  • Foams up so you know it’s cleansing your pores
  • Gets rid of any dirt or makeup residue trapped in your pores
  • Helps prevent blackheads before they even come out of your pores

3. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Face Wash

Our rating: 8 / 10

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Face Wash

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Very Effective Face Wash
  • Unisex
  • Highly Recommended for Oily Skin
  • Deep Cleans
  • Effective

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Face Wash is very popular with many skincare enthusiasts.

You can either use this product as a face wash or as a mask. It helps to get rid of stubborn pimples and helps fade away acne marks.

The luxurious, creamy gel texture is very easy to apply. The face wash feels cooling and refreshing on the skin. It calms down irritation and dryness as it cleanses your skin. The product deeply cleanses the pores of the skin, cuts down oiliness and helps to eliminate acne and pimples.

4. Salicylic Acid Deep Exfoliating Gel Based Cleanser

Our rating: 8 / 10

Salicylic Acid Deep Exfoliating Gel Based Cleanser

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Non-irritating
  • Affordable
  • Deep cleans pores
  • Gentle enough for sensitive skin
  • No travel restrictions
  • Alcohol free
  • Fragrance free
  • No parabens
  • Not tested on animals

Cons:

  • Takes time to see results if you have severe acne
  • It contains Salicylic acid, which can cause skin irritation
  • Doesn’t prevent breakouts, but helps clear existing acne
  • The tube is smaller than most exfoliators, but a little goes a long way
  • The absence of alcohol might take time to get used to

The Suki Beauty Advanced Salicylic Acid Deep Cleansing Exfoliating Face Wash is a great product for the treatment of acne and will help fight breakouts on the face and chest. It does not have a strong fragrance and will not dry your skin out.

My preferred salicylic acid is a BHA which I use as a spot treatment. Salicylic Acid is a BHA (beta hydroxy acid). A BHA helps reverse signs of aging and improves the appearance of damaged skin by promoting increased collagen production. It also softens the skin and unclogs pores. Salicylic acid is the only chemical exfoliant I use regularly.

5. Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser 150milliliter / Foam Cleanser

Our rating: 8 / 10

Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser 150milliliter / Foam Cleanser

Check Price on Amazon

Pros:

  • Removes excess oil
  • Clinical strength works great on oily skin
  • Perfect for acne prone skin
  • Leaves skin smooth and soft
  • Can be used daily
  • Moisturizes skin

Cons:

  • Lathers too much
  • Lather stains clothes
  • Not the best smelling product
  • Foam gets in eyes if not careful
  • Can clog pores for those with sensitive skin

The Cosrx salicylic daily foaming cleanser is one of the best shower facial cleansers. The foam is thick and it lathers very easily. it does not sting the eyes at all which is an important feature when dealing with eye products. It is sofoaming that it actually feels like you are washing your face with bubble bath. It leaves your skin feeling perfect and soft and reduces breakouts on your face

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which face washes have salicylic acid?

Because of its efficacy in exfoliating skin and removing dead skin cells, salicylic acid is found in a number of skincare products and is one of the best ingredients for blemish-prone skin. Salicylic acid is also great at removing blackheads.

Can I use salicylic acid face wash everyday?

You can use Salycylic Acid 5% for oily skin every day and have it be considered part of your normal skincare routine, assuming your face isn’t sensitive to the ingredient.

Is salicylic acid cleanser good for acne?

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxyl acid that is used as a skin exfoliant and peels to unclog pores. Salicylic acid is also used as a keratolytic agent to treat acne.

Salicylic acid is an excellent ingredient for skin when it is formulated properly. It’s extremely effective when used in the right concentration and for the right purpose.

It’s not uncommon to find salicylic acid in acne products, but it can also be found in products designed for oily or combination skin. It’s often used to treat finer lines as well.

Salicylic acid has been shown in a number of studies to work as an effective keratolytic agent for both acne and acne scars.

How much salicylic acid should be in face wash?

Don't be entirely surprised if the label doesn't show how much is in there. The FDA doesn't require cosmetic companies to disclose the percentage of active ingredient within their formulas. So you really do have to just have to go on reviews or general consensus to know how much you are dealing with.

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that the higher the % of salicylic acid in a product, the higher the likelihood of irritation or dryness. Typically you would want a lower percentage to be used.

Conclusion

Our comprehensive list of the best facial washes is updated regularly to provide you with a hand-picked list of the best face wash products. Whether you want an oil-free wash or a hypoallergenic option, our experts have covered every detail regarding these products to help you make an informed decision. Each face wash brand has been reviewed, rated, and thoroughly researched by so many editors who tried them out.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash ScrubBest OverallNeutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Scrub
Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser 150milliliter / Foam CleanserBudget PickSalicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser 150milliliter / Foam Cleanser
IMAGE Skincare Clear Cell Salicylic Gel CleanserUpgrade PickIMAGE Skincare Clear Cell Salicylic Gel Cleanser