With over 90% of people experiencing body acne at varying severities at some point in their lives, you would think that finding the solution to this issue would be simple.
However, this isn’t always the case, as acne can be an incredibly stubborn condition that’s usually triggered by silent factors we don’t even think of, such as using the wrong body wash.
Therefore, in this article, we are going to review the ten best body washes for acne and various other skin concerns that frequently follow this inflammatory condition, as well as point out a few factors to keep in mind when shopping for the best body wash and mistakes to avoid when dealing with body acne.
So, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
How I Reviewed Each Product
As someone who has dealt with severe back acne from turning twelve till about my early twenties, I found that, while the issue might seem complicated, the solution is simple most times and comes down to using the right product in the correct way to target the multiple external causes of the blemishes and relieve their symptoms.
Therefore, when reviewing the cleansers and body washes listed in this article, I didn’t only focus on what’s best for acne but also other skin concerns, such as dryness and irritation, which frequently follow this inflammatory condition and can be exacerbated and become uncomfortable due to using overly harsh products intended for acne alone.
I also focused on making notes on how quickly some products work thanks to the ingredients they contain while also explaining the components in great detail to help the reader understand how the body wash would work in their favor.
Finally, I also made sure to take the price of each product into consideration, listing products in various price ranges so that the reader can choose the one that fits their budget, lifestyle, and individual needs when it comes to body acne.
Best Body Wash for Acne Summary
|Overall||PanOxyl – Acne Foaming Wash|
|On a Budget||CeraVe – Foaming Cleanser|
|Exfoliating||Dermalogica – Daily Glycolic Cleanser|
|For Back Acne||Paula’s Choice – Pore Normalizing Cleanser|
|For Acne Scars||Naturium – Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Body Wash|
|For Sensitive Skin||Cetaphil – Gentle Foaming Cleanser|
|Salicylic Acid||CeraVe – Body Wash with Salicylic Acid|
|For Dry Skin||Boscia – Purifying Cleansing Gel|
|For Fungal Acne||Nizoral – Anti-Dandruff Shampoo|
|Bar Soap||Paul Mitchell – Tea Tree Body Bar|
PanOxyl – Acne Foaming Wash
High-strength and efficient against even the most stubborn body acne, the PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash is one of the strongest acne washes in the market and our best overall pick, considering its price, availability, and efficacy.
Reduces moderate to severe acne in a little as one use.
Penetrates the pores and destroys bacterial overgrowth.
Can be used on the face and body.
Active Ingredient: Benzoyl Peroxide (10%) Inactive Ingredients: Carbomer Homopolymer Type C, Carbomer Interpolymer Type A, Decyl Glucoside, Dimethicone, Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, Glycerin, Palmitic Acid, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Polyoxyl 40 Stearate, Propanediol, Purified Water, Silica, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate, Sorbitan Stearate, Stearic Acid, t-Butyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum.
If you are looking for a product that will minimize the size and severity of even the most inflamed pimples anywhere on the body, you can’t go wrong with the PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash.
Infused with the maximum concentration of benzoyl peroxide available, the cream-based cleanser delivers an oxygenating effect inside the pores to destroy the environment the acne-causing bacteria need to survive.
With a creamy consistency that lathers into a rich foam, the Acne Foaming Wash can be used as a daily body wash or as a short-contact therapy mask that can be left on the skin for 3-5 minutes while in the shower to maximize its effect.
PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash Pros:
- Contains a high-strength active ingredient that delivers visible results quickly.
- Has a creamy, non-irritating consistency.
PanOxyl Acne Foaming Wash Cons:
- It could potentially bleach clothes and sheets.
Best On a Budget:
CeraVe – Foaming Cleanser
Gentle, foaming, and budget-friendly, the CeraVe Foaming Cleanser might not contain potent anti-acne actives, but it certainly delivers when it comes to keeping any body area clean and preventing the accumulation of cellular debris responsible for causing acne in the first place.
Lifts impurities on the skin without compromising its moisture barrier.
Reduces the symptoms of redness and irritation around pimples.
Developed by dermatologists
Safe, gentle, and effective.
Various sizes available for convenience.
Purified Water, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-II, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol, Polyoxyl 40 Stearate, Glyceryl Monostearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cetyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Phytosphingosine, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum.
If you are on a budget and looking for something that will help keep your skin clean and prevent the accumulation of impurities and debris causing your acne, the CeraVe Foaming Cleanser is an excellent choice.
Available in various sizes, this lightweight gel cleanser doesn’t contain active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid but will do a fantastic job in thoroughly cleansing your skin and removing excess oil.
Gentle and suitable for all skin types, including sensitive and reactive skin, the fragrance-free cleanser turns into a rich foam when in contact with water and contains hyaluronic acid along with ceramides to hydrate the skin and strengthen its moisture barrier.
CeraVe Foaming Cleanser Pros:
- Lightweight and non-comedogenic.
- Fragrance-free and suitable for sensitive skin.
- Contains hydrating hyaluronic acid and barrier-strengthening ceramides.
CeraVe Foaming Cleanser Cons:
Best Exfoliating Body Wash:
Dermalogica – Daily Glycolic Cleanser
Fantastic for full body exfoliation and providing a mild antibacterial action to keep blemishes at bay, the Dermalogica Daily Glycolic Cleanser is one of the best body washes for acne that sloughs off dead skin cells to unclog the pores and keep the skin silky smooth and clear.
Active ingredients help exfoliate the skin and reduce bacterial buildup inside pores.
Refines skin texture and smooths out uneven bumps.
Fades post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from old blemishes.
Provides a luxuruious user experience.
Water/Aqua/Eau, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycolic Acid, Glycerin, Peg-6 Cocamide, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Hydroxyacetophenone, Succinoglycan, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Urea, Allantoin, Polyquaternium-51, Trehalose, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides Citrate, Glyceryl Oleate, Coconut Acid, 1,2-Hexanediol, T-Butyl Alcohol, Coco-Glucoside, Sodium Pca, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Limonene.
The Daily Glycolic Cleanser by Dermalogica is a luxurious gel cleanser and body wash containing glycolic acid to gently slough off the dead skin cells accumulated on the skin’s surface and inside the pores.
This action will not only help heal blemishes but will also smooth out your skin and fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that often remains on the skin after a pimple has healed.
The addition of softening jojoba seed oil will soften rough and patchy skin, while allantoin will maintain hydration and prevent the skin from becoming dry and irritated.
Dermalogica Daily Glycolic Cleanser Pros:
- A high-end cleanser that provides a luxurious experience.
- Reduces acne and rough, patchy skin.
- Fades hyperpigmentation left from old pimples.
Dermalogica Daily Glycolic Cleanser Cons:
Best for Back Acne:
Paula’s Choice – Pore Normalizing Cleanser
Gentle and efficient, the Pore Normalizing Cleanser is a fantastic cleanser that can be used in your body care routine as a wash or a mask to help minimize the appearance of inflamed back acne and dissolve impurities stuck inside the pores.
The gentle formula will fight stubborn body acne without irritating the skin.
Suitable for all skin types.
Can reduce both bacterial and mild fungal acne.
Vegan formula that’s free of fragrance and alcohol.
Salicylic Acid 0.5%, Water (Aqua), Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Copolymer, Glycerin, PEG-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Arginine, Butylene Glycol, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Citrate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin.
The Pore Normalizing Cleanser by Paula’s Choice is a gentle, foaming cleanser that contains a mild concentration of salicylic acid to gently remove impurities from the skin and purge the cellular debris accumulated inside the pores that’s leading to acne formation.
With a lightweight gel consistency and a mild foaming effect, the cleanser lathers nicely and feels pleasant on the skin, leaving it clean and purified after use.
Besides the main active ingredient, the Pore Normalizing Cleanser also contains arginine, a skin-softening amino acid, and panthenol, a soothing component that will help reduce the appearance of redness and inflammation surrounding an active pimple.
Paula’s Choice Pore Normalizing Cleanser Pros:
- Gel-based and lightweight.
- Contains anti-acne actives to soothe inflamed pimples.
- Purifies the pores and prevents cellular debris from building up.
Paula’s Choice Pore Normalizing Cleanser Cons:
- It can be drying if used more than once a day.
Best for Acne Scars:
Naturium – Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Body Wash
Hailed as the holy grail for body acne and the scarring that remains on the skin after a pimple has healed, the Naturium Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Body Wash will leave your skin silky smooth while minimizing inflammation and evening out the skin tone.
Potent AHA combo resurfaces clear, smooth, and healthy skin.
Fades hyperpigmentation from old blemishes.
Gentle enough to be used on the face as a treatment.
Free from harsh surfactants, drying alcohol, and irritating fragrance.
Aqua, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Glycolic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Glycol Distearate, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Pyruvic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Sodium Pca, Polyquaternium-73, Cocamide Mipa, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Polyquaternium-10, Glycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Didecydimonium Chloride, Methylpropanediol, Polyquaternium-80, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Sodium Lactate.
Naturium’s Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Body Wash is a smooth gel cleanser with a thick consistency that creates a rich lather once it comes into contact with water.
Fantastic for softening and refining uneven skin texture, the body wash is infused with a combination of alpha-hydroxy acids, including glycolic, lactic, and tartaric acids that dissolve the protein bonds between dead skin cells and encourage them to shed naturally, revealing a smooth, even, and uniform skin layer from underneath.
The combo of active ingredients is also fantastic for reducing buildup inside the pores and on the skin’s surface, which will lead to fewer and smaller pimples and faded hyperpigmentation from old blemishes.
Naturium Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Body Wash Pros:
- Comes in a good-sized bottle for a reasonable price.
- Free of irritating fragrance and drying alcohol.
- It can be used as a weekly treatment on the face.
Naturium Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Body Wash Cons:
Best for Sensitive Skin:
Cetaphil – Gentle Foaming Cleanser
Fragrance-free and suitable for those with ultra-sensitive and reactive skin, the Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser will remove leftover impurities without causing redness and irritation.
Combination of barrier-repairing and healing vitamins help soothe irritated skin.
Reduces bacterial buildup
Gently lifts impurities from the skin’s surface
Soothes redness and swelling around the pimples.
Foamy texture rinses off easily without leaving residue on the skin.
Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Coco-Glucoside, Betaine, Glycerin, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Sodium Benzoate, Polysorbate 20, Polyquaternium-10, Phenoxyethanol, Citric Acid
Excellent for those with sensitive skin looking for a budget-friendly product that won’t exacerbate irritations, the Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser is a lightweight wash with a foamy consistency.
Without potent and potentially irritating actives, fragrances, or alcohol, the cleanser is fantastic at removing accumulated impurities on the skin’s surface and soothing acne and inflammation.
Suitable for reactive skin, the Gentle Foaming Cleanser can be used daily on the face and body to lift dirt, dirt, and sebum without leaving the skin feeling tight or dry.
Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser Pros:
- Fragrance-free and non-irritating.
- Suitable for sensitive and reactive skin.
- It leaves the skin feeling clean and refreshed without drying it out.
Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser Cons:
Best Salicylic Acid Acne Body Wash:
CeraVe – Body Wash with Salicylic Acid
Rich and foamy, the CeraVe Body Wash with Salicylic Acid is unmatched when it comes to sloughing off dead skin cells off the surface and revealing smooth, clear skin from underneath.
Instantly reduces swelling around pimples.
Hydrating and Soothing
Smooths out uneven skin texture.
Dissolves cellular debris inside the pores, preventing pimples from forming in the future.
Can be used on the face and body.
Water, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Niacinamide, Gluconolactone, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Ceramide 3, Cholecalciferol Ceramide 6-11, Phytosphingosine, Cholesterol Sodium Hyaluronate, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Ceramide 1.
Excellent for pesky back, bum, and chest acne, the CeraVe Body Wash contains exfoliating salicylic acid, an active ingredient that cuts through the superficial oil and impurities and travels deeper into the pores to dissolve the plugs that are causing blemishes and rough, uneven skin texture.
Infused with hydrating hyaluronic acid, CeraVe’s signature ceramide complex to repair a compromised skin barrier, and oil-balancing niacinamide, the body wash is wonderful for those looking for a product that can tackle breakouts and smooth out rough texture while keeping the skin hydrated and nourished.
CeraVe Body Wash with Salicylic Acid Pros:
- It contains salicylic acid to purge impurities inside the pores and soothe blemishes.
- A blend of barrier-repairing ingredients strengthens the skin and prevents it from drying and irritation.
CeraVe Body Wash with Salicylic Acid Cons:
- It can cause initial purging due to the active ingredient.
Best for Dry Skin:
Boscia – Purifying Cleansing Gel
Nature-powered and gentle, the Purifying Cleansing Gel by Boscia removes impurities accumulated on the skin’s surface without stripping its delicate barrier and exacerbating dryness.
Reduce the appearance of redness and swelling associated with inflammation.
Suitable for all skin types
Including dry, sensitive, and reactive skin.
Helps balance the skin
Promotes a smooth and clear complexion.
Non-comedogenic, vegan, and cruelty-free formula.
Water/Aqua/Eau, Diglycerin, Maltitol, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Methyl Gluceth-10, Potassium Cocoyl Glutamate, TEA-Cocoyl Alaninate, Butylene Glycol, Potassium Lauroyl Glutamate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Leaf Extract, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Hydrangea Serrata Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Hydroxide, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil
Infused with natural botanicals to gently cleanse the skin and remove the accumulation of impurities that stick to its surface throughout the day, the Boscia Purifying Gel Cleanser is exceptionally gentle and suitable for dry and sensitive skin that tends to react to other drying or fragrant body washes.
A combination of soothing green tea infuses the skin with antioxidants and protects against cellular damage along with circulation-boosting rosemary leaf extract, jojoba and willowherb, and botanical amino acids that leave the skin hydrated, plump and moisturized work together to create a gentle and nourishing cleansing experience.
Suitable for use on the face and body, the Purifying Cleansing Gel soothes active blemishes and prevents them from leaving scars behind.
Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel Pros:
- Non-irritating and suitable for sensitive skin.
- Hydrating, plumping, and nourishing.
- Cleanses the skin and removes impurities without compromising its moisture barrier.
Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel Cons:
Best for Fungal Acne:
Nizoral – Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Efficient in targeting yeast overgrowth on the skin’s surface, the Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo can be used on itchy, acne-prone scalps but can also help reduce fungal acne on the face and body.
10X More Effective
Antifungal active ingredient helps reduce the severity of fungal acne.
Controls Scalp Fungus
Provides quick results with visibly reduced symptoms after a single use.
Gentle on Hair
Helps balance excess oil production.
Reduces symptoms of itching and redness.
Active Ingredient: Ketoconazole 1% Inactive Ingredients: Acrylic acid polymer (carbomer 1342), butylated hydroxytoluene, cocamide MEA, FD&C Blue #1, fragrance, glycol distearate, polyquaternium-7, quaternium-15, sodium chloride, sodium cocoyl sarcosinate, sodium hydroxide and/or hydrochloric acid, sodium laureth sulfate, tetrasodium EDTA, water
Fungal acne is a condition caused by the overgrowth of yeast on the skin, and unlike bacterial acne, which usually responds well to antibiotics and antibacterial treatments, fungal acne requires a different treatment approach to heal.
Common in oily areas of the face and body, fungal acne can be temporarily reduced by using exfoliating acids and retinoids; however, an antifungal agent will likely be needed to clear up the condition entirely.
This is why, if you suspect that your body acne may be fungal, try using a product that contains antifungal ingredients, such as the Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo, which contains ketoconazole to reduce the yeast overgrowth on the skin and get rid of this inflammatory condition in a safe, efficient way.
The best way to use the Anti-Dandruff Shampoo is to apply it to affected areas as you would a regular body wash and leave it on for 3-5 minutes to allow the antifungal agent to penetrate the skin and reduce inflammation.
Gentle and non-irritating, the product can also be used for conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp, fungal acne on the face and body, and fungal infections on the nails commonly caused by prolonged exposure to damp, warm, and unsanitary environments.
Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo Pros:
- Minimizes the severity of fungal acne in as little as one day of using it.
- Soothes inflammation caused by yeast overgrowth.
- Gentle and non-irritating.
Nizoral Anti-Dandruff Shampoo Cons:
Best Bar Soap:
Paul Mitchell – Tea Tree Body Bar
Convenient, affordable, and long-lasting, the Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Body Bar is suitable for everyone who deals with body acne and is looking for something that will soothe redness and inflammation and reduce the appearance of pesky blemishes.
Provides gentle, manual exfoliation to remove dead skin cells.
Helps all skin types feel fresh
Helps smooth out rough and uneven skin texture.
Invigorating tea tree oil
A combo of botanical components reduces redness and swelling associated with pimples.
Suitable for sensitive skin
Vegan. Paraben Free. Gluten Free.
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Isododecane, Diheptyl Succinate, Undecane, Tridecane, Parfum (Fragrance), Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower.
Infused with skin-soothing greens such as antibacterial tea tree, refreshing mint, antifungal eucalyptus, and soothing rosemary, the Tea Tree Body Bar by Paul Mitchell is a convenient product for reducing the severity of body acne without having to deal with big bottles of body washes.
The addition of parsley flakes inside the soap bar provides gentle exfoliation to help slough off any dead skin cells that have accumulated on the skin’s surface and are causing the pores to become clogged, which will help reduce the severity and number of inflamed blemishes.
Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Body Bar Pros:
- It has a fresh and invigorating scent that provides an enjoyable cleansing experience.
- It can be used on the face and body to keep the skin clean and reduce blemishes.
- Provides mild exfoliation to refine and even out the complexion.
Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Body Bar Cons:
Does Washing Your Face With Body Soap Cause Acne Breakouts?
Washing your face with body soap or washes can cause acne if the wash contains clogging ingredients such as oils and heavy emollients or irritating fragrances that could compromise the skin barrier, thus causing an imbalance of its microbiome and the overgrowth of harmful bacteria.
Fragrance can be especially problematic for those prone to allergies, as it can often cause a rash-like condition on the skin that resembles acne but can be uncomfortable to deal with and doesn’t respond to standard acne treatments.
On the other hand, oils, silicones, and emollients, which are often added to body washes to improve the consistency of the formula and soften the skin, can be comedogenic for some skins, which can lead to the buildup of these components inside the pores, clogging them up and causing bacterial overgrowth which leads to acne.
Can You Use Acne Body Wash on Your Face?
While using an acne body wash on your face is generally not recommended because body washes often contain harsher ingredients that may be too drying for the delicate facial skin, not all body washes are necessarily problematic.
Therefore, if you don’t have another choice, you can use a body wash or a soap to keep your facial skin clean and free of buildup that could potentially lead to acne; however, you should always check the ingredients on the label of the product you are using and make sure it doesn’t contain potentially problematic components.
Common Mistakes When Buying Soap for Body Acne
While buying soap for body acne might seem simple, many people make a few common mistakes that often exacerbate this inflammatory condition and prevent the skin from healing.
Therefore, here are a few common mistakes you should avoid when buying soap for body acne:
Buying a Drying Product
Excessively drying products won’t get rid of acne, but they will compromise the skin barrier, which will cause the skin to produce more oil to compensate for the dryness, thus making the skin even more prone to breakouts due to clogged pores.
Therefore, avoid using drying soaps and body washes excessively, as this could prevent your skin from functioning optimally and protecting itself from potentially harmful pathogens.
Buying a Comedogenic Product
As we previously mentioned, many body soaps and washes contain comedogenic ingredients that help thicken the formula and make it more moisturizing and skin-softening.
However, these ingredients can also potentially contribute to acne breakouts for some skin, so if you suffer from body acne, you should avoid using products that contain excessive amounts of oils, emollients, silicones, waxes, etc.
Buying an Excessively Fragrant Product
While most people can tolerate small amounts of fragrance in body washes, excessively fragrant products present a higher risk of skin irritations and allergic reactions.
Additionally, choosing a body wash that doesn’t contain any fragrance is definitely a more suitable option when trying to get rid of acne, as these components could further irritate the already inflamed skin and prolong the healing process of the blemishes.
Overusing Soap on Dry Skin
If your soap or body wash makes your skin dry, itchy, and uncomfortable, the best option is to reduce the frequency of use, as excessive dryness can lead to a compromised skin barrier, which will eventually cause irritations on the skin and prevent it from healing.
Not Using a Moisturizer
If you use a soap or body wash containing potent active ingredients, such as high concentrations of benzoyl peroxide or exfoliating acids, your skin will likely show signs of dryness.
Therefore, using a non-comedogenic moisturizer is essential to reintroduce some of that lost moisture back into the skin and help maintain a strong moisture barrier that will protect the skin from potentially harmful pathogens.