11 Best Face Washes For Fungal Acne in 2023

If you’re like most people, you probably think of acne as being caused by bacteria. And while that’s true for the most common form of acne, there’s another type that looks very similar to a regular breakout but is instead caused by yeast overgrowth.

This condition is called fungal acne, or Malassezia folliculitis, and besides being challenging to diagnose, it can also be a lot harder to treat than its more familiar cousin – bacterial acne.

Fungal acne can look a lot like regular acne, but this condition is typically recognized by symptoms such as inflammation and itching.

The pimples also usually appear in clusters and concentrate in oilier areas of the face and body, such as the forehead, chin, cheeks, back, and chest.

So if you’re struggling with fungal acne, what can you do?

It’s easy. Start with the basics.

The basics are a good face wash that will help eliminate the overgrowth of this malicious yeast by cutting out its food supply, which is our natural oil that sometimes gets stuck and solidified inside our pores.

And this is exactly why you’re reading this article, where I have compiled a detailed list of eight best face washes with an in-depth description of how each one will help you with fungal acne.

On this list, you will find various face washes ranked by price, availability, and active ingredients that will help bring your skin back to a healthy and functioning state.

How I Reviewed Each Face Wash

When it comes to fungal acne, you need a face wash that will be effective to soothe this condition yet gentle enough to nourish the skin instead of leaving it overdried, stretched, and irritated.

You also want to make sure that the cleanser doesn’t contain any ingredients that could potentially make fungal acne worse.

For this reason, I only considered glycerin-based cleansers that contain active ingredients such as lactic acid, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. These ingredients effectively minimize fungal acne by dissolving excess oil that feeds the yeast inside the pores.

I have personally tested each cleanser on this list, and I have found each one to be effective in minimizing bacterial and fungal acne.

These are also cleansers I recommend for clients who are dealing with either one or a combination of these two inflammatory conditions.

Before compiling this list, the last thing I did was go through the reviews from both consumers and experts on various online stores.

I also looked at the price of each face wash to determine which one was the best value for your money with what they have to offer for your skin.

Best Face Wash For Fungal Acne Summary

BestFace Wash
Jump to Review
GENTLECLEAN – Vitamin Infused Calming Wash
Best Exfoliating Cleanser for Fungal Acne
Jump to Review
PCA Skin Facial Wash (Amazon)
Glycerin-Based Cleanser for Fungal Acne
Jump to Review
La Roche Posay Medicated Gel Cleanser (Amazon)
CeraVe Cleanser for Fungal Acne
Jump to Review
Cerave Foaming Cleanser (Amazon)
Drugstore Cleanser for Fungal Acne
Jump to Review
Differin Cleanser (Amazon)
Cetaphil Cleanser for Fungal Acne
Jump to Review
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser (Amazon)
Benzoyl Peroxide-Based Cleanser for Fungal Acne
Jump to Review
Humane Regular-Strength Acne Wash – 5% Benzoyl Peroxide (Amazon)
Salicylic Acid-Based Cleanser for Fungal Acne
Jump to Review
iS CLINICAL Cleansing Complex (Amazon)
On a Budget (for the money)
Jump to Review
Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Daily Cleanser (Amazon)

Best Overall Cleanser for Fungal Acne:
GENTLECLEAN – Vitamin Infused Calming Wash

Mild yet effective, the GENTLECLEAN Vitamin Infused Calming Wash is a hydrating cleanser that delicately lifts daily impurities, makeup, and excess oil from the skin without stripping away its natural moisture barrier.

GoodGlow Score

4.9 /5 5/5 Product Rating


Hydrates while it cleanses, removes waterproof makeup, and is gentle enough to use morning and night


Purifying, Detoxing & Restoring

Super gentle daily cleanser for acne-prone & sensitive skin


Real Ingredients. Real Results

Formulated with green tea, goldenseal, and vitamin c

Vegan - Clean Ingredients

Clean Formula

No hormone distruptors, no toxins, cruelty free, gluten free, vegan, and silicon free

  • Green tea – Green tea is a natural antioxidant and has very powerful antimicrobial properties, making it a key ingredient in thoroughly cleansing the surface of the skin. The compound EGCG that’s found in green tea is known for its acne-fighting benefits.
  • Goldenseal – Like green tea, goldenseal is a powerful plant extract known for its antibacterial benefits. It contains a compound called berberine, which has a powerful astringent effect on mucous membranes making it a key acne-fighting ingredient.
  • Vitamin C – Vitamin C has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which helps reduce skin redness that’s caused by acne breakouts. Vitamin C works to brighten skin complexion and even skin tone.

Water/Aqua, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Methyl Oleoyl Taurate, Sorbitan Oleate Decylglucoside Crosspolymer, Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate, Sclerotium Gum, Polysorbate 20 (naturally derived), Lauryl Glucoside, Coco-Glucoside, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract*, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract*, Allantoin, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Emblica Officinalis Fruit Extract, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal) extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Seed Oil, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Capsaicin (Vitamin C Bioflavinoid), Hesperidin (Vitamin C Bioflavinoid), Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Oil , Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract. Certified Organic*

Formulated with mild surfactants and vitamin complex, the GENTLECLEAN is a gentle cleansing option for anyone dealing with ultra-sensitive skin and irritations caused by fungal acne.

The vitamin complex in the GENTLECLEAN helps to calm and soothe the skin while the hydrating ingredients maintain its moisture levels, leaving the skin feeling clean, soft, and supple.

The beautiful gel texture of the GENTLECLEAN is also a delight to use and leaves the skin with a refreshing cooling sensation.

It also lathers incredibly well when in contact with water, which means very little is needed to adequately cleanse the entire face and neck.

Lastly, the cleanser is free of drying alcohol and irritating fragrance; however, it does have a mild and pleasant scent thanks to the essential oils used in its formulation.

GENTLECLEAN – Vitamin Infused Calming Wash Pros:

  • Mild and gentle.
  • Suitable for ultra-sensitive and irritated skin.
  • Excellent for soothing fungal acne.
  • Gives a refreshing and cooling sensation.

GENTLECLEAN – Vitamin Infused Calming Wash Cons:

  • None!

Best Exfoliating Cleanser for Fungal Acne:
PCA SKIN Facial Wash

Gentle foaming cleanser that will help keep fungal acne under control without irritating and overdrying your skin. Includes Lactic acid which can work great for fungal acne because it helps dissolve the bonds that hold the skin cells together, gently sloughing them off to reveal new, healthy cells underneath.

Good Glow Score

4.9 /5 5/5 Product Rating


Removes impurities to keep skin hydrated and ph balanced



Blend of lactic acid, aloe vera and willow bark

Effective Cream


Gently cleanses and sooths skin


Skin Type

All skin types


Skin Concerns

Acne and Aging




Full ingredient list:
Water, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Lactic Acid, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Sodium Chloride, Propanediol, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Potassium Sorbate, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Amorphophallus Konjac Root Powder

Lactic acid – an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) naturally found in milk and sugars. It is part of the skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF) and moisturizes the skin
Aloe vera leaf juice – a purifying ingredient best known for its softening and soothing benefits.
Allantoin – an antioxidant that soothes the skin.
Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract – calms and soothes the skin.

PCA Skin Facial Wash main active ingredient is lactic acid, an exfoliating acid belonging to the alpha-hydroxy acid family of components with large molecules that work on the skin’s surface.

In addition to this, lactic acid can also help unclog pores and push the gunk that’s feeding the malicious yeast to the skin’s surface to be shed.

It also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, making it a good choice for those with sensitive and reactive skin that’s prone to bacterial breakouts.

Additionally, PCA’s facial wash is boosted by a few other anti-inflammatories and soothing components, including willow bark extract, aloe vera leaf juice, and moisturizing allantoin that will help soothe and comfort the skin’s barrier.

Furthermore, the cleanser is free of harsh sulfates and other drying ingredients that could potentially irritate an already inflamed skin.

Another great thing I personally love about the PCA Skin Facial Wash is the foamy consistency that helps it lather up and rinse off easily without leaving residue behind.

Compared to other gel cleansers that always take a while to wash off and I have to really get in there with my hands because they always leave a residue behind, the PCA Skin Facial Wash just dissolves off the skin without the need of excess scrubbing.

Additionally, this cleanser is so incredibly gentle that it always leaves my skin feeling fresh and clean yet supple and normal after cleansing, unlike some other foam and gel cleansers that tend to leave my skin feeling tight and uncomfortable.

However, this only happens when you use very little of it. I’ve noticed that if I use more than a chickpea-sized amount of product, my skin would get a little dehydrated, so less is truly more with this cleanser and you don’t need to overdo it.

Lastly, the Facial Wash is an affordable option compared to some other high-end cleansers because it comes in a 7 oz (200 ml) bottle that should last you up to five or six months with regular use.

I am giving it the best overall mark due to its ability to cleanse, exfoliate, and purify the skin without leaving it dry, dehydrated, and irritated.

The PCA Skin Facial Wash is an excellent option for all skin types dealing with fungal acne, including sensitive, reactive, and rosacea-prone skin.

PCA SKIN – Facial Wash Pros:

  • Gentle and non-drying.
  • Suitable for sensitive and reactive skin.
  • Great for fungal and bacterial acne.

 PCA SKIN – Facial Wash Cons:

  • Some might find it expensive.

Best Glycerin-Based Cleanser for Fungal Acne:
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser

This cleanser has a gel consistency that lathers up nicely when in contact with water and does a great job at removing impurities, excess oil, and gunk on the skin and inside the pores without stripping the skin’s natural moisture barrier.

Good Glow Score

4.5 /5 4.5/5 Product Rating

Dermatologist Tested

Clinically tested to reduce excess surface oil by up to 47%.


Clean Ingredients

Oil & Paraben Free



Made with Salicylic Acid acne medication, to fight acne breakouts & blackhead removal


Sensitive Skin

Suitable for people with sensitive skin and allergy tested


Recommended for

Acne, oily/shiny skin

Protecting Skin

Non Comedogenic

Does not contain pore clogging ingredients

Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycerin, Coco-Betaine, Propanediol, Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate, Peg-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Ceramide Np, Niacinamide Disodium Edta, Capryloyl Glycine, Caprylyl Glycol, Acrylates Copolymer (Code Fil: D240552/1)

La Roche Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser is a mildly exfoliating cleanser and an excellent affordable option for those dealing with fungal, bacterial, and cystic acne.

The Medicated Gel Cleanser contains 2% salicylic acid as its main active ingredient alongside lipo-hydroxy acid, which is a derivative and a gentler alternative to salicylic acid that works on the surface of the skin to dissolve the “glue” that’s holding the dead skin cells tightly packed together.

The other notable ingredient in the cleanser is glycerin, which, as we know by now, is a fantastic humectant that helps draw moisture into the skin and keep it hydrated.

It’s also fragrance-free and non-irritating, as it contains mild surfactants that are gentle on the skin, making it an excellent option for those with sensitive, reactive, and rosacea-prone skin.

The Medicated Gel Cleanser is one of my favorite gel cleansers on this list because it provides my skin with a double exfoliating effect without the irritation that’s often associated with using multiple acids.

I also like the lightweight consistency and how easily it washes off, which is something that’s important to me because I don’t enjoy scrubbing my skin excessively to remove a cleanser.

However, one thing I’d like to note about this cleanser is that using it excessively can lead to over-exfoliation, which is why I recommend using it as a treatment cleanser 3-4 times a week and alternating it with a non-active cleanser in between.

This is how you will get great results without potentially wrecking your skin barrier while trying to get rid of fungal acne.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser Pros:

  • Double exfoliating action from salicylic acid and lipo-hydroxy acid.
  • It contains glycerin to keep the skin hydrated.
  • Fragrance-free and non-irritating.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser Cons:

  • Not suitable as a daily cleanser due to the potential of over-exfoliation.

Best CeraVe Cleanser for Fungal Acne:
CeraVe – Foaming Facial Cleanser

This cleanser has a gel consistency that lathers up nicely when it touches water and turns into a rich foam that spreads a long way, so half a pump is really what you need to remove grime, makeup, and excess oil from the entire face and neck.

Good Glow Score

4.8 /5 5/5 Product Rating


Features a unique formula with three essential ceramides (1, 3, 6-II) that cleanses and removes oil without disrupting the protective skin barrier.


Formulated with Hyaluronic Acid

Helps retain skin’s natural moisture and niacinamide to help calm skin.

Protecting Skin

Skin Types

Combination, Normal, Oily, Acne-Prone


Clean Ingredients

Aluminum-Free, Fluoride-Free, Phthalate-Free, Contains Ceramides, Sulfate-Free, Contains Hyaluronic Acid, Dye-Free

Aqua/Water/Eau, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Peg-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Niacinamide, Peg-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Propylene Glycol, Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eop, Carbomer, Methylparaben, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cholesterol, Disodium Edta, Propylparaben, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium Edta, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum

CeraVe Foaming Cleanser is a gentle daily cleanser that’s excellent for those dealing with fungal or bacterial acne due to excessively oily skin.

This would make the entire 16 oz (473 ml) bottle last for over a year with daily use, with the best part about it being that it costs less than $20.

But not only that this product is ridiculously affordable and provides an excellent value for money, but it also has a great formula that contains replenishing ingredients such as ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids to help rebuild the skin’s barrier function and prevent moisture loss, which can lead to dryness and irritation.

Furthermore, the Foaming Cleanser also contains niacinamide, an ingredient known for its ability to brighten the skin, even out the skin tone, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the skin barrier, all of which are fantastic benefits for those dealing with fungal acne and compromised skin in general.

The only thing I didn’t like about the Foaming Cleanser at first was that I had to really get in there to remove it off my skin because the heavy gel consistency can leave a residue behind. However, as I continued using it, I figured out this only happened when I was using a lot of product, so I started using less and it wasn’t an issue any longer.

So that’s something to keep in mind if you decide to try out this cleanser.

Lastly, the cleanser is also non-irritating and doesn’t contain harsh and stripping surfactants, drying alcohols, and fragrance, making it a suitable option for even the most sensitive and reactive skin.

CeraVe Foaming Cleanser Pros:

  • Affordable
  • It contains ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids to help rebuild the skin barrier
  • Niacinamide brightens and evens out the skin tone
  • Non-irritating
  • It doesn’t contain harsh or stripping surfactants, drying alcohols, and irritating fragrance

CeraVe Foaming Cleanser Cons:

  • It can be drying when used in excess, so half a pump is enough to cover the face and neck.

Best Drugstore Cleanser for Fungal Acne:
Differin Daily Refreshing Cleanser

Differin Cleanser low-lather formula has a gel-like consistency and contains gentle emulsifiers and surfactants that will leave the skin feeling fresh and clean without stripping its natural moisture barrier and causing irritation.

Good Glow Score

4.6 /5 5/5 Product Rating

Cleans without causing dryness

Formulated to gently cleanse away surface oil and dirt without leaving skin feeling tight or overly dry.

Effective Cream


Made with Panthenol to help nourish skin, and contains Glycerin to draw moisture to skin to help leave it soft and smooth



Fragrance-free and non-irritating

Protecting Skin


Will not clog pores

Water, Glycerin, PEG-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Copolymer, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Disodium EDTA, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Panthenol, Masking Fragrance

Differin Daily Refreshing Cleanser is another excellent option for those dealing with fungal acne but looking for something more affordable than the PCA Skin Facial Wash.

Its main active ingredient is Pro-Vitamin B Complex (Panthenol), which helps nourish and stabilize the skin’s moisture barrier.

Panthenol is an easy-to-formulate ingredient whose name “Pro-Vitamin B,” means it’s a precursor to vitamin B5, which is a water-soluble vitamin known for its hydrating and healing properties.

Its main job in skincare products is to moisturize and help the skin attract water and then hold onto it.

There is also research showing that panthenol can help our skin produce more lipids that are important for a strong and healthy skin barrier

Another great thing about panthenol is that it has anti-inflammatory benefits and can protect the skin from irritation caused by ingredients such as fragrance and drying alcohol in skincare products.

Additionally, the Differin Daily Refreshing Cleanser also contains glycerin to further boost its humectant properties by drawing moisture into the skin and keeping it soft, plump, and hydrated.

The cleanser is also free of harsh chemicals, sulfates, and other potential irritants that could aggravate an already inflamed skin.

Lastly, the cleanser is affordable, and it comes a large, 6 oz (177 ml) pump bottle that will easily last you up to six months.

The only thing some people might find an issue with is that the Differin Daily Refreshing Cleanser contains traces of fragrance, which are smaller components used to mask the usually icky smell of raw ingredients but could still be potentially irritating for those who are sensitive to even the smallest amounts of fragrance.

Other than that, the cleanser is gentle and suitable for daily use as well as safe for those with sensitive skin that’s prone to bacterial acne and rosacea.

Differin Daily Refreshing Cleanser Pros:

  • Low-cost.
  • Contains soothing and healing Pro-Vitamin B Complex (Panthenol.)
  • Free of harsh chemicals, sulfates, and other potential irritants.

Differin Daily Refreshing Cleanser Cons:

Best Cetaphil Cleanser for Fungal Acne:
CETAPHIL – Daily Facial Cleanser

This clenser is ultra-gentle, non-stripping, and pH-balanced cleanser that’s suitable for all skin types, including those with concerns such as bacterial and fungal acne.

Good Glow Score

4.4 /5 4.5/5 Product Rating

Gentle Cleanser

Mild and non irritating formula is perfect for normal to oily skin and is suitable for even the most sensitive skin



Rinses clean without leaving any residue. Keeps your skin feeling fresh, balanced and hydrated.


For Sensitive Skin

Dermatologist recommended, non comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and paraben free

Clinically Proven

Clinically Proven

Deep cleans skin and remove oils, dirt and makeup

Water, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Panthenol, Niacinamide, Pantolactone, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Benzoate, Masking Fragrance, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid

The Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser has a gel consistency and a slightly runny texture that makes it easy to spread and massage on the skin.

It’s very similar to CeraVe’s Foaming Cleanser; however, the formula is less foamy and doesn’t lather as much, but it still does an excellent job of removing impurities, dirt, makeup, and excess oil without stripping the skin or causing any irritation.

The Daily Facial Cleanser contains several surfactants that thoroughly cleanse the skin as well as glycerin to help attract moisture to the skin and keep it hydrated and panthenol which soothes and repairs the skin while also helping it retain moisture.

Additionally, the cleanser also contains niacinamide, an ingredient known for its barrier-strengthening properties and the ability to brighten the skin, even out the skin tone, and relieve inflammation.

The Daily Facial Cleanser is also fragrance-free and can be used by people who might have overly sensitive skin that reacts to fragrance and fragrant components such as essential oils in cosmetic products.

All of these ingredients make the Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser an excellent option for those dealing with fungal acne as well as other skin concerns such as dryness, sensitivity, and redness.

Lastly, the cleanser is also super affordable, and a single 20 oz (591 ml) that costs less than $20 will probably last you for over a year.

The large bottle is even bigger than CeraVe’s Foaming Cleanser, so Cetaphil’s Daily Facial Cleanser definitely offers more value for your money.

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser Pros:

  • Ultra-gentle and non-stripping
  • Affordable
  • It contains glycerin to hydrate the skin and help attract moisture
  • It contains soothing ingredients such as panthenol and niacinamide that repair the skin
  • Fragrance-free

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser Cons:

  • None to list

Best Benzoyl Peroxide-Based Cleanser for Fungal Acne:
Humane – Acne Wash with 5% Benzoyl Peroxide

Targets and treats bacterial and fungal acne. Its main active ingredient is 5% benzoyl peroxide, which is a mild yet effective strength for clearing up moderate to severe acne by infusing the pores with oxygen to destroy the overgrowth of bacteria and yeast and reducing inflammation caused by the immune system’s reaction to the overgrowth of these organisms.

Good Glow Score

4.7 /5 5/5 Product Rating

Unclogs Pours and Clears Skin

Targets the primary cause of acne growth and combats excessive oil production

Wide Range

Wide Range

Can be used for face acne, body acne, back acne, butt acne, cystic acne, adult acne and teen acne.

Protecting Skin

Skin Types

Helps clear up blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and below-the-skin cysts, while easing inflammation and redness


Clean Ingredients

parabens, phthalates, sulfates (SLS and SLES), alcohol, paraffin, formaldehyde, mineral oil, synthetic fragrance/color, petrolatum, DEA, triclosan, GMOs or animal byproducts

Vegan - Clean Ingredients

Minimal Ingredients

Vegan and cruelty-free ingredients.

Made in the USA

Made in the USA

Climate Pledge Friendly Company

Aqua (Deionized Water), Carbomer, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Hydroxide.

Humane Acne Wash cleanser has a gel consistency and lathers nicely to form a rich foam that thoroughly cleanses the skin.

Additionally, the Humane Acne Wash also contains gluconolactone, which is a polyhydroxy acid, or PHA for short.

PHAs are close relatives to the more widely known AHAs in terms of the chemical structure and their effects on the skin, which is why they are often marketed as the new generation of AHAs.

However, the main promise of gluconolactone is that it offers skin benefits that are comparable to AHAs but without the irritation that often comes as a side effect from overusing these powerful acids.

A study that compared a PHA skincare regimen to an AHA skincare regimen for 12 weeks primarily focusing on irritation and anti-aging benefits proved that PHA has a significantly lower potential to cause irritation, stinging, and burning.

But besides these ultra-satisfactory results, PHA also scored very similar in terms of anti-aging and skin-smoothing effect, meaning it’s on the right path to replace its irritating cousin in the skincare game.

PHA is therefore commonly suggested to people with extremely sensitive, sensitized, and reactive skin who are dealing with inflammatory conditions such as acne and rosacea but can’t use stronger acids due to their sensitivity.

Another area where PHAs excel is skin moisturization. They are better at that than AHAs and can actually help repair the skin barrier rather than potentially compromising it due to overuse.

Lastly, gluconolactone being the most famous PHA was also observed for its antioxidant properties, and it was determined that its antioxidant effect is comparable to vitamin C, which is currently the most famous antioxidant in the skincare market.

And one more super interesting study result: as opposed to AHAs that increase sun sensitivity, gluconolactone was shown not to do that.

But if that’s not beneficial enough of this cleanser, the Humane Acne Wash is also free of fragrance, sulfates, parabens, and phthalates and is suitable for all skin types and inflammatory skin conditions.

It’s also affordable and comes in a huge 8 oz (237 ml) bottle that should last you for a few months, even with daily use.

But besides being an excellent facial cleanser, I also love using the Humane Acne Wash as a body wash, especially on areas where I tend to break out such as my back and chest. It does an amazing job in clearing smaller, pustular pimples as well as deeper, cystic acne overnight!

Humane Acne Wash with 5% Benzoyl Peroxide Pros:

  • Contains a high strength of benzoyl peroxide to clear bacterial and fungal acne.
  • Contains gluconolactone – a mild exfoliant with awesome skin-clearing, anti-aging, and barrier-strengthening benefits.
  • Fragrance-free
  • Suitable for sensitive skins dealing with inflammatory conditions such as rosacea

Humane Acne Wash with 5% Benzoyl Peroxide Cons:

  • It can be drying if overused, so half a pump is enough to cover the face and neck.

Best Salicylic Acid-Based Cleanser for Fungal Acne:
iS Clinical Cleansing Complex

This cleanser is a luxurious, gentle, and effective cleanser that’s suitable for all skin types, especially those with oilier skin who are dealing with pesky breakouts and fungal acne.

Good Glow Score

4.5 /5 4.5/5 Product Rating

High Quality Ingredients

Includes Chamomile Flower Extract, Centella Asiatica, Sugar Cane Extract, and White Willow Bark Extract


Cleansing Complex

Incoorpates a balance of bio-nutrients, antioxidants, and mild resurfacing ingredients to gently clean skin


Great for Sensitive Skin




Thoroughly cleanses the surface & pores of the skin without stripping essential natural oils.

Water/Aqua/Eau, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, PEG-30 Clyceryl Cocoate, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Carboxymethylcellulose, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Asiaticoside – Asiatic Acid – Madecassic Acid (Centella Asiatica), Ascorbyl Palmitate, Phosphilipids, Tocopherol Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, DMDM Hydantion, Iodopropynl Butylcarbamate.

The iS CLINICAL Cleansing Complex has a light gel texture that turns into a luxurious foam when in contact with water and washes off with ease while leaving the skin looking fresh and clean without the need of using too much product.

The Cleansing Complex contains quite a few beneficial ingredients; however, the star of the show in this gel cleanser is salicylic acid that works by cutting through the superficial oil and traveling deeper into the pores to dissolve the gunk that’s causing clogs and serving as food for yeast and bacteria.

Besides salicylic acid, the Cleansing Complex also contains chamomile extract, which is soothing for the skin, and Centella Asiatica, which is known for its calming, repairing, and antioxidant properties.

Additionally, the Cleansing Complex also contains sugarcane extract, which can be exfoliating, but it’s also an excellent moisturizing agent with humectant properties to help the skin attract moisture and hold onto it.

However, the Cleansing Complex is an exfoliating cleanser that, compared to other exfoliating cleansers on this list, such as the PCA Skin Facial Wash and La Roche Posay Medicated Gel Cleanser, contains multiple active ingredients.

This means that it definitely shouldn’t be used daily, even less so twice a day, as this can easily lead to over-exfoliation and irritation.

Instead, using it a few times a week will give you better results minus potential irritation, so a 6 oz (180 ml) bottle is definitely worth it since it will last you for a long time with controlled use.

iS CLINICAL Cleansing Complex Pros:

  • Contains a blend of potent antibacterial, anti-fungal, and exfoliating agents
  • Contains a blend of soothing and skin-repairing agents to strengthen the skin barrier
  • Contains hydrating glycerin that helps the skin retain moisture
  • Has a light gel texture that foams up nicely and leaves the skin soft and clean.

iS CLINICAL Cleansing Complex Cons:

  • Pricey
  • It can be drying and dehydrating to the skin if overused

Best on a Budget (for the money):
Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser

Naturals Cleanser contains glycerin, a moisture-binding ingredient that helps keep the skin hydrated and plump. Also contains primrose oil, an anti-inflammatory agent that can help soothe any redness or irritation and leave the skin looking smooth and feeling soft and nourished.

Good Glow Score

4.7 /5 5/5 Product Rating


Cleanses away dirt, oil, grime, impurities, and bacteria


Clean Ingredients

Free of harsh chemical sulfates, parabens, petrolatum, dyes, phthalates



Penetrates deep to help detoxify and cleanse without leaving behind residue


Soft on skin

Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Decyl Glucoside, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride.

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Daily Cleanser is a great low-cost option for those dealing with fungal acne but don’t feel like spending too much money on a high-end product.

Its main active ingredient is salicylic acid, which works by unclogging the pores and cutting out the food supply for the yeast that’s causing fungal infections on the skin.

In addition to this, the Purifying Daily Cleanser also contains glycerin, a moisture-binding ingredient that helps keep the skin hydrated and plump, as well as evening primrose oil, an anti-inflammatory agent that can help soothe any redness or irritation and leave the skin looking smooth and feeling soft and nourished.

The cleanser has a fresh scent that’s not too strong or overwhelming, and it lathers up nicely, which allows it to cleanse the skin thoroughly without leaving any greasy residue or impurities behind.

The Purifying Daily Cleanser is also free of harsh chemicals, sulfates, and other potential irritants that could aggravate an already inflamed skin.

Instead, it uses gentle surfactants that will leave the skin feeling fresh and clean without stripping its natural moisture barrier and causing irritation in the process.

Lastly, the cleanser is super affordable, and it comes in a large, 6 oz (177 ml) pump bottle that will easily last you for four to five months.

The only thing some people might find an issue with is that the Purifying Daily Cleanser contains fragrance, which could potentially cause a reaction to those who are sensitive to it.

Other than that, the cleanser is gentle and suitable for daily use as well as safe for those with sensitive skin that’s prone to bacterial acne and rosacea.

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Daily Cleanser Pros:

  • Low-cost.
  • Contains salicylic acid.
  • Free of harsh chemicals and sulfates.

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Daily Cleanser Cons:

  • It contains fragrance, which can make it unsuitable for those prone to allergic reactions or dermatitis.

Ingredients to Avoid in Cleansers for Fungal Acne

While fungal acne can be improved with the right cleanser, there are also certain ingredients that you should avoid as they can exacerbate this inflammatory condition.

Some of these include:


Esters are fatty acids used in skincare products for their moisturizing and softening benefits.

These are generally unproblematic for healthy skin, however, they can cause issues with someone who has acne-prone skin.

Typically ending in “-ate” some most popular esters used in skincare products are Polysorbate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Isopropyl Myristate, and Isopropyl Isostearate.


Some oils are another no-no when it comes to fungal acne as they can clog pores and provide the perfect environment for yeast and bacteria to grow.

If you have fungal acne, try to avoid oils in your skincare products as much as you can, especially some ultra-comedogenic oils such as coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, and argan oil. These oils are especially common in sunscreens which is why many people have fungal acne breakouts in the summer. In order to mitigate the chance of exacerbating fungal acne breakouts, we have an approved fungal acne safe sunscreen list that lists fungal acne-safe sunscreens that work with any skin type


Butters are often used in skincare products as they add emolliency and help to create a barrier on the skin to lock in moisture.

However, some butters such as cocoa and mango seed butter, can be problematic for those who are dealing with acne.

Shea butter, on the other hand, is slightly different and can be beneficial for irritated skin due to having a different chemical composition.

Wrapping Up

Fungal acne is unlikely to go away on its own. In order to clear your skin as fast as possible and minimize the chance of permanent scarring, you take a holistic approach to clearing your fungal acne. This includes your diet and skincare routine. In order to make sure your skincare routine is not causing your to break out, you need to analyze everything that comes into contact with your skin. In addition to facial washes, this includes fungal acne-safe moisturizers, sunscreens, and makeup products.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is salicylic safe for fungal acne?

Yes, salicylic acid is safe for fungal acne and can help prevent further fungal acne breakouts by dissolving excess oil on the skin.

Is benzoyl peroxide safe for fungal acne?

While benzoyl peroxide does not cause fungal acne is not an anti-fungal ingredient, and there are many better choices for clearing fungal acne.

Originally Published: March 26, 2022

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Analyzed by Simone Sydel
I'm a certified esthetician and acne expert. Having struggled with acne for a good portion of my adult life inspired me to start my mission of helping others who are going through the same thing by offering knowledge and the support of a friend who's been there. Acne can be an incredibly frustrating and isolating experience, but thinking back, having acne is what all of this started from. I would have never thought back then that there would be a point in my life when I would be grateful for acne, as my personal experience created a passion that I now get to share with the world through writing.
Besides my biggest passion, which is, well, acne, I'm also a beauty writer, so in order to keep on top of things in my industry, I get to examine, test and review some of the latest and greatest acne treatments and beauty products on the market that can help you achieve clear skin. I'll never shy away from giving my two cents on what's worth your hard-earned money and what isn't, as my goal is to help you find the solutions that work best for you so that you can eliminate your skin concerns, achieve your skin goals, and fall back in love with your skin the way you deserve to.
Having helped hundreds of clients and thousands of readers make better choices with their skincare products through my private practice and my online platforms, I've concluded that education is key when it comes to taking care of your skin.
So, on that note, allow me to welcome you to my corner, where we can chat all things skincare, beauty, and anything else in between. Thanks for stopping by! Read more of Simone's articles.

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