Acid may sound like a harsh thing to put on your face, but in this case it’s exactly what you need to stop an acne breakout. Salicylic acid will clean out your pores by breaking down old skin cells. This makes whiteheads and blackheads disappear.
If you have oily or acne-prone skin, a salicylic acid wash also helps you by exfoliating old dry skin and cuts down on oiliness. The acid reduces inflammation to help stop new breakouts.
Choose a solution with 0.5 to 2% salicylic acid and use it every other day at first. Cut back on any other exfoliators or scrubs you use until you see how your skin reacts. Be careful if you’re already taking an acne medication.
Of course, pregnant or breast-feeding women should avoid salicylic acid. If you’re allergic to aspirin or willow bark, talk to a doctor before you try it.
If you’re ready to clear away acne, let’s take a look at the top five salicylic acid face washes.
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Redness Soothing Cream Cleanser
Neutrogena has an excellent reputation when it comes to skin care. They make products that get a lot of positive feedback because they perform well at reasonable prices.
Their Oil-Free Acne Wash creates a gentle foam lather to clear pores and get rid of redness and irritation. It contains 2% salicylic acid and glycolic acid to exfoliate dead skin. The aloe and chamomile soothe irritation while glycerin attracts moisture to make skin soft.
For regular use, you can wash twice a day. Neutrogena recommends mixing it up with a little water on your hands, massaging it gently into your face, then rinsing well.
Vichy Normaderm Daily Deep Cleansing Gel Cleanser with Salicylic Acid—Best for Very Sensitive Skin
Vichy Normaderm Daily Deep Cleansing Gel Cleanser has a lower concentration of 0.5% salicylic acid so it’s gentler. It contains glycolic acid and LHA to exfoliate dead skin. We appreciate the fact that Vichy left out parabens and alcohol to keep it safe for sensitive faces.
It can be used twice a day. As with the Neutrogena wash, wet your skin and massage gently with the cleanser. Rinse off well.
Biore Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser
Bioré Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser uses the power of 2% salicylic acid to clear out pores. It takes its name from the cooling sensation it gives to your skin. The cool feeling comes from eucalyptus and menthol. It also contains lavender and glycerin to soothe and hydrate your face.
Be aware that while it feels refreshing, menthol can cause irritation in very sensitive skin. Bioré warns that using their cleanser in combination with topical acne medication can cause skin dryness. Rinse well after using this product and don’t forget to moisturize.
St. Ives Naturally Clear Blemish and Blackhead Control Scrub
When you want to combine two steps into one, there’s usually a product from St. Ives that fills the need. Their Naturally Clear Blemish and Blackhead Control Scrub exfoliates with the power of 2% salicylic acid, apricot extract, corn kernel meal, and walnut shell powder. If you have very sensitive skin, think twice before you try this one. It’s very powerful.
On the other hand, if the product you’re using now just isn’t getting the job done, the St. Ives Scrub can blast away persistent problems. You’ll only need to use it three or four times a week to get results.
SAL3 Cleansing Bar – 3% Salicylic Acid, 10% Sulfur from Braunfels Labs
This SAL3 bar from Braunfels Labs is the strongest salicylic acid concentration you can buy in a cleanser. It also contains sulfur which is a strong weapon against the bacteria that causes acne.
Sulfur doesn’t dry skin like benzoyl peroxide, which makes it safer for sensitive skin.
You can use this cleanser bar on your face or any part of your body. Use a washcloth for extra exfoliating action. Rinse well afterward. Then plan to use a moisturizer after drying off your skin.
While you wait for your new face wash to arrive
We hope that this review helped you find the best salicylic acid face wash. In time, you’ll find that regular use will help your skin look healthier and feel softer. It may also help you to use a mud mask once or twice a week if you’re struggling with blackheads.
In the meantime, check out our other reviews of top products for skin care.