Let’s talk about something that makes us all a little uncomfortable: body acne and the best body washes you can use to combat it.
Even though as teenagers we’re told that acne is a thing we grow out of, it never really goes away. It just becomes more manageable.
And, of course, seeing a dermatologist for facial acne is always an option, as well.
But, here’s something you may not know: if you’re prone to breakouts on your face you’re probably just as prone to getting blemishes on your back or other parts of your body.
Basically, wherever you have oil-producing glands, you can get acne. Pores clog with oil, bacteria, and dead skin and create pimples and zits. It’s important to use the right ingredients to combat your breakouts.
Whether you get zits on your back after a workout or you get the occasional breakout on your arm (hey, it happens), we have compiled a list of the best body washes for your acne prone skin below!
The 15 Best Body Washes for Acne Prone Skin:
1. Eau Thermale Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel
This is a great cleanser for acne-prone skin that can be used not only for the body but also for your facial skin too. The main benefit of this cleanser is that it deeply cleans your skin but does not make your skin dry or striping. Also, this body wash has no soap in it. It means that this product keeps your skin pH at a healthy and natural level. This body wash controls sebum excess and minimizes the appearance of blemishes.
Key ingredients of this cleansing gel are Monolaurin that reduces skin oiliness. Zinc Gluconate minimizes redness and irritation of the skin. Also, this product contains gentle surfactants that gently cleans your skin. Water used in this cleanser is thermal spring water that contains vital minerals that calm and sooth your skin.
Nevertheless, this product is formulated without parabens, gluten, and won’t clog your pores. Also, this cleanser is approved by dermatologists and can be used for sensitive and allergy-prone skin.
2. iS CLINICAL Cleansing Complex
This cleanser is a great product for acne-prone but sensitive skin. It deeply cleans your pores, reduces the appearance of blemishes and irritations. Also, this cleanser does not make your skin dry. Otherwise, it hydrates and smooths your delicate skin. This product can be used for body and face. It minimizes large pores and softens the skin.
The formula of this cleanser contains Chamomile flower extract that is well known as a great natural antioxidant that calms irritated skin. The second ingredient is Centella Asiatica which is a natural antioxidant that nourishes your skin and is a great weapon against premature aging. Also, this product contains Sugar Cane extract that deeply exfoliates the skin and White Willow Bark extract that effectively cleans pores.
And last but not least, this cleanser is paraben-free.
3. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Deep Cleansing Foaming Cream
This acne wash was developed with dermatologists and contains approved and powerful ingredients that help to fight acne-prone skin problems. First of all, this cleanser can be used for the face and body. It contains 2% Salicylic Acid that controls skin oils, cleans whiteheads and blackheads, and prevents blemishes. Also, this wash contains Lipo Hydroxy Acid that cleans your skin from dead skin cells and debris. Also, this product contains Glycerin that does not let your skin dry out.
This wash can be used as a daily wash and contains no oils or parabens. Suitable for sensitive skin. Approved by dermatologists and has clinically proven results.
4. Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash with 8.8 PFAV Glycolic Acid
This body wash is a perfect option for those who have body acne and dry body skin. This product contains 8,8 % Glycolic Acid that is a great ingredient for skin exfoliation. This body wash treats red and inflamed bumps on your body skin and rough and bumpy skin. This product is great for treating scaly plaques, cracking heels, elbows, and knees because it exfoliates dead skin cells and deeply hydrates your skin.
Since this product contains AHA acids, we highly recommend you to use sunscreen because AHA acids can cause skin hypersensitivity to the sun.
5. Mario Badescu A.H.A. Botanical Body Soap
This Mario Badescu product is specially designed for body acne. It contains powerful active ingredients that help to eliminate the causes of body acne. The active ingredients of this body wash are Papaya and Grapefruit extracts that exfoliate dead skin cells. Ginseng extract plumps your skin and gives that healthy glow, while Oat protein calm irritated areas of your body.
This body wash contains plenty of natural plant extracts and natural AHA acids that are great for treating body acne.
And last but not least, this body wash is a cruelty-free product!
6. La Roche-Posay Toleriane Face Wash Cleanser
This La Roche-Posay product is a cleanser that can be used for face and body areas with acne. This wash can be used for sensitive skin because the formula of this product contains no parabens, sulfates, oils, and fragrances. Also, this cleanser is tested for allergies and approved by dermatologists.
This product can be used as a daily wash because it is a soap-free product that keeps your skin pH level natural. Also, it has Glycerin that is a great moisturizing ingredient that softens and hydrates your skin.
Key ingredient of this product is Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, that normalizes the production of sebum and prevents blemishes.
This product is oil-free, non-comedogenic and fragrance-free.
7. Neutrogena Body Clear Acne Treatment Body Wash
A great way to combat acne, both on your face and on your body, is with salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid. BHAs work on the skin’s surface and inside the pore. It’s a wonderful exfoliator that’s both gentle and deeply cleansing.
Neutrogena’s Body Clear Acne Treatment uses salicylic acid and Neutrogena’s Microclear technology to exfoliate the skin and clean out the pores. The lathering body wash also contains grapefruit extract and naturally derived Vitamin C to brighten the skin. The wash treats and helps prevent breakouts, all without over-drying the skin!
8. Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap in Hemp Rose
This 32-ounce bottle of Dr. Bronner’s is a cult favorite. It lasts forever and is 100 percent vegan, making it free of potentially irritating ingredients. The product is very concentrated so to use it, all you have to do is mix a few drips of the soap with water to get a very sudsy lather going that will cleanse your entire upper body.
The soap itself relies on hemp, olive, and coconut oils to make your skin feel soft and hydrated. But don’t worry, it’s still a cleansing formula that will help to fight acne causing bacteria. This particular version of the Dr. Bronner’s castile soap is beautifully scented with rose. It’s floral, sweet, and fresh.
If you’re concerned with the environment, you’ll be glad to know that the soap is biodegradable and comes in 100% post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic bottles. Dr. Bronner’s is committed to environmental protection, ethical sourcing, and fair- trade practices.
9. 5 Elements Cleanser- 2% Glycolic Acid and Coconut Cleanser
Just as with the Neutrogena body wash, this is an exfoliating formula. Exfoliators work double duty, cleansing the skin while simultaneously helping to get rid of dead skin that might contribute to forming acne.
The 5 Elements 2% Glycolic Acid and Coconut Cleaner is made using only five natural ingredients that are effective at getting rid of acne, brightening the skin’s tone, and helping to get rid of the hyperpigmentation and dark spots that break outs leave behind in their wake.
Unlike salicylic acid, which is a BHA, glycolics are Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). AHAs target the skin’s surface to clear impurities on the outer layer of dermis.
This particular wash is gentle on sensitive skin because it contains moisturizing elements taken from coconut and Sclerotium Gum, a mushroom derived ingredient that creates a protective barrier on the skin.
10. CeraVe Salicyclic Acid Body Wash
Just as you may get hormonal breakouts on your face during your menstrual cycle, it’s not uncommon to get hormonal acne on your body. This kind of acne is best and most easily treated with salicylic acid. Salicylics are great for rough and bumpy skin, which this wash is specifically made for!
This wash targets the lower layers of your dermis and exfoliates it to reveal smoother, rejuvenated skin. Many salicylic formulas can be drying but CeraVe is actually made for people with sensitive skin and it’s safe for every day use. CeraVe is formulated with three essential ceramides (1, 3, 6-II) that help to restore and maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier.
11. Essential Oil Labs Tea Tree Oil Body Wash
When you have acne prone skin, it can be very tempting to pop and pick at your breakouts. Unfortunately, that’s very unhygienic and can even cause further damage to the skin. If you’re prone to picking, it may be wise to select an acne cleanser that has disinfecting qualities.
Essential Oil Labs’ Tea Tree Oil Body Wash contains a natural acne-fighter that’s also a disinfectant: tea tree oil! While you may not want to use tea tree oil without diluting it (it can cause a burn if you aren’t careful), when used correctly it packs quite the punch.
It’s antibacterial, antifungal, and helps keep and self-inflicted acne-related injuries clean and sterile. Plus, this wash contains coconut oil and shea butter that make this cleanser gentle enough for daily use.
Related: Check our article about tea tree oil shampoos!
12. Murad Acne Body Wash
The Murad Acne Body Wash is unique in that it features both glycolic and salicylic acids that work together to penetrate and clean your pores to help eliminate breakouts and soothe irritated skin. AHAs and BHAs work together to clean pores while simultaneously exfoliate.
This body wash helps to reduce acne and breakouts and prevents future breakouts from occurring. The formula features date seed powder in combination with glycolic acid to exfoliate pore clogging oil, dirt, and dead skin cells.
After using such powerful ingredients, you’ll want to avoid drying out your skin. Enter the next dream team in this unique formula; green tea and licorice root extracts soothe irritated, red skin.
13. Alba Botanica ACNEdote Face and Body Scrub
Alba is a long-loved vegetarian and environmentally friendly brand that specializes in catering to those with sensitive skin.
The Alba Botanica ACNEdote scrub can be used for both your face and body. It’s made with 2% salicylic acid and willow bark making it a powerful astringent that treats and prevents acne and breakouts. The formula features parsley extract and witch hazel which calm the skin, leaving you with clear and smooth skin, free of irritation.
14. Chic Republic Natural Body Wash with Activated Coconut Charcoal
This body wash is another great option for people who want a more natural alternative. Detoxifying activated charcoal is seemingly everywhere these days, and now it’s in a great body wash!
The Chic Republic Natural Body Wash uses coconut derived charcoal to pull toxins from your skin, clearing clogged pores. White lava volcanic minerals further exfoliate dead skin cells to reveal smooth, clean skin.
The body wash also features aloe vera extract, so your skin will receive an infusion of moisture. The formula of this body wash is 95% natural, making this a great choice if you have sensitive skin.
15. SAL3 Salicylic Acid Sulfur Soap Bar
The SAL3 soap bar is a no-nonsense product that provides keratolytic, antifungal, and antiseptic benefits. The bar of soap lowers the pH of your skin’s surface while improving overall hydration and helping you retain moisture, as well.
The benefit of a bar soap is that it’s convenient to use on your neck, back, arms, and anywhere else you may be experiencing a breakout. The soap’s salicylic acid, derived from the inner bark of the white willow tree, acts as a comedolytic agent by causing skin cells to shed more quickly, unclogging blocked pores and neutralizing bacteria.
Besides acne, this soap can also be used for rosacea, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and more!
Related: Best Foundations for Rosacea
Wondering how else you can prevent and fight body acne?
- Don’t use a rag or a loofah in the shower- Wash rags and loofahs are notorious for breeding bacteria, which is certainly not helpful when you’re trying to rid yourself of acne. Use your hands to suds up your soap, instead!
- Keep your hair off your back- Hair products like conditioners and masks are wonderful for your hair. They’re deeply moisturizing and humectant but, unfortunately, they’re filled with pore-clogging ingredients that can create more problems for your skin. After rinsing your hair after your shower, tie it up with a hair tie. Then rinse off your back one last time to get rid of excess product. After drying off, make sure to slip on a shirt before taking down your damp hair.
- Shower after you work out- Do your best to avoid leaving sweaty clothing on your skin. Sweat, exercise, and tight-fitting clothing are the perfect recipe for a acne breakout. If your gym has a shower, try to take advantage of it and use a pH balancing body wash (including any from the list above) to cleanse the skin. If you’re on a tight schedule between your gym time and work time, invest in some moisture wicking fabric.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing- When you’re experiencing a break out, it’s a good idea to wear more loose-fitting clothing. Friction caused by tight clothing can further irritate your breakouts. If you wear tight yoga pants or compression shorts to work out you may also be prone to experiencing folliculitis, an irritation and infection of hair follicles.
- Considering using a back mask- Try applying a mask to body acne. Look for an all-natural calcium bentonite clay-based mask. Mix the powdered mask with apple cider vinegar, put it on your back and then after it’s dried, wash it off in the shower with warm water. After doing this a few times a week, you should see some improvement!
- Try a chemical peel- If you’re having a particularly bad breakout and have an event coming up, you may want to try a chemical peel. An in-office visit is preferable, of course. Look for local aestheticians or visit your dermatologist. But, if you’re pressed for time, you can always try an over the counter, extra strength alpha/beta peel pad.
- Use acne-friendly products- If you wear makeup every day, before applying any makeup use primer for acne prone skin. Also, it is important to mention that if you self-tan a lot, you must use a self-tanner that is suitable for acne prone skin.
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods- Just as diet can improve or worsen your facial acne, diet can effect your body acne. Increase foods that fight inflammation including leafy greens, fish, and tomatoes!
- Wash your towels, sheets, and clothes more frequently- Make sure to wash your towels and sheets frequently. Fabrics tend to hang out to bacteria, especially in humid environments (like a bathroom). If you sleep shirtless, definitely wash your sheets on a weekly basis. If you don’t have time for all that laundry, consider switching to an antimicrobial fabric towel so that bacteria doesn’t sit and then transfer back to your skin.
- Change up your laundry products- Fragrance in your laundry detergents can sometimes cause irritation and dryness on the skin’s surface. This can trigger inflammation and exacerbate existing acne. Meanwhile, the waxy coating on dryer sheets can transfer to your clothing and cause clogged pores.
- See a doctor- If nothing else helps, it may be time to see the professionals. Getting in early with your doctor is the easiest way to prevent scarring. In office procedures that are done on the face can also be applied to your back. Try microdermabrasion, blue light or red-light treatments, if all else fails. Or, if worst comes to worst, it may be time to consider an antibiotic!
Joan S. Wilson is a lifelong makeup and skincare enthusiast. She used to work as a makeup artist for 5 years. Joan is always curious and wants to learn more when it comes to makeup and skincare. She tries her best to make other people’s skin health better. This is why Joan is so passionate about writing articles on beauty topics. She always looks for products that are high-quality, dermatologist-tested, and does that it says on the label. In every article, she shares her knowledge to make your life healthier and happier!