Whether you struggle with mild acne or need help handling larger breakouts, you’ll want the best exfoliator for acne. If you don’t already know, there are plenty of reasons that it could help out!
Exfoliating your face helps to smooth out your skin, soften, and brighten it. As for acne, it helps to reduce how clogged your pores are with sebum and dead cells.
However, to exfoliate correctly, you need to find the right option for you. This could mean things like finding the best exfoliator for acne prone sensitive skin.
In other words, there are a lot of acne exfoliators out there that work great for some but not others. This can make finding the right one for you fairly overwhelming if you aren’t sure where to start.
Don’t panic yet, though! With our recommendations, you’ll find the best exfoliator for acne prone skin that fits your needs.
The 15 Best Exfoliators for Acne
1. Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
This exfoliator uses three key ingredients to buff away dry skin. This includes lactic acid, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid.
Together, these work to give you smoother and brighter skin. In addition, it helps to remove toxins and irritants from your pores, reducing breakouts.
The formula also relies on jojoba beads to help polish and exfoliate your skin alongside the acids. This is great because they’re biodegradable, making them more environmentally-friendly.
You can even depend on this exfoliator to leave out harsh ingredients. There aren’t any sulfates, phthalates, formaldehyde, gluten, mineral oil, or oxybenzone.
For the best results, use this exfoliator two or three times a week. It’s versatile too, since it’s designed to cater to all skin types.
2. Elemis Gentle Rose Exfoliator Smoothing Skin Polish
This Elemis option, as the name suggests, is made to work gently. This makes it a great choice if you have sensitive skin or mature skin.
On top of that, it’s gentle enough for daily use. This makes it a good choice for consistently maintaining skin that’s prone to breakouts and acne.
This exfoliator relies heavily on the inclusion of Moroccan rose for a couple of reasons. First, it offers a gentle and natural scent to the exfoliator.
Secondly, rose works well to reduce skin irritation. This includes the breakouts you want to heal as quickly as possible.
It also uses ingredients such as cucumber. This helps to soothe and moisturize your skin while you exfoliate.
3. Joanna Vargas Exfoliating Mask
If you aren’t sure about your skin type or just want something versatile, you’ve come to the right place. This Joanna Vargas face mask is made to cater to all skin types.
Even better than that, it’s an easy part of your routine as well. Once you’ve washed your face, apply the mask in a thin layer.
Next, massage it into your skin for about a minute and then leave it for five minutes. Lastly, just rinse your face with lukewarm water.
You only have to complete this routine twice weekly!
You can also turn to this face mask if your ideal exfoliator is all natural. For example, the main exfoliant is volcanic ash rather than a harsher ingredient.
Related: Top Rated Face Masks for Acne-Prone Skin
4. Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser
If you’re dealing with acne or just want to improve your skin health, this is a good tool to have. Not to mention, it works in a dual manner to exfoliate and soothe your skin.
As for exfoliation, we can thank this product’s use of glycolic acid. This works to break down and unwelcome build-up on your face.
The soothing notion comes in with the help of herbal ingredients. This includes chamomile, St. John’s wart, sage, marshmallow, and yarrow.
You also have some freedom in the frequency that you use this exfoliator. While the company suggests consulting a specialist, you can safely use it two or three times each week.
This is another of our favorites that works for all skin types.
5. NeedCrystals Microdermabrasion Crystals Skincare Booster
For those who love a good DIY project, NeedCrystals has you covered. This is actually a kit that allows you to make your own exfoliator for you.
The kit includes the crystals you’ll need. All you have to do is add them appropriately to your face cleanser or body wash.
NeedCrystals has three primary products: just crystals and crystals with either salicylic acid or vitamin C added. If you’re trying to get a handle on acne breakouts, you’ll want to opt for the salicylic acid option.
While the crystals help to exfoliate, this added ingredient offers the extra boost you need to handle tough acne.
Best of all, this is even a promising choice for tackling acne scars.
6. DRMTLGY Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub and Face Exfoliator
While this exfoliating scrub is excellent for acne, it also carries the benefits of an anti-aging product as well. In addition, you don’t need a lot to get the job done, making this a long-lasting supply.
You can expect this exfoliator to help minimize pores, reduce acne scarring, and eliminate blemishes. In addition, you’ll notice a brighter, healthier complexion if you use it regularly.
You can also rely on this exfoliator to help everyone. It’s made for all skin types, genders, and is even great for both teens and adults.
There’s no need to feel guilty when you use this product either. The manufacturing process is completely cruelty-free and the ingredients list is all-natural.
7. CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser
This CeraVe is a gentle option but it’s also a long lasting one. Using this will not only wash your face but build up long-term protection.
Alongside salicylic acid, this formula heavily relies on ceramides. These work to help create a barrier on your skin that works to lock moisture in throughout the day.
CeraVe focuses on delivering the essential ceramides to your skin including 1, 3, and 6-II. Paired with a controlled release, this helps to set you up for success.
As for how gentle it is, it’s both non-comedogenic and fragrance-free. It also doesn’t have a drying effect or exfoliate via microbeads which could irritate your skin.
This makes it much safer and more effective on sensitive skin.
8. Body Merry Glycolic Acid Exfoliating Cleanser
Body Merry offers gentle but effective exfoliation. This includes using formula components such as jojoba wax beads and glycolic acid to exfoliate your skin.
You can even rely on this exfoliator for nourishment. Ingredients like rosehip, tea tree, and olive are great for moisturizing your skin.
There are other soothing ingredients included in the exfoliator as well. This includes helpful additions such as aloe.
If you’re worried your skin looks dull or uneven, this can help with that too. That’s where the kojic acid in the formula is especially helpful.
The company points out that this is designed to work for most skin types. You can even use it as a makeup remover or general face wash alongside acne treatment.
9. Era Organics Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub and Face Exfoliator
This exfoliator is helpful with plenty of problem areas – including acne! It’s particularly useful since it helps to clean your face, in your pores, and removes dead skin cells.
At the same time, it works to nourish your skin deeply and lastingly. You can even turn to it to reduce scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles.
When it comes to natural, nourishing ingredients, this exfoliator doesn’t back down. It features aloe vera, honey, canola oil, orange oil, and more.
For the exfoliation, this brand doesn’t turn to environmentally harmful ingredients either. Instead, they opt for a safer, more biodegradable option: ground walnut shells.
This also exfoliates gently. It won’t cause any irritation or tearing due to harsh ingredients.
10. Replenix Acne Solutions Exfoliating Acne Pads
Rather than a messy liquid, Replenix streamlined your exfoliation process. Instead, this jar contains 60 ready-to-use pads for cleaning your face.
This makes your routine insanely easier. All you have to do is wipe your face with the pad, using both sides.
These rely on glycolic acid and salicylic acid to offer you the exfoliation you’re looking for. Depending on your skin type and your needs, you can order this with2%, 5%, or 10% glycolic acid.
For the best and safest balance, each of these options uses 2% salicylic acid.
With this formula, you’ll have a smoother skin tone, clearer pores, and better conditioned skin.
This product offers all of these benefits while staying non-comedogenic and relying on natural ingredients.
11. Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator
With as much popularity as the brand has, it’s no wonder there’s a value to Proactiv products. This Proactiv+ exfoliator is a great choice if you’re struggling with acne.
For the exfoliation, Proactiv relies on a blend of two exfoliants. This includes both exfoliating beads and glycolic acid which work together for lasting effects.
There is also value in what Proactiv didn’t add to this formula. For example, there are no parabens or sulfates.
This is a product that’s also meant to offer a high level of moisture. It hydrates your skin to ensure effective results.
This also means that this is an option best suited to dry skin types that are prone to acne.
12. Neutralyze Exfoliating Toner Pads for Acne Prone Skin
For those looking to rejuvenate acne-prone skin, Neutralyze has you covered. Once again, this is a mess-free option in the form of pads you can quickly use.
These are both non-comedogenic and fragrance-free. This makes it a safer choice if you have sensitive skin.
These are recommended for all skin types as well. Whether you have oily, dry, normal, or combination skin, you can use these pads.
These pads are handy for more than active acne too! They can help with issues such as acne scars as well.
These are the maximum strength that this brand offers. So, even severe acne sufferers will be able to find some relief.
13. Eighth Day Skincare Facial Tonic
This facial tonic is actually a chemical peel. It’s focused on balancing your skin’s pH and clearing up any breakouts.
The toner uses three common ingredients. This includes alpha hydroxy acid, poly hydroxy acid, and glycolic acid.
Related: Good Drugstore Toners for Acne Prone Skin
Eighth Day Skincare skips out on some of the harmful ingredients commonly found in skincare products. There are no parabens, phthalates, sulfates, PEGs, or artificial fragrances.
With regular use, you’ll notice a reduction of sebum production and pore size in less than a month.
The company does warn that this is a potent product. As such, it’s a good idea to do a spit test before a more liberal application.
14. Oleavine TheraTree Tea Tree Exfoliating Scrub
This product is well-suited to helping remove dead skin from your face. Not only does this work to help prepare your face better for moisturization but it reduces acne as well.
This is because when dirt and dead skin cells collect on your face unhindered, it clogs your pores. This product helps to remove that effectively but without irritation.
Better yet, this scrub does that without harsh ingredients. As an alternative, it relies on natural ingredients and oils.
Again, this is a product made as a preliminary step to moisturizing. It isn’t designed to hydrate fully while it exfoliates.
Oleavine Theratree highly recommends following this up with a reliable balm or lotion.
15. SkinCeuticals LHA Cleanser Gel
If you want something that can clear up your acne and clear off your makeup, you’re in luck. This cleanser is especially good for aging skin that’s acne prone.
In all, it will help clean out your pores, reduce their size, and tackle blemishes. At the same time, it won’t dry your skin out either.
The key ingredients include glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lipo-hydroxy acid, sorbitol, and glycerin. These ingredients have a 12% standing in the formula.
There are also unincluded ingredients that go a long way. For instance, there aren’t any fragrances, dyes, alcohols, soaps, or parabens in the cleanser. This is an option best suited for oily skin, combination skin, and aging skin.
Interested in products for acne prone skin? Check also:
- Best Concealers for Acne
- Best Pillowcases for Acne
- Best Face Self Tanner for Acne
- Best Primers for Acne
- Best Cocoa Butters for Acne Scars
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!