Finding The Best Cleanser For Acne
Finding The Best Cleanser For Acne
August 1, 2020 by Kate Somerville

If you are struggling with acne, it can be challenging to find the right products to use on your face that are effective in helping you to reduce breakouts. Though there are many acne products available that claim to make a significant difference, often the result is disappointing and may be different than advertised. One of the most important products you will need if you are struggling with acne is an acne cleanser. You may be wondering, “What do cleansers do?” To help you make the best choice possible for you and your skin, we have put together a guide that details what acne cleansers are, common causes of acne, why acne cleansers are important to use, the best ingredients to look for in acne cleansers, and the best cleanser for acne. Below is everything you need to know to find the best facial cleanser for acne to start improving the appearance of your skin today.

Washing your face may seem like a relatively simple task, all you need is soap, water, and a towel to pat your face dry. However, if you are struggling with acne, the face wash you are using on your face can make a significant difference in the number of acne breakouts you are experiencing and the overall health and appearance of your skin. Acne prone skin requires that you invest additional time and effort to help reduce acne breakouts and combat the common causes of acne.

An acne cleanser is a type of facial wash that is specially designed for acne-prone skin to help prevent breakouts. An acne cleanser is significantly different than a typical face wash or bar of soap, primarily due to the unique bacteria-fighting ingredients that it contains. By choosing the right face cleanser for your skin, you can get rid of the bacteria that’s clogging hair follicles and causing breakouts. With this understanding of what a facial cleanser is, we can now cover what acne is and common causes.

An Introduction to Acne

Acne is a widespread condition that affects most individuals at some point during their life. Acne can range from mild acne (a few, occasional pimples) to moderate acne (inflammatory papules) to severe acne (nodules or cysts). The best way to treat acne depends on the type and severity of the acne. Acne forms as a result of greasy secretions from the skin’s sebaceous glands (oil glands) that clog the tiny openings of the surface of the skin in the hair follicles, known as pores. If the openings on the surface of the skin are large, the clogged pores take the form of a blackhead, which often appears as a small, flat spot with a dark center. If the openings on the surface of the skin are small, the clogged pores will take on the forms of a white head, which often appears as a small, flesh-colored bump. In both whiteheads and blackheads, the clogged pore can develop into a swollen, tender inflammation, a pimple, or a deeper lump or nodule. In severe cases of acne, such as cystic acne, the nodules are firm swellings that are located below the surface of the skin that is inflamed, tender, and in some cases infected.

Acne primarily occurs in adolescents, but some adults will also experience acne. Acne often begins when individuals reach puberty, typically between ages ten through thirteen, and lasts for five to ten years. Many people begin to see their acne diminishing in their early twenties. Acne affects both males and females, though women are more likely to experience mild to moderate forms of acne into their thirties and beyond. Pimples and blemishes often affect the face, but it can also occur on the back, shoulders, chest, neck and upper arms. With this basic understanding of acne in mind, it is now possible to explore some of the most common causes of acne.

Common Causes of Acne

Acne stems from heredity factors and hormones. Hormones are one of the primary culprits behind breakouts. During puberty, both males and females experience an influx of androgens, the male sex hormones that include testosterone. When the body produces more testosterone, a signal is distributed for the body to produce more sebum, which is the oil that is produced in the skin’s oil glands.

In addition to hormones, another common cause of acne breakouts is bacteria. When excess sebum clogs the openings of the hair follicles, bacteria begins to grow in the clogged pores, which is how pimples start to form. For women, some types of birth control pills can trigger acne, while others can suppress it, depending on the hormones used in the oral contraceptive and the woman’s unique biological state. With this understanding of the common causes of acne in mind, it is vital to understand the importance of using an acne cleanser to reduce breakouts.

The Importance of Using An Acne Cleanser

If you are suffering from acne breakouts, it is vital to use an acne cleanser as part of your skincare routine. By using an acne cleanser in your skin, you can help to reduce the number of acne breakouts you experience and improve the health and appearance of your skin.

Below is a handful of the top reasons why utilizing an acne cleanser is vital for acne prone skin.

Remove Build-Up

One of the most important reasons to use an acne cleanser is to remove build-up from the surface of the skin. An acne cleanser will help remove dirt, oil, and unwanted debris from the surface of the skin. During the day, the skin of the face becomes covered in sweat, oil, dirt, bacteria, viruses, pollutants, and dead skin cells. When these items build up on the surface of the skin, they clog pores, which can lead to acne breakouts and prevent acne treatments from penetrating into the skin properly. By using a daily acne cleanser, you can remove these impurities from the surface of your skin while keeping your skin fresh and clean.

Boost Hydration

Using an acne cleanser regularly can also help your skin maintain the right level of hydration by managing the PH levels of the skin. This will prevent the skin from becoming too oily or dry.

Maintain Clear Skin

If you are suffering from acne breakouts, maintaining clear skin is of the utmost importance. As mentioned above, tiny glands under the skin produce sebum and use the hair follicles within the skin as a pathway to allow the oil to reach the surface. However, if excessive dirt and dead skin cells build-up on the surface of the skin, the follicles become blocked and clogged, further trapping oil, sweat, and dead skin cells in the pores. This results in inflammation and acne breakouts. By using an acne cleanser regularly, you can prevent this type of build-up and allow sebum to reach the surface of the skin without becoming trapped, which reduces the likelihood of an acne breakout.

Ingredients to Look For in Acne Cleansers

When looking for the ideal acne cleanser for your skin, it is important to look for ingredients that have been shown to be effective in treating and preventing acne breakouts. Below are a handful of ingredients to look for in an acne cleanser and how they support the acne fighting process.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that the human body naturally produces. In the body, hyaluronic acid allows the body to retain water that keeps tissues well-lubricated and moisturized. Areas of the body that contain high concentrations of hyaluronic acid include the skin, the eyes, and the connective tissue. While in the body, Hyaluronic acid binds to water to help retain moisture and hydrate tissue cells. For the skin, hyaluronic acid can help keep the skin looking hydrated and healthy, which can counteract some of the harsher ingredients in acne cleansers that dry out the skin.


Chances are you are familiar with the naturally occurring, pink acne-fighting ingredient. Sulfur acne treatments are a popular choice due to its ability to help remove the top layer of skin and allowing it to peel off. Sulfur is typically recommended for oily skin types as it can help clear their pores. Check out the hyperlink if you want to dive deeper into how sulfur fights pimples!

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a beneficial ingredient for helping reduce acne outbreaks because of its qualities as a natural exfoliant. Salicylic acid is often used in treating mild to moderate acne. This beta-hydroxy acid belongs to the salicylates class of drugs. When salicylic acid is applied to the skin, it helps to promote the shedding of dead skin cells from the top layer, which helps to exfoliate. Salicylic acid is also effective at removing dirt and bacteria from the surface to purify the pores. This ingredient is particularly effective for acne prone skin because of its ability to increase circulation in oily and clogged pores by removing oils, bacteria, and dead skin cells. Salicylic acid also has astringent properties that help to reduce the oiliness of the skin and tighten it through exfoliation, which prevents acne breakouts from occurring.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint Oil is derived from the peppermint plant, which is a cross between spearmint and watermint. Peppermint oil is a beneficial ingredient for cleansers because of its calming properties.

Finding the Right Acne Cleanser

If you are suffering from acne, it is vital to find a high-quality acne cleanser that will work in conjunction with an acne treatment system. In addition, it is important to be mindful of your skin type when selecting an acne cleanser, so you do not inadvertently worsen your acne symptoms. When using an acne cleanser on your skin, it is recommended to use the cleanser once per day as well as a gentle cleanser. Using an acne cleanser more frequently than once a day will strip healthy oils from the surface of the skin and cause irritation.

Kate Somerville offers a variety of different acne treatment options to explore if you are looking for high-quality products with acne fighting ingredients. Kate Somerville’s EradiKate® Daily Foaming Cleanser is a medicated, foaming acne cleanser that contains 3% Sulfur to help reduce and prevent blemishes, unclog pores, balance oily skin, and minimize the appearance of pores. 

For more acne-fighting products, explore our treatment line for acne-prone skin.