Yes, You Can Treat Acne With Bar Soap — & These Are The Best Ones


Just like people who swear by double-cleansing or only prefer taking showers over baths, bar soaps have something of a cult following. Some bar soap-devotees find solace in the old-fashioned method of cleansing, some find them more luxurious than shower gel, and others prefer using them since the lack of plastic packaging makes them a more eco-friendly choice. The good news is, there are bar soaps formulas to treat almost every skin concern, and if you're searching for the best bar soaps for acne, you've come to the right place.

When it comes to picking the best bar soap for your specific acne-prone skin type, look out for three of the most effective known ingredients for treating breakouts: sulfur, tea tree, and charcoal. Like any other acne-fighting ingredient, these can be a bit drying if used on their own. And since drying your skin out further can exacerbate acne, you'll want to choose a bar soap formula that also includes ingredients to replenish moisture, like shea butter, glycerin, beeswax, or oils sourced from botanical ingredients like coconuts and avocados.

Below, you'll find five great bar soaps for acne (on both your face and body) that keep all this criteria in mind.


The Overall Best Bar Soap For Acne (Face & Body)

If you haven't yet tried sulfur to treat your acne, now is the time. Braunfels Labs Premium 10% Sulfur Soap Cleansing Bar is loaded with this highly effective ingredient, making it the top pick for zapping zits. It does contain glycerin and palm oil to help in the moisture department but because it has such a high percentage of sulfur, it can be a bit drying, so make sure to follow up with a proper face cream. It's fragrance-free and vegan and comes in a two-pack, so you can use one on your face and one on your body (if you need it). Reviewers say it's also a highly effective treatment against other skin conditions like rosacea and scabies, and many report it to be a much more affordable treatment for hormonal acne than prescription creams like tazorac.

What reviewers are saying: "My teenage son has had cystic acne and the only product that has helped was R&F acne kit but it was pretty expensive to buy every 3 months or so... I decided to try these bars two years ago. He washes his face every 2-3 nights w/ this soap and the acne is all but gone. It was the deep cystic acne that a lot [of] people treat with prescription drugs and is very hard to get rid of. This is the best alternative we have found, does a great job and is very inexpensive. Give it a try if you are having any sort of acne issues."


The Best Bar Soap For Sensitive, Acne-Prone Skin (Face & Body)

Those who have sensitive skin and acne can have a hard time finding formulas that work for them, because so many acne-fighting products are on the harsh side. But The Yellow Bird's Activated Charcoal Soap Bar is a great option for folks who find themselves in this gray area. It's made with all-natural ingredients that are mostly organic or botanical-based, making is fantastic for sensitive skin. The main acne-fighter is activated charcoal, which absorbs dirt and oil, but it also contains lavender, which helps to calm red, stressed-out skin. Lavender also has the added benefit of being naturally antibacterial and antifungal, which makes it a good choice for treating conditions like dermatitis. And on the moisture front, the formula also contains shea butter and coconut oil, so your face won't feel dried out. Some customers say it's a great treatment for psoriasis, too.

What reviewers are saying: "I have been suffering from acne for over 15 years. Recently my acne has been more "cystic" in nature. This product literally has made such a difference in my skin immediately. It cleans my makeup off and makes my skin feel fresh and clean. I only got 1 zit since I started using it a week ago and it's a tiny little one. It helped heal my atopic dermatitis while all other products failed!"


The Best Bar Soap For Very Dry, Acne-Prone Skin (Face & Body)

Acne-prone skin that's on the extremely dry side will benefit from a more nourishing formula, like this one from Shea Butter. African black soap is a powerhouse when it comes to fighting acne, because it's naturally antibacterial and made with plant-sourced ingredients, so it unclogs pores and clears blemishes without being irritating. To keep dry skin moisturized, this bar contains a high concentration of organic shea butter — one of the more nourishing ingredients around — as well as aloe and organic oats, which are both extremely soothing. And because this brand believes in using only the most sustainable, fair-trade methods and ingredients, you can feel good about buying from them.

What reviewers are saying: "I have combination, acne prone skin with eczema and I've been using this soap for a couple months. It has improved the quality of my skin dramatically. I have noticed significantly less acne on my body and almost no dry/bumpy patches of skin. On top of everything else, it actually smells good too."


The Best Bar Soap For Very Oily, Acne-Prone Skin (Face & Body)

If your acne-prone skill falls on the extra-oily side, try this bar soap from Beessential. The star ingredient here is tea tree oil, which is naturally antiseptic and antibacterial and also helps reduce redness and inflammation. But since drying out the skin can sometimes make it more oily, the brand was sure to include coconut, avocado, olive oil, shea butter, and beeswax to counteract dryness without exacerbating oil production.

What reviewers are saying: "I have had somewhat oily skin my entire life including acne as a teen. Throughout my life, it has been tough to find a soap that cleanses my pores and removes just enough oil to avoid a breakout but not so much as to completely dry out my face, which in turn causes "rebound" oiliness. This soap seems to do the trick! I've been using it day and night for over a week now and it has performed perfectly. I just wish I had this stuff 40 years ago! Seriously, this is one of the best soaps I have ever used."


The Best Bar Soap For Bacne & Body Breakouts (Body Only)

For those looking for a treatment for body acne only, pick up this value-pack from Dr. Bronners. It's best not to use this Castile bar soap on your face (though as you'll see in the review below, some do), but boy is it effective for blemishes and bumps on your back, butt, arms, and legs. This is another bar soap formula that relies on naturally tea tree oil, which as I mentioned above, is naturally anti-bacterial and antiseptic. Other ingredients include fair-trade hemp, jojoba, and olive oils. Like the entire Dr. Bronner's range, this is one of the rare skin care products out there that's USDA Certified-Organic, and you can also use it to wash your hair (in fact, the tea tree oil might help treat itchy scalps and dandruff). And because you get six bars, you can stock up for the whole family.

What reviewers are saying: "I have sensitive skin and this soap really is magic. I have been combating acne not only on my face but [also on] my back and this is the cure to all my problems thanks to tea tree essential oil. Usually bar soap over dries my skin but this doesn't and best of all, this 1 bar of soap can wash my hair, face, and body. As suggested, you would want to use conditioner after or pair it with this brand's hair rinse. This soap lathers up really easily I even use it to lather my shaving needs with my shaving brush."

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