The 5 Best Body Washes For Acne
Turning 14 marked the beginning of an angsty transitional period in my life. I started high school (it sucked), had my first kiss (it was gross), and to top it all off, started developing pimples all over my chest and back. Not-so-affectionely-nicknamed bacne, this skin issue has followed me into my adult years and now, at 23, I've only just begun to figure out what works when it comes to clearing it all up. Trial, error, and tons of research helped me put together this list of the best body washes for acne, which I hope will be of use to all the fellow angsty teens and frustrated adults out there.
No matter who you are — whether you have skin genes gifted to you from the heavens or, like me, have the pickiest, most sensitive skin of all time — odds are you've encountered bacne at one point in your life. Whether it was a cluster of zits where oil collected under your favorite T-shirt or the odd whitehead in the hot summer months, we've all had to deal with it at some point or another. And that means you've definitely thought to yourself, "how the heck do I get rid of it?"
Different kinds of body acne respond differently to certain ingredients. For example, when I pop a zit on my chest and it looks way more red and enflamed than it should, I use a tea tree oil-based acne wash because tea tree works as a natural disinfectant that keeps tiny wounds from getting bigger. For hormonal breakouts, I know that salicylic acids generally work best at calming and clearing, whereas run-of-the-mill body acne responds better to benzoyl peroxide. So check out the full list of body washes to treat acne of all kinds, below.
1. The All-Around Best Body Acne Solution
While this first pick may come as a surprise, this whopping 32-ounce bottle of Dr. Bronner's not only lasts forever, but is also the miracle body wash I swear by to clear up my pesky back and chest acne. The formula is 100 percent vegan, which means it's free of any potentially irritating ingredients, and because the product itself is so concentrated, you only need to mix a few drops with water to get a sudsy lather that'll cover your entire upper body. Hemp, olive, and coconut oils leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated while still fighting even the most stubborn whiteheads, because who doesn't enjoy being both acne-free and moisturized? While I love all the Dr. Bronner's formulas, the rose hemp is my ultimate favorite because not only is it a holy grail body wash, but it also smells absolutely amazing.
2. The Best Exfoliating Body Wash For Acne-Prone Skin
Sometimes you need to amp up your body wash game, which is where an exfoliating formula comes in. Exfoliators don't just cleanse — they help rid the layer of dead skin that might be causing your body acne. This glycolic cleanser from 5 Elements, formulated with — you guessed it — only five natural ingredients, is not only effective at ridding skin of acne, but it also brightens and tones to get rid of hyperpigmentation and dark spots, too. Unlike BHAs, glycolics are Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and target the skin's surface to get rid of impurities on the outer layer of dermis (like acne scars or redness). This glycolic formula is also gentle on sensitive skin because it contains moisturizing humectants derived from coconut and vegetable sources, which allows your skin to get the exfoliation it needs without resulting in undue dryness or further dermal discomfort. This cleanser is perfect for all-over acne and is formulated without harmful irritants like fragrances and preservatives, so you can use it liberally on both your bacne and face without fear. One thing to note is that you might not want to use this product every day — too much exfoliation can actually make things worse — so a couple of times a week should suffice (and alternate the other days with a gentler formula, like the Dr. Bronner's, above).
3. The Best Body Wash For Whiteheads And/Or Oily Skin
If the kind of body acne you get is relegated to the realm of occasional annoying whiteheads or some red bumps every once in a while, a catch-all benzoyl peroxide treatment, like this one from Dr Song, is the perfect product for you. The 10 percent concentration is the highest on the market, so if you have more sensitive skin, you might not want to use this wash every day, but rather only when you're breaking out. Benzoyl peroxide can also be a drying agent for people who are prone to chafing or flaky skin, so this product is definitely for those with more oily, sweaty skin year-round. However, even someone like me who is far more prone to skin dryness can make good use of washes like this in the summer, when my body's sweat glands rebel and leave me with bacne as well as pit stains. While this product is the priciest body wash on this list, you're technically paying for the price of two products, because this formula also doubles as a face cleanser.
4. The Best Body Wash For Hormonal Acne
Like me, you might get some major breakouts on your body around the time you're menstruating, stressed, or also experiencing breakouts on your face. This acne is likely hormonal and is best treated with a salicylic acid treatment like this CeraVe Body Wash. Salicylic is a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), which means its structure better lends itself to oil solubility that allows it to penetrate deeper than other kinds of acne treatments to really clear out pores and stop acne at its source. Salicylics are great for rough and bumpy skin — which this CeraVe body wash is actually targeted for — because of their ability to get to the lower layers of dermis and exfoliate to reveal smoother, rejuvenated skin underneath the surface. While washes like this can be drying because of the aforementioned exfoliating properties, this CeraVe formula is made especially for folks with sensitive skin (think rosacea or eczema-prone), making it safe for every day use.
5. The Best Body Wash For Healing Popped Pimples
If you're like me and can't resist trying to pop a zit on your back (don't pretend like you've never wanted to...), using an acne cleanser that doubles as a disinfectant is a smart and safe move. This cleanser by Essential Oil Labs features one of my favorite natural acne-fighters, tea tree oil. While using tea tree oil in its purest form can be a little dangerous (because it's so powerful, getting a bit of a burn from it is not unheard of), it's an amazing ingredient when properly diluted and works as both an antibacterial and antifungal, making sure that your acne wounds stay sterile and are able to heal without any bumps along the way (pun intended!). Ingredients like coconut oil and shea butter make this cleanser safe for daily use, allowing it to disinfect, protect, and moisturize all at once.
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