Elaborate skin care routines have seemingly become the norm, which makes no-fuss, easy-to-use products all the more welcome — especially when it comes to acne. Using a cleansing pad after washing your face (in the morning or at night) is a quick and effective way to heal current breakouts and prevent future flare-ups from happening. But to find the best cleansing pads for acne, you're going to want to pay attention to the ingredients.
If you were big on cleansing pads in your high school days (hi, same), you'll probably remember how drying they could be, due to alcohol landing towards the top of the ingredients list. Today, most brands offer alcohol-free formulas that still contain enough salicylic acid (one of the most effective acne-fighting ingredients out there) to unclog pores without turning your skin into the Sahara, though if your skin is extremely oily, you might actually want a formula with alcohol.
Though salicylic acid is nowhere near as harsh as alcohol, it can still be drying, so be sure to moisturize twice daily. Also, to avoid further throwing your skin out of whack, start by using your acne pads once a day, twice a week (you can work your way up to once daily as your skin gets used to them). And since salicylic acid can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, don't forget to be extra vigilant about SPF.
Ahead, you'll find five of the best acne pads on the market — from the most travel-friendly to the best for sensitive skin.
1. The Best Cleansing Pads For Oily Skin
Oxy Daily Defense Acne Cleansing Pads (3 Pack)
This tried-and-true drugstore pick from Oxy comes in a pack of three with 90 pads in each jar so that you're fully stocked. While sensitive skin types might want to steer clear of the two percent salicylic acid and alcohol-based formula, these pads are great for anyone trying to find a solution for oily skin.
2. The Best Cleansing Pads For Sensitive Skin
Stridex Medicated Pads, Sensitive Skin
Most cleansing pads for acne are formulated with oily skin types in mind and contain two percent salicylic acid to really cut through pore-clogging debris. But if you have acne-prone skin that tends to be dry or sensitive, Stridex formulated their pads with a gentler dose of 0.5 percent salicylic acid. Plus, they've added aloe to help further soothe sensitive skin and reduce inflammation. These also come in a pack of three, with each jar containing 90 pads — and for just over $10, that's a lot of bang for your buck.
3. Best Multi-Taskers
Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction Pads
Sometimes you're hit with a skin care double whammy and find yourself trying to treat acne and plump up tired-looking skin (*raises hand*). Instead of adding multiple steps to your routine, try these cleansing pads from Peter Thomas Roth, which combine two seriously effective ingredients in one double-sided pad: Two percent salicylic acid focuses on quelling present and future breakouts, while 10 percent glycolic acid stimulates collagen production and sloughs away dead skin. They even have a yummy peach bellini scent, though you only get one jar, which contains 60 pads.
4. Best All-Natural (And The Most Travel-Friendly) Option
Hello Cider Apple Cider Vinegar Acne Treatment Face Wipes
If you're looking for a more natural solution, Hello Cider is an Austin, Texas-based company that sources its botanical ingredients from 100 percent USDA-certified organic farmers in the United States. Their cleansing wipes list organic apple cider vinegar as their star acne-fighting ingredient, while other natural ingredients, like chamomile water, help calm inflammation. And, because these pads are individually packaged, they're perfect for traveling.
5. Best For Body
Proactiv Clear Zone Body Pads
Because acne doesn't discriminate, you might notice breakouts on areas other than your face, like your chest or back. That's why Proactiv developed cleansing pads specifically meant for the body (although you can totally use them on your face, too). Salicylic and glycolic acids team up in this formula to banish blemishes and brighten skin, while allantoin and green tea help to moisturize and soothe any irritation.
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