Even if you’re not out and about as much as usual these days, you don’t want your coworkers to be distracted by your breakout on the next Zoom call. We know that it can be a struggle to find the best face wash for your skin type without drying out your wallet.
Brittney Powell, a skincare blogger at The Blushing Bliss, knows that routine well and has tried many different acne-targeting face washes to no avail.
“Previous cleansers I’ve tried that didn’t work [include] Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, Murad Acne Cleanser, Cetaphil, Cerave, Kate Sommerville Eradikate Cleanser, Clean & Clear Triple Clear, and Clean & Clear Continuous Control,” Powell tells me.
“Depending on how specific you break it down, there are either 4 types of skin or up to 16 (a belief made popular by Dr. Leslie Baumann, a trusted dermatologist in the beauty space), but at the end of the day, I’m a believer in 4 types: dry, oily, combination, or normal skin,” says Todd Minars, MD, a board-certified dermatologist and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology, University of Miami School of Medicine. “One thing to keep in mind is that there are A LOT of skin types and some of them do require different approaches, which is why I like to recommend acne sufferers at least consult with a board-certified dermatologist.”
While you surely won’t avoid trial-and-error entirely, given that your skin is unique, there are thankfully some budget-friendly options to check out before considering a larger spend.
Best Face Wash for Men: Clinique Charcoal
Online only, spend $30 in Clinique, and get a Fresh Pressed Recharge System for $15 until 1/30.
“Great daily face wash. This is a very gentle and effective face wash. My skin never feels dried out or irritated after I use this product. I have tried several face washes in the past from different companies, this is by far my favorite. It’s hard to describe what makes it so good, but my skin seems to do very well when I use this,” says Joe from New Mexico.
“I’ve tried multiple charcoal cleansers and this is the absolute best one. I use this religiously and it deep cleans my skin without irritation. Clinique does it again with this one!” says Brando from Tempe, Arizona.
Best Face Washes for Acne: Clean & Clear Acne Wash
“One of my favorites that I use, whenever I’ve lost control of a breakout, is the Clean & Clear acne wash. It has a 2% dose of salicylic acid which after about a week of day and night use keeps the pimples and grease at bay,” says Rhea Henry, a content strategist with Rank-It.ca
“However,” Henry continues, “it is a bit harsh when I’m not having an active breakout, so I find I generally don’t use it as often outside of summer when I tend to have most of my breakouts; I just follow it up with the matching oil-control moisturizer if I find that my face feels a little dry.”
Best Drugstore Face Wash: Neutrogena Ultra Gentle
Not all of us have purely oily or dry skin. For some people, their skin falls somewhere in the middle. Whether you suffer from eczema or prefer a hypoallergenic formula, the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle is a great choice. Available in both creamy and foaming formulas, this product was developed by dermatologists to include minimal ingredients, reducing the chance of possible skin irritation.
Formulated with nourishing polyglycerin, this face wash is ideal for those with dry and sensitive skin and makes a great addition to your daily skincare routine.
“This face wash is light and smells great. It [feels] good on my skin and, actually, works perfect[ly] as a shaving cream because it’s frothy and doesn’t have [a] strong chemical smell like most shaving creams. Feels like a clean, deep clean but with a light scent. Fantastic!!!” says Craig, an Amazon customer.
“My go-to recommendations for nearly all patients looking to improve the appearance of their skin or help control acne are Cetaphil, Ceravem, and Vanicream (the original versions for each brand),” Dr. Minars tells me.
According to Dr. Minars, these non-drying products are hugely beneficial since dryness helps contribute to skin issues. They also don’t have pesky dyes or fragrances.
“Having your products free from colors and fragrances are particularly important for those patients with sensitive skin types, as those elements can irritate and flare up their issues.”
Best Face Wash for Oily Skin: Neutrogena Oil-Free Facial Cleanser
Tired of fighting with your oily skin? Look no further. This face wash has clinically proven MicroClear technology to boost the salicylic acid ingredient used to treat acne. It fights acne before it even emerges, without over-drying skin. From the #1 dermatologist recommended brand, this product will fight your blackheads and oil.
This story was originally published by Chaya Milchtein on 09/10/2020 and updated by Juliana Clark with new information on 01/13/2021.