There are probably many reasons why you wanted to leave your teen years behind, and saying goodbye to your acne was surely one of them.

But don’t freak out if those pesky pimples stuck around. “Adult acne in women is super common,” says Nazanin Saedi, MD, director of the Jefferson Laser Surgery and Cosmetic Dermatology Center in Philadelphia. The main cause: hormonal imbalance. That’s why dermatologists often recommend medications like birth control, which can help keep hormones like estrogen and testosterone in check.

On this page you will find the best options on the market to help deal with this once and for all.

OUR SKINCARE EXPERTS HAVE tested OVER FIFTY OF THE TOP ACNE face washes for sensitive skin and evaluated 3000+ customer reviews


This post features 9 carefully chosen acne face washes for sensitive skin with the most effective results available in the market today. When I say carefully, it means that our listing is based on the analysis of over 3140 real user reviews and in depth understanding of the brands behind these products.

Our team of skincare experts and dermatologists only picked the highest rated and most successful products that work best for acne-prone and sensitive skin.


Top 3 – Editor’s Picks

If you’re in a rush, here’s our top pick for the best acne cleanser for sensitive skin type.

#1 – Misumi Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser

Great for sensitive, acne-prone skin

  • Helps to clear up acne fast
  • Gentle ingredients with powerful results
  • Removes impurities that clog up pores and cause acne
  • Results easily beats big brands and tough competition
  • 60-Day money back guarantee
5.0 stars out of 5

Read Review

#2 – Neutrogena Oil-Free Pink Grapefruit Cleanser

Suitable for: Sensitive skin

  • It works surprisingly well
  • It is oil-free
  • It smells great
4.5 stars out of 5

Read Review

#3 – AHA 10% Skin Perfecting Cleanser

Suitable for: All skin types, especially individuals with adult acne

  • Naturally derived ingredients including Glycolic Acid, Grapefruit, Chamomile, Lemon, Rosehip Oil, Japanese Plum, and Seaweed Extract
  • Anti-aging bonus
  • Does not dry out skin
4.5 stars out of 5

Read Review



Buy Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser on Official Website

However, what you put on your face also matters. The first step in your anti-acne regimen? A cleanser that you can lather up with morning and night. “Nighttime cleansing washes off dirt and excess oil that’s sitting on skin, while morning cleansing will clear off anything that accumulated overnight,” says Dr. Saedi.

A few ingredients to look for in your face wash: salicylic acid (to exfoliate and remove pore-clogging debris and break up blackheads and whiteheads), glycolic acid (the best at exfoliating and unclogging impurities and excess oil due to it’s tiny molecules), lactic acid (to fight acne and even out skin tone),  benzoyl peroxide (to clean out the P. acnes bacteria that contributes to acne), or sulfur (to lessen inflammation).



One downside is that face washes for acne can be drying. This is a big concern especially for those of us who is lucky enough to have both acne-prone and sensitive skin. You may also be tempted to overdo it on cleansing—and get irritated as a result (hello, angry skin!). Pro tip: If you do get a bit dry or flaky, scale back to every other day and follow with a noncomedogenic moisturizer designed for oily or acne-prone skin.

Bonus: when it comes to face wash, you don’t have to pick an expensive one—drugstore buys will get the job done, says Dr. Saedi. Here are 9 face wash that are great for sensitive skin that have top-notch pimple-fighting power.

Top Face Wash for Sensitive, Acne-Prone Skin


#1- Misumi Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser

Picking the number 1 acne cleanser for sensitive skin was surprisingly not a hard choice. After trying over fifty of the best rated acne cleansers, we’ve come to a conclusion that Misumi’s Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser is by far the most powerful and effective cleanser on the market, especially for those with sensitive skin. It easily beats out tough competitors like Murad, Curology, and Proactiv. This breakthrough formula is an incredible blend of Glycolic acid, Lactic acid, and Salicylic acid, the three ‘miracle acne-fighting ingredients’. The trio work together to unclog and tighten pores, remove impurities that cause acne, and accelerate the skin’s natural healing process. It fights acne from the inside out, which ensures long-lasting results. The cleanser also incorporates Lavender which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness and swelling, while also preventing severe acne scars. The best part is that it is developed specifically for sensitive skin, so unlike many acne products, this one won’t irritate your skin. All in all, this is our top choice. Misumi really checks all the boxes of everything we’re looking for in a great acne cleanser for sensitive skin type.

Check out this before and after photo from a customer


  • Powerful combination of Lactic, Glycolic, and Salicylic acid
  • Developed for sensitive skin 
  • High concentration of premium quality ingredients
  • Calms breakouts and reduces redness and swelling
  • Promotes even skin tone
  • Naturally derived
  • 60 Day Money Back Guarantee


  • There are cheaper options out there

Pro tip: Choose a subscription plan (30 or 60 days) and get 20% savings on the cleanser. Easy cancellation anytime.

Check out what these customers have to say about clear skin salicylic cleanser

Unique Formula

One thing that drew me to this product was its unique blend of ingredients. This is the first product I have found that has salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and lactic acid (great for treating rosacea too) all in one. With this combination, I was nervous about it being too harsh and irritating on my skin, but it is surprisingly gentle! I’ve never experienced that burning or stinging sensation that sometimes occurs with other, harsher competitors. My skin hasn’t dried out either. My skin is sensitive, so I only started with the cleanser. Now that I can see my skin is tolerating the treatment, I am thinking about upgrading my routine with the Misumi toner too!


Verified Buyer


#2 – Neutrogena Oil-Free Pink Grapefruit Acne Facial Cleanser

With skin-brightening vitamin C and blackhead-banishing salicylic acid, this wash is a “refreshing way to start off your morning and treat acne and red marks,” says Dr. Saedi. The grapefruit scent is a great way to perk yourself up in the a.m., too.


  • contains Salicylic acid
  • good for deep cleansing
  • good price
  • gentle formula for more sensitive skin


  • Not sufficient on its own for fighting acne



#3 – Misumi AHA 10% Skin Perfecting Cleanser

This product goes double duty as a daily cleanser (to clear breakouts) and also a great anti-aging treatment (to reduce fine lines and wrinkles). The Skin Perfecting Cleanser’s list of naturally derived ingredients makes it stand out from the crowd. The ingredients are also sensitive skin friendly. The advanced formula combines the acne fighting benefits of Glycolic Acid with other natural miracle ingredients including Rosehip Oil (antioxidant), Chamomile (reducing redness and swelling), Seaweed extract (heal acne), Japanese Plum and so many more natural treatments. It also helps control that shiny forehead you deal with by 3 p.m., thanks to oil-controlling Grapefruit and Lemon.


  • Tackles both acne and premature aging
  • Contains Glycolic Acid, the most effective exfoliator for deep pore cleansing
  • Helps kill acne bacteria
  • Natural ingredients
  • Helps control excess oil without drying the skin


  • Not suitable for those allergic to Glycolic Acid

Even skin!!!

It’s only taken me 25 years to find the perfect cleanser but I’m so glad I did!! The AHA skin perfecting cleanser not only helped me battle hormone induced acne but has eased the transition (read as: wrinkles!) of closing in on 40. Thanks so much for the awesome product.


Verified Buyer


#4 – La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser Acne Wash

This 2% salicylic acid face wash from La Roche-Posay sops up excess oil and contains lipo hydroxy acid, a micro-exfoliant that buffs away dirt and smooths out skin.


  • Great for blackheads and whiteheads
  • Good choice for individuals with mild acne


  • Does not directly fight or kill acne-causing bacteria


#5 – Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser

If anything reminds you of your teen years, it’s probably Clean & Clear products—but they work! This pick contains 10% benzoyl peroxide (the strongest you’ll find), so it offers serious bacteria-killing power if your skin can tolerate it, says Dr. Saedi. Menthol also leaves behind a tingly, cooling effect—great for those painful bumps. While its intended for daily use, lathering up with this every day might be a bit drying, so give your skin a break if it needs it.


  • Benzoyl Peroxide fights acne-causing bacteria.


  • 10% B.P. is a strong formula. Not suitable for sensitive skin
  • Causes dryness and may cause peeling. Best to moisturize after use.


#6 – Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

This basic cleanser is a dermatologist favorite for a reason—it’s designed to wash away impurities without irritating, making it great for acne-prone skin. It’s especially soothing for those with a sensitive complexion or eczema, says Dr. Saedi. 


#7 – Traditional Sulfur Soap Cleansing Bar

Sulfur calms down redness and inflammation, says Dr. Saedi. Catch is, it’s not always pleasant-smelling. However, reviewers of this bar, which acts as an antiseptic and antifungal, say it has a mild fragrance and (most importantly) really fades both mild and cystic acne.


#8 – Bioré Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser for Oily Skin (6.77oz)

The addition of charcoal (a great ingredient for oily skin) to this 1% salicylic acid cleanser helps penetrate clogged pores to clear out blackheads, says Dr. Saedi.


#9 – Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Control 3-in-1 Foaming Wash

The 2% salicylic acid in this foaming cleanser treats existing breakouts while keeping P. acnes bacteria at bay to prevent future ones. 



If you’re tired of acne, try one of the best acne face washes. They will unclog your pores and get rid of inflammation and blackheads. These cleansers are one of the best ways to gently exfoliate your skin and improve its texture, too.