11 Acne Body Washes That Actually, Truly Zap Zits, According to Dermatologists

Here’s the thing: Some acne face washes are kiiiiiinda the worst. Even though active ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are excellent zit zappers, they’re usually paired with harsh sulfates—i.e., stripping cleansers usually found in dish soap—and the combination is way too drying and irritating for your sweet lil face. The good news? The skin on your chest, back, shoulders, and butt is way less sensitive, which means acne body washes aren’t totally off the table to soothe your breakouts. Here’s what experts have to say about treating bacne, chestne, butt pimples, and other body breakouts—all without turning your skin into a dry, flaky mess.

Meet the experts:

    How to use an acne body wash

    A great acne body wash doesn’t just clean the surface of your skin—it also works to remove built-up oil and unclog pores. That’s why you should think of an acne body wash more like a short-contact treatment rather than just a cleanser. “It is important to give the cleanser enough contact time with the skin to allow it to do its job,” says Zeichner. “Applying it and immediately rinsing it off will help remove soiling from the skin, but won’t give the actives enough time to penetrate through the follicles to get to where they need to go to be effective. So I tell my patients to apply a cleanser, let it sit while you sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to yourself, then rinse off.”

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    Speaking of effectiveness: Henry says some manual exfoliation (such as with a Buf-Puf or other body sponge) can help make your body wash as effective as possible. “A big part of body acne is the fact that the body does not exfoliate itself as effectively as a face, which makes it more prone to having clogged pores if one is acne-prone,” she explains. “So adding additional exfoliation is really critical to clearing up body acne.” Also critical to clearing up acne: using the right stuff. So how do you choose?

    How to choose the best acne body wash

    There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all acne body wash, as everyone’s skin is different, and what works for your bestie miiight not work for you. “I put washes for body acne in two categories: supportive or therapeutic,” says Zeichner. “If you are using prescription acne medications or leave-on products, then I recommend sticking to cleansers that help support the health and hydration of the outer skin layer, like Dove’s Gentle Exfoliating Body Wash.” However! If you aren’t already relying on your cleanser to treat body acne, then you’ll wanna look for a therapeutic wash. Here are some things to keep in mind while ya shop:

    Look for these key ingredients

    Your two best friends when it comes to acne body washes are def benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. “My two favorite ingredients to look for are 5 to 10% benzoyl peroxide and 2% salicylic acid,” explains Turegano. “I also find that washes with 5 to 10% glycolic acid can be helpful for smaller acne bumps and acne marks or scars.”

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    So why are salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide so great? “Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that removes dead cells and excess oil from the surface of the skin,” Zeichner says. “It is a great option for people with blackheads because it helps clear the pores.” And as you probs already know, benzoyl peroxide is pretty much the holy grail when it comes to treating acne. “It is particularly useful in treating red, angry pimples,” Zeichner adds. “Benzoyl peroxide works by lowering levels of acne-causing bacteria on the skin and reducing inflammation.” BTW, when using a benzoyl peroxide body wash, just make you rinse off reeeeally well, ’cause it can stain your towels or clothes.

    Avoid oil-based formulas

    Since body acne forms when oil gets trapped in the pores, causing blockages and inflammation, it makes sense that you’d wanna avoid oil-based formulas that’ll only exacerbate the issue. “I recommend avoiding oils that can clog pores,” says Turegano. “This includes coconut oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil, and almond oil, among others.”

    Consider your skin sensitivity

    Got sensitive or dry skin? Then be careful when choosing a wash with benzoyl peroxide. “I think that benzoyl peroxide should be used at a lower percent strength or avoided if you have a sensitivity to it or if you have very dry skin,” Turegano suggests. And while benzoyl peroxide- and salicylic acid-based formulas tend to be the most effective, a glytone exfoliating body wash may be the best choice for those with sensitive or dry skin. According to Henry, “Gycolic acid is less drying than salicylic acid, so if someone has quite sensitive skin, a glytone exfoliating body wash might be the best bet.”

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    Now on to the good stuff! Ahead, the best acne-banishing cleaners, according to dermatologists:

    Our top acne body wash picks of 2022

      Ready to kiss your body acne buh-bye? These are the best acne body washes on the market rn, depending on your needs.

      References

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      About the Author: Tung Chi