Acne Face Wash - What You Need To Know

Everyone knows that your acne face wash is one of the key steps to having clear and acne-free skin. Have you ever thought about how they work? There are hundreds of choices when choosing an acne face wash, but they all do the same thing to varying degrees. Knowing what goes into them, and how much of each will help you decide which is right for you.

Every different type of skin requires a different type of soap. Oily skin and dry skin need to be treated with two very different products. Salicylic acid is the active ingredient in almost all of the acne face washes, and will come in different concentrates. The amount of this ingredient will determine its effectiveness and how much it will dry your skin out.

When determining which face wash for acne is best for you be sure to give the product plenty of time to work. If you are continually cycling through many products, you'll never get the results you want because the medication takes time to work effectively.

Finding the correct acne face wash is critical for clear skin. Image courtesy of nyki_m via Flickr.
Finding the correct acne face wash is critical for clear skin. Image courtesy of nyki_m via Flickr.

Acne Face Wash Ingredients

Salicylic acid is the active ingredient in almost all acne face washes.  Its concentrate varies from .5% to around 2% depending on its use.  The higher the concentrate, the more effective it is, but it will severely dry out skin that is already dry to begin with.

Salicylic acid is a plant based chemical that helps with the process of photosynthesis and preventing disease in the plants leaves.  This has zero to do with clearing your skin, but when the chemical is separated from the plant and broken down it does a great job of exfoliating skin.  This exfoliation is what makes it work for acne treatment, it helps prevent the buildup of dead cells and bacteria in the pores of your skin.

It is extremely important to only use your acne face wash as directed on the packaging.  Mixing multiple acne treatments is not recommended, unless advised by your doctor.  Using more than one treatment will result in very high acid concentrates.  Salicylic acid in concentrates higher than 2% will not clear your skin any faster, it will severely dry it out.  This is why treatments such as ProActive and Acne Free work as well as they do, they use the correct balance of treatment throughout the day.

Vintage acne ad from before they knew better!
Vintage acne ad from before they knew better!

Acne Face Wash For Your Skin Type

There are three different types of skin; normal, oily, and dry.  After you determine which type of skin you have, you can determine which face wash.  People with oily skin have more breakouts than those with normal or dry.  This is an accurate and rough way to determine which type you are.

People with oily skin can tolerate and benefit from higher salicylic content (2%) in their acne face wash.  It will remove much of the excess oil and begin to clear up the acne.  For the people with dry skin, a high concentrate of salicylic acid will dry the skin too much and they will have to use moisturizer to regain the skin's balance.  Look for the lower concentrate (.5%) and use it more often.

If you also suffer from body acne, the rest of your body may have a different composition than your face does.  It may take some experimentation with different combinations to find the perfect balance for body and face.


jazzuboo profile image

jazzuboo 7 years ago from Queensland, Australia

Good advice, especially about being careful not to mix products. You could end up with a rash that is ten times as bad as the pimples you were trying to get rid of in the first place...

Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

LoL. "Acnotabs"! It's a tough thing, glad you are doing a lot of research for this!

Research Analyst profile image

Research Analyst 7 years ago

The face wash I have been using is the neutrogena wave which is a vibrating facial cleanser that helps exfoliate and open clogged pores on dead skin or oily skin, I would say I am more prone to breakouts because of touching my face too often.

mzoghori 7 years ago

Nice information. Also you should note that while using exfoliants, be careful not to scrub too hard because this will not have an imediate treatment effect rather you will be making things worse. Remember to keep your skin dry since this keeps off moisture.

NW 6 years ago

I read your blog and gain much knowledge in Acne face Wash.

This has given me more ideas to write my first blog on similar topic.


get rid of acne overnight 6 years ago

Great tips here...

Just make sure you don't wash your face more than twice a day... or less than twice a day and you'll be fine.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    More by this Author

    Click to Rate This Article