Soaps are great! They cleanse, sterilize and some even exfoliate, however, anyone who suffers from acne has likely tried the generic soaps which you can find in bathrooms across the globe. In this post, we aim to find the best soaps for acne in 2017. Make sure to read all the way to the bottom for instructions on how to use soaps and what to look out for in the ideal soap for you.
1. Organic Peppermint Facial Cleanser – By Tree to Tub
Arguably more of a liquid soap and cleanser than a solid bar of soap. This facial cleanser is excellent if you have more than one skin condition such as acne, eczema, psoriasis or combination skin. In addition to this, the Tree to Tub brand has an excellent story and ethos. Click here to check latest price on Amazon.
- All natural ingredients which are certified vegan and cruelty-free
- Free of any harsh chemicals, dyes, and perfumes
- Excellent for washing away makeup and treating acne prone skin in one go
- 100% money back guarantee
- Cuts away oil but does not leave the skin dry
- Pricier than other soaps on this list
- Does not lather up like a traditional soap, likely due to no Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) which results in more product being used
- Very thin consistency making it somewhat challenging to lather up at times
2. African Black Soap – By Wonderfully Natural
The anti fungal, anti bacterial and anti inflammatory African black soap has been known for many decades. This soap originates from West Africa and is made up of various dried and burnt plant matter with added essential oils. If you are interested specifically in African black soaps we have compiled and review list here. Click here to check latest price on Amazon.
- 30-day money back guarantee
- Helps with fading acne scaring
- Excellent for other skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and flaky scalp
- All natural ingredients and 100% organic
- Good for exfoliation, but this is a double edged sword (see cons)
- Can be very drying after use. Always keep your favorite moisturizer handy as it is not optional after use of this soap!
- Can be quite abrasive on the skin. A potential solution might be to use a wash cloth instead of the lather on the skin.
- Some people might experience a burning sensation upon use. This may be due to some of the essential oils.
3. Dead Sea Mud Soap Bar – By Aspen Kay
The benefits of products from the dead sea are much fold and this soap is no different. With the winning combination of activated charcoal, dead sea mineral containing mud and essential oils means this soap is an excellent combatant of a multitude of skin conditions in addition to acne. Click here to check latest price on Amazon.
- No animal testing, sustainable and vegan-friendly
- Few soaps have the ability to moisturize, exfoliate and fight acne. This soap has these abilities thanks to the dead sea mud.
- Good for all skin types, genders, and ages (including teenagers).
- Men can use it to shave with, preventing inflammation and post shave acne
- This soap has a tendency to get used up fairly quickly. Make sure to get a soap box to keep it dry when using in the shower.
- Some users may find that the soap drys their skin out rather than moisturize it.
4. Charcoal Soap – By New Leaf Products
Activated Charcoal has been used in many traditional recipes for skin care, hair care, water treatment and even embalming. Activated charcoal soaps are excellent for acne due to their anti bacterial, antifungal and odor fighting properties. Click here to check latest price on Amazon.
- Extremely cost effective as this soap is sold as a three pack
- Good for detoxification of skin and has anti fungal, anti bacterial properties
- Doesn’t smell like ashes like other charcoal soaps
- 100% customer satisfaction guarantee
- Ideal for oily skin types and not many other skin types
- The lather is black so can leave your sink or shower area looking dirtier than it actually is!
- Due to the fine activated charcoal, the lather feels like washing with a gritty charcoal dust
5. DermaHarmony 2% Pyrithione Zinc (ZnP) Bar – By DermaHarmony
This soap is aimed at treating individuals with dermatitis and dandruff. Many users of this soap have reported good results in treating acne. Safe to use on the face and body on both children and adults this soap had to be included in any top acne soap list. Click here to check latest price on Amazon.
- The active ingredient of Pyrithione Zinc (ZnP) is known ingredient that inhibits bacterial growth for acne
- One of the best value medicated soaps on the market
- This soap is virtually odorless which is a refreshing change from other medicated soaps
- Although this soap has been found to help with acne it is not specifically designed for acne treatment
- People with sensitive skin may find that this soap is too harsh and leaves the skin inflamed.
- This soap can be very drying for certain skin types (dry and combination)
6. SAL3 Salicylic Acid Sulphur Soap Bar – By SAL3
Don’t be alarmed! Salicylic acid sounds dangerous but it is actually the precursor to the active ingredient in everyday aspirin which helps with headaches. When used in soap it helps with acne of course. Both sulfur and salicylic acid help treat acne by helping skin shed the uppermost layers and therefore helping pores to be unclogged. This process is better known as chemical exfoliation. Click here to check latest price on Amazon.
- Excellent for a range of conditions such as acne, dandruff, oily skin, body odor and an effective anti fungal agent
- Due to the effects of sulfur and salicylic acid this soap is an effective exfoliant
- Cost effective for a 3.5 ounce bar
- It smells horrible. Pretty much all sulfur soaps have the same downside of smelling like they kill living things. Arguably this is a lighter smelling soap and with time you do acclimatize to it.
- This soap can be extremely harsh for sensitive skin types and also be drying. Follow up with your choice of moisturizer
- Some individuals have had an adverse reaction to this soap and have had more severe breakouts
7. Neutrogena, Acne Prone Facial Bar – By Neutrogena
An oldie but a goodie! The Neutrogena acne prone facial bar is one of the best soaps for treating acne and has been around for decades! It’s pretty easy to see why this soap is recommended by dermatologists for so many years, it’s simply because it works! In addition to treating acne, it is also non-comedogenic. Click here to check latest price on Amazon.
- Great for oily, combination and sensitive skin
- Works relatively quickly to treat acne. Some people have seen results in days.
- Although not specifically designed for the body it can be used elsewhere on any acne prone areas, just don’t use on intimate areas.
- Can be severely drying so make sure to use a moisturizer after use.
- It’s unscented so some people won’t like the medicinal smell. There is also a fragranced version of the same soap however it can get a little cloying.
- A fairly small bar of soap for the price paid and doesn’t last particularly long
8. Dead Sea Mud and Charcoal Soap– By Southern Natural
Combing both the properties of charcoal and dead sea mud minerals in fighting acne, Southern Natural has developed a winning combination all in one soap. Packed with all natural ingredients and essential oils is safe to use for shaving, face, and body. Click here to check latest price on Amazon.
- Southern Natural offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee
- All natural ingredients with acne fighting essential oils
- Great soap for all skin types, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and of course acne
- You won’t smell like burnt ashes! This soap smells a lot more pleasant than other charcoal only soaps
- As with other charcoal soaps, this soap can be drying for some individuals causing mild inflammation
- Pricey for the 3 bar bundle. One bar will usually last approximately 1 month.
9. Grandpa Thylox Acne Treatment Soap – By The Grandpa Soap Company
Grandpa Thylox’s acne treatment soap has been a secret weapon for many acne sufferers. More of a premium brand than other soaps its active ingredient is Sulphur. This soap is unique in that it does not contain any other parabens, animal by products, artificial colorants or artificial fragrances of other soaps. Click here to check latest price on Amazon.
- Great soap for oily skin types due to the sulfur which sloughs off the top layer of the epidermis.
- Great for keeping blackheads away
- Designed for use on both the body and face, so will be perfect for body acne too.
- This soap is sulfur based and has the characteristic sulfur smell. Stay away if you don’t like sulfur based soaps.
- Not ideal for sensitive skin types which may cause some inflammation
10. Defense Soap – By Defense Soap
The Defense soap is specifically designed for athletes who partake in contact sports and pick up various bacterial, viral and fungal conditions such as athletes foot, folliculitis and other viral infections (warts etc) on the skin. Defense soap works due to the high essential oil content of tea tree and eucalyptus which are both proven to fight bacteria. Click here to check latest price on Amazon.
- All natural ingredients and no parabens, sulfates or artificial lathering agents
- Pharmaceutical grade tea tree and eucalyptus oil are both clinically proven to combat bacteria and viruses.
- Smells like eucalyptus unlike other chemical smelling soaps
- Not specifically designed for fighting acne but does work to fight breakouts
- On the pricier side, however, for a pack of 5, the cost does average down
Key factors to consider
Acne soap is not a magic bullet sadly. It won’t solve the underlying root causes of acne, like stress, bad diet, smoking (or other drug habits), other environmental factors, and hydration however it is an excellent start to treating the topical acne prone skin issues.
Understand your skin type. Different soaps are designed for different skin types and for best results use the soap that is best suited for your skin.
General Method of using Acne soap
As always any manufacturer guidelines on the use of their soap supersede the following guide. In the absence of such instructions refer to the mini guide below.
- Wet hands, face, and bar of acne soap with warm water
- Proceed to lather soap in hands making sure to get a generous amount
- Use a circular motion to massage the lather in and around acne affected areas
- Rinse face and pat dry with clean* towel or face cloth
- Use your choice of moisturizer. This is the acne moisturizer I use.
NB: Using a clean towel or face cloth is important so you don’t put bacteria and other micro debris back onto your skin and pores
You may need to have a little bit of patience with the use of some of these soaps as they may take up to 30 days or more to see results. Additionally, these soaps don’t account for your individual genetics and reaction to the active ingredients so some trial and error may be needed for your particular biochemistry.