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Best Soaps for Washing Your Face if You Have Acne

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Updated December 23, 2008

You might be tempted to scrub away those pimples, but don't. People who get acne have to walk a fine line when it comes to facial cleansing. If your skin gets too dry, it can get irritated and crack allowing bacteria to cause pimples. If your skin stays too oily, the oil clogs the pores, causing pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.

For a daily cleanser you can use a facial cloth or a non-foaming liquid cleanser. Pick the foaming cleanser on days when your skin feels more oily.

1. Dove Cool Moisture Facial Cleansing Cloths

Photo © Unilever, Inc
These clothes are thick enough that they hold up well when you're washing. The water-soluble cleanser embedded in the cloth works well for all skin types except very oily. The "cool moisture" comes from cucumber and green tea but the amount is small. It's not enough to cause irritation but also not enough to benefit your skin.
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2. Clean & Clear Daily Pore Cleanser

Photo © Johnson & Johnson, Inc
This cleanser feels like a gel coming out of the tube and has a light lather. It contains microbeads that gently scrub the skin and help slough off dead skin cells. The beads break down in contact with water so they don't cause tiny cuts on the skin. This would be a good choice for someone with oily to very oily skin. It does contain witch hazel and fragrance, both of which can be irritating. But the amount is tiny and should not cause any problems for most people with oily skin.
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3. Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Mild Formula

Photo © Clinique Laboratories, LLC
This cleanser works well for most skin types except very dry or very oily. It doesn't contain any fragrances and rinses off well. It's the most expensive cleanser on this list, but I included it because I know many women who love Clinique so much they won't use any other brand.
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4. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

Photo © Coria Laboratories, Ltd.
The CeraVe products are probably the most state-of-the-art products available at such a low price. They're even more state-of-the-art than most higher-priced products, and this cleanser lives up to that reputation. It contains ceramides which are oils that make the skin a good barrier. This cleanser is ideal for normal to dry skin because it actually puts these natural oils back in the skin repairing and replenishing it. It does not contain any irritating ingredients, making it an excellent choice for someone with sensitive skin or someone who doesn't know if they have acne vs. rosacea. Because it's replenishing natural oils, it's probably not a good choice for someone with oily skin.
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5. Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser, Sensitive Skin

Photo © Johnson & Johnson, Inc
This is an all-around, great cleanser for any skin type except very dry. Not only is it gentle, it does a good job cleansing and it's the least expensive of the cleansers on this list. It does have a fragrance. But it's on your skin for so short a time period, its irritating effect is negligible.
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6. Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser

Photo © Johnson & Johnson, Inc
This is another all-around, great skin cleanser for normal to oily skin. It does a good job of taking off makeup and is not irritating. It does contain fragrance so people with very sensitive or dry skin might not want to use it. As with any cleanser, the amount of time the product is on your skin is so small, it is unlikely that this small dose of fragrance would be irritating to all but the most sensitive skin.
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7. Eucerin Redness Relief Soothing Cleanser

Photo © Beiersdorf AG
Eucerin Redness Relief Cleanser is a good, all-around cleanser for sensitive skin. It doesn't contain soap or any other ingredients that can worsen redness. It does contain licorice root extract which is an anti-inflammatory, but this ingredient is unlikely to actually reduce redness over the short-term because it's not in contact with the skin very long. This would be a great cleanser for someone who isn't sure if he has acne or rosacea, or someone who has acne and skin that reddens easily.
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  6. Best Face Soaps for Acne - What are the Best Face Soaps for Acne

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