Elle posted "12 Acne Body Washes for Your Chest, Back, and Everywhere in Between." Most acne treatments are formulated for the face or for the body because facial acne and body acne are actually two different conditions. To avoid the hassle of juggling products, Visha Skincare founder, Dr. Purvisha Patel recommends Visha Skincare's Top 2 Toe All Over Wash.
There’s a particular type of joy that overwhelms you once you finally crack the code on how to get rid of acne and maintain clear, bump-free skin. It takes a lot of research, trial and error, and a few in-office visits to reach that place of peace. However, that moment of bliss can quickly dissolve to rage at the sight of breakouts cropping up all over your body.
In case you need reminding, breakouts can occur any and everywhere. Just as we reach for a powerful cleanser or pimple patches whenever a breakout emerges on our face, there are plenty of body washes that target stubborn acne on the back, shoulder, arms, and more. “An acne body wash is a type of body wash designed to treat and prevent acne,” board-certified dermatologist Dr. Purvisha Patel tells ELLE.com. Because the skin on our face is not the same as the skin on our body, the two areas need to be treated differently. “The body has acne called folliculitis, and areas that are shaved often get small follicular infections,” she adds. Many body washes contain chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid, which gently exfoliates the skin to clear up acne and prevent any incoming breakouts, as well as other skin-saving ingredients.
1 BEST OVERALL
CeraVe CeraVe Body Wash with Salicylic Acid | Fragrance Free Body Wash to Exfoliate Rough and Bumpy Skin | Allergy Tested | 10 Ounce
- Super affordable
- Pour spout can release too much product sometimes
Of the many acne-fighting body washes I’ve incorporated into my shower routine, this gem from Cerave is the one I always return to. Gentle enough for daily use, the SA Body Wash—coupled with its counterpart SA Lotion—is great for clearing up dark spots quickly and keeping them away for good.
Amazon star rating: 4.2/5 stars
An Amazon reviewer said: “I have suffered with Keratosis Pilaris since I was in high school! I have tried everywhere over the years! Dry brushing, exfoliating mitts all kinds dermatological prescriptions nothing worked! This product works! All I had to do is use it in the shower and all my ugly red bumps (some were large too) are gone! Love this product!!💕”
|10 fl oz
2 BEST FOR SMOOTHNESS
Naturium The Perfector Salicylic Acid Body Wash
- Decongests the skin to prevent irritation
- Takes a while to see results
As the name suggests, The Perfector by the internet's favorite rising skincare brand gently exfoliates away impurities to reveal smoother, clearer, healthier skin. The fragrance-free formula is a godsend for those who have sensitive skin. It is a slow burn, but the long-term results are worth the wait.
Amazon star rating: 4.4/5 stars
An Amazon reviewer said: “Hands down THE best in shower body wash I've ever used. I've got several friends hooked on it now too. Leaves my skin feeling the best it ever has.”
16.9 fl oz
3 BEST FOR KP
Kosas Good Body Skin AHA + Enzyme Exfoliating Body Wash
- Gentle enough for daily use
Thanks to a wonderful blend of fruit enzymes and powerful AHAs, your skin is stripped of the bad stuff such as dead skin, clogged pores, and dark marks to reduce frequent breakouts.
Sephora star rating: 4.1/5 stars
A Sephora reviewer said: “I have KP on my arms and so far this has been the only exfoliator to actually help reduce redness and inflammation! Very gentle on the skin and has a nice, light scent!”
|Glycolic, lactic, and mandelic acid
|9 fl oz
4 BEST FOR STUBBORN ACNE
Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash
- Clears up acne fast
- Can be drying
With a high percentage of glycolic acid (8.8 percent, to be exact), Glytone’s Exfoliating Body Wash may seem a bit intimidating. Worry not; this body wash stops breakouts in their tracks within days and makes your skin feel rejuvenated after each wash.
Dermstore star rating: 4.6/5 stars
A Dermstore reviewer said: “I was scared to try this, but it is wonderful for my sensitive skin. I have had no reaction and it does what it says. I can even use it on my face as an exfoliating face wash it is so gentle. Will repurchase.”
|6.7 fl oz
5 BEST FOR BACNE
Murad Acne Control Acne Body Wash
- Formulated with both chemical and physical exfoliants
Murad can be found in just about everyone’s skincare lineup, but its iteration of body wash deserves just as much attention, too. Formulated with salicylic acid, glycolic acid, green tea, licorice root, and more, this body wash fights acne to ward off pesky bumps and calms the skin.
Ulta star rating: 4/5 stars
An Ulta reviewer said: “Used daily to treat my shoulder acne after spending hundreds of dollars on products/'back’ facials. After keeping it simple with just this product + moisturizer, my skin is clear. This is a true miracle product that doesn’t dry out your skin. I will continue to buy this again and again!!!”
|Salicylic, glycolic acid
|8.5 fl oz
6 DERM FAVORITE
7 BEST FOR GENTLE EXFOLIATION
Mario Badescu A.H.A Botanical Body Soap
- Super affordable
- Not suitable for sensitive skin
Mario Badescu created a no-fuss soap that makes you feel so fresh and so clean. Ginseng and fruit enzymes work together to clarify and soothe the skin, while linden leaves a soft, smooth veil for the next step in your routine.
Ulta star rating: 4.4/5 stars
An Ulta reviewer said: “I have been using this body wash for years and it is definitely a must have item in my body skin care. I use it everyday twice day and it has helped my body acne tremendously. I have less breakouts and it keeps my acne under control and for a affordable price. I highly recommend this item.”
8 BEST FOR TRAVEL
Starface Outer Space Foaming Body Cleanser
- Eliminates bacteria
- Thin consistency
Every product at Starface gives you results that make your heart (and skin) smile. It's no wonder the brand opts for bright yellow packaging. In this particular yellow pouch, you can find a moisturizing formula that kills bacteria and inflammation so your skin can continue to live its best life. The pouch is designed with a screw-off cap so you can pack it wherever you go.
Starface star rating: 4.7/5 stars
A Starface reviewer said: “A little bit goes a long way with this shower gel, foams really well, leaves you feeling squeaky clean and smells fab too.”
|Glycolic, lactic, and malic acids
|8 fl oz
9 BEST DRUGSTORE OPTION
Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash
- Non-irritating formula
- Takes a while to see results
Great for all skin types, Neutrogena's acne body wash has been a staple in skincare routines for its gentle, yet effective formula. The star ingredient is salicylic acid, which removes any trace of dirt and debris to prevent future breakouts.
Amazon star rating: 4.6/5 stars
An Amazon reviewer said: “I’ve had issues with shoulder acne for a long time and within a week this product made a big difference. Great product at a very reasonable price.”
|8.5 fl oz
10 BEST FOR INFLAMED ACNE
Humane Maximum-Strength Acne Wash
What are the benefits of acne body wash?
The number one benefit of acne body wash is exfoliation, of course, but there are plenty more benefits like killing bacteria. “Acne body washes help exfoliate the skin as well as decrease microbe growth on your body, which ultimately leads to less acne and leaves your skin feeling clean and refreshed,“ says Dr. Patel.
Where does an acne body wash fall in the body care routine?
“You should use your acne body wash in the shower after you have washed your hair,” Dr. Patel adds. As the last step in your shower routine, “this ensures you will leave the shower with clean skin [after] washing off all the hair products,” she says.
What ingredients should you look for in an acne wash?
AHAs—glycolic, lactic, malic, etc.—and BHAs—salicylic—are the common powerful ingredients in most acne cleansers. Dr. Patel says to look for those acids, in addition to ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and bakuchiol, as these players help “to decrease microbe growth, decrease fungus and bacteria on the skin, and minimize body breakouts,” she adds.
Meet the expert
Dr. Purvisha Patel MD is a board-certified dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, and founder of Visha Skincare.