The 17 Best Natural Face Washes For Acne in 2021
PUBLISHED: 07/02/2019 | LAST UPDATED: 07/09/2021
Organic and natural face washes can be just as effective (if not more effective) at treating acne-prone skin than their conventional counterparts. A high-quality organic acne cleanser should be packed with gentle ingredients that soothe your acne from the ground up.
There’s a myth that oily and acne-prone skin types need to use potent soaps and astringents in an effort to completely remove every drop of oil from the skin. As a result, many conventional cleansers are loaded with very powerful detergents and astringents like sodium lauryl sulfate and denatured alcohol. In reality, this is the exact opposite of how you should treat your acne.
Acne is a skin condition when the oil glands become overloaded with sebum and dead skin. These clogged pores become breeding grounds for the bacteria responsible for breakouts. There are many causes behind excess sebum production (hormonal changes, oral contraceptives, naturally oily skin, or stress) and many of them are temporary occurrences such as stress. While you may think that removing all of the oil on your skin is a good idea, aggressive cleansing disrupts the skin’s protective acid mantle and pH balance. This actually causes your skin to overproduce oil in response and can lead to further acne breakouts (1).
By incorporating a natural face cleanser specifically designed to fight acne into your skincare routine, you’ll be removing excess oil, clearing away dead skin, and killing acne-causing bacteria every day without stripping away the beneficial oils which keep your skin in balance. Use the right cleanser twice per day and you could seriously reduce the frequency and severity of breakouts.
Our team of beauty experts have put together this guide to the best organic facial cleansers for acne. Whether you have dry skin, oily skin, combination skin, or sensitive skin, this guide will help you find the perfect natural cleanser to combat your acne breakouts.
How Do Organic Cleansers Fight Acne Effectively?
Instead of those harsh soaps and alcohols that we discussed, organic cleansers fight acne by using gentle yet potent ingredients. Some of the best acne-fighting natural ingredients include tea tree oil, neem oil, black cumin seed oil, blue tansy, honey, rosemary extract, and willow bark (contains natural salicylic acid) (2, 3, 4). Aloe, green tea, oatmeal, and probiotics help to soothe redness, reduce inflammation, and heal wounds (5, 6, 7,8). Tamanu oil is a fantastic ingredient to treat acne scars as it penetrates the skin deeply to repair damage. Ingredients like rose oil and vegetable glycerin are useful for maintaining moisture levels and fading acne scars (9, 10).
Which Type of Organic Cleanser is Best for Your Acne?
The two types of facial cleansers: foaming cleansers and non-foaming cleansers. Foaming cleansers are fantastic for oily and combination skin types. The foaming action helps to break up oil and dirt to give you a nice clean feeling without stripping the skin. Dry skin types will benefit from using a non-foaming or oil-based cleanser. These creamy cleansers (often called cream cleansers, cleansing milks, or cleansing oils) dissolve away dirt, excess oil, and can even remove heavy makeup without causing dryness. In fact, they leave your skin feeling silky smooth and soft. If you have dry skin and haven’t tried a non-foaming cleanser, then you’re in for a real treat when you do!
Organic Skin Care Tips for Acne-Prone Skin
The key to natural skin care is to use high quality products and give your skin time to heal. Excessively cleansing, exfoliating, and treating your skin will only make your acne worse. Follow this simple skin care regimen for acne-free skin:
- Cleanse your face with an organic cleanser for acne
- Use an organic toner after cleansing to remove any grime left behind after cleansing, fight bacteria, and prime skin for your serum.
- Apply an anti-acne serum or spot treatment to breakout areas
- Finally, apply a lightweight organic facial moisturizer for acne.
Follow this routine twice per day (morning and night) and watch your skin improve each day. If you want to take this routine a step further, then use an organic mask once per week for deep pore cleansing and exfoliation.
How to Find the Best Organic Cleansers for Acne?
The internet is filled with companies claiming to have “all natural” and “organic” products. Unfortunately, many of those products are filled with ingredients that are neither organic nor natural. Petrochemicals, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, synthetics, fillers, and industrial detergents are amongst some of the cheap fillers, preservatives, and additives you may find when shopping for a new cleanser. As experts in identifying authentic organic and natural skin care products, we went out and did the heavy lifting for you! After researching and testing hundreds of cleaners, we designed this top list of the best natural face washes for acne. Enjoy!
Price : $34
Acne sufferers rejoice! This USDA certified organic tea tree oil face wash gets in deep to clear pores, kill bacteria, and soothe inflamed skin. It contains a powerful dose of anti-bacterial tea tree oil (to combat acne), yet this cleanser is still non-drying and won't strip your skin's natural oils. Other potent blemish-fighting ingredients include neem oil, rosemary, lemon, and turmeric. Best for all skin-types with acne.
Shop *100% PURE – TEA TREE OIL & WILLOW ACNE CLEAR USDA ORGANIC CLEANSER
Price : $48
A pleasantly invigorating face wash specifically designed for acne-prone skin, oily skin, and those with large pores. This face wash gets in deep. The soothing blend of tea tree oil, peppermint, and rosemary create a gentle cooling, tingling, and minty sensation that is sure to wake your skin up. Although it removes excess oil and grime, this wash also leaves your face feeling plump and moisturized.
Shop *OSEA MALIBU — OCEAN CLEANSING MUDD
Price : $32.95
An all-natural and organic exfoliating treatment for all skin types. This neat little jar of face wash exfoliates the skin with granular sugar (non-abrasive) and natural AHA. These organic ingredients gently remove dead skin cells, dirt, and oil from pores which helps to greatly minimize the occurrence of future whiteheads and blackheads. This is a great weekly treatment for cystic/hormonal acne.
Shop *SUKI SKIN CARE — EXFOLIATE FOAMING CLEANSER
Price : $39
A super foamy, deep-cleansing, minty fresh cleanser designed for oily skin, blemish-prone skin, and those with congested pores. This natural face wash is such a joy to use! The rhassoul clay and activated charcoal do a fantastic job at absorbing grime and balancing excess oil within clogged pores. At the same time, refreshing peppermint and tea tree oil work their antibacterial magic to soothe breakouts. Leaves skin super clean and hydrated.
Shop *ODACITE – BLACK MINT ALL NATURAL FACE WASH
Price : $78
A fantastic all-natural and organic foaming facial cleanser that goes deep to clear pores, remove dead skin, and balance excess oil. Ideal for those with blemish-prone skin, uneven skin tone, and large/congested pores. Formulated with some seriously high-end ingredients like rose gold, a signature fermented pre/probiotic blend, and vitamin C rich amla fruit. Best of all, its all backed by third party clinical trials.
Shop *AMALA – PURIFYING ORGANIC GEL CLEANSER
Price : $48
A luxurious balancing face wash for oily skin types. Deeply cleansing, yet gentle, this organic cleanser creates a light foam that easily removes dirt and oils (not the best at heavy makeup removal). Some oil-fighting face washes can be a little drying, but this cleanser actually balances the skin's natural sebum so that your skin is left soft/hydrated with a slight matte finish. Great for stubborn acne.
Shop *TRUE BOTANICALS — NOURISHING ANTI-ACNE ORGANIC CLEANSER
Price : $24
This tiny little bar of organic facial soap packs a mega punch and lasts a long time (up to 12 weeks)! The saponified oils in this bar create a light, non-drying lather that leaves the skin feeling really clean and soft. Dead Sea mud soaks up impurities while the other 93% certified organic ingredients (like mango, coconut, avocado, coconut milk, rosemary, and sweet almond oil) rejuvenate the skin.
Shop *OSMIA — ORGANIC BLACK CLAY FACIAL SOAP
Price : $32
Don't let the name fool you, this clay cleanser is actually quite thin and easy to apply. It is made with a variety of powders and clays (like bamboo charcoal, activated charcoal, and kaolin clay) which work together to absorb impurities and detoxify the skin. The formula is perfect for oily and acne-prone skin types, but it can be a bit too drying for normal & combination skin types.
Shop *100% PURE — CHARCOAL CLAY ORGANIC FACE WASH
Price : $50
A great cleanser for dry, sensitive skin types! This uber creamy non-foaming cleanser feels almost like a moisturizer upon application. The cream easily breaks apart makeup, dirt, and excess oil without the suds. Add a little warm water and the cream transforms into a milky cleanser that easily rinses off. Made with 100% natural and 71% organic ingredients all designed to pamper sensitive skin. Also comes with a gentle exfoliating cloth!
Shop *PAI – CAMELLIA & ROSE GENTLE HYDRATING ORGANIC CLEANSER
Price : $24
Designed for oily, combination, and acne-prone skin types, this blemish-clearing organic and all natural face wash will help to make blemishes a thing of the past. Crafted from certified organic lemon, cherry fruit acids, algae, and aloe juices, this acne cleanser clarifies and hydrates the skin the same time. It also a great job of giving you that super clean feeling without causing dryness. It has a subtle scent that works for both men and women. Can be used on active breakouts (no burning!)
Shop *JUICE BEAUTY – BLEMISH CLEARING ORGANIC ACNE CLEANSER
Price : $56
This detoxifying organic acne cleanser is designed for oily and combination skin types. It is made with 96% organic ingredients and nothing synthetic. Stars include Roman chamomile, honey, apple cider vinegar, echinacea, and pink clay. These ingredients promote cell turnover, soothe the skin, remove impurities, and clear congested skin. Also helps to remove blackheads and clogged pores. This cleanser must be shaken before use--if it's not pink and creamy, then it wasn’t shaken well enough.
Shop *LAUREL WHOLE PLANT ORGANICS – ORGANIC SUPPORT CLEANSER
Price : $20
This 100% USDA certified organic tea tree oil face wash is made with just three ingredients: organic rose water, organic vegetable glycerin, and organic tea tree oil. Simply soak a cotton pad with this cleanser, apply to the face (gently scrubbing to remove impurities), and then rinse off with water. It takes some getting used to, but it really does leave the skin clean, soft, and hydrated. Perfect for problem and sensitive skin.
Shop *SW BASICS – USDA CERTIFIED ORGANIC TEA TREE OIL CLEANSER
Price : $29
A pH balancing organic acne face wash that gently cleanses and renews skin. Formulated with tons of yummy organic ingredients like African Black Soap (antibacterial and helps combat acne), honey (hydrating and antibacterial), and broccoli seed oil (anti-aging), it's a truly effective face wash against acne, acne scars, and aging. As a bonus, it also has antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties which will help to calm and renew sensitive skin while preserving it's natural moisture barrier.
Shop *JOSH ROSEBROOK – COMPLETE MOISTURE ORGANIC ANTI-ACNE CLEANSER
Price : $18
Not your grandmother's soap bar! This fan-favorite organic tea tree oil facial cleansing bar from Soapwalla is a real hidden for those with sensitive, oily, acne-prone, or generally problematic skin. It's made with the cleanest food-grade + organic ingredients (like tea tree oil, saponified oils, coconut fatty acids, and bamboo charcoal) that work to kill bacteria, tame oil, and gently remove impurities from the skin.
Shop *SOAPWALLA – ACTIVATED CHARCOAL & ORGANIC TEA TREE OIL FACE WASH
Price : $22.99
A fantastic organic face wash for those with oily and acne-prone skin! This cleanser from Honey Girl Organics uses 70% organic ingredients that are known for minimizing oil production and killing acne-causing bacteria. Some of the stars include witch hazel (astringent), raw organic honey and propolis (anti-bacterial + antiseptic), aloe vera (anti-inflammatory), and neroli oil (cell regeneration).
Shop HONEY GIRL ORGANICS – ORGANIC FOAMING FACIAL WASH
Price : $12
This potent little bar from Herbivore Botanicals works wonders for cleansing and balancing oily, combination, and blemish prone-skin. Each bar is hand-crafted with a combination of activated bamboo charcoal (draws out impurities from pores, purifies skin), tea tree oil (clarifies and fights blemishes), and bergamot oil (balances oil production). This natural tea tree face wash is gentle yet effective, and perfect as a daily cleansing facial or body bar.
Shop *HERBIVORE BOTANICALS – BAMBOO CHARCOAL & NATURAL TEA TREE OIL FACE WASH
1. (2017) Skin Surface pH in Acne Vulgaris: Insights from an Observational Study and Review of the Literature; The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605222/
2. (2017) Tea tree oil gel for mild to moderate acne; a 12 week uncontrolled, open-label phase II pilot study; Australasian Journal of Dermatology https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/ajd.12465
3. (2011) Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activity; Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609166/
4. (2013) Comparative Antibacterial Activity of Different Plant Extracts in Relation to their Bioactive Molecules, as Determined by LC-MS Analysis http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.844.8955&rep=rep1&type=pdf
5. (1999) Aloe vera: a systematic review of its clinical effectiveness. British Journal of General Practice https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1313538/
6. (2016) Anti-inflammatory Action of Green Tea. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27634207
7. (2007) Colloidal oatmeal: history, chemistry, and clinical properties. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17373175
8. (2019) Studying the Skin Microbiome and the Potential of a Topical Probiotic Cream for Patients With Acne; U.S. National Library of Medicine https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03469076
9. (2018) Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils; International Journal of Molecular Sciences https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/
10. (2002) A double-blind study comparing the effect of glycerin and urea on dry, eczematous skin in atopic patients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12013198