Take it from someone who knows: Struggling with acne can be a chore, a journey, a battle, and everything in between. If you have (or have had) it, you know. Sure, serums, toners, light therapy, and other treatments can be effective in clearing your skin, but it can also be a rough road trying to figure out what kind of ingredients work best for your kind of acne. This is especially true when selecting a face wash. Don't worry, though. Derms have some tips.
Snehal Amin, MD, co-founder and surgical director of MDCS Dermatology, says there's a key difference you should look for in the formulation of your cleanser. "The main ingredient in [some cleansers] is sodium lauryl sulfate. This is a detergent that breaks apart oily substances. Many other cleansers do not contain sodium lauryl sulfate but instead contain glycerin. This can be less drying. The mechanical action of rubbing the face with a cleanser can remove excess sebum and dead skin cells. Since there's no detergent [in a glycerin-based formula] and usually some extra added moisturizing agents, this kind of cleanser is more gentle to the skin," he says.
Now, that's not to say that some can't tolerate a cleanser with higher-strength actives, especially if you have severe acne and would like something a little stronger. Either way, this is a great thing to keep in mind if you have sensitive skin. At the end of the day though, the only way to nail down a routine that's just right for your skin is to see a dermatologist. But as a jumping-off point, I asked several other derms to weigh in and give their recommendations for the best face washes for acne. Keep reading for all their picks.