Top 11 Best Salicylic Acid Face Washes & Cleansers In 2020

Cleansing your face at regular intervals is very important to remove dirt, oil and other unwanted debris that get deposited on your face on exposure to your surroundings. If you are out of your home throughout the day, then there are higher chances of your face being covered by bacteria, viruses, dirt and dead skin cells.

Everyday soap we use on our body or hands should not be used on your facial skin. Beauty bars that you use as an everyday soap are usually harsh and drying. Using these soaps on your face will cause damage to your facial skin over time. So, using a face wash is a better choice to clean your face in the right way.

Face washes help to remove the dirt, microbes, and dead cells. Cleaning your face alone with water may leave much dirt and other impurities, hence you can get rid of all these things and remain hygiene by using a face wash. Removal of these impurities will give a fresh look to your face.

Choosing the right face wash for your skin is a task. There are a lot of varieties of face washes available in the market. You should choose a face wash that is appropriate for your skin type.

A face wash that will clean your face and leave a little moisture on your facial skin. You can choose a face wash that contains moisturizing ingredients and fatty acids in the form of oil. Look for petrolatum, lanolin and mineral oil in the list of ingredients. You should not use face washes with exfoliators, such as salicylic and glycolic acids. These ingredients would dry up your face.

If you have oily skin, you should look for ingredients, such as aloe vera and tea tree oil in your face wash. These ingredients will balance the oil production of your skin and supports the clarity of the skin. You should not use face washes with oil or alcohol as these ingredients will amplify your oily skin.

Choose the best salicylic face washes if you have acne-prone skin. Salicylic acid will help to unclog the pores and to get rid of excess oil.

11 Best Salicylic Acid Face Washes

#1 Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser

This is a soothing face wash containing salicylic acid that helps reduce acne and facial redness. It powerfully clears breakouts due to the addition of salicylic acid in the product.

The Neutrogena face oil-free face wash visibly reduces redness and any other kind of irritation. It helps in getting rid of blackheads. This face wash has a rich creamy formula. It contains 100% naturally-derived aloe and chamomile. It is made up using micro clear technology.

Micro clear technology boosts the delivery of salicylic acid. Your skin will look clearer and healthier by using Neutrogena oil-free face was for a longer period.

This acne-fighting cleanser works to cut through oil, allowing medicine to penetrate to the source of breakouts to unclog the congested pores and to remove the dirt and impurities. Also, Neutrogena’s face wash will not cause over-drying.

  • Neutrogena is the #1 dermatologist-recommended brand

  • It helps to get rid of blackheads

  • Oil-free

  • Fights acne and redness

  • Unclog the congested pores

  • Calms irritations

  • Formulated with naturally derived aloe and chamomile

  • Micro clear technology

  • It contains salicylic acid

  • Don’t expect quick results

  • Daily use may cause burning

  • Not very advisable for sensitive skin

  • It makes your skin tight and rough

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#2 CeraVe Salicylic Acid Cleanser

CeraVe Salicylic Acid Cleanser

You can trust CeraVe products as they are developed with dermatologists. CeraVe Salicylic Acid cleanser exfoliates and detoxifies your skin to get rid of dirt and oil. It also helps in softening and smoothing the skin.

CeraVe Salicylic Acid cleanser does not contain any harsh beads or grains. They are gentle on the skin with their non-irritating formula.

You can massage it into your skin in a gentle and circular motion and then rinse off.

It plays an important role in smoothing the rough skin by exfoliating and softening. CeraVe products contain three essential ceramics. Ceramides help in hydrating your skin all day to restore the protective skin barrier.

The key ingredients of CeraVe Salicylic Acid cleanser are Salicylic Acid, Vitamin D, Ceramides, Hyaluronic Acid, and Niacinamide. Salicylic acid smoothens the skin. Vitamin D provides antioxidant protection.

Ceramides maintain the natural barrier of the skin. Hyaluronic Acid helps the skin to retain its moisture.

  • Cleanses and smoothens the skin

  • Exfoliates the skin

  • Contain essential ceramics

  • Microbead free

  • Gentle on skin

  • Non-comedogenic

  • Fragrance-free

  • Non-irritating formula

  • May cause skin irritation to some extent

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#3 Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Exfoliant

Paula Choice Skin Perfecting Exfoliant

This product comes with 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid which helps unclog and reduce inflamed pores, dead skin cells and even out the skin tone. It deals effectively with redness, wrinkles, and blackheads along with anti-aging factors.

This exfoliant helps to improve skin texture, skin radiance, and youthfulness by smoothening fine lines. The unique formula is gentle on the skin for daily use.

It is a smart skin care choice. The formula is effective, safe and backed by cited research. It is made in the USA. This exfoliant is also a fragrance-free and cruelty-free option. It doesn’t cause any irritation to your skin.

Paula is a company founded to help women uncover the truth about skincare. Paula’s Choice Skincare formulates effective products rooted in scientific research and backed by real results.

  • Unlock the skin’s natural glow

  • Goes deep into pores to remove, oil, dirt, and debris

  • Soothes redness and evens out the skin tone

  • Sheds dead skin cells

  • No fragrance

  • Cruelty-free

  • Gentle formula

  • Interacts terribly with the sun

  • Makes skin oily

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#4 Neutrogena Oil-Free Pink Grapefruit Cream Facial Cleanser

Neutrogena Oil-Free Pink Grapefruit Cream Facial Cleanser

This face wash contains clinically proven salicylic acid to treat breakouts. And the Micro clear technology boosts the delivery of salicylic acid to the source of breakouts.

The face wash has originally resulted from the extract of grapefruit and Vitamin C for enhancing the results. This face wash has a creamy rich lather that rinses away dirt, oil, and makeup.

It also helps in clearing blemishes and blackheads. The cream face wash helps in eliminating oil and dirt without over-drying and irritating the clearer healthy-looking skin.

You can use the Neutrogena Grapefruit cleanser twice a day. Wet the face. Make a lather by adding the creamy face wash and water. Massage it into the face gently. And rinse thoroughly.

  • It contains Vitamin C

  • Made with micro clear technology

  • Salicylic acid is present

  • Unique formula

  • Produce rich creamy lather

  • Prevent over-drying

  • Clears breakouts and blackheads

  • It contains an Alpha Hydroxy Acid AHA that may increase your sensitivity to the sun and probably causes sunburn

  • Contain microbeads

  • Not fragrance-free

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#5 Medicated Gel Acne Face Wash by La Roche-Posay Effaclar

Medicated Gel Acne Face Wash by La Roche-Posay Effaclar

This facial cleanser is meant for acne and oily skin with salicylic acid as the main ingredient. The La Roche cleanser has been developed by targeting excess oil, blackheads, and acne. It is clinically tested to reduce excess surface oil by up to 47%.

It is formulated with 2.0% salicylic acid to fight acne breakouts. This face wash contains micro-exfoliating Lipo-Hydroxy Acid LHA to target oily areas on the skin surface to gently provide precise cell-by-cell removal of debris and dirt.

You can cleanse your face twice a day with this gentle face cleanser. In the morning you should use the face wash to remove all the oils that have accumulated on the face overnight.

In the evening you can use the face wash to remove the makeup, dirt, and pollutants that will cause acne and premature aging.

You can apply this face wash gently on to the face with fingers in a rotating circular motion. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry using a soft towel.

The Effaclar formulas are dermatologists tested to be suitable for sensitive skin.

  • Clears acne and breakouts

  • Remove blackheads

  • Cologne-free

  • Paraben-free

  • Allergy tested

  • Dermatologist tested

  • Expensive

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#6 à la Paix Exfoliating Face Wash

a la Paix Exfoliating Face Wash

This is a facial cleanser with Jojoba beads that help in smoothing the fine lines and wrinkles. It works for spot reduction.

It is a deep cleansing lotion that contains glycolic acid- a naturally derived Alpha-Hydroxy Acid found in sugar cane, lactic acid and salicylic acid.

The natural fruit acid in the lotion loosens the bond of dead skin cells to accelerate natural skin renewal. The Jojoba beads in the lotion exfoliate the skin preventing clogged pores and revealing a more youthful-looking skin.

The lactic acid present provides excellent moisture refreshing the texture of your skin. This face wash also contains orange peel oil and grapefruit peel oil.

This exfoliating face wash works great for cleansing, clogged pores, wrinkles, dark spots, age spots, and acne. It is effective for all skin types including dry, normal, oily and sensitive.

It helps with pore reduction and exfoliates dead skin cells. It is gentle enough to use twice daily.

  • Scale off your skin

  • Reduce dark and age spots

  • Smoothens skin

  • Contain orange oil and grapefruit peel oil

  • It contains acids, such as salicylic, lactic and glycolic

  • Suitable for all skin types

  • It contains hydroxy acids that may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and may cause sunburn.

  • Slightly scented

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#7 My Alle Care AHA BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

My Alle Care AHA BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

This AHA and BHA containing exfoliating cleanser is a deep pore cleanser. It is suitable for all skin types. This face wash helps to shed dead skin cells, remove excess oil, sweat and dirt on your skin.

The small gel beads in the formula of this cleanser help you tighten pores, cleanse the skin and smoothen the skin complexion.

It helps in gently exfoliating and refining your skin. The face wash removes dead cells and diminishes pores.

It also promotes collagen production and helps in preventing acne. This face wash revitalizes and rejuvenates your skin by reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

It is perfect for both men and women. This face will create a clean foundation for you to apply products like face moisturizers or makeup. Daily facial washing with this product removes the impurities to give the skin a fresh and healthy look.

The ingredients of this face wash include Jojoba grains, Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Grapefruit peel oil, and Orange peel oil.

My Alle face wash is gentle enough to use twice a day. You can apply a small portion to the face and neck area in a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly with cool water. You can follow up on a moisturizer for effective results.

  • Gentle on all skin types including oily, dry, sensitive and combination

  • Perfect for both men and women

  • Contain fruit extracts

  • Exfoliates your skin

  • Reduce pores

  • Rejuvenates your skin

  • Promotes collagen production

  • Contain micro grains

  • Slightly scented

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#8 Replenix Gly/Sal Exfoliating Acne Cleanser

Replenix Gly/Sal Exfoliating Acne Cleanser

This face wash cleanses, treat and clear acne-prone skin. It contains 5% Glycolic Acid and 2% Salicylic Acid. The exfoliating acne cleanser keeps your complexion free of breakouts, blemishes and other signs of acne. It contains soothing green tea extract that protects your skin from free radicals while calming irritation.

Gly-Sal acne treatment removes dead skin cells, unclog pores and regulates oil production by preventing over-drying.

You can use this face wash twice daily. Massage the content gently into your face. Rinse thoroughly with cold water. You can start with one application daily and gradually increase usage.

  • Contain salicylic acid and Glycolic acid

  • It contains green tea extract

  • Effective results

  • Prevents over-drying

  • Unclog pores

  • Regulates oil production

  • Protects from free radicals

  • Costly

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#9 Neutrogena Acne Proofing Daily Facial Gel Cleanser

Neutrogena Acne Proofing Daily Facial Gel Cleanser

This face wash provides maximum strength salicylic acid acne treatment. It clears breakouts and helps to remove excess oil.

It has a clinically proven oil-free formula that helps to clear breakouts and preserve skin’s defense by making it more acne-resistant.

This acne proofing product acts as a shield in your battle with acne. They work on treating acne above and below the skin surface. The formula of this product is made such that it prevents future breakouts.

This gel cleanser is effective and gentle for daily use. The continuous use will make your skin looks clearer and healthier. It also has a fresh scent.

The Gel Cleanser is specifically created for acne-prone skin and contains maximum strength salicylic acid.

It is powered by ClearDefend Technology that helps in preserving the skin’s essential defenses and hence skin becomes more acne resistant with regular use.

  • Oil is not present

  • Acne-fighting formula with maximum strength salicylic acid

  • Made with clear defend technology

  • Clear breakouts and resist future breakout

  • Preserves the skin’s essential defense

  • Removes excess oil

  • A chance for skin irritation

  • Dryness

  • Sensitive to sunlight

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#10 Neutralize Acne Face Wash

Neutralize Acne Face Wash

Neutralize Acne Face wash is a powerful facial cleanser with salicylic and angelic acid. These acids quickly eliminate acne-causing bacteria and prevent future breakouts. It gently exfoliates your skin and renews the damaged skin.

This luxury face wash is creamy and texture-rich. It will make your skin feel refreshed, rejuvenated and hydrated after every use.

It keeps the pores clean to prevent future breakouts and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This face wash can be used by all skin types.

Neutralize Acne Face wash enhances the healing capacity of your skin. It is made with patented Nitrogen Boost Skincare Technology. It is one of the first acne treatment mechanisms to enhance the power of Nitric Oxide in the world.

It is clinically proven to be 95% effective. It fades dark spots and corrects your uneven skin tone.

  • Non-comedogenic

  • Dermatologist recommended

  • Sulfate-free

  • No parabens

  • Appropriate for all types of skin

  • Made with Nitrogen Boost Skincare Technology

  • Effective on various acne-related issues

  • Fades dark spots

  • Expensive

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#11 COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser

COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser

This is a cleanser that works great for sensitive skin and hormonal acne. It controls breakout and wrinkles. The ingredients include stearic acid, potassium hydroxide, citric acid, sodium, salicylic acid, tea tree oil, and glycerine.

It helps in reducing age spots and dark spots. This helps in smoothing fine lines and wrinkles on your face.

You can take an appropriate amount of the face wash onto your hands and create a larger with little water. Gently massage it over your face and neck. And wash off with lukewarm water. You can use it daily.

It makes your skin clear and glowing. It is perfect for all skin types.

  • Reduce acne

  • Oil-control

  • Suitable for sensitive skin

  • Control breakouts

  • Create dryness

  • Slightly aromatic

  • Over-priced

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can we use face washes containing salicylic acid every day?

You can use a salicylic acid-containing face wash daily if the composition of salicylic acid is between 0.5 and 2 percentage.

Does salicylic acid lighten your skin?

Salicylic acid is effective at lightening the skin. It can be combined with hydroquinone for effective skin lightening purposes. Salicylic acid has the capacity to reverse sun damages.

What are the advantages of salicylic acid?

  • Works best for blackheads and whiteheads
  • Reduce clogged pores
  • Reduce pimples
  • Promotes exfoliation
  • Dissolves skin debris
  • Oil-control

What are the side effects of using salicylic products?

  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Peeling skin
  • Stinging
  • Excessive dryness

Which type of skin should use face wash containing salicylic acid?

Salicylic acid will help to get rid of excess oil mostly found in oily skin type. Oily skin is more prone to acne and clogged pores. Salicylic acid is effective for clogged pores and acne.


A face wash is used to get rid of dirt, sebum and other impurities on the facial skin. Cleansing your face at least twice is very important to maintain hygiene. Washing your face just with plain water might not be very effective.

You can use a face wash for cleansing your facial skin more effectively. It is important to select the right face wash for your skin. If you have dry skin, you can choose an oil-based creamy face wash that will help your skin to retain moisture and keep it hydrated. If you have oily skin, you should not select an oil-based face wash. A face wash containing salicylic acid is the most effective one for you.

Oily skin is prone to clogged pores, pimples and acne. Salicylic acid is effective to fight with these factors and maintain your skin clear. You can use a salicylic acid-containing face wash twice daily only if the composition of salicylic acid is 2 percent or below. Salicylic acid also helps in skin lightening and reversing sun damages. Before selecting a salicylic acid-containing face wash, make sure that you are not allergic to it.

If you have very sensitive or acne-prone skin, it is better to take the suggestion from a dermatologist before finalizing your face wash. Don’t take a risk by experimenting yourself.

There are a lot of varieties of face washes available in the market. It is your responsibility to always make the right and best choice. You can check the feedbacks and ratings of different products in the online window shopping sites before finalizing the product.

A face wash is very important to live in this too polluted world. Make sure that you don’t skip cleansing your facial skin with an effective and right face wash. The face is the part that is mostly exposed to the atmosphere, you can try covering it when you are outside to reduce the damages on exposure to pollution.

It is essential to maintain your skin healthy and clean. Glowing skin will keep you beautiful with no makeup. Also, you can drink plenty of water to keep your skin healthy and glowing. Your food choices also affect your skin. Including Vitamin A rich food items and omega 3-fatty acid-containing fishes will give a natural glow to your skin and keep it healthy. A face wash has a major role in keeping its hygiene. Follow up a moisturizer and sun protection cream for effective results.

Have a great skin day!

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