These Are 2021’s Top 12 Acne Healing Body Washes

Acne Body Wash

Acne is an unavoidable struggle that extends far into our prepubescent middle-school years. We’re not looking forward to dealing with occasional breakouts for the rest of our lives, but if we have to, we may as well be armed with the tools to treat irritated skin whenever it happens (which is always at the worst possible time).

Body acne is much more difficult to conceal, particularly if you plan a vacation or a strapless jumpsuit. Bacne, underarm bruises, and chest and butt acne can make it tough to put on that unique dress, but with the right items, you can quickly clear it up. While peel pads and spot treatments are helpful, the real work begins in the shower with body wash.

“Acne on the chest and back affects about half of acne patients,” says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “Truncal [also known as body] acne occurs for the same reasons that facial acne does: oil gets trapped within clogged pores, causing an overgrowth of acne-causing bacteria and inflammation.”

Swap out your caramel-strawberry-shimmery soap for one that contains tea tree oil, salicylic acid, or charcoal, and wash right after working out or hanging out by the pool in a wet bikini. You’ll be on your way to acne-free skin in no time if you make these simple adjustments. Here are the best body acne items for your skin type to clarify, exfoliate, and smooth.

The Basics:

The Best Overall: Amazon’s Proactiv Deep Cleansing Body Wash.

“This is our top choice for preventing and treating pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.

Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash at Ulta is the best value.

“Are you on a tight budget? Cleanse the skin without over-drying it or draining your bank account.”

CeraVe Renewing S.A. Cleanser (Ulta) is the most gentle alternative.

“Three ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide ensure that this wash is hydrating enough.”

Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash (Amazon) is the best exfoliating body wash.

“This 8.8% glycolic acid concentration dissolves dead skin cells and pore-clogging grime.”

Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel At Amazone.

“This wash removes dirt and oil without changing the pH of the skin.”

Ulta has SheaMoisture African Black Soap Body Wash, which is best for dry skin.

“To nourish skin, African black soap is mixed with shea butter and aloe vera.”

Humane Acne Wash at Amazon is best with Benzoyl Peroxide.

“This strong benzoyl peroxide solution of 10% benzoyl peroxide takes on acne-causing bacteria head-on.”

Curology Acne Body Wash is the best subscription at

“Get this salicylic acid-based wash shipped to your door once a month to ensure you’re never without.”

At Amazon, Mario Badescu A.H.A. Botanical Body Soap is the best fragrance.

“The invigorating citrus fragrance will make any shower that much more enjoyable.”

Alaffia African Black Soap All-In-One at Amazon is the best for prevention.

“African black soap, neem leaf, and tea tree oil work together to keep breakouts at bay.”

Breakouts happen all over your body, not just on your face; there are no ifs, and, or buts about it (pun intended). Pimples on your back, shoulders, and yes, even butt can be just as challenging to treat as acne on your face. There are many causes for blemishes, just as there are for your complexion, but lifestyle factors play a significant role in body acne. Things like sitting in sweaty workout clothes for hours on end, pore-clogging detergents used to wash your clothes, and even the shampoo you use can all lead to body breakouts. What’s the best place to begin? In the tub, to be precise.

Any of these best acne body washes will assist in the healing and prevention of body breakouts.

The Best Overall: Amazon’s Proactiv Deep Cleansing Body Wash:




This dermatologist-created line is well-known for its facial products, but don’t forget the body wash. It receives high marks for preventing and treating pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. A combination of 2% salicylic acid breaks up excess fat, and gently exfoliating beads, which buff away pore-clogging gunk and grime, are to thank.

Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash at Ulta is the best value:

Buy On Ulta | $10

Buy On Walmart | $6

Also read: Aida Bicaj Reviews

We’ve had this cleanser in our bathroom for years and use it regularly. Like many of its counterparts on this list, it contains salt acid and is a favorite of New York City dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner for that reason. “Beta-hydroxyl acid keeps pores clear by removing excess oil and dead cells from the skin’s surface. It will help to dry up existing pimples and prevent new ones from forming,” he says. This recipe also contains hydrating glycerin and aloe to avoid over-drying, and it’s available in a delicious pink grapefruit fragrance, with both choices coming in at a super low price.

CeraVe Renewing S.A. Cleanser (Ulta) is the most gentle alternative:

Buy On Ulta | $14

ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS: Ceramides are a type of sphingolipid, which is a complex family of fats or lipids. They help to re-establish the skin’s barrier and keep moisture in.

The biggest downside of many zit-zapping ingredients is that they can often cause your skin to become too dry. Fortunately, with this man, there’s no need to be concerned about that. Yes, it contains salicylic acid to help with breakouts, but three ceramides, as well as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, ensure that it’s still very moisturizing. The fact that it’s the scent- and paraben-free just adds to its gentleness.

Glytone Exfoliating Body Wash (Amazon) is the best exfoliating body wash:




Everyone should exfoliate the skin underneath their chin regularly, but if you’re prone to body breakouts, it’s even more critical. (It’s one of the simplest ways to keep pores clear while still ensuring that any leave-on treatments penetrate better.)

You could use a different body scrub, or you could save time and reach for this two-in-one exfoliating wash, which Jessica Magherefteh, Commerce Editorial Director, swears by. Glycolic acid with an 8.8% concentration goes to work, dissolving dead skin cells and other pore-clogging debris.

It’s also a good choice if you have K.P., also known as keratosis pilaris.

Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel At Amazone:




ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS: Zinc is a trace mineral required for a variety of bodily functions, including immune system support, wound healing, and DNA/protein synthesis and development. It has been shown to assist wound healing and regeneration and protect the skin by deflecting UV rays when applied topically.

We love this soap-free cleansing gel because it extracts dirt and oil without altering your skin’s pH, making it perfect for sensitive skin. The brand’s proprietary Thermal Spring Water and zinc soothe the skin and calm any discomfort, while glyceryl laurate refines pore size and minimizes sebum output.

Ulta has SheaMoisture African Black Soap Body Wash, which is best for dry skin:




BUY ON AMAZON | $19.99

ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS: Shea butter is a fatty acid, antioxidant, and vitamin-rich plant lipid derived from African shea tree nuts. It’s used to keep the skin moisturized, nourished, and soothed.

Because of the long list of benefits it offers, African black soap has built a cult-like following. (Among them, the high concentration of antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory sulfur helps to heal breakouts.) We like that it’s mixed with ultra-hydrating shea butter and aloe vera, among other things, because the straight-up version can be a little drying and not a great choice if you have dry skin, to begin with. What’s the end result? Skin that is clearer, less sticky, and smoother.

Humane Acne Wash at Amazon is best with Benzoyl Peroxide:



As you might have noted, salicylic acid is used in most of the products on this list. But there’s another solid acne-fighting component that, for some reason, isn’t widely used in body washes. We’re talking about benzoyl peroxide, which has the potential to target acne-causing bacteria while still acting as an anti-inflammatory. It’s in a potent 10% concentration here, which is a little too strong for the face but perfect for your body’s thicker skin.

Curology Acne Body Wash is the best subscription at


You’ll never be without body wash again. This subscription-based brand recently branched out into the body segment, releasing this standout sudser that we adore. (Byrdie Senior Editor Lindsey Metrus swears by it.) The wash lathers wonderfully and rinses absolutely clean, thanks to the salicylic acid, which keeps pores open and battles inflammation.

At Amazon, Mario Badescu A.H.A. Botanical Body Soap is the best fragrance:



It just took one wash for Byrdie Senior Editor Hallie Gould to fall in love with this recipe, which she uses to prevent breakouts on her chest. According to her, the soothing citrus fragrance makes every morning more fun, but those ingredients do more than just smell amazing. Gentle exfoliates papaya and grapefruit enzymes are included, as well as calming oat protein.

Alaffia African Black Soap All-In-One at Amazon is the best for prevention:




If you’ve finally beaten body acne and want to keep your skin clean, reach for this multi-tasking wash. It contains the same African black soap we discussed earlier and neem leaf and tea tree oil, two natural ingredients that are known to help control oil and prevent breakouts. The entire ingredient list is chemical-free and entirely natural, and the soap can also be used on your face or as a shaving cream.

Paula’s Choice Clear Acne Body Spray is the safest:




Although this is a leave-in rather than a wash, we believe it deserves a place in your body breakout-fighting arsenal. Let’s face it, those annoying pimples in the middle of your back or on the top of your ass are challenging to hit, which is why this spray is so effective. It’s quick to mist on everywhere, including those hard-to-reach spots, and it provides a 2 percent salicylic acid concentration to zap zits. Spray, wait a few seconds, and then walk away; there’s no need to rinse. Consider picking up this guy if acne body washes alone aren’t cutting it (or if you already have a favorite body wash).

DermaHarmony Body and Facial Soap with 10% Sulfur and 3% Salicylic Acid is the most substantial bar:


We recognize why some people prefer the feeling of washing with solid soap to sudsy liquid soap. If that describes you, this bar is for you. It not only has the highest concentration of salicylic acid (3%) of any commodity on this list, but it also contains 10% sulfur, giving it a one-two punch against even the most stubborn of blemishes.

The Last Word:

Since breakouts can occur anywhere on your body, an acne-fighting body wash is an essential part of your skin-clearing routine. The Proactiv Deep Cleansing Body Wash takes first place in our book with a two-percent concentration of blemish-busting salicylic acid and exfoliating beads. Salicylic acid is also the star of the show in the drugstore’s favorite Neutrogena Body Clear Acne Cream Body Wash with Salicylic Acid. On the other hand, the Humane Acne Wash uses anti-inflammatory benzoyl peroxide at a potent 10% concentration that’s safe to use on the body. If fragrance is important to you, the Mario Badescu A.H.A. Botanical Body Soap, a favorite among Byrdie editors, smells refreshingly citrusy (but still gently exfoliates skin to help combat clogged pores).

What to Look for in a Body Wash for Acne:

According to Zeichner, each of these two ingredients is best in an acne-fighting body wash. He says, “They’ve both been shown to be safe and successful in treating acne.”

Salicylic Acid:

Since this beta-hydroxy acid is oil-soluble, it’s ideal for unclogging pores and combating blackheads and whiteheads.

Peroxide with Benzoyl:

This antibacterial ingredient is suitable for blemishes that are bigger, red, and/or inflamed.

Why Should You Trust Byrdie?

Melanie Rudd, a Byrdie blogger, has over a decade of experience in the beauty business, having written for some of the most well-known magazines and blogs. She knows how to deal with body breakouts as an avid exerciser and has an acne-fighting body wash in her bathroom at all times.


Dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, is an associate professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and the Director of Clinical and Cosmetic Research. He is a specialist in several cosmetic and medical dermatology fields, including acne.