The Best Face Washes for Cystic Acne

The Best Face Washes for Cystic Acne
The Best Face Washes for Cystic Acne [ photo ]
Published March 14, 2022|Updated May 2, 2022

In a perfect world, everyone would have clear skin and no medical skin conditions would exist. There would be no need for dermatologists or face washes because everyone would have clear skin for their whole lives. Unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with smooth unblemished skin, and having acne-prone skin can make you feel self-conscious while lowering your self-esteem at the same time.

Sufferers of cystic acne have no doubt felt this at one point or another, which leads them to seek treatment and search for effective products that will help relieve their cystic acne. Finding the right products to treat and fight cystic acne can be the biggest headache. When there’s so many products for acne, how do you know which products are the best face washes for cystic acne specifically?

It’s important to keep in mind that cystic acne is not only caused by clogged pores but also bacteria. With that in mind, you’re going to want to use products that will deeply cleanse your pores and prevent any acne-causing bacteria from causing further cystic acne breakouts.

The fact of the matter is that nowadays a lot of the acne treatment products that can be used to fight cystic acne don’t require a prescription from a doctor. Skip hovering in front of the face washes at the store and reading the back of twenty different bottles, because we’ve done all of the research for you.

Our list of the best face washes for cystic acne will help you research and choose your next favorite skin care product.

1. Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Facial Cleanser

Blu Atlas’ face wash uses volcanic ash that washes away all of the dirt from your skin while balancing your skin’s PH. Blu Atlas Volcanic Ash Face Cleanser is made for daily use, and it’s safe enough to use on all skin types. This cleanser gives your skin the protection it needs to fight the bacteria that causes cystic acne.

The volcanic ash in this cleanser is used to deeply clean out your pores and give your skin hydration, and it is best suited for all of the fellas out there suffering from cystic acne.

2. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

Paraben-free and aluminum-free, Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Wash uses salicylic acid to prevent cystic acne breakouts. After washing your face with this, you’ll notice there’s no residue left on your skin, and your skin will feel rejuvenated instead of dry, itchy, and tight.

3. Differin Daily Deep Cleanser

Differin Daily Deep Cleanser moisturizes your skin while absorbing any extra oil. The key ingredient, sodium hydroxide with 5% hydrogen peroxide, relieves any irritating symptoms caused by cystic acne.

Results from using Differin Daily Deep Cleanser can expect to be seen within a couple weeks, although you must use it consistently to see results.

4. ZO Gentle Cleansing Face Wash

If you’re in search of a face wash that’s gentle on your skin, ZO’s Gentle Face Cleansing Wash will help you achieve less breakouts and clearer skin. This face wash is dermatologist approved – not surprising considering it uses salicylic acid to prevent breakouts and exfoliating beads that effectively clear out your pores.

ZO’s Gentle Cleansing Face Wash has been approved by dermatologists to help clear up cystic acne using salicylic acid and exfoliating beads. After using ZO’s Gentle Cleansing Face Wash, your pores will be cleansed and your skin will be undeniably refreshed.

5. AcneFree Oil-Free Acne Cleansing Face Wash

Killing 99% of acne-causing bacteria, AcneFree Oil-Free Cleansing Face Wash is your best bet when fighting cystic acne. Wash your face with this twice a day to get rid of any bacteria on your face. AcneFree’s Oil-Free Cleansing Face Wash is made in the US and dermatologist recommended.

The 2.5% benzoyl peroxide formula helps relieve the skin irritation associated with many acne conditions. This face wash is best suited for severe acne on your face or body and can be used once or twice a day without causing further irritation such as dryness.

6. Panoxyl Acne Foaming Face Wash

One of the top recommended facial cleansers for cystic acne, Panoxyl Acne Foaming Face Wash contains approximately 10% benzoyl peroxide, which is the highest amount you can get over-the-counter without needing a prescription. If you use it daily, you are sure to notice your cystic acne clearing up day by day.

Panoxyl Acne Foaming Face Wash is one of the most used acne treatment products by sufferers of cystic acne because it’s effective at killing nasty bacteria that causes cystic acne to form. We highly recommend Panoxyl Foaming Face Wash as a first line of treatment as a daily face wash for cystic acne.

7. ZAPZYT Acne Wash Cleanser

Cystic acne can cause big, super itchy pimples. ZAPZYT Acne Wash Cleaner is the only cleanser on our list of best face washes for cystic acne that has aloe and chamomile to soothe and reduce any inflammation you get from cystic acne breakouts.

This face wash is dermatologist recommended and hypoallergenic for those who have troubles with allergies. ZAPZYT Acne Wash Cleaner has been clinically proven to treat acne conditions and is safe enough to be used long-term for sensitive skin.

8. InstaNatural Glycolic Cleanser

Looking for one of the best face washes for cystic acne that’s natural? InstaNatural Glycolic Cleanser uses glycolic acid to carefully exfoliate your skin and clear out your pores without making your skin extremely dry.

InstaNatural Glycolic Cleanser has cucumber and green tea extract which will soften your skin with continued, daily use. With the glycolic acid and cucumber extra, your skin will feel soft, smooth, and rejuvenated.

9. Bliss Clear Genius Gel Cleanser

If you’re in search of a vegan cleanser, look no further. Bliss Clear Genius Gel Cleanser is a vegan, cruelty-free, caffeine-free facial cleanser that helps fight cystic acne breakouts without drying your skin.

You’ll find willow bark extract, brazilian sea water, and salicylic acid are the main ingredients of this face wash. All three of these major ingredients work together to make your skin a place where acne-causing bacteria have no place to hide.

10. Cerave Acne Foaming Facial Cleanser

A very effective product from a very well-known brand, Cerave Acne Foaming Facial Cleanser has niacinamide and ceramides to relieve inflamed, itchy skin caused by cystic acne. Niacinamide helps to reduce inflammation, while the ceramides help to improve your skin’s barrier function, which is often lacking with acne-prone skin.

Cerave Acne Foaming Facial Cleanser is non-comedogenic and fragrance-free. You are free to use Cerave Acne Foaming Facial cleanser every day to help relieve the inflammation your cystic acne breakouts cause without clogging your pores.

11. Kate Somerville EradiKate Cleanser

Sulfur can be used in acne treatment products to get rid of dead skin cells and excess oil production. Kate Somerville’s EradiKate Cleanser contains 3% sulfur, which gives you full, clinical strength treatment for cystic acne. This cleanser also minimizes the appearance of enlarged pores and has a wonderful light honey scent. Don’t worry though—while most of the face washes on our list are fragrance-free, the honey scent isn’t as overpowering as a perfume or cologne.

Kate Sommerville’s EradiKate Cleanser uses sulfur to reduce enlarged pores, and gives clinical strength treatment for dealing with your cystic acne breakouts, making it a top choice as the best face wash for cystic acne.

This can be safely used on a day-to-day basis for up to a maximum of two times per day and is best used as the first step in your skin care routine.

12. Trader Joe’s All-in-One Facial Cleanser

This is the only face wash on the list that was curated by dermatologists. Yes, you read that correctly—Trader Joe’s All-in-One Facial Cleanser was actually made by dermatologists, not just approved or certified by them.

Due to the fact Trader Joe’s All-in-One Facial Cleanser was made by licensed professionals who have years and years of expertise on acne, you can expect an oil-free, antioxidant rich, highly effective formula that won’t burn your eyes and provides your skin with the nourishment it needs to begin healing from your cystic acne breakouts.

13. Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser

Having trouble with scars from cystic acne? Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser is non-comedogenic and oil-free.

If you are having troubles with dark acne scars from your cystic acne breakouts, Aveeno’s Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser can help even out and brighten up your skin tone.

Aveeno’s face wash is hypoallergenic and more so used by those who have dry skin. Reviewers of this face wash constantly mention how effective it is for being one of the most affordable acne treatment products out there.

14. Naturium Fermented Rice Enzyme Cleanser

Hands down one of the most unique face washes for cystic acne, Natrium Fermented Rice Enzyme Cleanser uses a creative blend of fermented rice and special fruit botanicals to moisturize and exfoliate your skin. Best of all, this cleanser is fragrance-free, so you won’t have to deal with any overpowering fragrance.

The rare fermented rice in Natrium’s Fermented Rice Enzyme Cleanser works with your skin instead of against it, so it has a chance to absorb the nutrients it needs to fight off your cystic acne. Natrium’s Fermented Rice Enzyme Cleaner is the best product for combination or dry skin.

15. Paula’s Choice CLEAR Pore Normalizing Cleanser

Most face washes usually contain either benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, but this particular face cleanser uses both of these ingredients to calm and heal your skin.

Paula’s Choice CLEAR Pore Normalizing Cleanser cleans your acne-prone skin with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide mixed together to remove oil, germs, and dirt that clog pores and cause cystic acne to form in the first place.

This is one of the best face washes for cystic acne because it contains not only the usual benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid for treatment of cystic acne, but also fruit botanicals. The fruit botanicals in Paula’s Choice CLEAR Pore Normalizing Cleanser will rinse your skin of all dirt and germs without your skin becoming dry afterwards.

16. Biore Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser

Biore doesn’t disappoint when it comes to their amazing face washes. Biore Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser uses natural charcoal in order to absorb any excess oil. By taking back control of your skin’s oil production, Biore Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser will help fight cystic acne breakouts.

If you have skin that over-produces oil, that oil can clog your pores, and then the breakout cycle of cystic acne begins. Biore Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser’s natural charcoal will absorb any excess oil before it gets into your pores, fighting off cystic acne before it starts.

17. St. Ives Acne Control Daily Face Cleanser

St. Ives has been around in skin care for a long time, so it’s not surprising that they have some of the most popular products in the skin care industry like St. Ives Acne Control Daily Face Cleanse.

St. Ives Acne Control Daily Face Cleanser is dermatologist tested and paraben-free, containing about 2% salicylic acid, so it’s safe for you to use without having to worry about any irritation afterward. This is best for those with combination skin.

St. Ives Acne Control Daily Face Cleanser has tea tree oil and salicylic acid which work as a team to come to your skin’s rescue. If you’re someone who likes to make the world a better place environmentally, the bottle is made of 100% recycled plastic.

18. Tula Purifying Face Cleanser

Tula Purifying Face Cleanser will exceed your expectations of a face wash. It has a highly-rated, effective formula consisting of green tea, alpha hydraulic acid, as well as turmeric. The mixture of all of these skin-healing ingredients will leave your skin feeling the freshest and cleanest it’s ever felt.

Tula’s Purifying Face Cleanser isn’t tested on animals and uses ingredients like turmeric and probiotic extracts to help your skin heal from cystic acne.

19. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Purifying Gel

Highly known and highly recommended, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Purifying Gel is hands down one of the most popular products for sufferers of cystic acne. Whether your cystic acne is mild or severe, La Roche-Posay’s Medicated Purifying Gel heals your skin and is gentle enough to use on your skin on a day-to-day basis.

La Roche-Posay’s face wash won’t leave behind any residue that makes your skin feel weird. This face wash is fragrance-free, allergy tested, and safe for all skin types, especially for those with sensitive skin.

20. SkinMedica AHA BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Exfoliating your skin is important for people with cystic acne as it gets out all of the impurities and germs from your skin. SkinMedica AHA BHA Exfoliating Cleanser’s five-star reviews don’t lie: This face wash is highly effective at preventing bothersome cystic acne breakouts.

Reviewers consistently rave about the skin-clearing, refreshing properties of this exfoliating cleanser. This is a must-try and could definitely end up as a favorite part of your skin care routine.

Made for those who have combination or oily skin, SkinMedica AHA BHA Exfoliating Cleanser uses jojoba oil and salicylic together in order to give your skin maximum exfoliation. It has alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta hydroxy acid (BHA) which help improve the uneven, rough texture cystic acne sufferers tend to develop.

21. Glytone Acne BPO Cleanser

Glytone Acne BPO Cleanser has an average rating of 4.9 stars from all users of this phenomenal face wash. Glytone uses 4.5% benzoyl peroxide in order to visibly reduce the rough appearance of acne-prone skin.

This face wash is the highest rated face wash besides BluAtlas Volcanic Face Wash and Panoxyl. Even better, Glytone has been shown to help cystic acne no matter whether your case is mild or severe. Cystic acne sufferers will have this cleanser as a part of their skin routine for years to come.

22. Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser

Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser is an award-winning face wash specifically curated for those who have acne-prone, sensitive skin. Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple Cleanser is made of essential oils and citric acid which help your skin stay moisturized and contains sodium hydroxide to balance your skin’s pH.

If you have issues with dry, acne-prone skin, Philosophy is amazing for providing your skin with the moisturizing relief it’s been looking for.

23. Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser

Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser has a ton of benefits: dermatologist tested, non-comedogenic, paraben-free, lanolin-free, formaldehyde-free, and even gluten free! It can’t get any safer than that.

This face wash uses sodium hydroxide as it’s key ingredient to help stop acne-causing bacteria before it has a chance to wreak havoc. Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser is a safe, non-irritating face wash that you can use every day in your skin care regimen.

24. Clearasil Ultra Deep Pore Treatment Wash

Clearasil Ultra Deep Pore Treatment is from a well-known brand, so you can expect highly effective treatment for your cystic acne. Clearasil Ultra Deep Pore Treatment works to treat your cystic acne instantly with it’s rapid-action formula that provides clearer looking skin within just 12 hours.

Clearasil exfoliates and smooths out your skin for a much-needed lift. If you’re in the market for a face wash that also reduces the size of your cystic acne pimples, Clearasil can help.

25. Humane Maximum Strength

Humane Maximum Strength promises to prevent excess oil production and fights the bacteria causing your cystic acne breakouts. Humane Maximum Strength is also the only face wash for cystic acne that can be used on your face and your body.

If you deal extensively with oily skin, Humane Maximum Strength will absorb and remove excess oil, so you don’t have to deal with your burning, irritated eyes from all of the oil accumulating on your face.

26. Murad Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser

Not all cleansers are made equal. A lot will stop working until you use it on your face again. However, Murad Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser doesn’t stop working just because you rinsed it off. This face wash will keep working even after you’ve used it and gone about your day. And it’s the only cleanser on this list that contains two types of salicylic acid.

Murad Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser also has green tea extract that helps soothe the inflammation caused by cystic acne. Everyone raves about it’s oil absorbing powers. For those with excessively oily skin, this face cleanser product is a suitable choice.

Make A Visit To Your Dermatologist Before Trying Products

Before you try any of these recommended products, we suggest that you double check with your dermatologist to make sure these acne-treatment products are safe for you to use. Everyone has unique skin that can react differently to different ingredients.

Face washes for cystic acne often have medication in them that can dangerously mix with any other topical treatments you may be taking to treat your cystic acne. If you take any other topical medication for your skin, you’ll want to ask to make sure there’s no dangerous interactions. A quick Google search will not do!

Your dermatologist can also help you to choose from the products from this list that will best suit your unique skin chemistry. Most of the time, cystic acne will need to be treated with the help of a dermatologist anyway, so if you haven’t made an appointment to see one, now is the best time.

Do A Skin Test When Sampling Products

You never know how your skin will react to something. It’s a good idea to take some time to do a skin test with any of these best face washes for cystic acne, even if you don’t have any issues with sensitive skin.

To do a skin sensitivity test, apply a dime-sized amount to your face, and let it sit to see if your skin ends up reacting to the product. It’s better to be safe than sorry before putting any product all over your face. You wouldn’t want to wake up one morning with a puffy, itchy face because you had an allergic reaction to one of the products.

How Long Until I See Results?

Please take note that most face washes will only work with continued use, meaning if you suddenly decide to stop your routine, then your cystic acne will likely come back. Our advice is to stick to the same routine, and apply it at the same times every day.

If you don’t already have a skin care routine, it may take some time to get into one. We suggest taking baby steps: Start by testing one product everyday, and then slowly add on any other products you want to use.

Depending on what you’re using for your cystic acne, it can take up to several months before you see your cystic acne breakouts lessen.

What Ingredients/Products Should I Avoid?

Make sure to avoid any and all products that have any of the following:

  • parabens
  • alcohol
  • lanolin

Parabens, alcohol, and lanolin all have the potential to make itchiness and inflammation from cystic acne worse. Alcohol will dry out your cystic acne, which isn’t ideal for providing relief from cystic acne breakouts.

What Ingredients/Products Should I Look For?

It’s best to focus on products that are:

  • Oil-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic

And products that contain:

  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Salicylic acid

Products like the ones on our list of the best face washes for cystic acne have a lot of these ingredients that will help your cystic acne instead of harming it in the long run, or making your breakouts worse than they already are.

All of the face washes on our list are meant to aid you on your journey with cystic acne and to make you feel more confident as your skin slowly, but surely begins to heal.

Will My Cystic Acne Ever Get Any Better?

We know it seems impossible and that you possibly feel discouraged or embarrassed about finding the right solution for your skin, but cystic acne can be treated, and you can find relief. It’s all about finding what works with your personal body chemistry.

If you’re looking for support from other people who have cystic acne, visiting online discussion boards like Reddit or Quora will help you connect with other cystic acne sufferers. You can also talk to others and see what products are working for them.

For all sufferers of cystic acne, you’re not alone in the slightest. Cystic acne is an extremely common skin condition, and is treatable with some professional help. If you have been hesitant about seeing a dermatologist, now is the time. Take back control over your skin.