Best Salicylic Acid Body Washes That Unclog Pores & Fight Acne

Acne is common across all ages. Once the pores get congested with oil, dirt, bacteria, and other impurities, the formation of pimples is something you cannot avoid, most times at least. That’s what acne does. Now here’s what salicylic acid does – it rightfully de-congests!

Body acne is always a nuisance as it keeps you from wearing what you want. Plus, there’s also the inflammation during a breakout and then the scar after the flare-up has passed. But then, at such times, the best salicylic acid body washes can really do wonders for your acne-prone / acne-ridden skin.

This particular beta hydroxy acid penetrates through oil to reach deeper into your pores for de-congesting or un-clogging them. So yes, it does target acne, also in the form of whiteheads and blackheads.

So how about saying goodbye to stubborn body acne with these skin-pampering formulations containing acne-fighting salicylic acid

Most Gentle Body Washes with Salicylic Acid – Fight Acne the Right Way!

1. CeraVe Body Wash with Salicylic Acid

When dead skin cells are not ready to shed on their own and when body acne and tiny bumps on the arms and back are unwilling to disappear, it’s time to pull out CeraVe Salicylic Acid Body Wash.

Without the use of any harsh microbeads, this often dermatologist-recommended treatment solution exfoliates away rough, bumpy skin and dead skin cells to leave it feeling soft and smooth. And the calming effect during the whole process is invoked by niacinamide.

CeraVe also leaves your skin feeling hydrated with the help of a combination of essential ceramides and their MVE controlled release technology. The latter helps replenish the former, so your skin’s natural barrier of moisture protection keeps its guards up for the longest time. Take my word for it; you may never want to go back to your old ways!

Pros

  • Natural moisture infused into skin with ceramides
  • Salicylic acid for exfoliation and niacinamide for calming
  • No harsh parabens, microbeads, etc.
  • Truly fragrance-free, thus perfect for sensitive skin

Cons

  • Very small bottle / too little quantity

2. Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Body Wash

Phisoderm Anti-Blemish has also been listed as an effective solution to oily skin, not just acne-prone. And 2-percent salicylic acid is the reason why.

Gentle to use every single day if your skin happens to be susceptible to breaking out. As a result, blemishes start to seem less and less noticeable. The formula is also armed with moisturizing and soothing ingredients like Vitamin E, chamomile, and aloe.

And just the fact that no potential skin irritants (dyes, alcohol, soap, oil, etc.) are included re-instills your faith in lower-priced skincare products. Plus, the scent is so refreshing and light!

Pros

  • Acne breakouts and scars clear up (2% salicylic acid)
  • Chamomile, Vitamin E, and aloe for skin-soothing effect
  • Produces good lather, even though soap-free
  • Very mild yet refreshing scent

Cons

  • Really watery consistency

3. Neutrogena Body Clear Acne Treatment Body Wash

Yet another 2-percent salicylic acid formulation suitable for acne-prone AND oily skin!

Neutrogena Body Clear, first of all, smells amazing because of the inclusion of fruity grapefruit extract. This particular natural ingredient is not at all harsh for the skin. And it really knows how to tone and balance your skin, leaving it clean and ready for the moisturizer.

Vitamin C is also a part of that grapefruit mix, which carries its own set of antioxidants for balancing out your skin tone. This means lightening dark spots, scars, and even hyperpigmentation. So all of this is happening while the salicylic acid content is doing its job of fighting acne breakouts on your chest, shoulders, back, and buttocks even.

Pros

  • Lathering body wash leaves no residue
  • With 2-percent salicylic, it’s best for acne-prone skin
  • Micro Clear technology cuts through oil
  • Grapefruit contains Vitamin C antioxidants

Cons

  • Exfoliating beads may not suit all skin types
  • Scent can feel a little overpowering

4. Solimo Clarifying Pink Grapefruit Body Wash

Now you can’t keep buying Neutrogena since the brand is on the slightly expensive side. So how about an acne-fighting body wash also with grapefruit extract but at a much more affordable price? It’s actually an excellent skincare product at a great value!

This 4-pack solution is equally effective as Neutrogena when it comes to tackling body acne. The refreshing grapefruit body wash lathers up very nicely. And it exhibits anti-aging properties too, along with preventing breakouts and also promoting skin cell turnover.

Your skin after every wash feels very taut and smooth. Just make sure you follow up with a good moisturizer for some much-needed hydration post-shower.

Pros

  • Salicylic acid + gelatin beads exfoliate gently
  • Very fresh grapefruit scent (not at all overpowering)
  • Dermatologist-tested and cruelty-free

Cons

  • Unfortunately, it contains artificial dyes

5. Proactiv Deep Cleansing Acne Body Wash

Cleanse your body and your face with this Proactive Deep Cleansing formulation that actually consists of tiny, smooth exfoliating beads. And of course, there’s salicylic acid for clearing existing acne and preventing future breakouts from top to bottom.

The beads help eliminate dead skin cells, so all your clogged pores are subject to de-congestion. Hence, the root cause of acne formation, that is bacteria, excess oil, and other such impurities are removed from its very source.

Just one week of use is enough for you to see the results you’ve been waiting for so long. The best part is that this salicylic acid acne medication really knows how to unclog and clear up pores for both adults and teens.

Pros

  • Mild cleanser, thus safe, skin-friendly for daily use
  • Tiny, smooth exfoliating beads
  • Oil control and pore cleansing with salicylic acid
  • Smells unbelievably clean and refreshing
  • Suitable for acne-prone skin (teens and adults)

Cons

  • No pump dispenser
  • Beads can prove to be abrasive for sensitive skin

6. Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Body Wash

For some people, salicylic acid works as an effective and gentle solution for treating dry, rough patches of eczema as well. The concentrated formula that is Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Body Wash easily gets rid of grime and dirt. Since it’s concentrated, a little goes a long way. With rich, foamy lather that too!

This is actually the first body wash on the list with organic certified ingredients and active botanical extracts. And then there’s acne-fighting salicylic acid as well. Your skin, as a result, is bound to feel smooth in terms of texture and look balanced in terms of complexion.

And the major role of improving skin health and condition is played by the traditional African Black Soap concoction. It’s all-natural and really knows how to reduce acne and soothe mild skin irritation.

Pros

  • Natural, gentle exfoliating beads
  • African Black Soap acts as a deep cleanser
  • A refreshing, clean, earthy scent
  • Acne treatment with salicylic acid
  • Botanical extracts make skin feel soft and smooth

Cons

  • Little scrubbing agents might agitate sensitive skin

7. Murad Acne Body Wash

Presenting to you a body wash with salicylic acid and glycolic acid – Murad Acne Body Wash. Infused with A.H.A. glycolic acid and B.H.A. salicylic acid, this multi-active formula is the queen of gentle exfoliation. Your clogged pores and breakouts don’t stand a chance!

In fact, even when you feel a breakout under your skin, this thing works toward making even that disappear in no time. That’s how amazing it is!

Date seed powder is also added for infusing your skin with antioxidants to fight aging-related lines and wrinkles. And all this is done without your skin feeling excessively dry, thanks to no parabens, phthalates, sulfates, etc.

Pros

  • B.H.A. salicylic acid cuts through oil
  • A.H.A. glycolic acid improves skin tone/texture
  • Triple action with date seed powder (rich antioxidants)
  • Seems completely unscented, great for sensitive skin

Cons

  • Too expensive for such a small quantity

8. Every Man Jack Activated Charcoal Mens Body Wash

Deep cleansing is very, very important when you want to fight acne on a regular basis. On that note, men can rely on Every Man Jack’s Activated Charcoal recipe.

You can choose any of the other options too – Cedar, Aged Bourbon, Shea Butter, Sandalwood, Volcanic Clay, and more. The reason I decided to shortlist this Activated Charcoal version is that activated charcoal has proven to unclog pores, get rid of dead skin cells, remove deep-seated impurities, and thoroughly cleanse the skin.

All of these responsibilities are also fulfilled by salicylic acid, which is obviously a part of this formulation. So future acne breakouts are well taken care of at all costs!

And I don’t know who wants to hear this but the body wash doesn’t have a “girly” scent in case you happen to be worried about that.

Pros

  • Deep cleansing with activated charcoal
  • Acne treatment with salicylic acid
  • Plant-based ingredients even for scent (tea tree oil + pine)
  • Certified cruelty-free by PETA

Cons

  • It leaves behind some residue
  • Very strong smell

9. Touch Keratosis Pilaris & Acne Exfoliating Body Wash

Using a physical exfoliator like a body cloth or loofah with this chemical exfoliator, Touch Keratosis Pilaris & Acne Exfoliating Body Wash, is going to be your remedy to managing a skin condition like Keratosis Pilaris. The redness of KP is sure to drastically decline, along with your pores smoothing and bumps becoming less visible.

The formulation is actually a blend of 2-percent salicylic acid (A.H.A.) and 15-percent glycolic acid (B.H.A.). While salicylic acid penetrates through surface oil to cleanse your pores from within, glycolic acid works toward improving your skin tone and texture and also minimizing fine lines and hyperpigmentation.

There are other ingredients as well for soothing the skin. Such as Gotu Kola for anti-aging, Vitamin E for repairing skin damage, and aloe vera for moisturizing.

Pros

  • Foaming, non-drying body wash
  • Exfoliating and soothing ingredients for gentle cleansing
  • Powerful antioxidants and collagen for anti-aging
  • Takes care of Keratosis Pilaris and clogged pores

Cons

  • It stings the eyes, so be careful

10. Black Wolf Mens Body Wash with Activated Charcoal

Severe breakouts have to be dealt with something that actually works in the long run. Just like this Activated Charcoal recipe by Black Wolf. Even men struggle with getting rid of body acne, even men end up spending so much money on acne-fighting skincare formulations.

If you can relate, this body wash is just what you need because it has really effective, long-term organic ingredients. Even the scent is more natural, which is always a good thing since fabricated or artificial fragrances tend to flare up sensitivities.

The wonderful blend of salicylic acid and activated charcoal means unclogging pores, exfoliating away dead skin cells, dissolving blackheads and whiteheads, and just protecting your skin from future breakouts.

It’s also pretty amazing to find out that even cystic acne is well treated with the help of this coconut-derived formula.

Pros

  • Deep skin cleanser with antibacterial activated charcoal
  • Contains salicylic acid also for gentle exfoliation
  • Cucumber, blue sage, citrus, and seaweed (natural skincare)
  • Cruelty-free and free of parabens

Cons

  • Not strong-scented
  • Some questionable ingredients

What Is Salicylic Acid?

From the beta hydroxy acid category comes salicylic acid, an organic-based, oil-soluble chemical exfoliant that penetrates easily into your skin’s pores to cleanse them of excess sebum, dead skin cells, dirt, grime, bacteria, and other impurities. That’s how it’s such a super-fitting and super-effective choice for a common skin problem like acne.

Since beta hydroxy acid is oil-soluble, it can cut through the sebum on the surface of your skin to deep-cleanse your pores. So salicylic acid breaks down acne-causing bacteria. Period.

Skin Benefits of Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid Is A Potent Acne-Fighting Ingredient

It fights acne by cleansing the pores of your skin, and this could be whiteheads and blackheads too. Salicylic acid penetrates very easily into the skin to dissolve impurities. Hence, de-congesting blocked pores.

Salicylic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties. This means you can use it for reducing the severity of inflamed pimples as well. It’s the acid side of the salicylic molecule that does all that ‘dissolving’ action. It dissolves the very thing that acts as ‘glue’ holding your skin cells together.

Salicylic Acid Is A Very Effective Yet Gentle Exfoliant

In a way, salicylic acid is a medicated exfoliant. With its “purging” properties, what it does is slough off dead skin cells to encourage the growth of new ones. All the while also softening the texture of your skin.

Salicylic acid is also capable of breaking apart attachments called desmosomes found between skin cells. And this too promotes skin exfoliating and pore unclogging. In simpler words, dead skin cells are loosened for dissolving acne.

Salicylic Acid Also Treats Whiteheads and Blackheads

When salicylic acid dissolves skin debris clogging your pores, these impurities could also be keratin plugs. These are scaly bumps that are often associated with whiteheads and blackheads.

Salicylic acid’s antibacterial properties have the ability to break down such deep-rooted forms of acne too.

Salicylic Acid or Glycolic Acid – What Should You Use for Acne?

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid, hence oil-soluble. Glycolic acid, on the other hand, is an alpha hydroxy acid, which is water-soluble. This means it’s salicylic acid indeed that cuts through oil to dissolve all the dead skin cells and impurities that often congest the pores.

As for glycolic acid, it doesn’t penetrate so deep. Instead, its superpower is to fade acne scars, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, etc. Meaning glycolic acid works better for improving skin tone and texture rather than as an active acne-fighting ingredient (salicylic acid).

Most Useful Tips for Using Body Washes with Salicylic Acid

Tip #1

The first and foremost tip when incorporating salicylic acid into your skin routine is to take it slow. Your romantic relationships and your relationship with salicylic acid should always start slow. With salicylic acid, it can actually dry out the skin if used excessively. So start by using the salicylic acid infused body wash every alternate day.

Tip #2

While exfoliating with salicylic acid, refrain from scrubbing too hard. It is, after all, a chemical exfoliant.

Tip #3

Lastly, since it tends to cause a little bit of dryness, use a good moisturizer after cleansing your skin.

FAQs About Salicylic Acid

Can You Use Salicylic Acid Body Wash Every Day?

If you’re only just introducing your skin to salicylic acid, then use it once every other day, not every day. Do this alternate-day deal for around 2 weeks. And during this time, if no side effects like skin irritation or redness come up, you can start washing your body with a salicylic acid formulation every day.

Can You Use Salicylic Acid During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy acne is among the many unpleasant things that no woman wants to happen. And acne during pregnancy can get worse. So all the more reason to cleanse/exfoliate your skin using salicylic acid. The good news is that you can indeed use skincare products formulated with salicylic acid provided the formulation contains not more than 2-percent salicylic acid.

Also, using such a body wash 1-2 times a day is fine but not more than that.

Does Salicylic Acid Work for Back Acne?

What salicylic acid does is exfoliate away dead skin cells, excess sebum, and other impurities trapped within your skin’s pores. So there’s no reason why it wouldn’t do the same when it comes to controlling oil and treating/preventing acne on your back and the rest of your body.

Can You Use Salicylic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide Together?

Both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide together can prove to be very, very effective as an anti-acne solution. But then together as in, for example, salicylic acid in a body wash and benzoyl peroxide in a lotion. When used both excessively, the side effects are common. This includes dry patches, skin irritation, and peeling.

Summing It Up Then…

Body acne may be common and all but then who says one shouldn’t do anything about it! Make acne, even cystic acne, a thing of the past with anti-acne ingredients like salicylic acid.

It’s the ultimate nemesis of bacteria, so it knows how to get rid of it. And salicylic acid does so very gently. At least the 2-percent concentration of salicylic acid in these body washes allows this B.H.A. chemical exfoliant to carry on the acne-fighting gently.

So don’t be under the impression that salicylic acid works just for the face. It treats breakouts in general, which means even back acne, chest acne, acne on the shoulders, buttocks, etc.

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