Skincare 101: Acne Washes That Work Overtime

Words by Janell Hickman

man washes his face

Words by Janell M. Hickman and Camille Pegram

When it comes to acne, typically you can blame it on one of the three S’s: stress, sweat or shaving. But teenage boys aren’t the only ones suffering from a huge zit before a big date. Believe it or not, grown men in their 20s, 30s, and even 40s are still pimple-prone. Long story short, when your pores are clogged, things can easily go awry, which is why face washes and scrubs formulated for acne-prone skin are your best defense. To help you banish breakouts for good, we’ve rounded up ten hardworking finds to keep you (and your skin) in the clear.

Baxter of California Facial Scrub

product image of baxter california

Why: Landing somewhere between a pre-shave treatment (to help prevent ingrown hairs and lift facial hair) and kick-ass acne-fighter, this buffer will have you on your way to clear skin. Natural ingredients like cornmeal, walnut shell powder and chamomile erase impurities with ease.

Baxter of California Facial Scrub, $19.00

Clinique for Men Charcoal Face Wash

clinique charcoal wash product image

Why: charcoal, a.k.a. a natural detoxifying agent, easily draws out impurities from the skin leaving it cleansed and refreshed. This gel wash delivers a deep clean perfect for oilier skin types.

Clinique for Men Charcoal Face Wash, $20.00

Shiseido Men Deep Cleansing Scrub


Why: Combining powerful science with practical skincare, this triple-cleansing wash eliminates dry rough patches, nasty blackheads and dull skin. The best part? It’s dermatologist tested and noncomedogenic which just means you don’t have to sweat acne’s return.

Shiseido Men Deep Cleansing Scrub, $25.00

Jack Black All-Over Wash For Face, Hair, and Body

Why: Just because you are an on-the-go guy doesn’t give you a pass to skip out on skincare. Specifically designed with mild cleansers that are pH balanced, you can now treat your face hair, and body to a luxurious clean lather without excessive drying. #winning

Jack Black All-Over Wash For Face, Hair, and Body, $21.00

Aēsop Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil

Aēsop Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil

Why: Looking for a post-gym aromatic rubdown? Skip the spa and DIY with half a teaspoon of this cleansing oil and just a few drops of water. Massage all over your entire face and neck to eliminate dirt, pollutants, and other impurities before rinsing with warm water.

Aēsop Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil, $43.00

Murad Clarifying Cleanser


Why: Incorporate a salicylic acid based gel cleanser to wash away pore-clogging grime, oil and irritants. Plus, unlike other brands on the market, Murad figured out a time-released medication component that stays active for hours long after rinsing.

Murad Clarifying Cleanser, $28.00

Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Gel Cleanser


Why: There’s a reason why this cleanser has been a crowd-pleaser for over four decades. Kiehl’s tried-and-true anti-acne formula gets to the root of the issue by ridding skin’s surface of left over dirt and oil from your everyday environment.

Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Gel Cleanser, $21.00

Perricone MD Citrus Facial Wash

Perricone MD Citrus Facial Wash

Why: Wake up your face and grooming routine with this fresh citrus cleanser. The non-greasy formula thoroughly cleanses while improving the skin’s overall texture. All you’re left with is a natural healthy glow—sans grit and grime.

Perricone MD Citrus Facial Wash, $45.00

Hudson Made New York Apothecary Rose Soap

Hudson Made New York Apothecary Rose Soap

Why: Reap the endless benefits of rose with this mildly scented vegan soap ideal for face and body. Made with 100% natural ingredients, it will help you improve overall skin texture without much effort.

Hudson Made New York Apothecary Rose Soap, $16.50

Aveda ‘outer peace’ Foaming Cleanser

aveda foaming cleansing

Why: Part of a powerful 4-step regimen, this botanical-based face wash leverages ingredients like tamanu, amla, boswellia and saw palmetto to blast acne away. Plus, with a 92% success rate in roughly 4 weeks, you can rest assured blemishes will be a thing of the past.

Aveda ‘outer peace’ Foaming Cleanser, $28.00