Choosing a good face wash for acne is more difficult than you would think. There are two things you have to check for: the presence of several “good” ingredients and the lack of several “bad” ingredients. We will list these ingredients below along with what makes these ingredients good as well as what makes the bad ingredients bad.
The Good Ingredient List
There are two ingredients you will want to check for in a good face wash:
- Purified Water: Purified water is the ideal base for a face wash. Other face washes may use alcohol as a base. Alcohol-based face washes are more likely to dry out the skin and cause irritation. They also tend to be more likely to be paired with the “bad” ingredients.
- Salicylic Acid: In 1-2% concentrations, salicylic acid is the active ingredient in a good acne face wash. It is what gives the face wash its cleansing power. It unblocks pores, removes dead skin cells, and strips oils from the skin. Without salicylic acid, a face wash would be no more effective than soap or water. Do not use more than 2% concentration though – this may burn the skin!
The Bad Ingredient List
Many of the chemicals that are used to bind acne treatment products together actually have the side effect of blocking pores, which leads to future acne breakouts. Check the ingredients list for any face wash to make sure none of the following three ingredients are included:
- Oleth-3: Oleth-3 is commonly added to face washes as a base. It helps act as a medium to help the product stick together. Unfortunately, it is also great at blocking pores and one of the most acne-stimulating chemicals known to man.
- Laureth-4: Laurteth-4 is a common face wash ingredient that helps ingredients blend together. When you mix certain acids, chemicals, and scents together, they may not liquify well. Since face washes are usually in liquid form, laureth-4 may be added to help these compounds liquify. Unfortunately, laureth-4 is a strong acne-stimulator, so it should be avoided.
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate: While not as strong of an acne stimulator as Oleth-3 or Laureth-4, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, or SLS for short, is commonly used as a foaming agent. This means that when added to a face wash liquid, the liquid is more likely to foam and make lather when rubbed together. While this effect is pleasing to the consumer, this chemical can stimulate breakouts, so avoid it.
Our Recommended Face Wash
If you are looking for a good face wash that has all the good ingredients without any of the bad ones, consider the Exposed Skin Care system. The face wash included in their acne kits contains salicylic acid but avoids all the nasty ingredients that may actually cause acne.