What’s the Best Acne Scrub? Top 6 Acne-Fighting Exfoliants

Finding the best acne scrub appeals to everyone who's wished at some point they could just scrub away their acne. But while rough exfoliation - think sharp, hard granules like St. Ives Apricot Scrub - can do more harm than good, a gentle but thorough exfoliation is key to fighting acne and keeping breakouts at bay.

Here why: A skin cell is born in the deepest layer of the skin. It makes its way to the uppermost layer (about 28 days), and by that time its life is over. In the normal course of events, it then gets pushed off the skin by the younger cells making their way to the surface. Thus is the circle of life of a skin cell...except when some of those dead cells refuse to leave.

That's when the trouble begins. The dead cells get tangled up with bacteria, toxins, dirt, and oils; seep back into the skin; and clog the pores. Now you have blackheads, white heads and acne. You can avoid all that with exfoliation!

Exfoliation is essential in addressing acne and acne-related scarring and keeping your skin healthy.
It clears the dead cells from your skin and unblocks your pores. With regular use, it keeps your pores clear and prevents acne from returning. And that's where a good acne scrub comes in.

The best acne scrubs contain acne-fighting ingredients like tea tree oil as well as smart exfoliators like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) that gently "unglue" dead skin cells to remove them from your skin - all without rough, abrasive manual exfoliation.

Curious which products qualify? Here are the 6 best acne scrubs you can get your hands pores on!

Alba Acnedote Face & Body Scrub

best acne scrub
best acne scrub

Alba Acnedote Face & Body Scrub, $8

This foaming scrub is powerful, natural, and effective. It's tough on body acne, gentle enough for daily use on your face, and it clears up acne outbreaks without irritating your skin.

Acnedote Scrub contains willow bark extract, a natural source of salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that penetrates deeply into the skin to exfoliate, open pores and clear them of oil plugs, boost cell turnover and collagen production, and lighten dark spots. Chamomile extract reduces inflammation and fights prime acne culprits like dirt, oil and pore-plugging dead skin cells, while powder-fine walnut shell granules slough them away and nicely polish the skin. Licorice and lentil extracts counteract acne-causing bacteria and mattify the skin. Organic aloe soothes irritated skin.

You can use this scrub every day, or you can use it a few times a week to treat and prevent acne. Scrub gently and rinse thoroughly. Your skin will be squeaky-clean and clear, plus the scrub has a very refreshing but mild scent from the peppermint and sage oils in the formula.


Acure Brightening Facial Scrub

best acne scrub
best acne scrub

Acure Brightening Facial Scrub, $10

Love natural, organic ingredients that work? Love going to the spa? You're going to adore this acne scrub. It's green and creamy with perfectly tiny granules. When applied to your wet skin, it forms a lather that glides over your face as it gently exfoliates, removing dirt and oil as it nourishes.

The formula is pure and organic - and it smells as fresh as it feels, like you're getting an organic spa treatment. It contains sea kelp and lemon peel that gently exfoliate your skin. French green clay cleanses away excess oil while leaving your skin natural moisture. Argan stem cells and the chlorella growth factor (CGF) stimulate new cell growth and make the complexion more radiant. Madonna lily stem cells brighten skin's appearance. This scrub makes your skin soft and smooth with a balanced pH level.

It's works well on all skin types. If you need a little more TLC than a simple scrub, use it as a face mask by leaving it on your face on a minute or two before gently exfoliating it off! Follow it up with an acne serum for best results!


Oleavine TheraTree Therapeutic Exfoliating Scrub

best acne scrub

Oleavine Therapeutic Exfoliating Scrub, $15

The TheraTree Scrub gently removes dead skin cells while natural oils and botanicals relieve irritated skin and leave your skin feeling soft and healthy.

Micro volcanic pumice and willow bark gently exfoliate. Activated charcoal draws out dirt, toxins, impurities, and make-up from the skin surface and pores. Tea tree oil fights bacteria, removes toxins, heals, reduces inflammation, and lightens scars. Nourishing botanicals, including neem oil, clean, moisturize, and soothe. Mint essential oil invigorates, cools, and leaves a mild fresh scent.


TreeActiv Four-in-One Acne Treatment

best acne scrub

TreeActiv Four-in-One Acne Treatment, $16

Eliminate stubborn acne and skin blemishes gently, quickly and naturally with Four-in-One Acne Treatment. Use it as a dry scrub, daily cleanser, spot treatment, or mask to effectively clear your clogged pores, disinfect them, and rid your skin of blemishes without drying out your skin.

It is chockfull of skin-loving ingredients. Sulfur removes dead cells, unclogs pores, dries out blemishes while its healing minerals are absorbed into the pores. Rhassoul clay, from the Moroccan mountains, is refined into a fine silky powder with an extraordinary ability to unclog the pores. Crystallized sugar both traps moisture into the skin and draws water from the surrounding environment.

Grapefruit and lime essential oils are antioxidants that process nutrients, kill bacteria, soothe inflammation, and leave the skin refreshed. Lemon essential oil rejuvenates and adds a fresh, relaxing scent.


Manuka Health Manuka Honey 400+

best acne scrub
best acne scrub

Manuka Health MGO 400+ Manuka Honey, $45

Manuka honey is the most potent variety of honey. It is an extremely effective antibacterial to reduce the severity of the acne and accelerate healing. Its anti-inflammatory properties reduce swelling and heal congested and/or inflamed skin. It also oxygenates pores to draw out the bacteria.

Manuka Health uses honey from bees that collect the nectar of the Manuka bush found only in New Zealand. It is rich in nutrients and has powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Manuka honey kills bacteria by drawing the moisture out of it. It prevents future outbreaks by clearing impurities out of the pores and keeping the pores unclogged. It’s an anti-irritant, which makes it less likely that the clogged pores will become inflamed. Manuka is safe even for sensitive skin.

In addition to its healing powers, Manuka honey tends to brighten the skin and assist in reducing or preventing scarring that is often left from acne.

Spread a thin layer of honey all over your dry face. If the honey is particularly thick, add a little water to help it spread more easily or gently warm the honey ahead of time in some water on your stove top.


DERMA E Very Clear Cleansing Facial Scrub

best acne scrub
best acne scrub

Derma E Very Clear Scrub, $10

This gentle natural exfoliating scrub fights bacteria and removes dead skin to unclog pores and prevent future outbreaks. Its “Anti-Blemish Complex” consists of willow bark and essential oils of tea tree, rosewood, lavender, rosewood, and chamomile. Willow bark (salicylic acid) kills off that bacteria, removes dead skin cells, draws out impurities, and stimulates new cell growth to encourage healthy clear skin.

The formula also contains aloe, chamomile and corn kernel meal that gently exfoliate, soothe, and calm distressed skin.

Use once or twice a week to keep skin clear and fresh and prevent future outbreaks of acne.


Note: It's best to exfoliate in the morning. Your skin renews itself as you sleep, so you might as well get rid of the dead cells that have accumulated right away. Dampen your skin and scrub with gentle circular motions. Follow up with a moisturizer.

Oh, and whenever you feel like skipping the scrub - remember this: In addition to treating and preventing acne, exfoliating improves the skin's texture and minimizes the appearance of pores. When your skin is not blocked by layers of dead cells and impurities, your other skin care products, such as moisturizers, are more easily absorbed into the skin, and your sunscreen is better able to protect you from harmful sun rays. Hurrah to that!

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