Best Soap for Acne: 8 Deep Cleansing, Acne Fighting Suds

Choosing the best soap for acne is one of the wisest things you can do for your skin, especially when it's battling constant breakouts. Even though soap may only stay on your skin for a minute or two, it is the first thing you use on your skin every single day, at least twice a day.

Naturally, it adds up. So you want to take full advantage of your daily cleansing regimen in order to give your pores the proper deep clean to clear out pores while delivering the most potent anti-acne ingredients to fight each and every acne pustule.

So how do you go about choosing the best soap for acne? Here's 3 things to look for (and avoid)...

  • Small is better

If you want the best soap for acne, you may want to choose one that's not very "soap-y." Sure, we all love soap that lathers up with lots of big bubbles. That's what soap is supposed to do, right? Not for acne-prone skin.

Those big bubbles we associate with cleanliness aren't actually great for our skin. In fact, they deposit soap in the upper layers of the skin. Granted, it dissolves the excess oil in the pores, but then it stays in the pores which is exactly what you don't want, especially when you're dealing with clogged pores and acne.

Instead, go for an acne soap that produces a creamy lather with small bubbles. The soap won't sink into your pores, and these rinse off easily and doesn't leave a residue on your skin that can irritate.

  • Irritation does not mean it's working

Way back in the day, people thought that acne was dirty. And in line with this misguided belief, they tried to get rid of acne by scrubbing it clean. The harsher the treatment, the better!

Now we know that this is so not the case. Acne happens from a confluence of causes and there is no way you can scour it off your face with strong, harsh cleansers - after all, it's your skin, not a dirty bathtub.

Of course, you want an acne soap that is strong enough to remove deep-down dirt and debris, but stay away from soaps that are so harsh that it strips your skin of its natural oils. If your face is scaly, red or irritated after using a soap, don't continue using it!

  • Active ingredients are key

Acne truly sucks but hey, at least we're living in an age where this unwanted skin condition has and is being researched constantly! And thanks to all the research, we know that there's a whole bunch of ingredients that work to fight acne.

Each of the most popular acne-fighting ingredients do slightly different things: some fight the acne bacteria, some help draw impurities out of our pores, some exfoliate to clear our skin of potential pore-cloggers...but one thing is clear: you have a much better chance of getting rid of acne with the help of these ingredients than without them.

Granted, not every acne fighting ingredient works for everyone. For example, tea tree oil may have worked wonders on your friend but does nothing for you own skin. That's why there is a bit of trial-and-error involved in choosing the best acne products for you.

And if you're going to be trying and testing out various products, don't you want to choose from the best options on the market? Of course you do. Here are our top 8 picks for the best soap for acne - they're filled with ingredients that clear up acne, help keep it away, and leave your skin feeling fresh, bright, and soft. Happy sudsing!

SAL3 Salicylic Acid Sulfur Soap Bar

best soap for acne

SAL3 Salicylic Acid Soap, $7

SAL3 Soap Bar is made with premium ingredients, advanced formulas, and specialized blending techniques. Salicylic acid and sulfur are keratolytic (peeling) agents that dissolve the substance (keratin) that binds dead cells together. They open the pores, neutralize the bacteria within, and remove the dead cells from the upper layer of the skin. They also soften your skin and decrease the occurrence of scaling and dryness.

Activate the SAL3 soap bar by soaking it in warm water for at least 20 seconds before working up a lather with your hands or applying the bar directly to the skin. Start with one application a day. Gradually increase to two or three times daily if needed. If excessive drying or peeling occurs, reduce application to once a day or every other day.

The fresh scent of the bar is due to SAL3's unique processing of natural ingredients.


The Yellow Bird Activated Charcoal Soap

best acne soap

The Yellow Bird Activated Charcoal Soap Bar, $9

Yellow Bird Soap Bar is made by hand, cold pressed, in small batches to preserve the quality and effectiveness of its natural ingredients.

The main ingredients are activated charcoal and shea butter. Activated charcoal has millions of tiny pores that attract a wide range of impurities and carries toxins away from the skin thoroughly and quickly. Shea butter is extracted from the nut of the African shea tree and is rich in vitamins A, E and F. It nourishes the skin, moisturizes, protects the skin's natural oils, and increases collagen production.

Essential oils of sunflower, palm and coconut combat damage done by free radicals. Essential oils of lemongrass and lavender join in the fight against bacteria and are responsible for the calming scent of the soap.

Use everyday as a face and body cleanser to keep your skin healthy and acne free.


Grisi Sulfur Soap With Lanolin

best soap for acne

Grisi Sulfur Soap with Lanolin, $20 for 6 bars

Grisi Sulfur Soap with Lanolin is an excellent aid in reducing acne by clearing your skin of excess oil, dirt and debris without making your skin dry or scaly.

Sulfur has antiseptic, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties to unclog your pores, kill the bacteria trapped there, and heal acne. It also thins the upper layer of the skin so that dead cells are shed more easily. Lanolin was once the bad guy in cosmetics. Products were marked “lanolin free.” We now know that lanolin is very beneficial for the skin. We get it from the grease extracted from sheep's wool. It creates a semi-occlusive barrier that allows the skin to breathe while it moisturizes the outer surface of the skin and helps the skin to moisturize itself.

To keep your skin free of excess oil and prevent acne, use Grisi soap used twice a day. Oh, and be sure to moisturize! 


Noble Formula 2% Pyrithione Zinc (ZnP) Bar Soap

best acne soap

Noble Formula 2% Pyrithione Zinc Bar Soap, $13

Noble Formula Bar Soap is a handmade, gentle cleanser that removes dirt, oil and impurities. Its natural ingredients hydrate damaged cells and your skin appears calmer, smoother and less inflamed.

Pyrithione zinc is a form of zinc with antibacterial and antifungal properties that deter the growth of bacteria on the skin and regulate the production of oil. NF Bar Soap also contains a high percentage of nourishing olive oil, moisturizing emu oil, and gently exfoliating oatmeal. Olive oil creates a protective barrier for your skin to ward off bacteria and keep your skin soft. Emu oil, derived from the fat on the back of the emu, has anti-inflammatory properties, eases swelling and relieves irritation. Oatmeal treats skin irritations while restoring the natural balance of moisture in the skin.

In addition to acne, Noble Formula Bar Soap is an excellent cleanser for any skin condition and any type of skin, and it's safe for everyday use.


Shea Moisture African Black Soap

best acne soap

Shea Moisture African Black Soap, $11 for 2

Shea Moisture African Black Soap is among the top selling black soaps for acne. It penetrates the skin to remove the hidden germs that cause acne, cleanses your skin, clears up blemishes, moisturizes, soothes irritation and leaves your skin soft and refreshed. The formula is adapted from an age-old recipe from Sierra Leone in West Africa and uses only organic ingredients: shea butter, oats, aloe, palm ash, tamarind extract, tar and plantain peel. The ingredients are imported from Africa, but the soap is made in the U. S.

Shea butter moisturizes, oats absorb excess oil while soothing irritated skin, aloe moisturizes and calms dry sensitive skin, tar helps the skin shed dead cells, and tamarind extract hydrates and improves skin elasticity.

You may first experience a “purging” during which it may seem as though your skin is getting worse. If you can last through that, you will be rewarded with clear, vibrant skin. Black soap also helps to fade dark marks left by acne.

While this soap is marketed for all skin types, if you have dry skin, be sure to test it first.


Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Body Soap Bar

best acne soap

Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Bar, $9

Paul Mitchell's soap cleanses, soothes, and invigorates with natural ingredients. Tea tree oil fights bacteria and inflammation. It deeply penetrates the skin to disinfect the pores; dry out whiteheads, pimples, and blackheads; prevent further outbreaks; and leave your skin hydrated, smooth and glowing. The soap is enriched with parsley flakes that gently remove dead skin cells.

Glycerin forms a protective layer on your skin to prevent moisture loss and draws water to the skin from the air. Peppermint oil controls oil production and refreshes. Eucalyptus oil assists in killing bacteria and cools. White ginger extract reduces the appearance of scars and rejuvenates the skin.


Black Willow Bark Natural Soap for Acne

best soap for acne

A Wild Soap Bar Black Willow Back Soap, $8

Black Willow Natural Soap is handmade in Texas. The black willow bark, bamboo charcoal, sea salt and aloe purify and exfoliate your skin and sweep away bacteria while, amazingly, moisturizing it. This soap is gentle enough for sensitive facial skin and effective enough to clean and nourish your whole body.

The soap combines major natural acne-fighting ingredients, activated charcoal and black willow bark extract, that penetrate your skin and deep clean the pores, clearing out dead skin cells, oil plugs, and bacteria to heal acne and prevent future occurrences. Tea tree and eucalyptus oils are not only intrepid bacteria killers, they also give the soap its light, sweet scent.


Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap

best soap for acne

Granpa's Pine Tar Soap, $7

Granpa first made his Pine Tar Soap in the 1870s on his farm in Ohio, and it is still made to his standards. Pine tar comes from burning the wood of pine trees. The tar is then processed into an oil in a closed kiln.

Known for its antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal properties, pine tar soap is used for treating a variety of skin conditions and most definitely for acne. As effective a cleanser as it is to clear away all the culprits that cause acne, pine tar is also a natural moisturizer and salve.

The bar is dark brown, but it lathers up white. It has a strong pine scent—some love it, some not so much, but the scent diminishes quite a bit as you cleanse, and only a pleasant hint of woodsy fragrance is left on your skin.


We think of soap and water as being the most basic skin care, what with all the creams, gels, mousses, and such, but you can treat your acne very effectively, and keep it away, with these soaps and avoid costly products and prescription medications that often have side effects.

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