Skin Care

Best Salicylic Acid Face Wash For Acne-Prone Skin That Works!

Not all salicylic acid face washes work, and there is a reason why! Also, picking the right salicylic acid facewash for your skin is necessary for better and faster results.

Written by Aashika Rajendran

On Jul 28, 2023 – 8 minutes read

Best Salicylic Acid Face Wash

Salicylic acid has been the most recommended and dermatologists’ favorite for a long time to compact all kinds of skin issues related to sebum production. Hence acne prone skin or normal to combination skin that has problems like bumps, black head, and whitehead has always found solace in salicylic acid face wash and other products.

Salicylic acid falls under the category of BHA, i.e., Beta Hydroxy Acid which is capable of getting into the deeper layers of the skin and exfoliating it from the inside. Hence BHAs are your best bet to target skin issues like acne caused by bacteria.

Everything You Need To Know About Using Salicylic Acid Face Wash

BHAs are also good when you have a lot of open pores. Using a gentle BHA-based cleanser i.e., salicylic acid face wash will help keep your pores free of dirt oil, and gunk. Including a good Salicylic Acid Face Wash in your everyday skincare routine, will leave your skin feeling fresh and healthy.

Even though salicylic acid is one of the most classic tried and tested ingredients in skincare to clarify skin, there are still things you need to be clear about when getting any skincare product with active ingredients. So, before you go to your nearest pharmacy and grab a random salicylic acid-based face wash, make sure you know if you are choosing the right one. 

Confused much? Keep reading since we are here to break it down for you!

What Is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic acid is a BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid) that belongs to a group of drugs known as salicylates which is a chemical exfoliant derived from the bark of willow trees. (1)

Best Salicylic acid

How Does Salicylic Acid Work?

BHAs such as Salicylic acid have oil-soluble properties. They can get into the deeper layers of the skin and break apart dead skin cells and other kinds of gunk and impurities. Hence it works miracles on congested and bumpy skin. Salicylic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help in reducing the redness and irritation associated with mild to moderate acne. (2)

Reasons To Include Salicylic Acid In Your Skincare Routine

👉 Getting Rid Of Excess Oil And Sebum

As mentioned earlier salicylic acid is a great product that you can use if your face is oily as it can get rid of excess oil and sebum.

👉 Salicylic Acid For Exfoliation

Being a BHA, salicylic acid works wonders in getting rid of skin cells leaving your skin looking smooth and shiny.

👉 Calming Properties

Since salicylic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties it’s great to calm down redness and itching caused by acne and other minor skin issues.

👉 Everyday Care

Salicylic acid is also great to be used every day on normal skin to prevent any congestion and breakouts.

You must choose the right type and concentration of salicylic acid for your skin concern and skin type for the best results. Here are some of the best Salicylic acid face wash and who can use them.

Best Salicylic Acid Face Wash Of 2023

Here are some of the best Salicylic acid face washes of 2023 that we think are amazing. We will also help you understand these products better like the ingredients, pros and cons, and what skin type each is best suitable for. 

COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser

If you are someone who stays updated on skincare, then vegan and cruelty-free brand COSRX would be familiar by now.  COSRX is a Korean beauty brand that went viral for their COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence which is a bomb skin care product. COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser is yet another much-loved facewash as it does exactly what it claims. I love this product because even when my skin is very sensitive this face wash somehow manages to remain gentle.  The brand is vegan and cruelty-free.

COSRX Salicylic Acid face wash - best salicylic face wash


Creamy consistency, lathers well. The face wash is exfoliating as well as hydrating at the same time. Effectively Controls sebum production. The face wash is also Hypoallergenic, free from sulfates, phthalates (3), parabens, and alcohol. A little goes a long way. A tube could last you for months.

Ingredient List

With the goodness of Water, Glycerin, Myristic Acid, Stearic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Willow Bark Water, Saccharomyces Ferment, Cryptomeria Japonica Leaf Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Leaf Extract, Pinus Palustris Leaf Extract etc, the cosrex salicylic acid is one of the best ones out there that goes and long way and works very effectively.

Minimalist Salicylic + LHA 02% Face Cleanser

Minimalist is a unique brand that makes science-based skincare and they are completely transparent when it comes to the ingredient list. The brand believes in clean beauty and so far has come up with some very impressive products. One among them is their Salicylic + LHA 02% Face Cleanser (LHA-Lipohydroxy). This cleanser is also one of the most versatile cleansers out there that deeply cleanse the skin but at the same time keeps its natural moisture intact.


This face wash has two types of salicylic acid in it. One stays on the outer layer and helps keep the skin of dust and pollution. The normal salicylic acid penetrates the deeper layers of the skin and gets rid of excess dead skin cells, sebum, and acne-causing bacteria.

Ingredients List

The minimalist salicylic acid face wash has some of the coolest anti-acne and bumps fighting ingredients out there. Some of them are Aqua, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Propanediol, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate, Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Salicylic Acid, Betaine, Avena Sativa (Oat), Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide, etc.

Pilgrim Salicylic (BHA) & Glycolic Acid (AHA) Foaming Face Wash

Pilgrim is again a clean beauty brand that has been trending lately for innovative and efficient skin care products.  Pilgrim’s Salicylic (BHA) & Glycolic Acid (AHA) Foaming Face Wash. The brand claims that they are free from around 20 harsh chemicals, parabens, mineral oil, and sulfates. The brand is also cruelty-free and vegan.

Pilgrim salicylic


The face wash is completely free of fragrance, the texture is very creamy hence one pump is all you need to cover your whole face and neck. The face wash unlike the usual salicylic acid face wash has other powerful exfoliating ingredients like alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). This combination of AHA and BHA makes the face wash effective in combating acne. Even though the face wash does not strip the face of its natural oils and make it stretchy, we recommend doing a patch test if you have very sensitive skin. 


This salicylic acid face wash has one of the most impressive ingredients lists. It contains Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, Sodium PCA, Betaine, Heptyl Glucoside, Yugdugu Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Glycolic Acid, Willow Bark Extract, Rehmannia Chinensis Root Extract, Neem Leaf Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Soybean Seed Extract, Lactobacillus, Pear Juice Ferment Filtrate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Peppermint Oil, Tea Tree Oil.

The Derma Co. 1% Salicylic Acid Face Wash For Active Acne With Salicylic Acid & Witch Hazel

This  1% Salicylic Acid Face Wash by The Derma Co. is very mild as well as effective. The 1% concentration of Salicylic Acid makes it ideal for even sensitive acne-prone skin types.  Derma co is a brand that has been receiving great praise for developing products that are a blend of science and skincare at affordable prices. They have a wide range of skincare and hair care products

Derma Co. cleanser for acne


Key ingredients like salicylic acid, witch hazel, and willow bark work well in reducing acne-causing bacteria, excess oil production, and relief from inflammation. The face wash is gel to cream in consistency. Like the other salicylic acid face washes mentioned above, here a little goes a long way.


If you are looking for a salicylic acid face wash that is mild, then this list is going to impress you. The goodness of Glycerin, Salicylic Acid, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Coco-Glucoside, etc makes the face wash both gentle and effective.

Dr. Sheth’s Neem & Salicylic Acid Foaming Face Wash

Dr. Sheth’s products are formulated specifically for Indian skin. With the goodness of both nature and science, the brand has found the perfect balance to give the best results. Apart from Dr. Sheth’s Neem & Salicylic Acid Foaming Face Wash, the brand has a very loyal customer following for most of its products. You can check out influencers raving about their products. The brand is formulated by a dermatologist and is cruelty-free and sulfate and paraben free.


A smooth foaming cleanser that effectively removes dirt and impurities from the skin and also calms aggravated acne conditions. A combination of salicylic acid with neem is a powerhouse since both are great for acne. The face wash’s non-stripping and regular use can help in saving skin from future breakouts while healing the existing ones.


The ingredient list of this salicylic acid wash is quite simple with Aqua, Salicylic Acid, Glycerin, Neem Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Pectin, Arginine, Proline, Serine, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Tocopherol, D-Panthenol, Citric Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Potassium Sorbate etc.


Which Salicylic Acid Face Wash Is The Best?

There is no one best salicylic acid face wash that’s going to suit all skin types. Since salicylic acid is active it’s important to choose one that fits your skin type and skin condition. For example, if you have sensitive skin, then a 2% salicylic acid concentration could be a bit too much for your skin. Rather a 0.5 % or 1% salicylic acid might work better for you.

Which Is The Best Facewash For Acne-Prone Skin?

A face wash that has a BHA as key ingredient is great to help manage acne issues.

What Is 2% Salicylic Acid Face Wash Used For?

A 2% salicylic acid face wash is used for unclogging pores, improving congested skin,  and controlling acne-causing bacteria.

Can I Use Salicylic Acid 2% Every Day?

The concentration and the number of times one should use a salicylic acid 2% facewash will depend on your skin type and condition.


Washing our face twice a day is the most essential step in our skincare routine. But not every cleanser will suit your skin. Hence choosing a cleanser based on your current skin condition is very important. Salicylic acid is a great skincare ingredient for congested acne-prone skin and starting with a good Salicylic acid face wash is the best way to incorporate it in your routine. Once your skin adjusts to the new ingredient, then you can switch to a salicylic acid-based serum which is more potent. What are your favorite skincare activities and how did they help you? Let us know your skincare journey.

  1. National Library of Medicine. (n.d). Salicylic Acid. [Online] Available at:
  2. WebMD LLC. (2005 - 2023). Salicylic Acid Gel - Uses, Side Effects, and More. [Online] Available at:,that%20form%20and%20speeds%20healing.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d). Phthalates Factsheet. [Online] Available at:,%2C%20shampoos%2C%20hair%20sprays).

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Aashika is a makeup and beauty expert known for creating stunning looks that not only accentuate facial features but also empower women to feel confident in their skin.

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