Acne can be a difficult battle to fight, but what’s even worse is dealing with the aftermath: acne scars. These can appear as pigmentation, or as rolling, boxcar, and ice-pick scars, and are usually a result of moderate-to-severe acne.
Thankfully, there are ways to lighten acne scars over time with over-the-counter skincare products, including your facial washes and cleansers. The key is to look out for certain ingredients in your facial washes, and there are two types of ingredients that can help with this.
The first are ingredients that improve skin pigment irregularity, such as vitamin C, niacinamide and turmeric. In addition to fading scars after the fact, these substances actually prevent the post-inflammatory pigmentation changes so that scars do not even form in the first place.
The second category of ingredients that improve acne scars is biologic exfoliators, such as salicylic acid and retinoids. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) commonly found in spot treatments, and is particularly helpful for oily skin due to its exfoliating properties.
Ready to tackle your acne scars? Here are the best face washes and cleansers that can do wonders on your acne scars and give you blemish-free skin in no time:
1. Vichy Normaderm PhytoSol Purifying Cleansing Gel
Don’t just get yourself a cleanser that can fade your acne scars – the best facial wash is one that can prevent them from even happening while working on your existing scars.
This cult-favourite from Vichy is a daily gel cleanser that purifies and revitalises the appearance of oily, blemish-prone skin. Not only does it work supremely well in removing impurities so that you are left with fresher and clearer skin, this cleanser also gives you fewer blackheads and clogged pores over time.
Best of all, the Normaderm PhytoSol Purifying Cleansing Gel is enriched with actives including BHA Salicylic Acid and Zinc Gluconate, which help to exfoliate your skin and speed up healing – score!
2. Paula’s Choice Clear Acne Pore Normalizing Cleanser
Formulated with 0.5% Salicylic Acid, the Clear Acne Pore Normalizing Cleanser is touted as a cut above other acne cleansers for the silky sensation it leaves on your skin after removing excess oil and debris, instead of the dryness and flaking that other facial washes tend to give.
This cleanser from Paula’s Choice has received nothing but glowing reviews from users after they released this new formulation – one user reported that after three weeks of usage, her acne not only improved considerably with no more live breakouts, but spots and scars left on her chin from previous bouts of acne have also started healing. We’re sold!
Paula’s Choice Clear Acne Pore Normalizing Cleanser retails at SGD11 for 30ml and SGD29 for 177ml on the brand’s website.
3. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne-Fighting Face Wash
Known as a cult classic among those with acne-prone skin, this acne facial wash from Neutrogena cleanses deep down into your pores. It is effective, gentle, but also doesn’t dry out or irritate the skin, making this ideal for even the most sensitive of skin types. In other words, other than being one of the best cleansers for fading acne scars, it also helps to stabilise acne-prone skin.
4. Skyn Iceland Glacial Face Wash
We all love a creamy and refreshing cleanser to prep us for the day and relax us at night, which is why the Skyn Iceland Glacial Face Wash remains a favourite among skincare users, particularly those with sensitive and acne-prone skin.
Skyn Iceland Glacial Face Wash helps to relieve bumps, breakouts and irritation due to stress-related increases in hormone levels and oil production. Formulated with Icelandic glacial waters and beneficial botanicals, this cleanser is exceedingly mild, so it gently exfoliates your skin and heals your scars without leaving your face dry and itchy.
Skyn Iceland Glacial Face Wash retails at SGD44 on Sephora.
5. COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser
Using acids everyday to exfoliate can be rather scary if you are new to this, especially when you have skin that breakouts often and leaves ugly scars behind. COSRX, however, encourages you to use this daily, day and night, to get clearer skin – say what?
The COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser gently removes impurities and excess sebum while fighting pimples and blemishes. The salicylic acid actually encourages cell turnover so that your acne scars heal and fade faster with daily usage while making sure that your skin stays soft and supple.
6. Dr. Brandt Pores No More Cleanser
Rather than just getting rid of acne scars, Dr. Brand’s Pores No More Cleanser allows you to tackle the root problem of acne so at the same time.
Harnessing the power of Salicylic acid and Tea Tree Oil, this cleanser helps to deep-clean pores without stripping your skin of essential moisture. Every wash leaves your skin feeling fresher, softer, and exfoliated from built-up skin cells and dirt. People with all skin types are encouraged to use this, although it’s been said to be most effective on oily/combination skins.
Dr. Brandt Pores No More Cleanser retails at SGD40.30 on Lazada.
7. Soap & Glory Face Soap And Clarity Facial Wash
Why stop at just fading acne scars when your cleanser is capable of so much more?
Any beauty junkies worth their salt would know of this Vitamin C cleanser, which has often been described as a multi-tasking miracle by its ardent fans. Formulated with non-drying, easy-rinse ingredients such as natural yuzu and ultra-soft scrub-beads, this high-tech facial wash does everything you can dream of: cleansing, purifying, polishing, energising, and even brightening!
It is also made specially for sensitive and oily skin types, so you can rest easy knowing that it does not contain oil or any other irritants.
Soap & Glory Face Soap And Clarity Facial Wash retails at USD15 on Amazon.
8. First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser is well-known for being the acne facial wash to turn to if you’re having a hard time with those pesky blemishes, especially if they have left ugly red scars on your skin even after all those pimple patches you’ve been sticking on.
Your skin is gently cleansed as this face wash works to remove unwanted surface oils, makeup, dirt, and grime. It not only does a brilliant job at cleansing, but also calms redness and is pH-balanced, so you can be sure that daily use will result in fewer flare-ups and reduced skin reactivity.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser retails at SGD17 for 56.7g, SGD33 for 142g, and SGD54 for 226g in Sephora.
9. Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser
We tend to change our skincare products more often than we like to admit (yes, we know that you barely ever stick to one brand), but if this cleanser can get people to not only use it till the last drop but even encourage repurchases, we are sure that there must be something to this product.
With powerful anti-acne agent salicylic acid, Mario Badescu’s best-selling Acne Facial Cleanser effectively treats existing pimples and even prevents future breakouts. It is infused with aloe vera and chamomile – this combination soothes existing inflammation and scarring, as well as keeps skin irritation at bay.
Of course, no effective acne cleanser is complete without a biologic exfoliator, so this one also comes with salicylic acid to improve acne scarring.
Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser retails at SGD32 in Sephora.
10. Essano Superfoods Turmeric Energising Creme Cleanser
You may know turmeric as good for cooking curry, but did you also know that it is a skin-loving ingredient that has been proven to improve skin radiance, even out skin tone, as well as reduce inflammation?
If you want to get a cleanser formulated with this power ingredient, try Essano Superfoods’ Tumeric Energising Creme Cleanser. This soap-free wash is formulated with a mix of superfoods (turmeric, aloe vera, and olive) to protect your skin while healing previous blemishes. It even comes with a rich texture that melts into the skin instead of scrubbing it dry, so you can enjoy a nourishing and moisturising feeling after every wash.
Essano Superfoods Turmeric Energising Creme Cleanser retails at SGD24.95 on Lazada.
11. Tracie Martyn Amla Purifying Cleanser
Don’t be fooled by the pretty gold packaging – this is one powerful cleanser that earned nothing but glowing praises from everyone who has tried this, which is no easy feat to accomplish.
This botanical cleanser not only does a great job with cleansing makeup, grease and dirt, it is also well-loved for being extremely effective in gently exfoliating, preventing breakouts, reducing red acne scars, and evening out the complexion within just a few days of use!
Plus point: it provides spa-like aromatherapy with its calming floral scent – the perfect indulgence you can enjoy everyday at home!
Tracie Martyn Amla Purifying Cleanser retails at USD61.30 on Net-A-Porter.
12. CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser
When it comes to treating acne scars, an important point you need note is that you should not aggravate them further, which is one of the reasons why you’re not recommended to use strong acids (like those in your chemical peels) too often, no matter how eager you are about clearing that scar.
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser was developed with dermatologists to treat and cleanse your skin without over-stripping it or leaving it feeling tight and dry. Featuring three types of essential ceramides to restore the skin’s barrier and hydrating hyaluronic acid, you’re encouraged to let your skin heal naturally while ensuring that it is not further aggravated. You’ll also find your skin getting softer and more supple over time.
Don’t believe us? Just look at how more than 1300 customers have raved about this cleanser here!
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser retails at SGD23.50 on Shopee.
13. Pyunkang Yul ACNE Facial Cleanser
Not all of us may know this, but if your acne is caused by excessive sebum, you have to use a cleanser targeted at clearing the oil before you can cure existing blemishes.
Pyunkang Yul has developed a hypoallergenic cleanser for acne-prone skin – this is formulated with Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Forsythia Suspensa Fruit Extract, and Centella Asiatica Extract, all of which are commonly known for their abilities to soothe sensitive skin.
It also has a special ingredient called Copper Tripeptide, which is a naturally-occurring peptide that has anti-inflammatory properties. It is said to help damaged skin to repair itself, which makes it perfect for regenerating skin affected by acne scars.
Pyunkang Yul ACNE Facial Cleanser retails at SGD16.90 on Shopee.
14. Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel
Antioxidant-rich green tea is well-known for soothing inflammation and delivering antibacterial benefits, making it the star ingredient in Boscia’s Purifying Cleansing Gel.
Fans of this cleanser love how it is able to remove makeup effortlessly when they use it in their double-cleansing routine. You can also use it as a morning cleanser, but some have warned that you should be careful if you have sensitive skin, as this cleanser may be too strong for you.
Boscia Purifying Cleansing Gel retails at SGD42 in Sephora.
15. Clean & Clear Active Clear Acne Clearing Oil-Free Cleanser
There’s no better way to get clean & clear skin than with an old favourite from a trusted brand.
Clean & Clear Acne Clearing Cleanser has a unique Botanical formula that includes salicylic acid – this penetrates deep into pores to eliminate acne-causing bacteria and oil, reduce surface redness, as well as clear the appearance of acne and acne marks over time.
Clean & Clear Active Clear Acne Clearing Oil-Free Cleanser retails at SGD5.55 in major supermarkets and on Shopee.
16. Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Purifying Gel Cleanser
Made of 99.4% natural ingredients, this cleanser from Burt’s Bees is great for all skin types, be it oily, combination, or acne prone skin.
Salicylic acid, evening primrose, and beetroot make a winning combination when it comes to deeply-cleansing without drying out or irritating your skin. The salicylic acid used in this face wash is derived naturally from Willow Bark Extract, and works as a skin exfoliator to help unclog pores, prevent future breakouts, and of course, clear the way to scar-free skin.
Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Purifying Gel Cleanser retails at SGD32 in Sephora.
17. Replenix Acne Solutions Gly/Sal Exfoliating Acne Cleanser
Gently exfoliate your skin with a well-balanced combination of glycolic acid and salicylic acid in Replenix Acne Solution’s acne cleanser for maximum results.
With every wash, you not only remove buildup to keep your skin free of breakouts & blemishes, but also improve skin health thanks to soothing green tea that works well to protect you against free radicals. Use this everyday and you’re well on your way to clearer, stronger skin!
Replenix Acne Solutions Gly/Sal Exfoliating Acne Cleanser retails at SGD26 on Amazon.
18. Biore Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Cooling Cleanser
Witch hazel is reverred for its cleansing properties and also often believed to be the key to clearing up acne and acne scars.
Have a go at this popular skincare ingredient in this cleanser’s refreshing and cool formula – it cleanses 99% of dirt and oil, and is formulated with salicylic acid to control your oil production so that you don’t have to struggle with acne and the subsequent scars.
Biore Witch Hazel Pore Clarifying Cooling Cleanser retails at SGD55.52 on Lazada.
19. SkinCeuticals Simply Clean
After your chemical peel to get rid of acne scars, be sure to follow up with a gentle face wash that cleanses well without giving you more skin problems.
Simply Clean from SkinCeuticals is one that you’ll definitely love, even on the days you just need some extra TLC. This is formulated with an amino acid surfactant system and a 6% concentration combining sulfonic acid (HEPES), glycerin, chamomile and aloe extracts, orange oil, and citric acid to gently exfoliate uneven or rough skin.
SkinCeuticals Simply Clean retails at SGD49 on the brand’s website, in authorised retailers, as well as their Tangs counter.
20. Dermalogica Skin Resurfacing Cleanser
Although more commonly used to retexturise ageing skin, Dermalogica’s Skin Resurfacing Cleanser has also been touted as a good face wash choice if you want to get rid of acne scars in a shorter period of time.
Thanks to the lactic acid in its formula, this dual-action exfoliating cleanser effectively removes grime and exfoliates old cells so that you achieve smooth, ultra-clean skin. The lactic acid concentrate helps to retexturize skin by removing dulling surface debris and helping to accelerate skin cell turnover – say hello to beautiful and smooth skin again!
Dermalogica Skin Resurfacing Cleanser retails at SGD89 on the brand’s website.
21. Clinique Fresh Pressed Renewing Powder Cleanser With Pure Vitamin C
Activate this ultra-fine powder with water for a novel cleansing experience that really delivers visible skin benefits. Vitamin C is not only useful for creating a refined skin texture and brighter complexion – it also awakens and purifies skin so that even your bare skin can look fresh and radiant.
The non-drying, non-stripping formula is also gentle enough for use each morning, which makes this extremely convenient to bring around even when you are travelling.
Clinique Fresh Pressed Renewing Powder Cleanser with Pure Vitamin C retails at SGD40 for 28 pcs in Sephora and Clinique counters.
22. Murad Environmental Shield Essential-C Cleanser
Beyond just Vitamin C, Murad’s Environmental Shield Essential-C Cleanser contains a cocktail of vitamins that are great for acne-laden skin: vitamin A conditions your skin, vitamin C helps prevent skin damage, and vitamin E relieves dryness and nourishes.
Together with skin-loving allantoin and panthenol, these ingredients work together to hydrate your skin and prevent post-acne inflammation – all while making sure that your face is free from excess sebum, dirt, and bacteria!
Murad Environmental Shield Essential-C Cleanser retails at SGD119 on Shopee.
23. Cure Natural Aqua Gel
Forget any preconceived notions you may have of exfoliators being too rough on your skin, because Cure Natural Aqua Gel is nothing like that.
Made from activated hydrogen water, this exfoliator gently picks up and removes dead skin cells on the surface of your skin, which is great if you want to work on sloughing away your acne scars.
Many beauty junkies have claimed that this is the best exfoliating cleanser you can get in the market, and there has to be some truth to it, considering that one bottle of this face wash is sold every 12 seconds!
Cure Natural Aqua Gel retails at SGD29.90 in Watsons.
24. Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel
Regular exfoliation may be the key to fading acne scars, but depletion of collagen could be the main reason why your scars refuse to budge no matter how much dead skin you scrape away. This is because certain acne scars, like ice pick scars, are indentations caused by the damage of collagen in your skin. In order to tackle difficult acne scars like these, you need a cleanser that can do more than just exfoliate and clean.
Oskia’s Renaissance Cleansing Gel will do just the trick: fortified with a potent blend of bio-available vitamins and fruit enzymes, the gel-to-oil formula gently removes impurities without irritation thanks to the restorative properties of vitamins C and E. The free-radical fighting formula also helps to improve the appearance of sun damage and increase collagen production so that your skin will only look better with each wash.
Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel retails at SGD59 on Lookfantastic.
25. Origins Checks and Balances™ Frothy Face Wash
Origins believes that when it comes to faces with dry and oily places, it takes a clever cleanser to balance the two, hence Checks and Balances™ Frothy Face Wash was created.
This gentle, frothy face wash claims to do a good job on the oily T-zone and the drier cheek areas, without canceling each other out. The broad leaf kelp extract discourages excess oil production, while wheat protein balances dry-prone zones. A cleanser great for combination skin? Definitely!
26. Heimish All Clean Green Foam Cleanser
Your skin needs to maintain a slightly acidic pH balance of about 5.5 in order to function at its best, so if you want to make sure that your treatments are working, you have to first make sure that your skin is well-prepped. Hence, we highly recommend that you keep your skin’s pH balance optimal with All Clean Green Foam Cleanser from cult k-beauty brand Heimish.
Every ingredient used in this paraben-free cleanser has safe EWG ratings of 1 or 2, so you don’t have to worry about it further irritating your skin. In fact, it even includes centella asiatica and witch hazel, which are widely known for their skin-healing and soothing properties.
Heimish All Clean Green Foam Cleanser retails at SGD19.90 on Shopee.
27. Himalaya 100 Balancing Neem & Turmeric Face Wash
If you are skeptical of new trending skincare ingredients, why not turn to the time-tested combination of organic neem and turmeric?
Himalaya knows that old is gold, so the brand has combined the benefits of neem and turmeric to create an award-winning face wash. It claims to purify and resurface your skin, leaving it clean, pure, smooth and radiant.
Tip: this is best used on normal to oily skin, as it may be a little too drying if you have a drier skin type.
Himalaya 100 Balancing Neem & Turmeric Face Wash retails at SGD16.90 in Watsons.
28. Anthony Glycolic Facial Cleanser
For the men who need a little more oomph in their skincare to heal the stubborn scars, you have to try this non-drying cleanser, which has been the brand’s top-seller in Sephora US for ten years running.
This three-in-one creamy wash contains glycolic acid, which is useful in reducing the visibility and discolouration of acne scarring over time. It also thoroughly cleanses the face and neck, gently removes dead skin cells – it can even prevent ingrown hairs and razor bumps!
Anthony Glycolic Face Wash retails at SGD40.95 on Cosmetics Now.
29. Claridad Glycolic Face Wash
Can’t decide whether you should prioritise fading of acne scars or diminishing the appearance of wrinkles & fine lines? There’s no need to choose when you can have the best of both worlds!
Originally developed for physicians and dermatologists through clinical research, this effective alternative to a glycolic acid peel is a hit among the insiders for its plethora of skincare benefits.
Besides glycolic acid, this face wash from Claridad also boasts skin-soothing yucca extract, an antioxidant that balances uneven skin tones by gradually fading age spots, sunspots, acne scars, and other blemishes. The unique blend of ingredients work together to exfoliate dry skin, prevent oily buildup, and do away with discolouration – what more could we possibly ask for?
Claridad Glycolic Face Wash retails at SGD76.98 on Qoo10.
30. Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser
Men’s skin is often believed to be different from women’s, which could be why your cleanser doesn’t seem to do much for your beau’s acne scars.
If he’s been trying to rid those ugly scars to no avail, it’s time to get him this multifunctional, clay-based cleanser. Remind him to use this daily to wash away dead skin cells, pore-clogging oil, and build-up – with consistent usage, he should see firmer and clearer skin in no time!
Jack Black Deep Dive Glycolic Facial Cleanser retails at SGD31.95 on Cosmetics Now.
31. InstaNatural Vitamin C Facial Cleanser
Don’t be fooled by the humble packaging – InstaNatural’s Vitamin C Facial Cleanser is one of the top skincare products you’ll find on Amazon, raking in close to more than 3000 positive reviews and an amazing 4.5-star rating.
For starters, Vitamin C helps to cleanse away dulling skin cells, fade the appearance of sunspots, discolouration, and damage that comes from prolonged sun exposure. Extracts such as Green Tea, Chamomile and Sugar Cane also work to defend the skin, while Coconut Water and Aloe leave the skin feeling hydrated and refreshed.
InstaNatural Vitamin C Facial Cleanser retails at SGD26.60 on Qoo10.