Top 10 Best Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash & Cleansers for Acne Prone Skin

The ultimate list of the highest-rated Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash & Cleansers at 2.5%, 5%, & 10% concentrations for different types of acne-prone skin.

Disclosure: We independently test, review, and only recommend what we truly feel will deliver value to you. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more.

How Does Benzoyl Peroxide Work?

Most mild to moderate cases of acne can be treated effectively with drugstore cleansers and ointments. Cleansers have been proven to be beneficial for treating acne.[1]

Benzoyl peroxide face wash and cleansers work to both prevent and treat inflammatory acne (cysts, red pimples, and zits) and non-inflammatory (blackheads and whiteheads).[4]

It has 3 major acne-fighting actions:

  1. It’s a very effective exfoliant – it clears pores of clogged oils and dead skin which are the root causes of blackheads and whiteheads. This exfoliation action also expedites cell turnover, which helps heal the spot.
  2. It’s anti-bacterial – by releasing oxygen, which is lethal to the p. acne bacteria.[5]
  3. It promotes wound healing – by attracting macrophages and histiocytes (types of white blood cells that protect the body from infection) into the wound.[6]

Video: What is Benzoyl Peroxide? by Dr. Neal Schultz, MD

Ask the Expert: Using Benzoyl Peroxide

by Samantha Welch, Esthetician


Use a hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic moisturizer after application to counter potential side effects like dryness or redness, and restore the skin’s pH.

This is a very, very crucial step — after applying benzoyl peroxide, let it absorb for a few minutes and follow up with a gentle and deeply hydrating moisturizer. 

Moisturizing is truly not optional if you want to have clear and healthy skin.[2] We want the benefits of benzoyl peroxide, not any of its side effects.[3]

Esthetician’s Choice:
The Best Benzoyl Peroxide Face Washes & Cleansers

Here is our curated list of the best benzoyl peroxide face wash and cleansers based on formulation, our experience, value for money, specifications, and other consumer reviews over the years.

Make sure to choose one that is most suited for your skin type and condition.

This list goes from the lowest to the highest strength, ie. 2.5%, 5%, and 10%. We recommend choosing based on your skin type and sensitivity, or how well your skin can handle active ingredients.

GlyMed Plus Serious Action Skin Wash

GlyMed Plus Serious Action Skin Wash

Best for: Unbalanced and Inflammed Acne-Prone skin

Our Review:

This cleanser blends the anti-acne power of benzoyl peroxide and the soothing, anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera.

This combination helps restore the skin’s healthy balance that would otherwise be extremely thrown off by BP. Aloe vera is one of the oldest medicinal plants known and has the same pH as human skin so it’s extremely healing and protective.

It doesn’t do deep cleaning though, so if you have oily skin; you might be better off with a cleanser that doubles as an exfoliant. If you have normal skin that’s prone to breakouts, this should be right up your alley.

Best for: Unbalanced and problematic Acne-Prone skin; looking for an extra soothing, anti-inflammatory BP cleanser


Acnefree Oil Free Acne Cleanser

Acnefree Oil-Free Acne Cleanser

Best for: All skin types, Acne-prone skin

Our Review:

This product has been reformulated a while back. It now has a better texture, no more menthol, is a bit thinner, and has no more beads.

It also has a patented continuous-relief micronized benzoyl peroxide. This means that the molecules of the BP are smaller than average, making absorption faster and going in deeper to treat acne. This feature is usually found in the more high-end lines so I’m a bit surprised that it’s in a more affordable brand.

It claims to reduce sebum but I can’t see anything in the ingredients or formulation that specifically addresses oil control so I’d take this with a grain of salt.

Overall, its continuous-relief micronized benzoyl peroxide makes it stand out among its peers. If you’re looking for a more effective and affordable BP cleanser, you can’t go wrong with Acnefree. (Don’t forget to moisturize after! This can be super drying and irritating.)

Best for: All skin types with Acne-prone skin; looking for an affordable 2.5% benzoyl peroxide face wash


Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator

Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator

Best for: All skin types; Resistant, Acne-prone skin with Dull, Uneven texture

Our Review:

This daily face wash is a 4-in-1 multi-functional marvel that comes in an airy and cushiony cream. It works as: a deep cleanser, a benzoyl peroxide medication, a glycolic-acid toner, and a mild exfoliator. Surprisingly, it doesn’t contain the usual irritators that come with most multi-purpose cleansers. This has hardly any fragrance.

Exfoliation is done two-fold both physical and chemical for a thorough deep clean. Glycolic acid works to loosen any dead skin cells so the tiny exfoliating beads can gently slough them off. This helps unclog pores and helps renew the skin for a smoother texture and healthier complexion. The 2.5% benzoyl peroxide is exclusively micro-crystalized for deeper penetration.

The dual exfoliation comes as double-edged. This means the potential for over-exfoliation for sensitive skins is two-fold as well. If you’re giving this a try, make sure not to scrub too hard to avoid this.

Non-greasy, Sulfate-free, Paraben-free, Non-comedogenic.

Best for: All skin types; Resistant, Acne-prone skin with dull, uneven texture


Vivant Skin Care – Benzoyl Peroxide 3% Exfoliating Cleanser, 8 Ounce

Vivant Skin Care – Benzoyl Peroxide 3% Exfoliating Cleanser

Best for: Combination to Oily skin, Blemish-prone skin with large pores & prone to scarring

Our Review:

A little bump up in concentration at 3%, but not too far off.

It has all-natural, renewable, and biodegradable cellulose buffing beads to help deep clean and flush out any impacted debris in the skin. It also helps refine pores and accelerate cell renewal to clear out acne with minimal scarring.

Non-comedogenic, Cruelty-free.

Best for: Combination to Oily skinAcne-prone skin with large pores and prone to scarring


PCA SKIN BPO 5% Cleanser

PCA SKIN BPO 5% Cleanser

Best for: Existing acne lesions

Our Review:

PCA is a brand known for its corrective and potent formulations using alpha-hydroxy acids. Exfoliants improve the health and appearance of skin by promoting cell renewal and preventing the buildup of dead skin cells.

This daily cleanser has a unique combination of 5% benzoyl peroxide and phytic acid (exfoliant) to eliminate existing and prevent future breakouts.

Gluconolactone is a calming, moisturizing ingredient that promotes a clear complexion. Botanical extracts soothe irritated and inflamed blemishes, allowing the skin to heal.

Free of potential irritants like synthetic dyes and fragrances. PCA SKIN® does not perform or condone animal testing.

Best for: All skin types; looking for face treatments, those who don’t have exfoliating products in their regimen


Replenix Acne Solutions Benzoyl Peroxide Wash 5% / 10%

Replenix Acne Solutions Benzoyl Peroxide Wash 5% / 10%

Best for: Normal & Oily Skin, Acne-Prone skin

Our Review:

This face wash is fortified with the highest USP grade benzoyl peroxide to provide a potent antibacterial effect against acne. Replenix’s Acne Solutions line uses pharmaceutical-grade and micronized benzoyl peroxide to effectively penetrate the skin without leaving any residue.

This was developed for dermatology clinics and as a safe and affordable solution for pediatric, adolescent, and adult patients. It can be used together with topical or oral antibiotics to help reduce the risk of bacterial resistance.

This cleanser is also gentle enough without drying or irritating normal skin and can be used up to twice daily for full efficacy.

Paraben-free. Gluten, Oil, and Fragrance-free. Soap-free.
Non-comedogenic (will not clog pores). Hypoallergenic.

Available in 5% and 10% strength.

Best for: Normal & Oily Skin, Acne-Prone skin


Beauty Facial Extreme – Benzoyl Peroxide 5% Acne Cleanser for Face & Body

Beauty Facial Extreme – Benzoyl Peroxide 5% Acne Cleanser for Face & Body

Best for: Acne-prone skin on the face, body, and back

Our Review:

USP grade BPO wash that’s clinically proven to be non-irritating and safe for all skin types.

It’s formulated for use on the face and body, perfect if you also have acne on the back or other parts. Using BP daily can help not only in fighting current breakouts but also prevent acne bacteria from building up before they start.

It comes in a big bottle with a dispensing pump for convenience in the shower. Very creamy and lathers pretty well.

Paraben-free and Fragrance-free. Cruelty-free and not tested on animals. 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee.

Also available in 10% benzoyl peroxide formulation.

Best for: Acne-prone skin on the face, body, and back; looking for a BP face wash with a convenient pump


5% Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash by Harris Pharmaceuticals

5% Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash by Harris Pharmaceuticals

Best for: Looking for a drugstore BP facial wash

Our Review:

This is the most popular ‘generic’ BP facial wash, with good reviews across the board.

I can’t quite get a hold of the ingredients from the manufacturer, but I did get a list from one of their distributors. It’s essentially a cleanser formulation + 5% BP. Pretty straightforward, so it should hold up to standard if you don’t have particular sensitivities or allergies. Just always make sure to follow up with a great moisturizer because this will very likely dry your skin without it.

Best for: If you have resistant skin and you’re looking for an affordable solution without the bells and whistles, you can give this one a go.

Also available in 10% strength.


Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories B Prox Anti-Blemish Face Wash

Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories B Prox Anti-Blemish Face Wash

Best for: All skin types especially oily skin with large pores

Our Review:

DCL’s anti-acne formulation is a multi-tasker that aims to eliminate the cause, reduce the side effects, and prevent acne from coming back.

The 10% BP washes away acne-causing bacteria, while its detoxifying mineral-rich clay and plant extracts work to absorb excess oil and refine pore size. This helps prevent any future breakouts–a critical feature if you have oily skin.

It also has an Advanced Algae Complex that helps diminish the sensitivity that often accompanies the use of aggressive acne treatments, and Canadian Willow Herb to help visibly and dramatically reduce redness and soothe irritation.

All in all, a power-packed product for those who would like their BP treatment done to the next level.

Dermatologist tested. Paraben-free. Non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic. 

Best for: All skin types especially oily skin with large pores


PanOxyl Acne Foaming 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash

PanOxyl Acne Foaming 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash

Best for: Normal, resistant skin

Our Review:

Another dermatologically prescribed product, this foaming wash would work well for normal skin.

Looking at the formulation though, there are a number of potential irritants present. If you have sensitivities or allergies to certain cleansers, I would stay clear of this one. It can also be drying, so always follow up with a very hydrating moisturizer.

Best for: Normal, resistant skin. If you’re looking for an affordable, standard BP face wash; this PanOxyl foaming wash may be the right fit for you.


Humane Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Acne Treatment Body & Face Wash

Humane Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Acne Treatment Body & Face Wash

Best for: Acne-prone skin on the face, body, and back

Our Review:

The only brand amongst all mentioned that has an EWG rating. This means that it is environmentally friendly, there are no harmful chemicals used, and there is a very low chance of irritation or allergic reactions to any of their line.

Highest EWG safety rating of 1. No parabens, SLS, fragrance, or animal testing. 100% hassle-free guarantee.

Best for: Acne-prone skin on the face, body, and back


Product Comparison Table:
The Best Benzoyl Peroxide Face Washes & Cleansers

Brand / Product Name:Product Image:Benzoyl Peroxide Strength:Additional Benefits:Best for (Skin Type & Condition):
GlyMed Plus Serious Action Skin WashGlyMed Plus Serious Action Skin Wash2.5%Soothing, anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera.Unbalanced and problematic Acne-Prone skin.Read Review
Acnefree Oil-Free Acne CleanserAcnefree Oil Free Acne Cleanser2.5%Patented continuous-relief micronized benzoyl peroxide.All skin types; Acne-prone skin.Read Review
Proactiv+ Skin Smoothing ExfoliatorProactiv+ Skin Smoothing Exfoliator2.5%4-in-1 multi-functional daily face wash with glycolic acid and exfoliating beads. Non-greasy, sulfate-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic.All skin types; Resistant, Acne-prone skin with dull, uneven texture.Read Review
Vivant Skin Care – Benzoyl Peroxide 3% Exfoliating Cleanser, 8 OunceVivant Skin Care – Benzoyl Peroxide 3% Exfoliating Cleanser, 8 Ounce3%All-natural, renewable, and biodegradable cellulose buffing beads. Non-comedogenic, cruelty-free.Combination to Oily skin; Acne-prone skin with large pores and prone to scarring.Read Review
PCA SKIN BPO 5% CleanserPCA SKIN BPO 5% Cleanser5%Benzoyl peroxide + phytic acid (exfoliant). Moisturizing, soothing botanical extracts. No synthetic dyes, cruelty-free.All skin types; Resistant, Acne-prone skin with dull, uneven texture.Read Review
Replenix Acne Solutions Benzoyl Peroxide WashReplenix Acne Solutions Benzoyl Peroxide Wash 5% / 10%5%, 10%Formulated for dermatologists. Contains USP grade, micronized benzoyl peroxide for potency and efficacy in penetrating the skin.Acne-prone skin, Normal to Oily Skin.Read Review
Beauty Facial Extreme – Benzoyl Peroxide 5% Acne Cleanser for Face & BodyBeauty Facial Extreme – Benzoyl Peroxide 5% Acne Cleanser for Face & Body5%, 10%Formulated for face & body. Paraben-free, fragrance-free, cruelty-free.Combination skin with large pores and fine linesRead Review
5% Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash by Harris Pharmaceuticals5% Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash by Harris Pharmaceuticals5%, 10%Simple, affordable benzoyl peroxide face wash.Normal, resistant, acne-prone skin.Read Review
Dermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories B Prox Anti-Blemish Face WashDermatologic Cosmetic Laboratories B Prox Anti-Blemish Face Wash
10%
Detoxifying mineral-rich clay to absorb excess oil and refine pore size. Plant extracts reduce sensitivity and soothe redness & irritation. Dermatologist tested. Paraben-free. Non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic.(Very) Oily, Acne-prone skin with large pores.Read Review
PanOxyl Acne Foaming 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Face WashPanOxyl Acne Foaming 10% Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash
10%
Simple, affordable benzoyl peroxide face wash.Normal, resistant, acne-prone skin.Read Review
Humane Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Acne Treatment Body & Face WashHumane Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Acne Treatment Body & Face Wash
10%
Highest EWG safety rating of 1. No parabens, SLS, fragrance, or animal testing; Formulated for face & body.Formulated for face & body; Acne-prone skin on the face, body, and back.Read Review

What You Should Know:
Before Using Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne

01

Be aware of its potential side-effects

Before including this in your regimen, you need to be aware of its possible side effects. This is crucial because expecting these and knowing how to deal with it head-on is one of the keys to a successful treatment. 

Possible side effects include:

  • Skin dryness – If your skin is sensitive or isn’t resistant enough, it can start to crack and peel off in blotches (Sounds scary, I know! But stay with me here). This means your moisture barrier can be compromised.
  • Redness or skin irritation[7] – including a bit of stinging if you have extra sensitive skin. If left unaddressed, dry skin can clog pores and irritated skin can practically guarantee breakouts in acne-prone skin. The solution? Our #2 tip is below.
02

Use a hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic moisturizer after application

This is to maintain the integrity of your moisture barrier and restore the skin’s pH. the right moisturizer will help to fully counteract any of the above-mentioned side effects. Just be sure to find one that is gentle and won’t further irritate your skin (opt for formulations for sensitive skin). Check that it is lightweight and non-comedogenic so as to also not aggravate your acne. If used in the daytime, complement with a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

03

If you’re new to benzoyl peroxide, start with the lowest % strength and work your way up

It’s important to acclimatize or let your skin adjust when incorporating any new product. Your safest bet is to start with the lowest % strength, using it once every other day. Gradually increase usage to 2-3 times daily or as needed as you go on. You can work your way up in % or frequency when you feel like your skin needs and is prepared for it. If any dryness or peeling occurs, reduce the frequency or % strength.

04

Do not use hydroquinone and benzoyl peroxide at the same time

This is a popular brightening/whitening ingredient. You can check the label of your other products if you’re not sure. If you’re looking for a great alternative for irregular pigmentation, Vivant Skin Care 8% Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Serum works amazingly for all skin tones.

05

Set your expectations

You need to set your expectations when using over-the-counter products like these. I’ve had acne since my teens until well into my twenties and have tried almost every acne product I can get my hands on in hopes of finding that miracle product that will end my suffering. (I know this sounds overly dramatic but when you’ve had acne for more than a decade, ‘suffering’ and ‘agony’ really isn’t an exaggeration.)

Recommended Acne Programs


If you’re suffering from severe acne, it’s best to undergo a program that will help you get to the root of the problem and address the causes. 

Acclaimed programs like Mike Walden’s Acne No More can be a great start.

References:

  1. Mukhopadhyay P. Cleansers and their role in various dermatological disorders. Indian J Dermatol. 2011 Jan;56(1):2-6. doi: 10.4103/0019-5154.77542. PMID: 21572782; PMCID: PMC3088928.
  2. Del Rosso JQ. The role of skin care as an integral component in the management of acne vulgaris: part 1: the importance of cleanser and moisturizer ingredients, design, and product selection. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2013 Dec;6(12):19-27. PMID: 24765221; PMCID: PMC3997205.
  3. Feldman SR, Chen DM. How patients experience and manage dryness and irritation from acne treatment. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology : JDD. 2011 Jun;10(6):605-608. PMID: 21637901.
  4. What is the Role of Benzoyl Peroxide Cleansers in Acne Management?: Do they Decrease Propionibacterium acnes Counts? Do they Reduce Acne Lesions? J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2008 Nov;1(4):48-51. PMID: 21218192; PMCID: PMC3016935.
  5. Kraft J, Freiman A. Management of acne. CMAJ. 2011 Apr 19;183(7):E430-5. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.090374. Epub 2011 Feb 28. PMID: 21398228; PMCID: PMC3080563.
  6. Alvarez OM, Mertz PM, Eaglstein WH. Benzoyl Peroxide and Epidermal Wound Healing. Arch Dermatol. 1983;119(3):222–225. doi:10.1001/archderm.1983.01650270040014
  7. Feldman SR, Chen DM. How patients experience and manage dryness and irritation from acne treatment. Journal of Drugs in Dermatology : JDD. 2011 Jun;10(6):605-608. PMID: 21637901.

Top 10 Best Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash & Cleansers for Acne-Prone Skin

The ultimate list of the highest-rated Benzoyl Peroxide Face Wash & Cleansers at 2.5%, 5%, & 10% concentrations for different types of acne-prone skin.

Samantha Welch

Summary

Here is our curated list of the best benzoyl peroxide face wash and cleansers based on formulation, our experience, value for money, specifications, and other consumer reviews over the years. This list goes from the lowest to the highest strength, ie. 2.5%, 5%, and 10%. We recommend choosing based on your skin type and sensitivity, or how well your skin can handle active ingredients.

5
Photo of author

Samantha Welch

Samantha Welch is an esthetician and professional makeup artist. She co-founded Healthy Beautiful to create a space where she can share her experiences and channel her love for all things beauty. Samantha believes that through education and resources, everyone can make informed choices that can change their lives.