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Acne Body Washes Reviewed
We look at some of the most popular acne body washes and review their overall effectiveness.
by Brad Chase
While facial acne tends to be the type of acne that causing the most concern, acne can occur all over your body.
Many people make a very problematic mistake when it comes to body acne – especially if they don't suffer from severe facial acne. They choose body washes that are not made for those with acne prone skin.
While hygiene doesn't cause acne, poor hygiene can increase the frequency of breakouts. In addition, cleansers that are not made for those with acne have a tendency to clog enlarged pores, which can also lead to an increase in acne.
Those that suffer from back acne, chest acne, shoulder acne, or acne on any area of the body may want to consider an acne body wash – a body wash designed specifically for those that suffer from body acne.
There are several acne washes available on the market today.
Below, we'll review the five most popular body washes for acne.
Neutrogena is one of the most well-known brands in skin care and hygiene, and their body wash for acne is easily one of the most popular on Amazon.
Body Clear contains salicylic acid at 2% - on the high end of salicylic acid acne treatments, but still useful for tough skin.
Because the body wash is medicated, side effects are possible, though less common than facial salicylic acid washes because the skin is generally less sensitive.
The smell is considered gentle, and doesn't smell medicated, and the price is fairly affordable.
On the pricier end of the spectrum there is the Peter Thomas Roth body wash for acne. Unlike the Neutrogena product, this body wash is 1% salicylic acid, which means it has fewer side effects but also should work slightly weaker.
It's scent is not as popular as many other brands, but the exfoliating beads inside of the body wash (called "blemish buffing beads") are gentle, and do a good job clearing away dead skin.
For those in desperate need of an effective acne fighting body wash, it's not clear if it's worth the price, but users do report less acne over their body.
The Glytone acne body wash is one of the few body washes that does not contain salicylic acid. Rather, it uses 4.7% free glycolic acid.
Research considers glycolic acid a great tool for penetrating the skin, which is why it is a prime ingredient in many chemical peels.
A study at the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan assessed the overall efficacy of glycolic acid peels and treatments, and found that there did appear to be a significant reduction in overall acne. This study did not contain a control, but dermatologists have generally accepted the idea that glycolic acid is effect at clearing acne.
What isn't known is whether or not it is more or less effective than other medications, such as salicylic acid. Also, 5.7% of users in the study developed side effects, and it's possible that a solution of glycolic acid may affect the skin.
This type of product may be effective, but it's helpful to first get a dermatologist's recommendation.
Clear and gentle, the Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Body Wash is a popular choice for those with acne.
Like the Neutrogena product, the Phisoderm body wash uses a 2% salicylic acid solution.
It also contains other nutrients, such as aloe and vitamin E, and the scent is pleasant although not very strong.
Users report that the Phisoderm body wash for acne is a bit too liquid-like for their liking, without that gel quality that makes it easier to apply. Not everyone appears to have success with the Phisoderm product but those that do tend to promote it enthusiastically.
Murad acne body wash is another body wash on the high end in pricing.
Interestingly, much like the Peter Thomas Roth acne wash, the Murad body wash is also 1% salicylic acid.
Within the Murad product is a powder to help exfoliate, which can be useful for clearing out dead skin that clogs pores.
Murad Acne Body Wash also contains Triclosan, which is believed to be an antibacterial agent (presumably one that would kill bacteria in acne prone skin).
Studies are mixed over whether Triclosan is effective at reducing acne bacteria. However, most studies that promote the ingredient note that there is some risk of bacteria becoming resistant to Triclosan, which means that even if Triclosan does work, it may stop working over time. There are also some side effects that have been linked to triclosan, but these have not been confirmed in further studies.
Nevertheless, the salicylic acid is known to be effective at relieving acne, so this concern may not affect most users.
With few exceptions, most products use the same type of acne medication (salicylic acid), and few other ingredients believed to help acne. Most likely, the choice will come down to your opinion of the scent, the cost, and the ease of product use.
Salicylic acid (and all acne medications) can have side effects, so those with sensitive skin may want to monitor using this product. In addition, acne washes can take a while to work (despite what the product marketing states) so it's important you give these acne body washes at least a few months to show noticeable improvements.
Otherwise, most of them should be effective at relieving acne, especially when they are combined with lifestyle changes and some type of vitamin or mineral supplement.
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