How Often Should You Wash Your Face If You Have Acne?

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How-Often-Should-You-Wash-Your-Face-If-You-Have-Acne Sajic Skin Science

Figuring out how often to wash your face is perhaps one of the most confusing topics for people struggling with acne. While you might have an inclination to wash more frequently—and good hygiene is paramount to a clear complexion—overwashing can exacerbate the issue and lead to others. So how often should you wash your face when dealing with acne? We asked a handful of dermatologists to weigh in on the topic so we can get a definitive answer.

How to Pick a Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin 

The best thing you can do to calm breakouts is to prioritize skin barrier health and be gentle with your skin. 

“It's important to use a gentle cleanser that is designed for acne-prone skin and avoid scrubbing or using harsh exfoliants, which can irritate the skin and exacerbate acne,” advises Dusan Sajic, MD, an international board-certified medical and cosmetic dermatologist.

Dr. Sajic says to use cleansers formulated with gentle, barrier-bolstering ingredients. Bonus points if they are labeled and designed specifically for people with sensitive and acne-prone skin. To jump start your search, we recommend CeraVe Acne Control Face Cleanser ($20,, Cetaphil Gentle Clear Clarifying Acne Cream Cleanser ($10;, La Roche Posay Effaclar Acne Face Cleanser ($20,, and Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel ($20, 

The above facial cleansers are excellent for targeting active breakouts and minimizing future breakouts. If your skin clears up and breakouts become a thing of the past, switch to a non-medicated, gentle cleanser and continue washing morning and evening per usual. 

Along with washing with a gentle cleanser twice daily, Dr. Sajic has a few additional tips and tricks to help minimize and calm breakouts.

  • Avoid touching your face throughout the day
  • Use a clean town to dry your face
  • Moisturize every time you wash with an oil-free product
  • Change your pillowcase weekly 
  • Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly
  • Manage stress 
  • Consider professional in-office treatments that target acne, such as lasering or chemical peels 
  • Speak with a dermatologist about persistent or extreme cases of acne so you can target the cause and create a game plan for a clear complexion 


Read more of the article at Real Simple