Acne is one of the most frustrating skin problems that confront many people. The excess production of oil in your face is also the root of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads, among others that might make you lose confidence. To fight all of these, one thing is promising – BHA!
BHA stands for beta hydroxy acid. The most popular BHA is salicylic acid and known as one of the magic ingredients in having radiant and glowing skin. Specifically, it targets acne.
If you are looking for the best BHA cleanser on the market, read on and learn from the insights we’ll share, including some products that should be on your radar!
- Our Top Picks for the Best BHA Cleanser
- #1 La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Cleanser
- #2 SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
- #3 KarmaCeuticals AHA BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
- #4 Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
- #5 COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser
- #6 Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser
- #7 Replenix Acne Solutions Gly/Sal Exfoliating Acne Cleanser
- #8 Perfect Image Salicylic Deep Gel Exfoliating Cleanser
- #9 CeraVe Salicylic Acid Renewing Cleanser
- #10 Vichy Normaderm Deep Cleansing Gel with Salicylic Acid
- #11 Image Skincare Clear Cell Salicylic Gel Cleanser
- #12 Touch Keratosis Pilaris and Acne Exfoliating Cleanser
- #13 Teena Skincare Clarity Facial Cleanser
- #14 Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser
- #15 Stridex Maximum Strength Pads
- How to Choose the Best BHA Cleanser
- Taking Care of Your Oily Skin
- Using a BHA Cleanser Properly
Our Top Picks for the Best BHA Cleanser
Let’s dig in and start our list of the top products that should be on your list, as well as the things that make them exceptional.
#1 La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Acne Cleanser
Nowhere in the name of the product the manufacturer mentions that this is a BHA cleanser. However, if you look at the label, you’ll see that salicylic acid is one of its main ingredients. This is the most popular type of BHA you will find in skincare products. The manufacturer claims that clinical tests prove how this ingredient reduces surface oil by about 47%.
You don’t have to worry even if you have oily skin. The product does not contain any oil. It is also free of allergens and parabens.
If you are still not convinced that this is an excellent choice, you might have a change of mind after knowing that it is a recipient of multiple awards, including Allure Best of Beauty Award Ultimate Skin Cleanser and Nylon Best Acne Cleanser.
#2 SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
We love this product because it does not only contain BHA. It also contains AHA. This means that it combines two powerful acids that are effective in solving various skin problems. It contains other effective ingredients, including jojoba oil, sugarcane extract, lavender oil, licorice root extract, and orange peel oil.
According to the manufacturer, the key benefits of using this BHA cleanser includes improvement of skin texture and skin tone. It makes your skin smoother and younger-looking. It is also effective when you use it as a brightening product, allowing it to effectively treat even the darkest discoloration.
However, it is important to note that since it contains AHA, this cleanser will make your skin sensitive to the sun. We recommend that you use a sunscreen to limit the effects of sun exposure.
#3 KarmaCeuticals AHA BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
It also contains both AHA and BHA, so you can expect that this is a multi-action cleanser. According to the manufacturer, it is safe for all skin types. You don’t have to worry even if you have sensitive skin. There is a small concentration of BHA in this cleanser, so you don’t have to worry that it is harsh on your face.
While this is an effective product to combat excess oil production, it works without drying out the skin. It does not strip the natural oils. Hydration is one of the benefits of this product.
Aside from salicylic acid, which is the form of BHA you will find in this cleanser, other ingredients include lactic acid, glycolic acid, and jojoba oil. They work together to loosen the dead skin cells on the face and speed up the renewal process to reveal a healthier and more youthful layer of your skin.
#4 Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
Dullness is a thing of the past when you use this cleanser. The BHA in this product exists in the form of salicylic acid. It also contains glycolic acid and lactic acid. These three acids work together to loosen the build-up of dead skin cells on the surface, effectively revealing a younger layer of your skin.
One more thing that makes this cleanser commendable is the use of jojoba beads. It polishes the causes of roughness and dryness on the skin. Meanwhile, it also contains a moisturizing agent, which attracts water to your skin. The result is that it adds moisture while making the skin plump.
Another good reason to use this cleanse is that it effectively primes the skin for the application of a variety of treatment products.
#5 COSRX Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser
COSRX is one of the popular Korean companies known globally for their skincare products, and this BHA cleanser is no exception. It is perfect for people who have oily and acne-prone skin. Although, the manufacturer notes that this is perfect for people with all skin types.
The BHA that you can find in this cleanser is from willow bark. It also contains tea tree oil, which is an effective natural remedy for acne.
With the botanical ingredients that you will find in this product, you can expect that it will leave your skin smooth and soft. It has a creamy and foamy formula, which also makes it a great cleanser for removing makeup.
For your peace of mind, it is also worth noting that this cleanser does not contain parabens, phthalates, silicone, alcohol, and sulfate, among other ingredients that can be harsh on your skin. It is also cruelty-free.
#6 Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser
This is another top-notch cleanser that comes with BHA in the form of salicylic acid. The brand name itself is already a good reason to choose this over other products.
The effectiveness of this cleanser lies in the ingredients. Like most of the products on our recommendations, the BHA is in the form of salicylic acid. Other impressive ingredients that are effective in fighting acne include aloe and chamomile, which are naturally soothing. These ingredients are also effective for the visible reduction of redness.
Aside from the ingredients, this product is also exceptional because of Micro Clear Technology. It boosts the delivery of salicylic acid to deliver immediate results.
Best of all, this is from a brand that dermatologists recommend, so you can expect the highest level of effectiveness without irritating the skin.
#7 Replenix Acne Solutions Gly/Sal Exfoliating Acne Cleanser
This product utilizes the power of both AHA and BHA to deliver a high level of effectiveness when fighting acne. It has 2% salicylic acid, which is a common concentration that you can find in other cleansers as well.
Aside from removing dead skin cells on the top layer, it is also effective in unclogging the pores, making it a great way to deal with acne. Plus, it regulates the production of oil. It is done without stripping the skin of its natural oils, so you can have the assurance that your face will not end up being too dry.
To prevent irritation for people with sensitive skin, you will also love how it does not use parabens, sulfates, and oils, among other potentially harsh ingredients.
#8 Perfect Image Salicylic Deep Gel Exfoliating Cleanser
While it contains BHA, this is not the only reason for the effectiveness of this cleanser in promoting healthier and glowing skin. It also has AHA in the form of glycolic acid. More so, it contains tea tree oil and green tea extracts, which deliver anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial benefits.
There is also cucumber extract, an effective antioxidant that prevents damages that free radicals can cause. Clinical tests also point out how these ingredients kill Propionibacterium acnes, which are the ones that cause acne.
To make it even better, the cleanser does not contain phthalates, sulfates, parabens, and gluten. The cleanser does not undergo animal testing, which makes it cruelty-free.
To ensure the highest quality and purity of the ingredients in this cleanser, it is also good to know that it is manufactured in the U.S.A. in a facility with FDA approval.
#9 CeraVe Salicylic Acid Renewing Cleanser
CeraVe is a popular brand in the market for skincare products, and that alone can already assure you that the quality of this cleanser is hard to rival. Aside from BHA in the form of salicylic acid, it also contains Vitamin D, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid. They are all effective in removing dead skin cells while hydrating the skin.
Another reason to love this product is the fact that it has essential ceramides 1, 3, and 6-II. They are effective in the restoration of your skin’s natural barrier against external elements that can make it unhealthy.
To be effective in fighting acne, this cleanser has a non-comedogenic formula, which means that it won’t clog the pores.
It also does not contain harsh beads or grains that can irritate the skin.
#10 Vichy Normaderm Deep Cleansing Gel with Salicylic Acid
If you are looking for a deep cleanser with a special formula for people with acne-prone skin, this is one product that should make it on your list. It does not contain harsh components, such as phthalates, soap, and parabens. It has also been allergy-tested, so you can be confident that this is great even for people who have sensitive skin.
The salicylic acid concentration in this product is only .5%. This is lower compared to most products with the usual concentration of 2%. Nonetheless, it does not make it less effective. The small amount of BHA in this cleanser is also the reason why it won’t irritate sensitive skin.
It also contains glycolic acid. This ingredient is popular for its keratolytic effect. This allows the top layer of the skin to peel gently to reveal a fresh layer.
Lastly, this facial cleanser also contains LHA. It helps in the renewal of the skin, making sure that the new layer is soft and smooth. It also prevents acne blemishes without causing irritation.
#11 Image Skincare Clear Cell Salicylic Gel Cleanser
With the salicylic acid that you will find in this cleanser, you can expect that it will be effective in getting rid of dead skin cells while making the skin smoother and healthier. If you have blemishes, the BHA in this cleanser can also be a good thing.
Aside from BHA, there are equally impressive ingredients that will make you love this cleanser more. For instance, it has tea tree oil and neem leaf extract. These botanical ingredients will clear your pores while also minimizing the likelihood that your skin will suffer from irritation. It also has horse chestnut and arnica montana, which are known for their anti-inflammatory benefits.
#12 Touch Keratosis Pilaris and Acne Exfoliating Cleanser
This is another foaming cleanser that uses BHA through salicylic acid. It is formulated with the needs of people who have oily skin, especially teenagers. Puberty is known for causing hormonal imbalance resulting in acne, and this cleanser promises to effectively deal with such a problem.
One of the things that we love in this product is that you can use it not only as a cleanser for the face but also as a body wash.
Looking at the list of the ingredients in this cleanser, it contains 15% glycolic acid and 2% salicylic acid.
It is also worth noting that it has a low pH level of only 3.5. which allows it to penetrate deep into the skin without causing irritation.
#13 Teena Skincare Clarity Facial Cleanser
This facial cleanser has a special formula made for teens who have oily and acne-prone skin. With salicylic acid, it deeply cleanses the pores for visibly brighter and smoother skin while controlling the effects of excessive oil production.
Aside from having vegan salicylic acid, the effectiveness of this cleanser relies on the collective action of other ingredients. It has hemp seed oil, which hydrates the skin. It also has Vitamin B5, which helps in preventing skin inflammation. There is also rosehip oil for soothing the skin. Calendula, burdock root, and nettle leaf are other natural ingredients that can soothe the skin.
This is more than just a cleanser for the treatment and prevention of acne. It is also effective for people who have psoriasis and eczema.
#14 Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser
Mario Badescu is a brand that has been around since 1967, which is already a good reason to consider choosing this cleanser over others. The company is known for their simple and gentle skincare products.
The salicylic acid (BHA) in this cleanser performs a keratolytic action for visibly clearer skin. Thyme, on the other hand, has clarifying benefits. It also has aloe and chamomile, which are both effective in calming the skin for a healthier complexion while also preventing inflammation. With these ingredients, it does not only treat current problems but also effectively prevents future breakouts.
#15 Stridex Maximum Strength Pads
One thing that makes it unique from the other products on our list is its form. It does not exist in the form of gel, liquid, or cream. Rather, it is a pad that you use to wipe your face without water. This is perfect for people on-the-go.
Each pad contains 2% salicylic acid, which is the same concentration you will see in most of the products listed above. However, take note that this can be too harsh if you have sensitive skin. There’s no need to worry! There’s a version of the pads with only .5% salicylic acid to avoid an adverse reaction.
The pads are also excellent if you believe in the acne-fighting power of double cleansing. We recommend that you start using any of the cleansers from our recommendations and finish by wiping your face using this product to remove remaining dirt.
How to Choose the Best BHA Cleanser
As you try to narrow down your options, below are the most important factors to consider:
- Other Ingredients: While BHA is effective in the treatment of oily skin, watch out for other ingredients in the cleanser. If possible, look for those with natural and organic ingredients to be confident that your skin will not suffer from irritation.
- Concentration: It is also important that you consider the concentration of BHA in the cleanser. It is usually at about .5 to 5%. If you have sensitive skin, we recommend that you choose a low concentration of BHA to calm inflammation and prevent harsh effects.
- Form: BHA cleansers can exist in many forms. It all boils down to personal preferences. It can be in gel, liquid, or cream form. Some cleansers exist in the form of face wipes, which are perfect for traveling since you don’t need water to wash your face.
Taking Care of Your Oily Skin
One of the primary functions of BHA cleansers is to get rid of excessive oiliness. This way, it prevents problems related to oil production, including acne. Other than using a BHA cleanser, here are some tips on how to effectively deal with oily skin:
- Pick your skincare products carefully. Aside from the cleanser, moisturizer, toner, and even makeups need a formula that won’t trigger too much oil production.
- Cleanse your face twice in a day, ideally in the morning and at night. Use warm water and a gentle cleanser.
- Use a moisturizer but be selective on what to apply on your skin. We recommend using oil-free moisturizers. Stay away from those that can clog the pores as they can worsen acne.
- Always have a blotting-pad with you. This is one of the simplest but most effective ways to get rid of oil on the face when you are outside.
Using a BHA Cleanser Properly
The effectiveness of the BHA cleanser lies in its proper application. Here are the things you should do to use it properly:
- Wet your skin with warm water. Do not use hot water as this can strip off the skin its natural oils.
- Massage the product directly on the skin. Start on the bottom of the face and spread the cleanser all the way up while making circular motions.
- Rinse the cleanser. It is a good idea to repeat the process using the same cleanser or a different product for an assurance that no traces of dirt stays on the skin.
- Dry your face and apply other skin care products you are using.
Before we end this post, allow us to answer some questions many of you might have about BHA. Our answers to these questions will help you become a wise buyer.
What is BHA?
Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA is an organic acid that you can find in willow bark. It is a popular exfoliating agent, so it is no longer surprising that it is a common ingredient in exfoliants. It gets rid of the dead skins cells and allows its quick renewal.
What are the Types of BHA?
Salicylic acid is the most popular type of BHA that you can find in many skincare products. It can also appear as a derivative, which goes by several names, such as sodium salicylate and salicylate. There are instances when citric acid is used.
What are the Benefits of BHA?
One of the benefits of BHA is that it is oil-soluble. This is the reason for its effectiveness as it penetrates deep into the pores. Aside from dealing with oiliness, BHA is also effective in the treatment of photo-damage and correction of dark spots. It also improves the overall texture of your skin.
What is the Difference between BHA and AHA?
Alpha hydroxy acid or AHA is a water-soluble acid. One of the key differences between the two is that AHA does not penetrate as deep as BHA. AHA works only on the surface of the skin. Also, BHA is more suitable for oily skin.
Looking for a tried and tested solution to deal with oiliness? The best BHA cleanser is your savior! Consider the products mentioned above. They contain one of the most effective acne-fighting ingredients, making them effective in tackling skincare problems that result from oiliness. Add a BHA cleanser to your routine, and for sure, you will find it easier to have youthful and glowing skin.
Have you tried a BHA cleanser before? Is there any product that you would like to include on our list? Leave a comment below and share your opinions!