Top 5 Best Exfoliators for Acne – 5 Exfoliating Mistakes to Avoid

Having a tough time finding an acne exfoliator that doesn’t make your problem worse? You are not alone.

It took us a long while to come up with a list that might make your search for the best exfoliator for acne a little easier.

We hope these reviews can help you choose the best product faster.


Products Summary

Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser – This scent-free scrub contains salicylic acid that helps deal with acne. Meanwhile, the natural ingredients, such as jojoba oil extracts keep the skin soothed. The licorice extract provides an anti-inflammatory effect.

While the manufacturer advises that the cleanser can be used on a daily basis, the product doesn’t appear to be gentle enough for daily use. If you suffer from acne, it can be a suitable exfoliator for regular (every other day or weekly) cleansing.

Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash- This mild exfoliator is sulfate-free. This makes it suitable for irritated acne prone skin. This product is good enough for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

You can use the citrus-scented scrub on a daily basis. This product can keep the pores clean and tight, which is beneficial for people who suffer from acne and blackheads.

This exfoliator allows the skin to feel clean and smooth without the harsh side effects more powerful scrubs have. However, if you are looking for a deep exfoliation, this product won’t do the job.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Daily Scrub – This is the most moderately priced scrub for acne prone skin. This is a deep facial scrub and a face wash in one tube.

The exfoliator is gentle enough to be used on a daily basis and strong enough to deal with clogged pores. The texture of the product can be attractive to many people since you can literally feel the way the scrub works thanks to the microbeads.

Calily Life Organic Arabica Coffee Scrub – This scrub is attractive to people who like natural skin care products. It contains Arabica coffee and Dead sea minerals that offer natural exfoliation for the dry, oily, sensitive and acne-prone skin.

If you are a fan of natural oils, antioxidants, and minerals, this may be the best scrub for acne to consider during your search for the perfect exfoliator.

Besides unclogging pores and leaving the skin feeling clean, this exfoliator, unlike most of the similar products on the market, offers a moisturizing property. Since exfoliation is not always a very mild process, extra moisturizing can make it even more beneficial for problematic skin.

Yes to Grapefruit Daily Facial Scrub – This citrus-smelling exfoliator is mild enough to be used on a daily basis. The scrub contains exfoliating ingredients that can fight blackheads and acne by clearing out the pores and offering an anti-inflammatory effect.

This daily scrub can be suitable for people with all skin types. It has a few organic compounds and comes at a moderate price.

Reviews Of The Best Exfoliators for Acne

The below reviews should give you a good idea of what the best exfoliator for acne is like and make your search for the perfect product slightly easier.

1. Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Murad Age Reform AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser - (6.75 fl...
  • A FACE WASH THAT DOESN'T OVER-DRY: Use this light...

This particular exfoliator uses jojoba beans to slough away the dead skin cells. Meanwhile, AHA and BHA that you see in the title do the same job but in a less natural manner.

Besides keeping the skin clean, AHA and BHA can reduce wrinkles and make the skin firmer, which is a nice bonus to an exfoliator. The BHA component gives the scrub anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

The scrub is mostly scent-free; however, there is a very slight medicinal scent present, which is not off-putting. The texture is light and foamy without any oily feel to it.

If used correctly, the cleanser can provide the skin a smooth and soft feeling. It’s designed to go easy on the sensitive skin.

Murad AHA/BHA is not a harsh exfoliator, which might be a disadvantage to some people. However, acne sufferers can appreciate this property for keeping their skin clean without too much chemical impact.

When you use this cleanser, the skin gets a squeaky-clean feel but doesn’t make you feel as if it’s screaming for a moisturizer. The jojoba oil imitates the natural skin oil and helps get all the dirt and grime off the skin surface while stimulating the skin renewal capabilities.

The product comes in a 200 ml tube, which is fairly long lasting. With regular use, it can last up to 6 months.


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    Mostly natural ingredients
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    Additional benefits
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    Removes makeup
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    Suitable for all seasons
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    Mild exfoliating action


  • Can’t be used on a daily basis
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    Slight smell

2. Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash

Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash, 16 Ounces
  • Unique sulfate-free formula
  • Antioxidant-rich, replenishing skin peel
  • You seek a cleanser that won't dry your skin out

If you believe that the best scrub for acne should be used on a daily basis, then this particular exfoliator might be a wonderful choice. It’s sufficiently mild to keep your sensitive and acne prone skin smooth and not overly dry.

This scrub is suitable for all skin types, but people with sensitive and oily skin may appreciate the most. It has an oil-free texture, which makes it pleasant to use for men and women who don’t like creamy facial care products.

If you are not a fan of non-natural ingredients in your skincare products, this scrub might not be the best choice. However, all the ingredients in this exfoliator give either a soothing, cleansing, antioxidant or anti-inflammatory effect.

This scrub can help unclog your pores and keep all the grime out of it. Basically, it’s a great cleanser with a mild exfoliating effect that can keep the skin free from blackouts and acne.

Even if you are not looking for a daily exfoliator, you can still take advantage of this scrub. Even when used on a weekly or twice a week basis, it can allow your skin to experience all the above-mentioned benefits.

The product comes in a 16-ounce bottle, which can last you as long as five months when used on a regular basis.


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    Suitable for all skin types
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    Gives your skin a clean sensation
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    Can be used on a daily basis
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    Moderate price


  • Doesn’t provide deep cleansing
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    Not too many natural ingredients

3. Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Daily Scrub

Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Daily Facial Scrub, Oil-Free...
  • 4.2-fluid ounce tube of oil-free daily facial...
  • Face scrub contains gentle exfoliators to...
  • Oil-free cleanser is dermatologist-tested and is...

While the manufacturer calls this exfoliator gentle, it’s not really as smooth as a face wash. However, it’s mild enough to be used on a daily basis, if needed.

In reality, only a few times a week is usually enough to get a positive effect with this scrub, which is a big advantage for those who don’t enjoy scrubbing their face.

The microbeads in this product are truly micro, which means you don’t feel as if you are actually scrubbing your face. The texture is smooth and watery without any oily feel.

The exfoliator gently removes the dead skin cells and keeps the pores unclogged without leaving any oily residue.

The scrub has a mild citrus smell, which shouldn’t feel offensive to scent-free product lovers. Meanwhile, the addition of fragrances can rarely cause allergies.

The product comes in a small 4.2-ounce tube, however, only a pea-sized amount of the scrub is sufficient for doing the exfoliating and cleansing job. Depending on how often you are planning to use the scrub, be it twice a day, daily or once a week, it should last at least a couple of months.


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    Mild enough to use daily
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    Does a good job removing makeup
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    Very moderately priced
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    Doesn’t dry out the skin


  • May cause allergies
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    The microbeads may be hard to wash out.

4. Calily Life Organic Arabica Coffee Scrub

Calily Life Organic Arabica Coffee Scrub with Dead Sea...
  • ORGANIC & HIGH QUALITY - The CalilyLife Arabica...
  • REDUCES WRINKLES & SPOTS - Features a powerful...
  • DEEP CLEANSING & EXFOLIATING - Contains mineral...

If you are a fan of organic skincare products, this exfoliator is worth some thought. It’s literally packed with natural ingredients that clean, exfoliate, and even moisturize your skin.

The main benefit of the natural scrub is its mildness. Even though the list of the ingredients is impressive, none of them are harsh enough to make the skin feel overly dry or raw.

The only abrasive ingredient in this scrub is Dead Sea salt. The rest seem to focus on smoothing, soothing, and softening the skin.

The scrub contains a variety of oils that produce an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect that can keep the skin pimple-free if used on a regular basis.

Besides using it to battle acne-prone skin on your face, you can use this scrub on other parts of your body, such as elbows and knees to get a mild exfoliating effect.

Since this exfoliator contains a combination of many different oils and minerals, it offers other effects besides exfoliation. It can boost collagen production and reduce the appearance of the wrinkles.

The scrub has a slightly oily feel, which can make it hard to wash off.

The scrub comes in a large jar, which can last for several months depending on which areas of the body you are planning to use it on.


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    Can be used all over the body
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    Moderately priced
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    100 % organic
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    Offers a variety of benefits, including wrinkle reduction
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    Keeps the skin soft


  • Strong scent
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    Isn’t recommended for overly sensitive skin

5. Yes to Grapefruit Daily Facial Scrub

Yes to Grapefruit Daily Facial Scrub, 4 Ounce
  • Yes to Grapefruit Daily Facial Scrub is a gentle...
  • Formulated with Lemon Balm to help calm and repair...
  • This Grapefruit Daily Facial Scrub will leave your...

This gentle exfoliator is suitable for all skin types. It’s really a rather mild scrub that can be used on a daily basis without leaving the skin too taut or dry.

The scrub has a strong citrus scent, which can be off-putting for some people while others may embrace it. This scent can be the cause of some allergies.

If you have overly dry skin, this scrub can be a wonderful choice for weekly use. We noticed that people with acne prone skin are very careful about applying exfoliators so we recommend using this one every other day at first.

This exfoliator is a good morning refreshing remedy but it can also be used at night before applying the moisturizer.

Only a small amount of this product does the job so the 4-ounce tube it comes in can last a long time. The runny texture of the scrub makes it a bit difficult to size-up the amount at first but with time, it makes it easier to use.


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    Light texture
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    Can be used on other parts of the body
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    Evens out the skin tone
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    Exfoliating beads are hardly noticeable


  • Runny texture makes it easy to overuse the product
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    Strong scent

Best Sellers

How to Choose the Best Exfoliator for Acne

When you are trying to choose the best scrub for acne, hundreds of products tend to pop up during your search. Below are a few tips to make your choice faster and easier.

1. Look for Natural Ingredients

Look for products that contain at least a few natural ingredients. A chemical-packed remedy might be suitable for normal skin but can do some damage to the sensitive, oily, and acne-prone skin.

2. Think Twice About The Fragrance

It’s nice to have a sweet-smelling product in your bathroom but is it good for your skin? The less fragrance the product offers, the better unless it’s 100 % organic.

Most of the time a strong fragrance means harsh chemicals.

3. Respect Beta Hydroxy Acid

Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA is one of the best acne fighters in the cosmetics world. It opens up the clogged pores, deals with blemishes and blackheads, and can fight wrinkles too.

4. Consider the Texture

If the exfoliator has an oily texture, it means you need to spend some time washing it off. Such approach can make the skin feel taut.

Consider moisturizers with light and foamy textures.

5. Ponder Daily Use

Skin exfoliators may be harsh to use on a daily basis. So if you are looking for an exfoliator to keep your skin fresh every day, pay special attention to the application instructions.

5 Exfoliating Mistakes to Avoid

While everyone knows that exfoliator is an essential part of the skincare regimen, many people don’t have a clear understanding of how to use the scrub. Such approach can either render the scrub useless or damage your skin.

1. Over-exfoliating

No matter how gentle it seems, never use the scrub on a daily basis if the label says once a week.

2. Forgetting to Moisturize

Even if your exfoliator is overly mild and makes your skin feel soft, forgetting to apply the moisturizer can lead to skin dryness.

3. Applying to a Dry Face

You should ALWAYS wet your face before applying the exfoliator in order not to damage your skin.

4. Scrubbing Hard

A scrub does a great job exfoliating your face. You don’t need to help it by rubbing the face as hard as you can.

Massage the exfoliator in gently.

5. Forgetting the Rest of the Body

Your face is not the only place on your body that is prone to acne and needs exfoliation. Pay attention to elbows, knees, feet, back, etc.


After doing some extensive research, we can finally name a winner. In our opinion, Calily Life Organic Arabica Coffee Scrub is the best exfoliator for acne on the market today. This scrub is 100 % organic, has a nice texture, can be used on a daily basis, and is suitable for the whole body. Besides, it offers additional benefits for your skin, such as wrinkle reduction.

If you are looking for a natural way to deal with acne while moisturizing your skin and keeping it wrinkle free, this product might be the best choice for you. While this scrub doesn’t contain BHA, it does a fair job dealing with acne-prone skin thanks to the powerful organic ingredients.

Last update on 2018-07-22 - Details

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