Best Bar Soaps For Acne: Reviews (Updated Sept. 2017)

Summary

There is a very long list of bar soaps you can buy today, and all of them claim to have some special ingredient that can magically get rid of your acne quickly. Choosing the best bar soaps for acne-prone skin is challenging, especially if you are not really familiar with what exactly you need to look for in such products.

We put this guide together to help you come up with a decision. We will be going over some of the top products on the market today and also discuss what you need to keep in mind when you finally go shopping for that perfect bar soap for acne.

Introduction

Having acne-prone skin greatly narrows the range of facial skin care products that you can use. Your product of choice and even the way you apply and wash it off your face can mean miraculously clear skin or a hellish breakout.

Let us focus on bar soaps today. Generic soaps tend to cause the skin to become super dry, and that can lead to irritation and cracking. As a result, bacteria can enter your skin easily.

Meanwhile, a lot of soaps today are infused with different active ingredients to prevent drying. If your facial skin becomes too oily, though, your pores can get clogged. Clogging results in whiteheads, blackheads, and of course, worsened acne.

However, finding the best bar soap for your acne-prone skin can take a long while. The key is to never stop looking. When you do find that soap, you can say hello to clean, clear, and smooth skin and you will not feel self-conscious anymore.

​Top 3 Choices

1. Aspen Kay Naturals Dead Sea Mud Soap Bar

This prettily packaged bar soap is the only one on this list that has Dead Sea mud and activated charcoal. It may be expensive, but that may be because of the difficulty of obtaining and processing the ingredients in it. It is all worth it, though. Activated charcoal is highly effective at cleaning out the pores, so that may make your skin clean enough to avoid acne for good. Furthermore, the minerals in the Dead Sea mud nourish the skin well.

2. Vi-Tae Organic Tea Tree Oil Soap

This product is another tried and tested bar soap formulated to fight acne. It is a little package that addresses many skin issues that cause acne. It hydrates, fights bacteria, heals damaged skin, and relaxes the skin. This is a good option if you notice that you usually break out due to dryness. It also has strong antiseptic properties, so you may be able to use it in case you contract a bad boil or the like.

3. SheaMoisture African Black Soap Bar

No beauty soap list is complete without an African black soap. Like many of the products on this list, this bar soap does a little bit of everything. What is unique about it, though, is that although it is a soap, it promises to nourish the skin internally. You may want to try this out especially if your acne is a stubborn one. It may need detoxifying action for it to go away or at least be controlled.

Top 3 Choices - Comparison Table

Aspen Kay Naturals Dead Sea Mud Soap Bar

Vi-Tae Organic Tea Tree Oil Soap

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Bar

Ingredients

Activated charcoal, Dead Sea mud

Tea tree, lemongrass, and patchouli oils

Aloe, shea butter, oats

Weight

4.5 oz

4 oz

8 oz

Ratings

Who Is It For?

As their category suggests, bar soaps for acne are for people who suffer from acne, which is a stubborn skin condition. It occurs when your follicles, which are tiny canals that connect the surface of your pores to the oil glands underneath, get clogged with sebum (what we refer to simply as “oil”).

Acne is not the same as pimples. It is actually an umbrella term, and pimples are merely one of the things that can result from having acne. Acne usually pops up on the face, neck, back, as well as chest and shoulders.

You have to determine first if you do have acne before using products that are formulated to fight this condition. Not each blemish requires advanced acne formulation.

We suggest using these products when your acne does not get cleared using gentler products and by mere changes in your facial care routine and diet. Use these especially if your acne is starting to affect your self-image, confidence, and relationships.

Buyer's Guide

Whenever a new skin care product, ingredient, or solution is discovered, it quickly becomes mainstream and gets so popular that stores are soon filled with tens of variants of the same product from various manufacturers.

But what kind of bar soap do you need exactly? Here are the few things you need to look for when shopping for the best bar soap for acne.

Gender
The bodies of men and women are inherently physically different. Our skin are also very different mainly because of the different levels of the different hormones we produce. Generally, men sweat more than women. Their pores produce more oil, and their skin are thicker than ours. Take note that these are merely the main differences.

Therefore, we need different skin care products. Men need stronger formulations, which may be too harsh if used by us. We need relatively gentler formulations, which men may find ineffective on their skin.

So that is the first thing you need to look for. Make sure that the bar soap you are ordering is especially made for your sex.

Ingredients
You ever saw a shopper at the grocery who stops to read the labels of products they pick up? You need to be that person. Look at the ingredient list of the bar soap before ordering to make sure that you do not end up with unwanted ingredients that do more harm than good on your skin.

Your skin is prone to acne. You should know by now that you need to avoid strong fragrances, preservatives, and synthetic ingredients as much as you can. These substances strip off that natural layer of oil that protects your skin, thereby increasing the likelihood of breaking out.

You want to look for natural ingredients like vitamins, oils, shea and cocoa butter, oats, and similar ones that promote healthy skin. Chemicals are not always negative, though. A lot of medicated soaps formulated for acne-prone skin have them.

These include benzoyl peroxide, sodium sulfacetamide, and salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide kills bacteria and exfoliates the skin, sodium sulfacetamide helps destroy bacteria, and salicylic acid helps clear pores and reduces inflammation. Just make sure to use such medicated products carefully because overusing these ingredients can harm your skin a lot.

Longevity
High-quality bar soaps last way longer than the generic ones in supermarkets. These soaps cost more mainly because they go through a more rigorous milling process, which results in minimal amounts of impurities and long shelf life. Watch out for words such as “triple-milled” on the box. Those are usually the best ones.

Cleansing Properties
A lot of people do not feel clean when their soap is not foamy enough. However, you should in fact look for the opposite! Foamy, bubbly lathers can indirectly harm your skin. Compared with products that do not foam, such suds-y soaps stay longer on the skin because they are more difficult to remove. As a result, your skin dries up and creates that tightening sensation.

A good soap for acne forms a creamy lather with small bubbles, washes off easily, and never leaves a tightening feeling. 

Review of Top 5 Products

1. Vi- Tae Organic Antibacterial Soap

Description

The key ingredients of this product are lemongrass, tea tree, and patchouli oil, which benefit acne-prone skin by clearing the pores, disinfecting blemishes, and generally just getting rid of common acne symptoms, such as blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples.

The other benefits that this product offers are sunburn healing properties. This soap can be used to relieve the symptoms caused by sunburn, as well as any type of inflammation. You can also use it as a natural antiseptic, which is great if you are prone to boils, insect bites, abrasions, and cuts.

Product Information

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    Weight: 4 oz
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    Main Ingredients: tea tree oil, lemongrass oil, patchouli oil, rosemary extract, sunflower oil, annatto seeds, coconut oil

Features & Benefits

Certified Organic
This product is certified organic in the US and is therefore recommended for those who either have overly sensitive skin or just wish to stay away from synthetic ingredients. This bar soap cleanses and nourishes the skin through essential oils.

Tea Tree Oil
This ingredient is widely used in skin care products because of its unique hydrating and healing properties. This is necessary in your case because the skin gets damaged a lot from acne and does not usually heal immediately after.

Coconut Oil
It is commonly known that coconut oil can do wonders for the skin. It cleanses, hydrates, detoxifies, and cures common skin problems like acne. You need something like this in your skin care products so that your skin does not get battered by all the chemicals and treatments that go in it (if any).

Lemongrass Oil
Oil from the lemongrass plant is known for its healing effects too. It is also recognized for astringent and antiseptic properties. In this product, you will be able to catch a slightly fragrant lemongrass scent.

Patchouli Oil
The essential oil from patchouli has been traditionally used in Asia for treating inflammations. Aside from that, this substance has antifungal and antiseptic properties.

Pros

Cons

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    Cleanses well
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    Good for sunburns too
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    Acts as antiseptic
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    Concentration may be too strong

2. Aspen Kay Naturals Dead Sea Mud Soap Bar

Description

This beautifully packaged soap from Aspen Kay Minerals stands out of this list because it uses authentic mud from the Dead Sea. this substance is rich in minerals that keep the skin healthy and help you overcome and prevent acne and other skin ailments. The other active ingredient in this soap is activated charcoal, which is good at cleansing the skin of impurities without being absorbed or adsorbed by the body. As if those were not enough, this bar soap has a long list of essential oils and other skin-friendly ingredients.

Product Information

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    Weight: 4.5 oz
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    Main Ingredients: Dead Sea minerals, activated charcoal, organic olive oil, organic unrefined shea butter, essential oils

Features & Benefits

Certified Organic Oils
This bar soap has tons of certified organic ingredients that are guaranteed to improve your skin and help it heal faster. Unrefined shea butter, sunflower oil, EVOO, and castor bean oil are just some of the certified organic ingredients in this.

Dead Sea Mineral Mud
The mud from the Dead Sea has a high content of beneficial minerals, such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium. They also work within the skin by improving blood circulation and relaxing tired nerves.

Activated Charcoal
Activated charcoal took the world of beauty products by storm when it was introduced some time ago because of its amazing capabilities. Even doctors recommend it and stand by its cleansing powers.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sometimes, acne happens when the skin gets too dry. If that is the case with you, you may benefit from the hydrating properties of olive oil. It is extra virgin, which means it has all its moisturizing properties intact.

Unrefined Shea Butter
Like EVOO, unrefined shea butter is preferred by beauty experts because it lets you get the full benefit of shea butter. This is also a good moisturizer, which may make a difference if if dry skin is what is causing your acne.

Pros

Cons

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    Not tested on animals
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    Powerful Dead Sea minerals
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    Activated charcoal cleansing properties
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    Scented

3. SheaMoisture African Black Soap Bar

Description

This African black soap from SheaMoisture is great because it has detoxifying properties. After all, it is not enough that you clean your face before going to bed. You have to make sure that it is cleaned from the inside so that you do not need to become overdependent on several products just to have good-looking skin for the day. The manufacturer recommends this product for treating acne, irritations, oiliness, eczema, psoriasis, miscellaneous blemishes, and other symptoms of troubled skin.

Product Information

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    Weight: 8 oz
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    Main Ingredients: aloe, shea butter, oats, vitamin E, palm ash, tamarind extract, tar, plantain peel, rosemary extract

Features & Benefits

Palm Ash
Palm ash helps calm and relax the skin and clear blemishes. It removes impurities that clog your pores and lead to acne breakouts. With consistent use, you may notice results quickly.

Tamarind Extract
Juice from tamarind used to be traditionally used for treating scars from chickenpox because of its high concentration of minerals that get rid of dead skin cells. It contains alpha hydroxyl acids, vitamins B and C, among others.

Plantain Peel
This is usually used to treat common skin problems because of its inherent healing properties. It contains a lot of vitamin A, fiber, and potassium.

African Soap Base
The reason African black soap got so popular is that it cleans effectively but mildly. This is what your skin needs. You want a product that will remove your acne without further damaging your already harassed skin.

Pros

Cons

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    Great at cleansing
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    Detoxifies
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    Widely recommended
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    Ash may stain tubs

4. Noble Formula Original Bar Soap

Description

The good thing about this bar soap is that it has a unique take on skin care. It has pyrithione zinc, which is great at keeping the skin healthy and helps prevent common skin problems like acne. This particular form of zinc has antifungal and antibacterial properties. The manufacturer recommends using this bar soap for getting rid of acne, eczema, and psoriasis. If your skin does not have those issues but is just dry, flaky, or too sensitive, this may work for you too.

Product Information

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    Weight: 3.25 oz
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    Main Ingredients: pyrithione zinc, olive and emu oils, oatmeal

Features & Benefits

Pyrithione Zinc
This ingredient focuses on cleaning your skin by removing and destroying the bacteria that are already there. Cleansing is extremely important for your acne because most of the time, dirt and other impurities are the reasons behind your breakouts.

Olive Oil
Famous for allegedly being used by Cleopatra herself, olive oil is now a beauty product staple. Your acne may be lessened by the squalene in this oil because it has strong hydrating power. It has some bonuses too, such as anti-aging antioxidants.

Emu Oil
The main benefits of emu oil are anti-inflammation and hydration, which are the very things that cause and aggravate your acne. Another benefit is that it helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles. This should give you a younger-looking skin, which is good because acne tends to make the skin look older.

Oatmeal
We like that this product has oatmeal because it balances the effect of the soap. You already have the antibacterial and hydrating properties, and this one is added for exfoliation. It completes the package.

Pros

Cons

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    Good for dry and itchy skin
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    Gentle exfoliation by oats
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    Antibacterial
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    Few organic ingredients

5. Wonderfully Natural Organic African Black Soap

Description

This African black soap variant is filled with nearly every imaginable skin-friendly ingredient out there. Because of that, this usually gets recommended for people with acne and any other skin condition. Its ingredients include vitamins and minerals, unrefined shea butter, organic cocoa butter, organic palm oil, organic palm kernel oil, and organic coconut oil. However, at the end of the day, what matters is how these ingredients were put together and how your skin responds to it!

Product Information

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    Weight: 16 oz
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    Main Ingredients: Unrefined shea butter, organic coconut, palm, palm kernel, and cocoa oil, vitamins A and E

Features & Benefits

Unrefined Shea Butter
Again, the great thing about unrefined shea butter is that you get the full hydrating power of the oil, which tends to get lost when the product is processed too much. Good hydration prevents your skin from cracking, which is how dirt enters your pores and leads to acne.

Hypoallergenic
Acne is bad, which means that an allergic reaction is the last thing you need. According to the manufacturer, this soap is hypoallergenic and suitable for any skin type, even for babies.

Organic Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is an all-around beauty solution. By using it in conjunction with the loads of other essential oils and organic ingredients in this product, your skin may finally find the balance it needs to stop breaking out.

Pros

Cons

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    Hypoallergenic
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    Not tested on animals
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    Completely vegan
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    Tries to do too many things at the same time

Alternative Choices

If our top picks somehow are not right for you, you can try some other alternatives. We have listed 12 other bar soaps you can try to fight off your acne!

1. Soap Works Natural Scented Anti-Bacterial Bar Soap for Acne and Deodorant Use

This antibacterial soap is handmade in Ontario, Canada. It has gluten-free emu oil, which is a great natural moisturizer. The other ingredients in it are oleic and linoleic fatty acids, as well as vitamins E and A. Instead of using synthetic ingredients, this soap uses natural ones to produce a natural emollient that makes the skin soft, supple, and hydrated. Finally, this soap is not tested on animals, which really says a lot about the philosophy of the company.


2. Defense Soap Pharmaceutical-Grade Bar

The claim to fame of this soap from Defense Soap is, as the name of the manufacturer implies, its proven performance on people who are into contact sports (who are more prone to acne because of the intense sweating and exposure to grime). Apparently, it is very powerful at removing huge amounts of dirt, grime,built-up oils, allergens, smog, sweat, and crud, which are all as stubborn as they are easy to get especially at the gym or out on the field. Its key ingredients are tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil, which do a great job of cleansing while restoring your skin’s natural barrier.


3. Braunfels Labs Premium Sulfur Advanced Wash Soap

The first great thing you will notice about this soap from Braunfels Labs is the scent. It is not anything feminine or masculine. It is nowhere near strong or overpowering. It is just a subtle and fresh scent that should sit well with you if you have allergies and/or are highly sensitive to odors. Also, it is especially formulated to create a rich and creamy lather easily and quickly. A bar will last a long while.


4. The Yellow Bird Peppermint & Tea Tree Soap Bar

The main ingredients of this soap from The Yellow Bird are peppermint, tea tree essential oil, and cajuput essential oil. These natural substances are incredibly good at cleansing the skin, taking out impurities out of the pores, and getting rid of odors. The other organic ingredients in this soap are commonly used for the treatment of acne, rash, or any other type or cause of itching. Furthermore, all soaps are handmade and cold-processed in small batches so as to retain the cleansing and nourishing power of the organic ingredients in it.


5. Cetaphil Antibacterial Gentle Cleansing Bar

The brand alone should already tell you a lot about the quality of this soap. Cetaphil products are commonly recommended by doctors for people with acne and other certain skin conditions or simply have super sensitive skin. It is powerful enough to effectively clean the skin but remains mild enough even for babies! This particular soap has deodorant and enhanced antibacterial properties. You can use it anywhere on the body. It is also proven to be non-comedogenic (does not clog pores).


6. SAL3 Salicylic Acid Sulfur Soap Bar

The active ingredients in this product are sulfur (10%) and salicylic acid (3%). Sulfur is widely used to treat many skin conditions, and salicylic acid is known to be good at keeping acne at bay. The soap has a slight hint of scent, but the manufacturer claims that absolutely no fragrance has been added in and that the scent is from when the natural ingredients are used during processing. Either way, it is not really overpowering at all.


7. Rise 'N Shine Online Raw African Black Soap

There is a reason African black soap has become very popular in just a short time! It just works! For the longest time, it has been used to help keep certain skin problems at bay, including dry and itchy scalp, ringworm, body odor, dandruff, rashes, psoriasis, acne, and eczema. This particular African black soap has plantain skin ash, shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and natural sodium. They are very good at cleansing, getting rid of itchiness, and keeping the skin hydrated and healthy.


8. DermaHarmony Pyrithione Zinc Bar Soap

As the name says, the active ingredient in this product is pyrithione zinc (2%). Zinc is the unsung hero in the world of skin care. Okay, that is an exaggeration, but we think it should be getting more credit for the benefits it provides for the skin. It is even prescribed in vitamin form for babies born with various skin conditions, including the very common atopic dermatitis. This ZnP bar soap can be used on the entire body, including the scalp.


9. Nubian Heritage African Black Soap

Aside from cleaning the surface of the skin, this African black soap from Nubian Heritage cleanses the skin from the inside. It has detoxifying properties, which ensure that the clarity and smoothness of your skin is not just a temporary effect. It is recommended for combating the symptoms of common skin ailments, such as acne, eczema, blemishes, oiliness, psoriasis, and more. It also keeps the skin soft and evens out the skin tone. More importantly, it is great for any skin type.


10. The Grandpa Soap Company Thylox Medicated Soap

The active ingredient in this soap is sulfur (3%), which is used to treat a wide range of skin problems. This particular product is especially formulated to soften the shell of acne blemishes to make them easier to get rid of over time. It also helps dissolve blackheads and wash away excess oil. What we like about this product is that it does not promise to do all of those things alone. It helps get rid of those problems, and you can see the results only if you use the soap correctly.


11. Dudu Osun Black Soap

This product contains a long list of natural ingredients known to improve the skin by hydration and detoxification. There is lemon juice, palm bunch ash, palm kernel oil, aloe vera, shea butter, honey, osun, cocoa pod ash, and lime juice. Aside from helping treat acne and other skin ailments, this product helps restore and heal damaged skin. It also contains antibacterial properties that prevent many different types of skin conditions. It does have a bit of fragrance, though.


12. Sulfur Suds Traditional Sulfur Soap

This product from Sulfur Suds contains a large amount (10%) of its active ingredient, sulfur. This highly concentrated formula is strong and powerful and may help get rid of the most stubborn skin problems and symptoms like acne that other soaps can’t handle. It stands out from the other items on this list because it comes in a jar, which helps keep the ingredients stable. This is important because this has a colloidal formulation that needs to be properly activated for maximum emulsion.

Alternative Choices Comparison Table

Soap Works Natural Scented Anti-Bacterial Bar Soap for Acne and Deodorant Use

Defense Soap Pharmaceutical-Grade Bar

Braunfels Labs Premium Sulfur Advanced Wash Soap

Key Ingredients

Emu oil

Tea tree and eucalyptus oils

Sulfur

Weight

100 g

4 oz

3.5 oz

Ratings

The Yellow Bird Peppermint & Tea Tree Soap Bar

Cetaphil Antibacterial Gentle Cleansing Bar

SAL3 Salicylic Acid Sulfur Soap Bar

Key Ingredients

Peppermint, tea tree and cajuput essential oils

Triclosan

Sulfur, salicylic acid

Weight

4 oz

4.5 oz

3.5 oz

Ratings

Rise 'N Shine Online Raw African Black Soap

DermaHarmony Pyrithione Zinc Bar Soap

Nubian Heritage African Black Soap

Key Ingredients

Palm, palm kernel, virgin coconut oils; cocoa and shea butters (all organic)

Pyrithione zinc

Coconut and/or palm oil, shea butter, oat kernel, aloe juice, plantain extract, vitamin E

Weight

16 oz

4 oz

5 oz

Ratings

The Grandpa Soap Company Thylox Medicated Soap

Dudu Osun Black Soap

Sulfur Suds Traditional Sulfur Soap

Key Ingredients

Sulfur

Honey, shea butter, cam wood, palm kernel oil

Sulfur

Weight

3.25 oz

4.3 lbs

3.5 oz

Ratings

Conclusion

Few companies offer such bar soaps as the Aspen Kay Naturals Dead Sea Mud Soap Bar mainly due to the difficulty of securing and processing the ingredients. They are also quite expensive and are thus more difficult to sell than common beauty soaps. However, acne is a serious skin condition that requires special treatment. If you love your skin, give it the best you can buy.

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