Acne. Most of us had it as teens, some of us are still unfortunate enough to experience acne as adults. What makes it even worse is that pimples sometimes don’t just stay on our gorgeous faces. These unsightly, painful irritating red bumps, white or blackheads also like to sneak their way to our necks, backs, chest – and beyond.
With acne medication, one size fits all is definitely not the norm. The same goes with the acne on our body; what you use on your face might work for your body, but the skin on your body is tougher and as such so are those zits.
Face cleansers that are specifically formulated to target, attack, and rid the acne on your sensitive face just don’t cut it for the hardier, more finicky pimples on your back.
Something’s gotta give. What you need is a tougher, more aggressive soap for your body, for example, one that contains salicylic acid will do the trick.
If you’ve been spot treating, scrubbing, and washing your ‘bacne’ for far too long with your regular body wash, you definitely need to take a look at this list because there’s an acne-fighting salicylic body wash for you.
Best Salicylic Acid Body Washes
1. Solimo Clarifying Pink Grapefruit Body Wash
With 2% salicylic acid, Solimo provides a gentle, fresh-smelling clean to your body. Acne? Say goodbye to those unsightly and uncomfortable red bumps.
Rinse away the acne with confidence, as this is a dermatologically tested, US-made body wash that not only medically treats your body acne, but has tiny gelatin beads that provide a refreshing, gentle exfoliation.
This is a great choice if you have sensitive skin because of how gentle it is. The subtle grapefruit scent doesn’t hurt either – such a refreshing clean each and every shower. There are literally thousands of reviews raving about how this is such a great body wash. Peace out, ‘bacne’!
2. CeraVe SA Body Wash
If you suffer from both body acne and particularly dry skin, we’ve got the solution for your skin troubles. CeraVe is a skincare brand that has some of the best products on the market, and this bump and zit remover is definitely no exception.
Salicylic Acid is present to work its magic and deeply penetrate the skin to clear out pimples while also providing a refreshing, gentle exfoliation.
Meanwhile, the three included ceramides (lipids that protect and support your skin’s moisture barrier) act as the best defense to keep your skin as naturally moist and hydrated as ever.
There are no parabens, micro-beads, or fragrances. Also, this is a comedogenic body wash that all add up to be the little cherry on top of an already great body wash.
Of course, this can be used by anyone who wants to keep a little extra hydration in their skin, but definitely best suited for those who have dry or sensitive skin.
3. Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash
Neutrogena is a company known for its skincare, and odds are at one point or another you’ve used their signature orange face wash. Whether or not you still use the OG Neutrogena, if you suffer from body acne then their grapefruit scented body wash is worth a go.
Salicylic acid, that key ingredient, is present along with glycerin so your body will get that extra bit of nourishment and moisture after being treated.
This deliciously scented body wash isn’t just for all the ladies out there! Guys, you totally deserve to smell like grapefruit too, especially if you’ve got a couple of pesky red bumps all over your chest.
A fresh, clean scent paired with acne-fighting ingredients, topped off with a tried-and-true skincare brand? You don’t want to regret missing out on this one.
4. Proactiv Deep Cleansing Body Wash
We’ve all seen those ads with our fave celebrity at one time or another, but did you know that Proactiv has since drastically expanded on their skincare line to include a body wash? If you’re in need of a bit more of an aggressive clean for that pesky bacne, this special formula is what you need to try.
Proactiv’s body wash is safe on all body types, and consistent use helps to both rid acne and prevent it from returning. Salicylic acid works hard to clean out your pores and reduces excess oil.
Whether or not you’ve tried their famous three-step face routine, their body wash isn’t one to be washed over.
5. DermaHarmony Sulfur and Salicylic Acid Bar Soap
If you only get a zit on your back every so often and don’t want to invest in any of the more aggressive forms of acne body washes, then take a look at this bar of soap here. Simplicity is key; no-frills and no unnecessary ingredients is what this bar of soap is all about.
There are a handful of ingredients, making this bar of soap a real crowd-pleaser despite the sulfuric smell.
It doesn’t contain enough salicylic acid to rid your entire back of bumps, but for a one-off every few weeks or months, this will definitely hit the spot.
The addition of sulfur helps to absorb any excess oil, which we all know by now is a major culprit in the formation of pimples. This bar of soap isn’t for the driest of skin, but definitely not one to pass up on if your skin is of the oily type.
If the smell doesn’t bother you, then acne won’t either.
6. Touch KP Exfoliating Wash
So, this next exfoliating body wash is formulated for KP (keratosis pilaris), and you may or may not have seen it pop up on one of our lists before, but don’t let that keep you away from it.
The ingredients – salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid – will benefit anybody who suffers from extreme body acne.
The salicylic acid essentially zaps away the source of the zit and keeps the skin clear to prevent more from appearing. Hyaluronic acid is an intense hydrating moisturizer that will keep your skin soft and smooth after the zit-zapper has done its job.
Because this is a body wash for keratosis pilaris, the exfoliating ingredients are a touch more aggressive than you’d find in a traditional acne body wash, so this isn’t for our sensitively-skinned friends.
7. Revitale Salicylic Acid Scrub Soap
Are soap bars more your groove? We’ve got this uber exfoliating body scrub soap for you, starring salicylic acid.
Free your pores with this one-of-a-kind exfoliation, this bar really gets to the root of the problem as the medicated bar is placed directly onto your acne-prone skin. This gentle, yet effective, bar will unclog your pores and stop new pimples from rearing their unsightly heads.
The fresh scent is a subtle one because the star of the show will be not how your skin smells, but how it feels. With noticeably less oily, smoother, and acne-free skin, just try to keep your hands off yourself.
The best part is this soap is gentle enough for all types of skin, so you can finally clear your skin worry-free.
8. Phisoderm Anti-Blemish Body Wash
Relaxation, calmness, and tranquility for your skin are at the forefront of this acne-fighting body wash. In addition to 2% salicylic acid, there’s the triple-threat combo of all-natural ingredients, Aloe, Vitamin E, and chamomile.
After your pores have been thoroughly cleansed, these three soothing ingredients will help calm and relax the skin. Acne fighting is some serious business! Added (or not added) bonus?
This body wash is oil-, alcohol- and dye-free for a unique skin experience, making this an excellent choice for our sensitive-skinned sisters (and brothers). It’s no wonder that this body wash is loved by over a thousand reviewers.
9. Murad Acne Control – Acne Body Wash
When science and nature combine, some truly remarkable products can emerge. Murad’s acne body wash is one of these ‘best of both worlds’ body washes.
Not only does Murad’s response to body acne have salicylic acid to rid your pores of gunk and dirt, but it contains tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil is an excellent acne fighter; it’s naturally anti-inflammatory and contains antimicrobial properties. These two super acne fighters provide a solid attack and defense against existing and future acne.
Additionally, there are small biodegradable beads that provide an extra, gentle exfoliator without drying out your skin.
With only 1% salicylic acid, there is no doubt that Murad’s going to be a gentle cleanse, but they don’t skimp out on the acne-fighting power. This is an excellent choice for all skin types.
10. Black Wolf Nation Body Wash
This deep-cleaning activated charcoal body wash is aimed at men, but in reality, it can be used by any and all. Unclogging pores, penetrating deep into your skin, and erasing whiteheads are what this blue sage/citrus-scented body wash is made for.
Salicylic acid isn’t the only star of this show – the activated charcoal is a natural oil controller.
This is key to preventing future breakouts. Suck out the gunk from your pores, and say hello to clean, smooth, and clear skin.
One thing that makes this so unique from other body washes is it’s specifically designed to fight against cystic acne! The formula is anti-fungal, derived from coconut, so those extremely large and painful bumps will be a thing of the past in no time.
Why Salicylic Acid?
Salicylic acid is basically a do-it-all super acid. We know that can sound kinda scary, but this is good for your skin kind of acid, we promise. It is lipophilic; this allows deep penetration of particularly oily skin, which allows for the pores to get a thorough clean.
In addition, it acts as a chemical exfoliant because of its ability to break apart dead skin cells.
It’s an acid that is safe to use in small amounts, and if a product contains up to 2% salicylic acid it can be used safely each day. If you do end up going with a higher amount of product, then you’ll want to use it more moderately or in consultation with your dermatologist.
Body acne isn’t anything to be ashamed of, it happens to the best of us. While scrubbing away with your favorite (and likely expensive!!) face cleanser might seem productive, the skin on your body is a different type, and thus requires different soap.
Hardy, tough, and oftentimes painful, acne on your back, neck, chest, or shoulders just doesn’t seem to want to go away.
Regardless of your skin type, acne type (I’m looking at you, cystic acne!), or scent preferences, there absolutely is the perfect salicylic body wash for you. As discussed, this super-acid is the perfect fit for getting rid of most types of acne, and it complements well with a ton of other skin-loving ingredients.
After taking a gander at this list we’ve curated, you can bust you’re your fave tank top or bathing suit with confidence, knowing that there are no more painful, ugly white and blackheads. Show your shoulders some sun this summer.
Sheryll is a lifestyle editor with over 7 years of experience in beauty. She is obsessed with Korean skincare, and she mostly covers the Beauty and Skincare space at Skin Seas.