15 Best Exfoliators For Acne-Prone Skin In 2023, As Per Dermatologist

Keep your skin healthy and smooth with our list of the best exfoliators for acne-prone skin. These exfoliators are gentle and help you battle acne and resulting scars and blemishes at ease. While ancient remedies advised against exfoliants in fear of compromising the skin barrier, modern science advises using scientifically formulated exfoliators that target the pores and remove dead skin cells to reveal beautiful and healthier skin. Some exfoliants have potent ingredients that remove dirt and oil and are fragrance-free and non-comedogenic. They keep the pores clean and prevent breakouts without drying out the skin.

When using harsh physical exfoliants, people with sensitive skin may suffer from redness and irritation. If you have the same concern, you should stick to less abrasive ones that contain natural, soothing ingredients to help keep acne at bay. To find the right exfoliants for your skin, check out our list of various products for pimple-prone skin that will help you get even, clear skin without acne or pimple marks.

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15 Best Exfoliators For Acne-Prone Skin To Look Fresh In 2023

1. Best Charcoal-Based: M3 Naturals Collagen + Stem Cell Infused Charcoal Scrub

The power of active charcoal is infused with collagen and stem cells in the M3 Naturals Charcoal Scrub to give your skin an extra deep cleansing effect. With this scrub, you can reduce skin impurities, increase cellular life, and get rid of toxins from your skin surface while you lock in essential moisture. The resultant youthful, radiant skin is supported by the natural ingredients. Its formula includes key ingredients such as dead sea salt, aloe vera, coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, and kukui nut oil. This acne exfoliator scrub helps to naturally cleanse your skin and minimizes pore appearances along the way. With these cruelty-free and natural ingredients, rest assured, the exfoliating scrub will work its magic on oily and acne-prone skin.

Skin Type: Oily, Combination, Sensitive, Dry, Normal | Product Dimensions: 3.5 x 3.5 x 0.7 inches | Weight: 12 Ounces


  • Balances skin PH
  • Anti-aging formula
  • Reduces blackheads
  • Reduces stretch marks and scars
  • Can be used on the entire body


  • Smell may be unpleasant for some
  • May not suit sensitive skin

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

Join the 11,743 satisfied buyers on Amazon who have said the product meets their needs and expectations.

2. Best Oil-Free: Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Daily Scrub

The multi-action scrub from Neutrogena, a celebrity-endorsed brand, offers acne spot treatment by preventing it even before they break out. You can use this daily scrub that contains 2% salicylic acid as one of its key ingredients to help clean and exfoliate your pores to get rid of any excess oil, dirt, or bacteria. The acne-resistant formula includes a powerful micro clear technology that delivers the active ingredients right to the source of the acne breakouts. This exfoliator for acne-prone skin will help you dissolve excess oil, dirt, and impurities while keeping your skin clear and smooth. The dermatologist-recommended daily scrub is safe to use on sensitive skin. Here’s a brief video you can watch to make the most out of this product.

Skin Type: Acne prone | Product Dimensions: 1.97 x 1.97 x 5.91 inches | Weight: 3.2 Ounces


  • Oil-free exfoliator
  • Unclogs the pores
  • Plastic microbead-free formula
  • Gentle formula
  • Little goes a long way
  • Does not make the skin dry


  • May not suit oily skin
  • Might work slow on acne

Our Reviewer's Experience

"The lotion-like texture and lathering ability of this scrub work well for me. It offered me soft, oil-free, and refreshed skin. This product helps tackle excess oil and breakouts. I would recommend this product to others."

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

With over 9,188 reviews on Amazon, this product is a winner.

3. Best Microdermabrasion Scrub: DRMTLGY Microdermabrasion Scrub

Let your skin indulge in the spa-like benefits of this natural and non-abrasive acne exfoliator scrub and facial mask from DRMTLGY. You can use this scrub to eliminate blackheads, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce the appearance of pores and blemishes caused by scars. With each use, you will get visibly rejuvenated and brighter-looking skin. The paraben-free formula is not only ideal for its anti-aging benefits but also acts as a gentle exfoliator that improves skin tone, elasticity, and texture. Loaded with pumice granules, you can get rid of free radicals and prevent skin cell deterioration. Here’s a review video showcasing a tester’s experience to help you understand how easy it is to use this facial exfoliator.

Skin Type: Acne-prone


  • Made for sensitive skin
  • Oil-free formula
  • Free of sulfates, gluten, and formaldehyde
  • Suitable for men and women
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Not tested on animals


  • Smell could be overwhelming
  • Skin may feel dry post exfoliation

Our Reviewer's Experience

"My skin feels rejuvenated after using this face scrub. The gentle texture is suitable for my skin. For best results, I'd recommend using it with a moisturizer."

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

Over 7,513 Amazon shoppers have left good reviews about this product, citing its quality features and benefits.

M3 Naturals Collagen + Stem Cell Infused Charcoal Scrub
Best Charcoal-Based
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Daily Scrub
Best Oil-Free
DRMTLGY Microdermabrasion Scrub
Best Microdermabrasion Scrub
Skin Type Oily, Combination, Sensitive, Dry, Normal Acne prone Acne-prone
Dimensions 3.5 x 3.5 x 0.7 inches 1.97 x 1.97 x 5.91 inches-
Weight 12 Ounces 3.2 Ounces-
Buy NowBuy NowBuy Now

4. Best For Gentle Skin: Asutra Scrub The Day Away Vitamin C Scrub

Take your exfoliation routine to the next level with the Asutra Scrub The Day Away Vitamin C Scrub, made from 100% pure and finely ground Himalayan Sea salt. This results-driven scrub will help you eliminate dead skin cells and leave you with soft and smooth skin for gentle and effective exfoliation. Infused with a blend of aloe vera and hydrating oils like jojoba, argan, and sweet almond, this scrub detoxifies and moisturizes sensitive skin. Its all-natural formulation is free from parabens, making it safe to use for acne-prone skin and tackling blocked pores, blemishes, and blackheads.

Skin Type: Acne Prone | Product Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 3.5 x 3.5 x 2.75 inches| Weight : 1 Pounds


  • Non-toxic and eco-friendly
  • Infused with essential oils
  • Detoxifies the skin
  • Invigorating formula
  • 100% natural ingredients
  • Vegan and cruelty-free


  • Fragrance may be overpowering
  • Some may find it too oily

protip_icon Quick tip
Once you find a suitable scrub for your skin, buy an additional travel-sized unit to avoid skipping days in your skincare routine while traveling.

5. Best Hydrating: Proactiv + 3 Step Advanced Skincare Acne Treatment – Skin Smoothing Exfoliator

Fight acne along with dry and dull skin with the Proactiv + 3 Step Advanced Skincare Acne Treatment that comes with a skin-smoothing exfoliator. This combination of acne and blemish control helps clear acne blemishes, promotes clear and smooth skin, and prevents the chances of future breakouts. The professional-grade skin smoothing exfoliator with benzoyl peroxide acne treatment penetrates deep into your pores to eliminate skin impurities and prevent flare-ups. Safe for all ages and skin types, this acne solution will bring you one step closer to getting bright, toned, glowing, and healthier skin. Incorporate this dermatologist-approved acne treatment in your skincare routine for clean, soft, acne-free skin.

Skin Type: Oily, Combination, Sensitive, Dry, Normal | Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.13 x 2.88 inches | Weight: 1.17 Pounds.


  • Improves complexion
  • Reduces the appearance of dark spots
  • Shows quick and lasting results
  • Reduces the redness and irritation


  • May contain bleaching agents
  • Might feel dry on some skin types

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This product has worked for me and my teenage chidren. It has skin brightening properties, and we have noticed a marked improvment in our skin after a few months of using it. It has been a worthwhile investment for my family."

6. Best Aromatherapeutic: Oleavine Theratree Exfoliating Tea Tree Scrub

Scrub away dead skin cells and make way for clear and smooth skin with this Tea Tree Scrub that will also help you tackle skin irritation, unpleasant body odor, and dull complexion. The soothing formula of this product for acne nourishes, cleanses, and deodorizes your skin with its natural ingredients. This one is infused with mint essential oils, menthol, and bamboo charcoal powder that helps clean clogged pores, grime, and even makeup from your skin’s surface. The multi-purpose exfoliator, known for its proven efficacy, also contains botanicals like micro pumice and white willow bark, along with neem oil to remove rough skin and calluses.

Number of Items: 1 | Skin Type: Acne Prone | Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 3 x 6.8 inches | Weight: 7.3 Ounces


  • Aromatherapeutic scrub
  • Gives glowing skin
  • 100% farm-grade tree oil
  • All-natural formulation
  • Non-drying scrub


  • Consistency may be a bit runny
  • Some may find the smell overpowering

My Personal Experience

"This one with tea tree oil has become a must-have product in my skincare regimen as it effectively exfoliates my skin. Some miight find the texture a bit gritty, but I love that it ensures deep cleaning, leaving my skin clean and refreshed."

7. Best Gluten-Free: The Body Shop Tea Tree Squeaky Clean Scrub


If you are looking for a gentle foaming exfoliator, this one from The Body Shop has to make it to your list. Made from high-quality community-grade tea tree oil grown in the foothills of Mount Kenya, this formula is suitable for blemish-prone skin to help deliver smooth and clear skin. This product for acne-prone skin works to get rid of excess oil from your skin with ingredients like lemon tea tree and tamanu oil. You can get visibly improved skin with this exfoliator, as it is ideal for blemished skin. This results-driven formula will gently buff your skin’s surface and clear dead skin cells and impurities.

Skin Type: Oily | Product Dimensions: 1.18 x 1.18 x 2.76 inches | Weight: 4.16 Ounces


  • Non-drying formula
  • Free of parabens, silicones, and gluten
  • Deep pore-cleansing
  • Prevents future breakouts
  • Biodegradable microbeads
  • 100% vegan and cruelty-free


  • May not be suitable for sensitive skin

Our Tester's Experience

"Exfoliating is a must-step in my skincare routine, and this scrub has been a wonderful addition. The rich lather ensured clean and fresh skin by unclogging the pores. But I felt the tube size is less for regular use."

protip_icon Caution
Do not use scrubs with large beads or plastic beads, as they can get lodged in your pores and cause further aggravation to your skin.

8. Best For Blackheads: Acne Free Blackhead Removing Scrub With Charcoal

Treat your skin with ingredients like 2% salicylic acid and nourish the surface with charcoal and jojoba to get a refined skin texture and tone. This anti-breakout scrub also contains hydrogenated castor oil. You can use this exfoliating scrub every day to combat oils and clogged pores as you deep clean your skin. The dermatologist-recommended anti-acne formula is suitable for removing debris and tightening the appearance of pores.

Skin Type: Oily, Acne-prone skin, Dead skin | Product Dimensions: 2 x 3 x 6 inches | Weight: 5.01 Ounces


  • Fragrance-free
  • Treats blackheads
  • Offers gentle exfoliation
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Reduces the appearance of acne scars
  • Suitable for men and women


  • May not suit all skin types
  • Skin may feel dry after exfoliation

Our Tester's Experience

"I am astonished by the immediate results this product offers. It doesn't dry out the skin and works well on acne when used as a mask. Its hydrating properties are a plus."

9. Best Non-Comedogenic: Touch Microdermabrasion Scrub Treatment

The unique formula of the Touch Microdermabrasion Scrub combines science with high-quality clean ingredients to help you get even skin tone and texture. The facial exfoliator is a non-comedogenic hydrating cream and is ideal for tackling skin dullness, signs of aging, uneven skin tone and texture, acne scars, and blemishes. Key ingredients like chamomile, green tea extract, jojoba oil, aloe vera, and allantoin make this scrub suitable for all skin types for a refreshing exfoliating experience and a youthful glow. The pH-balanced exfoliator is composed of clear ingredients only and is cruelty-free.

Skin Type: Oily, Combination, Sensitive, Dry, Normal | Product Dimensions: 1.75 x 3 x 5.5 inches | Weight: 4 Ounces


  • Tackles blackheads
  • Makes the skin soft and smooth
  • Exfoliates without irritation
  • Vegan formula
  • Paraben- and sulfate-free
  • Free of alcohol and phthalates


  • Exfoliating grains may feel big
  • Might leave the skin dry

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This product offers the right balance without being too oily or dry. I love its refreshing scent and the finely milled particles that make my skin soft and smooth. I would buy this product again."

protip_icon Do remember
Visit a dermatologist to identify the type of acne you have before starting a new product, as some varieties, such as cystic acne, require medicated products to heal.

10. Best Dermatologist Recommended: Neutrogena Stubborn Marks PM Treatment

Get visibly clear skin with the dermatologist-recommended Neutrogena Stubborn Marks PM Treatment that contains retinol to help naturally exfoliate your skin and reverse scars. This overnight treatment supports the skin’s natural exfoliation process to give you even-toned skin in just one week. This formula contains vitamin A and is suitable for daily use to deliver skin that is free from acne, making it an ideal product for acne-prone skin. Free from parabens, phthalates, oils, dyes, and fragrances, you can use this gentle treatment to say goodbye to pigmented skin.

Skin Type: Acne Prone | Product Dimensions: 1.44 x 1.44 x 5.6 inches | Weight: 3.84 Ounces.


  • Non-drying formula
  • Helps unclog pores
  • Reduces skin inflammation
  • Speeds up cell turnover
  • Visibly reduces acne scars


  • May have a medicine-like smell

Our Reviewer's Experience

"I am satisfied with this product as it significantly minimizes breakouts. It is gentle on the skin and also helps me to tackle sunspots. I have used two bottles over three months, and I will be adding a few more to my shopping cart."

11. St. Ives Energizing Coconut And Coffee Scrub

St. Ives Energizing Coconut And Coffee Scrub Image: Stives
Now 17% Off

If you are looking for a formula that will energize tired and dull skin, this one’s for you. This face scrub will give you cleaner and smoother skin with a hint of fresh coffee and the natural exfoliant—walnut shell powder. Infused with coconut fruit extract, you can use this skin-loving formula to effectively treat acne-prone skin. Get your hands on this repairing scrub that will give you a smooth and soft barrier without drying out your gentle skin. The coffee in this scrub leaves you feeling refreshed and energized so that your skin is ready to take on the day.

Skin Type: All | Product Dimensions: 1.95 x 3 x 6.7 inches | Weight: 6 Ounces


  • All-natural formulation
  • Oil-free formula
  • Paraben-free
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Suitable for all skin types


  • Smell could be unpleasant
  • Some may find it too gritty

Our Tester's Experience

"I love the sandy texture of this scrub. It heps exfoliate the skin while tackling tough blackheads. The scent is a bit overpowering, but still, it helps me achieve soft and clear skin."

12. Era Organics Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub & Exfoliator

The Era Organics facial exfoliator and scrub contains natural components with key ingredients such as manuka honey, aloe vera, walnut, cehami, and orange peel oil, which gently exfoliate dead cells on the skin’s surface while deeply nourishing and hydrating your skin. This natural exfoliator helps reduce acne scars, minimize pores, and diminish blackheads and whiteheads while resulting in softer and smoother skin.

Skin Type: Dry, damaged, combination, oily, sensitive, aging | Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches | Weight: 2 Ounces


  • Packed with vitamins
  • Reduces signs of premature aging
  • Walnut shell for microdermabrasion
  • Not tested on animals
  • Free of parabens and alcohol


  • Tube might be smaller than expected
  • Some may find it a tad too gritty

Our Reviewer's Experience

"I love this product for its cleansing and hydrating properties and the gentle texture that feels soft on my skin. However, I felt the size of the container was small."

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

Over 15,790 satisfied customers have left positive reviews about the product on Amazon.

13. Naeli Exfoliator AHA/BHA Face Cleanser Gel

Naeli Exfoliator AHA/BHA Face Cleanser Gel Image: Naeli Naturals

Purify, minimize pores, and get brighter skin with this Naeli Exfoliator, which comes in the form of a cleanser gel. If you are looking to remove dead skin and stimulate the renewal of new cells, then this formula is just right for you. This exfoliator contains 10% glycolic acid, 1.2% salicylic acid, and lactic acid that will help to give you soft and smooth skin. The nourishing all-natural ingredients like vitamin C, pomegranate extract, avocado oil, acai, raspberry, bearberry, maqui berry, goji, passion fruit seeds, and peptides combine to ensure that you get the best of these botanical wonders. Not only is this product free from alcohol, parabens, phthalates, silicone, sulfates, dyes, and fragrances, but it is also vegan and skin-friendly.

Skin Type: Oily, Combination, Normal


  • Reduces acne and inflammation
  • Brightens skin
  • Improves fine lines
  • Non-comedogenic formula
  • Balances skin PH
  • Cruelty-free


  • Fragrance may be strong
  • May feel oily

Our Reviewer's Experience

"After trying different products, this one worked for my skin. Its texture is less abrasive than most but effective, and it has made my skin smooth and brighter, especially around my unpredictable T-zone."

14. Okay Oil Control Facial Scrub

Okay Oil Control Facial Scrub Image: Okay Pure Naturals

The Okay Oil Control Face Scrub will bring you one step closer to achieving balanced and refreshed skin. It contains natural emollients like finely ground walnut shell granules to scrub away debris and prevent oil buildup. You can use this deep exfoliating formula to remove dirt and oil, as well as to keep your skin looking anything but dull. If you are worried about how safe it is on sensitive skin, you needn’t worry about it, as this facial product is free from alcohol and sulfates. Let your skin feel rejuvenated and energized with this soothing scrub that will help keep skin irritation at bay.

Skin Type: Acne Prone | Product Dimensions: 4 x 4 x 10 inches | Weight: 6 Ounces.


  • Prevents clogging of the pores
  • Oil-free formula
  • Made with 100% natural orange extract
  • Paraben-free


  • Some may find the grains rough
  • May not be suitable for extremely dry skin

Our Reviewer's Experience

"This product has helped me manage my skin’s oiliness, leaving my skin feeling refreshed while keeping oil at bay. It ensures deep cleansing, and I'm mesmerized by the orange-like aroma it offers."

15. Yon-Ka Paris Essentials Guarana Scrub

The purifying and exfoliating formula of this scrub will help anyone who is looking for refined skin texture. With double-bead exfoliants for skin cleansing and polishing, this drugstore exfoliator contains 11 plant-based extracts to give you clearer and brighter skin. Sweep away congested pores, tackle breakouts, and get rid of blemishes with key ingredients like guarana, organic brown rice micro-beads, vegetable glycerin, cornflower, calendula, chamomile, and linden. The results-driven exfoliating and detoxifying ingredients are combined with soothing and toning essential oils like geranium, lavender, and rosemary. Get radiant skin with this scrub that has a natural scent and will come together as you unravel a glowing complexion.

Skin Type: Dry, Normal | Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 1.7 x 5.1 inches | Weight: 1.9 Ounces


  • Made of organic ingredients
  • Paraben-free
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Balances skin pH
  • Vegan and cruelty-free


  • May not provide deep exfoliation for acne reduction

Our Reviewer's Experience

"I love this scrub as it provides me with clean and clear skin. My skin feels smooth, fresh, and hydrated after each use. Also, it's pretty gentle, unlike other harsh scrubs. Overall, pretty happy with it."

*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

How To Choose The Right Exfoliator For Acne-Prone Skin?

Keep the following factors in mind when choosing an exfoliator for acne-prone skin.

  1. Skin type: When looking for a face scrub for acne-prone skin, you will want to consider the type of skin you have. Of course, people with oily skin and combination skin are most likely to have breakouts and acne-related skin concerns, but those with dry and flaky skin can sometimes face these concerns as well. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, you may want to choose an oil-free formula suitable for sensitive skin. If you have dry skin, you’ll have to choose a hydrating formula that contains nourishing ingredients, preferably natural, to give you lasting moisturization after exfoliating your skin.
  1. Type of exfoliant: You can choose between chemical exfoliators and physical exfoliators to give your skin the cleansing that it needs. Physical exfoliation for acne involves using refined grains, a brush, or a scrub formula, to remove dirt, grime, oil, and other skin impurities that may even clog your pores. Chemical exfoliation removes dead cells from the skin’s surface by using chemicals, typically salicylic acid, to provide a multi-level exfoliation experience. These exfoliants for skin cleansing contain crystals that are finer than salt and will not bother your acne-prone skin. While you may hesitate to use chemicals on your skin, know that they are much gentler when compared to scrubs. You can also choose microdermabrasion scrubs to add a bit of a professional edge to your DIY exfoliating routine.
  1. Other skin concerns: If you find yourself worrying about signs of aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, blackheads, and dark age spots, then these are concerns you will want to keep in mind while finding the right exfoliator for you. The best exfoliators come equipped with ingredients that will help you tackle these concerns. Some formulas can also help to achieve brighter skin. Choose from the range of products available to cleanse your face and yield healthier skin.
  1. Ingredients: When choosing an acne exfoliator, make sure to look at the key ingredients and filler ingredients that they contain to have full knowledge of what goes on to your skin. You can find some of the most effective acne-fighting ingredients in plant-based skincare products. Ingredients like walnut shell powder, orange peel extract, coffee extract, and avocado are a few natural exfoliants that will go a long way in scrubbing away dead skin cells. Salicylic acid is another vital ingredient you will want to consider if you have acne-prone skin. The BHA tackles oily skin types and penetrates your pores to unclog them and prevent breakouts and blackheads. Look for ingredients that are mild and avoid those that may irritate or scratch your skin.

Dr. Dimitriy Schwarzburg, a renowned dermatologist and owner of Skinly Aesthetic, says, “When trying a new product, always check the ingredients to make sure that you aren’t allergic to any. The best products are those with the least ingredients. Alcohol-free products are great if you have dry skin, as alcohol has the tendency to dehydrate the skin and irritate it. And if you have sensitive skin, you should always confirm with your dermatologist that the product you’ve selected is right for you.”

Dr Schwarzburg, adds, “Although tea tree oil is great for acne-prone skin, it can be very powerful. If you have acne-prone skin and plan to use a product containing tea tree oil, start with a patch test before using.”

Why Trust MomJunction?

Poulami Nag loves trying out different skincare and haircare products. As a result, she has rich knowledge about products and brands for different skin types. While picking the best exfoliators for acne-prone skin available on the market currently, she has undertaken in-depth research and browsed several reliable sources to deliver correct information to her readers. This article lists some of the best exfoliators with pros and cons and a comprehensive buying guide.

The Bottom Line

Acne-prone skin can be painful and cause anxiety for many. Acne accumulates on the skin due to several reasons, including pores blocked by oil, dead skin, or bacteria. Thus, exfoliation is necessary to get rid of these impurities as it unclogs pores and removes sebum, reducing acne. To choose the right exfoliator, ensure it complements your skin type and does not trigger any reactions. You may consider chemical exfoliants such as the gentle, salicylic acid-enriched Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Daily Scrub or the glycolic acid-infused DRMTLGY Microdermabrasion Scrub with anti-aging benefits. Alternatively, you can choose physical exfoliants like the dermatologist-tested St. Ives Energizing Coconut And Coffee Scrub based on your needs. Regardless of which product you pick, ensure it includes effective acne-fighting, plant-based ingredients for the best results.

Infographic: Common Ingredients That Help With Acne-Prone Skin

Caring for acne-prone skin involves following proper cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing techniques. Using skincare products infused with anti-acne ingredients can effectively manage and improve the condition of your skin. Refer to the infographic below to explore the essential ingredients to look for in anti-acne skincare products.

Ingredients Beneficial For Acne Prone Skin (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

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