15 Best Exfoliators For Acne-Prone Skin To Look Fresh In 2022


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 exfoliators that target the pores and remove dead skin cells to reveal healthy and beautiful 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.

Our Top Picks

15 Best Exfoliators For Acne-Prone Skin

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, get rid of toxins from your skin surface, tackle acne, blackheads, and scars while you lock in essential moisture. The resultant glowing, youthful skin is supported by the natural ingredients in this product like dead sea salt, aloe vera, coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, and kukui nut oil. This exfoliating formula helps to naturally cleanse your skin while keeping the pH balance in check and minimizing pores 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.


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

The multi-action scrub from Neutrogena helps prevent acne spots even before they break out. You can use this daily scrub that contains 2% salicylic acid medication to help clean and exfoliate your pores to rid 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 oil-free exfoliator for acne-prone skin will help you dissolve excess oil, dirt, and impurities while unclogging your pores and keeping your skin clear and smooth. The dermatologist-recommended daily scrub is free from plastic microbeads, which may be rough on your sensitive skin. Here’s a brief video you can watch to make the most out of this product.


3. Best Microdermabrasion Scrub: DRMTLGY Microdermabrasion Scrub

Let your skin indulge in the spa-like benefits of this natural and non-abrasive exfoliating 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 that are safe for the skin, you can get rid of free radicals and prevent skin cell deterioration using this cruelty-free product that is ideal for men, women, and teens alike. Here’s a video that demonstrates exactly how easy it is to use this product every day.


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 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. It also contains essential oils like coconut, lemon, sweet orange, and grapefruit to let you experience the wonders of aromatherapy as the scrub helps to polish your skin and fight signs of aging. Its natural and non-toxic formula is free from parabens, making it safe to use for acne-prone skin and tackle blocked pores, blemishes, and blackheads.


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, pore targeting treatment, and complexion-perfecting hydrator. This combination of acne skin care products helps clear acne blemishes, promotes clear and smooth skin, and prevents the chance of future breakouts. The 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, healthy, and glowing skin. Incorporate this dermatologist-approved acne treatment in your skincare routine for clean, soft, and acne-free skin.


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 with 100% farm-grade and genuine

tree oil nourishes, cleanses, and deodorizes your skin with its natural ingredients. If you are looking for a natural formula, this one is infused with mint essential oils, menthol, and bamboo charcoal powder that helps clean clogged pores, remove grime and even makeup from your skin’s surface. The multi-purpose exfoliator also contains botanicals like micro pumice and white willow bark, along with neem oil to remove rough skin and calluses. The nourishing formula is aroma therapeutic and will also help you get an even and glowing complexion.


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

If you are looking for a 100% vegan and gluten-free 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 scrub works to rid your skin of excess oil that may clog your pores or lead to future flare-ups with ingredients like lemon tea tree and tamanu oil. You can get visibly improved skin with this exfoliator for acne-prone skin as it is ideal for blemished skin with biodegradable bursting micro-beads that will gently buff your skin’s surface and eliminate dead cells and impurities.


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

You can combat acne, blackheads, and scars with this formula designed to help you exfoliate your skin from the surface. 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 fragrance-free anti-breakout scrub also contains hydrogenated castor oil and is ideal for acne-prone skin in both men and women. You can use this exfoliating scrub every day to combat oils, clogged pores, and blackheads as you deep clean your skin. The effective anti-acne formula is suitable for removing debris and tightening the appearance of pores while gently exfoliating your skin.


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 results similar to a visit to your dermatologist. This facial exfoliating scrub is enriched with exfoliating alumina crystals combined with a non-comedogenic hydrating cream, making it ideal for tackling skin dullness, signs of aging, uneven skin tone and texture, acne scars, and blemishes, hyperpigmentation, and blackheads. Ingredients like chamomile, green tea, jojoba oil, aloe vera, and allantoin make this scrub suitable for all skin types for a refreshing exfoliating experience and a youthful glow. The cruelty-free microdermabrasion composed of clear ingredients helps maintain your skin’s overall pH levels.


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 stubborn acne and post-acne scars. Without drying out your skin or tightening it, the clinically proven solution helps unclog pores and get rid of dead skin cells while reducing skin inflammation. Free from parabens, phthalates, oils, dyes, and fragrances, you can use this gentle treatment to speed up cell turnover and say goodbye to pigmented skin.


11. St. Ives Energizing Coconut And Coffee Scrub

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 clean and smooth skin with a hint of fresh coffee and deeply exfoliating natural walnut shell powder. Infused with 100% natural exfoliants like coconut fruit extract, you can use this skin-loving formula to treat acne-prone skin. Get your hands on this dermatologist-tested 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. You can use this oil-free, non-comedogenic formula for a deep cleanse and trust the paraben-free scrub to work its magic.


12. Besito Microdermabrasion Exfoliation Gentle Face Scrub

Renew your skin’s natural glow with this gentle face scrub from Besito, suitable for all skin types. Wipe your skin clean of blemishes, texture, blackheads, fine lines, and enlarged pores, all with this paraben-free, sulfate-free, and gluten-free scrub. With no added GMOs, this scrub is also enriched with the benefits of natural ingredients like green tea leaf extract, sugarcane extract, apple fruit extract, and lemon fruit extract to make it suitable for acne-prone sensitive skin. The non-comedogenic formula offers you a microdermabrasion treatment that you can let your skin indulge in from the comfort of your home. If your skin is prone to acne and redness, you will want to use a product like this one that is both oil-free and alcohol-free to ensure maximum safety for your gentle skin.


13. Naeli Exfoliator AHA/BHA Face Cleanser Gel

Purify, minimize pores, and brighten your skin with this Naeli Exfoliator that comes in the form of an AHA and BHA-infused 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 natural ingredients like vitamin C, 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.


14. Okay Oil Control Facial Scrub

Infused with natural orange extract, the Okay Oil Control Face Scrub will bring you one step closer to achieving balanced and refreshed skin. The 100% natural exfoliating scrub contains natural emollients like orange extract and finely ground walnut shell granules to scrub away debris and prevent oil buildup, clogged pores, and to keep your skin balanced. 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 product is free from parabens, alcohols, and sulfates. Let your skin feel rejuvenated and energized with this soothing scrub that will help keep skin irritation at bay.


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 to help polish and cleanse your skin, this drugstore exfoliator contains 11 plant-based extracts to give you clear and bright skin. Sweep away congested pores, tackle breakouts, and get rid of blemishes with organic ingredients like guarana, organic brown rice micro-beads, vegetable glycerin, cornflower, calendula, chamomile, and linden. The exfoliating and detoxifying ingredients are combined with soothing and toning essential oils like geranium, lavender, and rosemary. Get skin that feels alive with this paraben-free scrub that has a natural scent and will come together as you unravel a radiant complexion.


We’ve brought together this list of the best exfoliators for acne-prone skin so that you can make an informed decision. Choose one that best suits your skin type and needs, and it will go a long way in helping your skin feel clean and radiant.

How To Choose The Right Exfoliator For Acne-Prone Skin

  • 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.

  • Type of exfoliant

You can choose between chemical exfoliators and physical exfoliators to give your skin the cleansing that it needs. Physical exfoliation 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 skin cells by using chemicals, typically salicylic acid, to buff away dead skin cells. These exfoliants 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.

  • 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 brighten dull and tired-looking skin. Choose from the range of products available to cleanse and balance your face while also addressing your overall skin health.

  • Ingredients

When choosing an exfoliator, make sure to look at the 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 few ingredients 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 blackheads and breakouts. Look for ingredients that are mild and avoid those that may irritate or scratch your skin.

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.

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. Besides this, you can choose between physical and chemical exfoliants based on your requirements. Regardless of which product you pick, ensure it includes effective acne-fighting, plant-based ingredients for the best results.

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Poulami Nag

Poulami Nag is a writer and associate editor at MomJunction. She did her MA in English from Miranda House, University of Delhi and has qualified UGC-NET. Her journey as a content writer began in 2017 and since then she has garnered diverse interests along the way. Her knowledge of literature and language has given her an eye for detail and... more