Salicylic acid isn't just reserved for use on your face — it's effective for treating body breakouts, too. Today, you can find lots of shower gels and soaps that contain the popular BHA, but the best salicylic acid body washes are formulated with other, good-for-skin ingredients that target a whole range of skin concerns beyond acne (though they do that wonderfully as well). So, like with most beauty products, choosing the best one for you will come down to your skin type (and budget).
For example: People with severe body acne or oily skin may want to look for a salicylic acid body wash that contains other breakout-busting ingredients, like glycolic acid. Skin that's on the dry side will be better off with a gentle body wash that's balanced out by nourishers and moisturizers, e.g. glycerin, coconut oil, vitamin E, or ceramides. Sensitive skin types should go for something similar, though a fragrance-free formula that's formulated with skin-soothers like niacinamide or cica would be practically ideal.
You'll find all of these options and more in this guide to the best acne body washes with salicylic acid, ahead.
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1. Best For Dry, Sensitive, Irritated Skin
Though technically formulated for psoriasis, this popular salicylic acid cleanser — which can be used on your face and body — is an excellent choice for body acne, keratosis pilaris, and skin that's generally dry, itchy, or irritated as well. That's because, in addition to salicylic acid, it contains barrier-strengthening ceramides, soothing niacinamide, and urea — a derm-favorite ingredient that's beloved for its skin-smoothing abilities. It's also fragrance-free, sulfate-free, and packaged in a convenient pump-top bottle, so really, what's not to love?
2. Best For Oily, Acne-Prone Skin
Designed specifically to treat body acne, Murad's body wash combines a physical exfoliant, ground date seed powder, with two chemical exfoliants: salicylic acid and glycolic acid. It also contains urea for further smoothing benefits, as well as green tea and licorice extracts to calm inflamed skin. (Note that this body wash is also sulfate-free.) "Works like magic," one Amazon reviewer commented. "Cleared my skin up within the first month I saw improvement. It's a little pricey but its definitely worth it." Another person reported that "a little bit goes a long way and I have made 1 bottle last nearly a year."
3. Best For Dry, Acne-Prone Skin
While the Murad body wash above is a probably better choice for people with oily skin and/or severe body breakouts, this COSRX cleanser is a bit more mild, so it may be preferable for dry-skinned people dealing with body acne. Glycerin is one of the main ingredients, along with madecassic and asiaticoside acids, both components of the centella asiatica plant, which has been used for centuries for its skin-healing benefits. It also contains salicylic acid, of course, and leaves skin feeling cool and refreshed thanks to the addition of menthol in the formula. A few more highlights? It's cruelty-free, hypoallergenic, and free of both parabens and sulfates.
4. Best Bar Soap
Prefer using bar soaps in the shower? Then pick up this DermaHarmony Salicylic Acid Soap. Other ingredients, aside from blemish-busting salicylic acid, include moisturizing coconut oil, olive oil, glycerin, and vitamin E, and soothing oat kernel flour. This long-lasting vegan bar is safe for use on both your face and body, and it's free of sulfates, parabens, and fragrance.
5. Best Value
If you're all about a great value, pick up Solimo's Clarifying Pink Grapefruit Body Wash. A big, 8.5-ounce bottle will set you back just $4, so you can keep every bathroom in the house stocked. Formulated with 2% salicylic acid and a refreshing grapefruit scent, it's best reserved for people with oily, acne-prone skin, since it's on the stronger side. Or, apply it to affected areas only and use a more mild soap on dry areas that aren't experiencing breakouts. Over 3,000 Amazon reviewers awarded this a five-star rating!