17 Best Scrubs for Acne Prone Skin in 2020 – DIY & Premade

Best acne scrubs

The title might confuse some people. One of things you will have probably learned very early when you started suffering with acne, is that the harder you scrub the more severe your outbreaks will be. So why then should you consider facial scrubs to deal with your acne?

The truth is that the majority of these products will indeed do harm. But there are some options you can consider to add to your daily routine. The important thing is to focus on those that are gentle and effective. And of course, you have to find a product that suits your skin type as well.

On this page we will show you the best acne facial scrub products available.

The list covers a wide range of over the counter products with various different active ingredients. The best thing you can do is pick a product suitable for your skin type and give it a try.

Alternatively, if you like the idea of making your own scrubs from organic self-sourced ingredients then we have some great recipes that you can put together with little skill and even less time.


AHA 10% Skin Perfecting Cleanser

#1 Rated Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin

The AHA 10% Skin Perfecting Cleanser is our #1 pick because it removes impurities, dead cells, and excess oil and boosts collagen building. It also helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles.


What You Will Learn in This Post:

  • Should you scrub your acne prone skin?
  • Why every one says scrubbing is harmful for acne?
  • The right way to scrub your acne prone skin.
  • 12 best acne fighting scrubs you can try today.
  • Top 5 DIY face scrubs.

Top 3 - Editor's Picks

If you're in a rush, below are the top Best Scrubs for Acne Prone Skin, hands down!

caa2-table__imageMisumi AHA 10% Skin Perfecting Cleanser
  • Exfoliates the skin
  • Uncloges pores
  • Helps to prevent breakouts
Click for Price
Christina Moss Naturals Organic Body Scrub
  • Removes dry skin cells
  • It works gently and exfoliates for clearer skin
  • Safety First Option
Click for Price
caa2-table__imageExposed Microderm Scrub For Acne
  • Helps in controlling the sebum and dirt residues
  • With anti-oxidants and chamomile
  • It gently exfoliates the skin leaving it soft and healthy
Click for Price

Should You Scrub Your Acne-Prone Skin?

Following a substantial skin care regimen is as important as taking a proper nutritional diet. This skin care regimen includes a few MUST haves. These MUST haves should be exercised regularly in order to have a healthy radiant skin.

The problem arises when you suffer from some skin condition and have no awareness as to what is the right way to combat your skin condition alongside maintaining your skin care schedule.

The initial key is to know your skin type and what suits you. Then decide accordingly that which product you need to switch. As far as acne is concerned, exfoliation using scrub is one of the best ways to ensure an acne free skin. Exfoliation rejuvenates the skin regulating the sebum production and cleaning all the blocked and clogged pores to have a blemish free skin.

When observed under a microscope, our facial skin that turns old, needs to be resurfaced. If it is left unattended, harmful toxins and excess oil gets trapped in them giving rise to multiple bacteria invasion. Besides, when these toxins seep deep into skin, they form blackheads, whiteheads and acne. These conditions need to be cured as they not only make you look ugly and horrible, they can turn into disastrous nodules that can be really painful.

In addition to this, acne-prone skin has even more tendency to shed dead skin cells that remain stuck on the skin’s surface causing blackheads and whiteheads. This gives rise to the need of exfoliation and regular scrubbing.

Everyone Says Scrubbing is a Complete No-No For Acne (I hear you saying this)

This is true to some extent. In retrospect, itching or irritation occurs when you’re either scrubbing your skin too harsh or you’re applying products that don’t suite your skin. The reason could also be that you fail to figure out the right frequency to exfoliate your skin.

And that’s what results in horrible breakouts. So knowledge comes first and then the implementation. The next part of this blog deals with the know-how of scrubbing the acne-prone skin, the right way!

How to Use Face Scrubs for Acne, the Right Way

Chemical exfoliation is best when it comes to acne. Chemical exfoliation works by loosening the bonds that hold the dead skin layers together.

Many products are available in the market and many are suggested by the top-notch salons and spas.

These skin care exfoliation products constitute some main chemicals that are useful and safe for acne-prone skin. These chemicals are enumerated below:

  • Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA)- glycolic, lactic, and tartaric acid
  • Beta hydroxy acids (BHA) – salicylic acid
  • Retinoids – Retin A (tretinoin), Differin (adapalene), Tazorac (tazarotene)
  • Chemical peels – trichloroacetic acid (TCA), carbolic or phenol, AHA and BHA peels

Alpha hydroxy acid has many benefits including improvement in skin pigmentation, decreased appearance of fine line and wrinkles, dry skin exfoliation, increased sun-screen absorption. These factors lead to the reduction of acne as less sebum is produced and appearance of acne may also be made less prominent.

Beta hydroxy acid is commonly known as Salicylic acid which is famous for its acne reducing treatment.

Furthermore, Retinoids help unclog pores and reduce acne caused by the blockage of pores.

Chemical peels are used in the skin care andChemical exfoliation is best when it com cosmetic products as they help improve the texture of skin.

All these constituents make scrubs for can-prone skin gentle and healing.

Besides, when you add a new product in your skin care routine, keep a proper margin for testing and observing it for any adverse reactions.

How to Stay Safe When Scrubbing:

  • Always cleanse before scrubbing otherwise all you will be scrubbing is dirt in your pores.
  • Always read the product manual before using it and take all the precautions.
  • Observe the suitable frequency for your skin in order to avoid irritation or flaking.
  • Follow up exfoliation with hydration. Do use a moisturizer after scrubbing.

12 Best Acne Scrubs You Can Ever Buy

1. Misumi AHA 10% Skin Perfecting Cleanser

If you want to play on the super safe side, but still enjoy the exfoliating benefits that a carefully crafted scrub for acne prone skin can offer, you need to try Misumi’s AHA 10% Skin Perfecting Cleanser.

You might have heard that Glycolic Acid (aka the ‘pore-opener’) is one of most effective exfoliators out there.

We highly recommend using Skin Perfecting Cleanser daily and incorporating it into your acne treatment regimen.

Also use this product after doing something active or after a workout.

Best For: All skin types

Active Ingredient:  Glycolic Acid


  • Unclogs pores.
  • Helps to prevent future breakouts.
  • Promotes healing through cell regeneration.
  • Achieves smoother and clearer skin – refreshing finish!
  • Paraben-free. Cruelty-free. No animal testing.
  • 100% money-back guarantee.


  • If Glycolic Acid causes irritation on your skin, stop using.
  • This cleanser is really powerful, so remember to test a small amount on your skin first to make sure it doesn’t irritate.


  • Use Glycolic Face Wash daily. Massage onto face, concentrating on any problem areas.

2. Christina Moss Naturals Organic Body Scrub

It is always safe to learn about the product first before start using. Usually, the process of exfoliation is done using harsh chemicals, but Christina Moss Naturals Bamboo Body Scrub does it with 100% natural exfoliants of tiny bamboo particles, which help to remove your dead skin cells softly and gently.

Active Ingredient: Bamboo Stem Extract.

Best for: For all skin types – Oily Skin, Dry Skin, Sensitive Skin, Combination Skin.


  • Utilizes tiny smooth bamboo particles, which work as micro exfoliants  to leave your skin smoother and brighter.
  • It gently exfoliates the skin leaving it soft and healthy and removes dry skin cells to maintain the elasticity and balance of the skin and unclogging the pores.
  • It has a beautiful and pleasant Lemon Orange scent.


  • Fairly expensive and Only available online.


  • If you have any history of messing up with the process of exfoliation, be careful before using it.
  • Don’t rub harsh or fast on skin.
  • Avoid using on cuts, sores or redness on the skin.

3. Exposed Microderm Scrub For Acne

Exposed Microderm Scrub is basically designed with micro crystals for providing an instantly smoother skin. It is ideal for professionals as it reduces the appearance of skin imperfections and makes your skin radiant and glowing.

Active Ingredients: Chamomile and Aluminum oxide crystals are the main components. Chamomile is extremely useful as it is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. On the other hand, Aluminum Oxide crystals exfoliate and resurface the skin.

Best For: Oily to Combination Skins.


  • It gently exfoliates the skin leaving it soft and healthy due to the Aluminum Oxide crystals present in it.
  • It removes dry skin cells to maintain the elasticity of the skin and unclogging the pores.
  • The presence of anti-oxidants and chamomile helps in healing inflammation.
  • Aluminum Oxide also helps in controlling the sebum and dirt residues.


  • Dry skins can experience irritation or redness if a moisturizer is not followed up.
  • More scrub quantity needs to be applied on skin because of its thick consistency.
  • It is high on money.


  • Apply twice a week.
  • Follow with a mild moisturizer or acne treatment serum if you suffer from pimples.

4. Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

Murad Exfoliating Cleanser is a USA derived formula that balances the oily and dry skin zones to provide an even textured skin. Which in turn reveal a healthy and glowing skin.

Active Ingredients: Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Jojoba Esters. Sodium Laureth Sulfate is used as an emulsifier and is very efficient at bonding the other ingredients together, preventing them from separating when they settle on skin. Besides, the Jojoba Esters play vital role in exfoliating the skin.

Best For: Oily skin types. It is also suitable for dry and combination skins.


  • The jojoba Ester beads exfoliate the skin leaving it hydrated and smooth.
  • Hides pores and does not clog them preventing the acne causing bacteria invasion.
  • The presence of Sodium Laureth Sulfate helps in removing sebum production that reduces the chance of break outs.
  • Is suitable for skin suffering from milia and blackheads.


  • Skins sensitive to Sodium Lareth Sulfate and Glycolic Acid might suffer redness, irritation and splotches.
  • Can be harmful for extremely dry skins as it contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate that easily dissolves natural oils from skin.



5. Arbonne FC5 Exfoliating New Cell Acne Scrub

Arbonne FC5 Exfoliating New Cell Scrub is a gentle exfoliator with fresh carrot cells extract and Moisture Fresh Complex. This essence is a perfect blend of herbal and botanical principles giving a radiant and younger-looking skin.

Active Ingredients: Kaolin, is a clay that is used in detoxifying skin which is the main reason it is used as an active ingredient in many facial and skin products. It is also used for treating various skin conditions including acne.

Best For: Oily to Combination Skins. It is also suitable for sensitive skins.


  • Since this acne scrub uses Kaolin which acts as a cleansing agent, it removes the dead skin and makes it to regenerate it.
  • As Kaolin reduces the sebum production, this best acne scrub does not clog pores.
  • Since it is hypoallergenic it does not irritate sensitive skins and keeps blackheads at bay.
  • It is formulated without dyes and fragrances which might act as irritants.
  • It contains extracts of cucumber, birch leaf, clover blossom, rose geranium plant, lemon verbena and bamboo which gently exfoliate the skin.


  • The pores might clog if you have an oily skin and great exposure to heat.
  • It is high on price.


  • Apply on damp skin, using circular motions on forehead, cheeks and nose for one minute.
  • Avoid the eye area.
  • Rinse well and pat dry.

6. clariSEA Rapid Detox Charcoal Exfoliant

Rapid Detox Charcoal Exfoliant is a natural face scrub that uses activated bamboo charcoal powder which absorbs and whisks away all the dirt trapped in the skin layer. Alongside this, it helps eradicate black heads and keeps skin super clear.

Active Ingredients: PrunusAmygdalusDulcis (Almond flour) and Activated Bamboo charcoal powder. The almond flour includes antioxidants, skin strengthening magnesium and skin nourishing fatty acids whereas the bamboo charcoal powder deep cleans the skin as it has strong ability to absorb toxins.

Best For: All skin types except for those which are allergic to nuts.


  • Activated Bamboo Charcoal Powder vacuums up impurities from deep within pores dashing away all the dirt on the skin eliminating the acne-causing bacteria.
  • Almond flour acts as a skin whitening agent giving a glowing skin.
  • Powdered Pacific Ocean and Himalayan Pink Sea Salt exfoliates and heals the skin.
  • It helps control excessive oil production in the dermal layers that do not lead to clogged pores.clogged pores.


  • It is not appropriate for those who have suffered allergic reactions to nuts.
  • It needs to be mixed with a mild moisturizing cleanser.


  • Blend pea-sized amount with your cleanser and apply.
  • Repeat 1-3 times per week.
  • Avoid using on cuts and sores.

7. Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub

Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub is designed with spherical beads that targets the clogged pores and clears away all the impurities that cause clogging giving a more natural and healthier looking skin.

Active Ingredients: Salicylic Acid, an acne fighting agent is its active ingredient. It helps skin to shed dead cells and decreases inflammation. It also helps in unclogging the pores that harbor acne-causing bacteria.

Best For: Oily to Combination Skins.


  • This Pore Unclogging Scrub clogs pores that might cause breakouts due to bacteria invasion.
  • It makes your pores less visible giving you a silkier and smoother skin.
  • It is a great two in one formula to be used as a make-up remover as it breaks down all the make up on your face.
  • Gentle enough for everyday use along with a moisturizer and reduces flakiness.


  • Excessively dry and sensitive skins might suffer from redness and irritation due to presence of Salicyclates.
  • It has a heavy pasty cream texture that might feel greasy at times.
  • It possesses strong medicinal smell.


  • Wet face before applying.
  • Massage over face and rinse thoroughly.

8. Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash

Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating face wash is a sulfate-free formula to effectively replenish skin without making it dry. The gentle micro beads resurface your acne skin making it smoother than ever.

Active Ingredients: DecylGlucoside, which is a mild surfactant and cleansing agent used in skin and cosmetic products. It is plant-derived and highly suitable for people with sensitive skins.

Best For: Combination to dry skin. It is also adapted for sensitive skin due to its active ingredient DecylGlucoside.


  • Fine dissolving granules of this exfoliating face wash cleanse skin without causing any irritation.
  • It protects the skin as it contains topical antioxidants named Cocoyl Apple Amino Acids and BoragoOfficinalis Seed Oil.
  • It removes flaky skin which helps eradicate the signs of aging and overall dryness, also causing the blemishes to stay away.
  • It can be used as a makeup remover as well.


  • DecylGlucoside may cause allergy if it comes in contact with the eye area.
  • It is not suitable for those who suffered allergic reactions to this active ingredient previously.
  • Very oily skins cannot benefit as the micro beads dissolve and don’t exfoliate well on them. It also causes breakouts if you have oily acne prone skin.


  • Apply to damp skin and massage for 30-60 seconds.
  • Follow with a moisturizer afterwards.

9. Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Buffing Beads

Peter Thomas Roth Anti-aging face scrub is an ultra gentle formula that removes all fine lines and wrinkles. This product won the Best Body Scrub in Allure’s Best of Beauty Awards 2010.

Active Ingredients: Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil that refines the smooth texture of the skin and removes wrinkles.

Best For: Combination to oily and acne-prone skins.


  • It is best for skins suffering from ice pick scars and hyperpigmentation as it is free form sulfates and Phthalates.
  • It thoroughly cleanses the skin making the pores smaller that reduces the chance of acne causing bacteria to thrive.
  • It removes the dead skin without being harsh or abrasive on the skin.
  • Controls the excessive oil production on skin that protects the skin from acne and clears it.


  • It possesses light scent which can be a source of irritation to sensitive skins and cause break outs.
  • It contains alpha hydroxyl acid (AHA) that increases skins’ sensitivity to sun rays and cause sunburns.


  • Massage small amount with finger tips, wet skin and exfoliate skin.
  • Apply a moisturizer and SPF afterwards.

10. Burt’s Bees Peach & Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub

Burt’s Bees Peach and Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub rejuvenate your skin with finely grounded Peach Stone and its antiseptic Golden Seal works as treatment to control acne break outs.

Active Ingredients: Stearic Acids and Sodium Borate (Borax) are the active ingredients behind this formula. Stearic Acid is a fatty acid that is present in the outermost layer of skin and acts as a barrier to dirt and sebum. On the other hand, Sodium Borate is used as an emulsifier.

Best For: Oily to Combination skin.


  • Hawaiian Ginger and Seaweed Extracts improve skin elasticity as they maintain the skin proteins i.e. collagen and elastin.
  • Due to the presence of Stearic Acid, the sebum production is reduced which in turn controls the acne problem.
  • It can even clear out cystic acne, the most horrible form of acne.
  • Borax has a drying effect so it is effective in drying the acne.
  • Borax also eliminates the excess oil on the skin as it maintains the pH of your skin efficiently.
  • This product has a lovely scent.


  • The crushed peach stones are fairly large and dry skins might develop minor rash.
  • Dry skins might suffer from extreme dryness which can occur in break outs.


  • This product can make you feel greasy, so rinse thoroughly and dry with a hygienic towel.

11. Blueberry Cranberry Anti Oxidant Face Exfoliating Scrub For Acne

Anti-oxidant Face Exfoliating Scrub by Derma-nu is a rich blend of blueberries and cranberries packed in Vitamin C that infuses the skin with all the vital nutrients to make it look radiant and fresh.

Active Ingredients: Aloe Vera, Vitamin C and Amino Acids. These antioxidants oxygenate the skin and combat the signs of aging.

Best For: All skin types.


  • It is safe for all skin types and conditions including dry or irritated skin, wrinkles, dull complexion, acne and eczema.
  • This is a non-comedogenic product i.e. it does not clog pores, reducing the bacteria invasion.
  • Pomegranate, dandelion and rhubarb provide the skin with anti-aging bioflavonoids that makes skin look younger.
  • It is free from parabens and contains the healing properties of Aloe Vera.


  • Extremely oily skins might suffer a greasy texture resulting in pimples.
  • This product includes fragrance which might be unpleasant for some users.
  • It has a thick consistency which makes its application a bit difficult.


  • Apply in circular motion for gentle exfoliation.
  • Follow with a light moisturizer.
  • Use twice a week for optimal results.

12. TreeActiv Four-in-One Acne Treatment

TreeActiv Four-in-One Acne Treatment is a formula containing one special feature i.e. it can be used in four different ways, as a cleanser, scrub, mask and spot remedy. It naturally removes stubborn acne and frustrating pimples.

Active Ingredients: Bentonite Clay is the active ingredient used in this product. It is extremely helpful in removing toxins from your skin and reduces inflammation. It also helps in lightening the acne marks on skin.

Best For: Oily to Combination skins.


  • Bentonite Clay is used to detoxify the skin pores, helps eliminate impurities and calms the itchy and irritated skin.
  • It contains crystallized sugar that helps in keeping the skin hydrated by trapping moisture, throughout the day.
  • The presence of honey powder acts as a natural antiseptic and holds anti-bacterial properties that keep bacteria off your skin.
  • Grapefruit and lime essential oils helps in regulating the oil production on your face and does not let you skin break out.


  • Comes as a dry rocky mud in texture and is difficult to apply.
  • Dry skins might get even drier than before resulting in blemishes.
  • It can cause allergic reactions to those who are allergic to Sulphur Mud.


  • Take quarter-sized amount and mix with water. Apply and wash if using as a cleanser. Apply and massage on to skin if using as a scrub. Keep it for 5 minutes if using as a mask. Rinse and pat dry.
  • Take dime-sized amount and mix with few drops of water until sugar granules completely dissolve. Apply on spotty marks, leave for 10 minutes to absorb and then rinse.

13. 100% Natural Arabica Coffee Scrub

Natural Arabica Coffee Scrub is prepared from natural gourmet coffee intended to soften skin alongside removing impurities and dirt. This aromatic formula is believed to be high in anti-oxidants that enrich your skin with vital nutrients.

Active Ingredients: Caffeine, Dead Sea Salt(Sodium Chloride), Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter are the active ingredients.

Best For: Combination Skins


  • The presence of caffeine stimulates blood circulation and helps reduce the appearance of dark spots, stretch marks and eczema.
  • Dead Sea Salt exfoliates the skin, removing bacteria from the pores and eliminating the chance of acne.
  • This product also contains coconut oil that hydrates and moisturizes the skin.
  • Shea and Cocoa Butter are rich in anti-oxidants that nourish and protect the skin, repairs cell damage and restores skin elasticity.


  • As it contains Sodium Chloride, this formula can cause burns and allergic reactions on Eczema and conditions like rosacea.
  • Dry skins might get itchy due to the presence of salt and in other cases dry skins might feel moisturized initially but after washing they might still feel dry.


  • Gently apply in circular fashion.
  • Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a clean towel.
  • Avoid using on broken or freshly shaved skin.

New Addition: Lush Ocean Salt Face And Body Scrub

Lush Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub is designed to provide your skin with an invigorating splash of sea water. The minerals that it include scrubs away impurities and clear the blockages enhancing your face shine.

Active Ingredients: Fine Sea Salt (Sodium Chloride) and Stearic Acid. Stearic Acid is believed to be a skin surfactant that removes excess sebum and sweat from the skin while the Sodium Chloride holds anti-bacterial properties.

Best For: Combination to Oily Skin.


  • The minerals from the sea salt help exfoliates the skin removing blockages and reducing pores that serve as an ultimate guide for black heads, white heads and blemishes.
  • Avocado and coconut extracts keep the skin moisture and maintain balanced hydration.
  • Lime and citrus oils act as a whitening agent that brightens the skin tone.
  • It has a great consistency and limey scent that refresh you and eliminate the chances of scratchiness on face.


  • It contains citrus oil and sea salt that can be a source of irritation for sensitive skins.
  • It is an expensive product as compared to other acne scrubs.


  • Gently rub onto skin and rinse well.
  • Apply a gentle moisturizer afterwards.

Top 5 DIY/Homemade Face Scrubs for Acne

Love skin care products made naturally? Following are the best home-made facial scrubs for acne that you can try today:

Cinnamon and Honey Scrub


  • Two tablespoons of Honey
  • One teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • Paper towels


Moisten your face with water and pat dry. Mix two tablespoons of honey with one teaspoon of grounded cinnamon. Keep blending until it forms the consistency of a paste. Apply on the trouble areas or spotty skin and leave it for around 10-15 minutes. Wipe it off with the paper towel as the mixture is sticky. Then rinse well with water and pat dry.

Orange Peel Scrub


  • Two orange peels
  • Fresh and clean water


Grind the orange peels in a grinder or with the help of a mortar and pestle. Afterwards, add a little water to make a thick creamy paste. Do not add water all at once, so that you can easily judge its proper consistency. Dab it onto face on the problem areas and leave for 20-25 minutes. Rinse your face thoroughly and pat dry. Apply a moisturizer afterwards.

Garlic and Aloe Gel Scrub


  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Cotton pad


Take the garlic cloves and choose whatever is feasible for you. Either extract garlic juice or add water to the mashed garlic cloves and let it settle for 10 minutes. Mix some Aloe gel if the mixture is thin or runny. After this, take a cotton swab and soak it into the garlic and Aloe mixture. Apply on to the spotty areas of face. Leave it on skin for 5-10 minutes and then wash off completely.

Apple Cider Vinegar Essence


  • Pure and unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Fresh water


Wash your face and pat dry your skin. Mix one part of vinegar with three parts of water, in other words in a ratio of 1:3. Dip cotton wool in the vinegar and apply directly on the blemishes. Leave for 10 minutes or overnight for enhanced results. This can be applied several times a day depending on the requirement. Do use a moisturizer afterwards if you feel a drying sensation on your skin.

Turmeric, Yogurt and Honey Mask


  • Turmeric Powder
  • One teaspoon honey
  • Raw milk or Greek Yogurt


Mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder, one teaspoon of honey and one to two teaspoons of milk in a bowl. Blend until it forms a paste. Apply this mask on your face with the help of a brush to avoid staining your fingers. Leave it for 10 minutes and then wash with water. Use this scrub twice or thrice a week.

Your Thoughts?

So, that brings us to the end of this comprehensive post covering the best scrubs available for acne prone skin (both DIY and ready-made). We’ve clearly discussed the pros and cons of each of these, and have also learned which one of these work best for which skin type. You also learned the right way to use scrubs for acne, so that you don’t further irritate your skin.

If you have any questions regarding this post, or want to share your own thoughts, do not hesitate to let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear what you have to say. 🙂

Sheikh has been blogging regularly at CAA for over 5 years. He spends majority of his time studying health and technology or participating in discussions about these niches (online or offline).


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