The 20 Best Exfoliator & Scrub for Acne Reviews & Guide 2021


Any skincare maven knows exfoliation is a must. No matter what your skin type exfoliation is important to our overall skin health. If you are not a skincare maven, what is exfoliation all about?

Exfoliation Explained

When most dermatologists or beauty experts talk about exfoliation they are referring to the sloughing off the unwanted dead skin cells on the skin. There are three main types of exfoliators:


These are the most recognizable types (i.e microdermabrasions). They include your abrasive grainy facial type scrubs cleansers. They often include; sugar scrubs, crystals, walnut shells, oatmeal, salt, or come with a bristle brush to do the scrubbing to do the job.

Chemical scrubs

Chemical scrubs use specific acids to liquefy and melt off the dead skin cells.

Those acids include:

  • Alpha hydroxy acid ( AHA) – A water based chemical that comes from sugar or sugary fruits.
  • Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) -These are oil soaker acids that go deep into your skin’s hair follicle to soak and dry up the dead skin cells and any excess oils freeing and clearing out your pores. Salicylic acid is BHA.
  • Retinoids – Formulated for Vitamin A. Retinoids are helper in anti aging, repairing skin damage from the sun, and acne. It also boosts collagen production.
  • Poly-hydroxy acids (PHA) PHA’s break down the dead skin cells to clear and clean away.


A more mild exfoliation approach works well for those who have sensitive skin. Fruit enzymes are used instead of chemicals to eradicate dead skin cells.

Why Exfoliation is Needed

So, why is exfoliation so important? Well, as we get older our bodies’ production of a lot of things starts to slow down. This includes the slowing down of producing new skin cells as well as shedding the old one. The old ones can sometimes not shed quick enough and start to pile up on the skin leading to a whole slew of skin problems including acne breakouts.

Exfoliation helps shed them off, unclog any pores that might have been clogged by it revealing the new skin underneath. You will also find this allows for all your serums and moisturizers to work better as they can absorb into your skin once again and do their job. Thus exfoliation is a welcome process especially if you have acne-prone skin.

The skincare market is filled to the brim with exfoliators and scrubs. Where to begin? Check out our top 20 below.

Best Exfoliator and Scrubs for Acne in 2021

M3 Naturals Himalayan Salt Scrub Infused with Collagen and Stem Cell

Not just for your face this scrub can be used all over giving you amazingly soft smooth results. Crafted using the detoxifying power of crystal Himalayan salt combined with stem cells, collagen. Added with sweet almond, and lychee oil that deliver moisturization aids in fighting blemishes and more. Your skin is revitalized in skin-loving antioxidants and vitamin C while it cleans scrubbing away dead skin cells to reveal shockingly silky-smooth refreshed skin.

PROS: Also contains vitamin e. Detoxifies

CONS: None.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

Gentle for daily use and works well on acne-prone skin as this microfoliant is a powder that when water is added turns into an exfoliating scrub that cleans, scrubs away dirt and other deep-down face debris that reveals the newer brighter skin underneath.

PROS: Evens out your skin tone, Vegan friendly, no artificial added fragrances.

CONS: None.

Era Organics Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub & Face Exfoliator

This stuff fights acne, cleans, gently scrubs, exfoliates dead skin cells, minimizes pores, and fights aging! With active ingredients like manuka honey, walnut shells, orange oil, ceramic, and rapeseed oil your skin will also be treated to nourishment, and given treatment on a cellular level. Not only does it help rid acne, but also aids in the skin’s fight against those ugly pimples and blackheads from coming back for more. The results are soft smooth skin.

PROS: Safe for sensitive skin. Helps the sight of acne scars too.

CONS: None.

Neutrogena Acne Proofing Daily Facial Scrub

Safe for all skin types as this facial scrub can be used daily. Contains a strong dose of salicylic acid, which of course is known to help deal with acne flare-ups. As well as the inventive “Clear Defend Technology” that exfoliates, cleans, clears and protects the skin from future flare-ups by penetrating above and below your skin for better-looking complexion every day.

PROS: Oil-free, can use every day.

CONS: It has a scent for those fragrant sensitive.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Power-Clear Face Scrub

Targeted for acne-prone skin this scrub battles acne where it hurts the most. Attacking it before it even starts. While at the same time helping lessen the irritation and redness that often can go with it for amazing skin improvement using its two main active ingredients cucumber and green tea extracts.

PROS: Not over-drying. Doesn’t use plastic microbeads.

CONS: Helps oily skin, but does not help control oily skin.

SheaMoisture African Black Soap Clarifying Facial Wash & Scrub

Recommended for skin bothered by acne as it features tamarind extract which acts as a natural astringent along with tea tree oil. Together it clarifies and exfoliates washing was excess oil thus helping acne bothered skin.

PROS: No animal testing, no parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.

CONS: None.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Salicylic Acid Exfoliant

Using the power of BHA and salicylic acid this smooth feeling exfoliator is all you need for acne improvement in your skin. It tackles all the daily environment dirt and grime that can get trapped in your pores cleansing them out as it exfoliates dead unwanted lingering skin cells. In the end, redness is reduced, pores are shrunken. Your skin looks brighter, feeling hydrated. The results are impressive.

PROS: Has Anti-aging benefits, and helps smooth facial lines and wrinkles.

CONS: It’s a leave-in from an exfoliator, which might feel odd. Must wear an SPF of 30 or higher if you use in the morning routine.

M3 Naturals Activated Charcoal Scrub Infused with Collagen and Stem Cell

A charcoal scrub that goes beyond. Blended with collagen and fruit stem cells your skin is detoxified from all impurities helping battle acne, and boosted in antioxidants, and collagen production.

PROS: Works as a body scrub too.

CONS: It’s a dry scrub so you must add water.

Best Microdermabrasion Face Scrub and Facial Exfoliator

A scrub and exfoliator in one. Great for acne battered skin. Aids in is reducing the risk of acne and blackheads as it evens out your skin tone as well as minimize your pores. The exfoliation lightly lessens any nagging fine lines or wrinkles.

PROS: Works well for all skin types and is unisex.

CONS: None.

The Better Skin Company | Lava Magik – A Face Cleanser / Face Scrub

Recommended for acne-prone skin. Lava Magik is formulated using French volcanic rock with natural skin nourishing oils and extracts. Like sweet orange grapeseed oil and more. It cleans your skin deeply, freeing your pores from all dirt, oil, and dead skin residue without stealing any of your own skin’s moisture out.

PROS: Can be used as a mask too. Vegan friendly, paraben-free, gluten-free, animal cruelty-free.

CONS: None.

Brooklyn Botany Brown Sugar Body Scrub

Liked for its moisturizing exfoliation as it has the power to help reduce the appearance of acne scars that are often accompanied by acne. Not harsh at all this multipurpose is gentle enough for delicate skin. That is why It can be used as a face scrub, body scrub, or exfoliator. Even as a foot scrub. This sugar scrub clears out and washes away dead skin cells that can clog up your pores revealing smooth moisturized and soft skin.

PROS: Recommended for both men and women. Doesn’t leave you with your skin feeling tight and smooth but moisturized and smooth.

CONS: None.

Alba Botanica Acnedote Maximum Strength Face & Body Scrub

Acne-prone skin-friendly this scrub cleans and prevents acne. Use on your face or body it contains 2% salicylic acid. The willow bark, and walnut shells scrub away pore-clogging dead skin cells, dirt, and built-up oils for clear skin.

PROS: All-natural ingredients. Uses walnut shells instead of microbeads.

CONS: None.

Acnefree Blackhead Removing Exfoliating Face Scrub

Have a blackhead problem? This exfoliating scrub goes in deep using the acne-fighting ingredients of charcoal along with salicylic acid to scrub away pore impurities, eradicating blackheads and tightening pore to shrink their appearance.

PROS: Fragrance-free. Gentle enough to use daily.

CONS: None.

St. Ives Blackhead Clearing Face Scrub

Make blackhead be gone by using the exfoliating power of walnut shell powder, and bamboo powder as these ingredients provide a gentle scrub that helps unclogs pores clearing away built up gunk that triggers blackheads to form. Toss in a hint of salicylic acid (only 1%) and green tea leaves it doubly clears not only blackheads but the green tea works as a skin-calming agent for clearer, cleaner looking skin.

PROS: PETA seal of approval. Exfoliants are all-natural.

CONS: None.

Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions

Scrubs and exfoliates your face using 99% natural ingredients. This Burt’s Bees face cleanser works wonders for acne-prone skin. Refines your pores as it exfoliates and washes using jojoba bead and fruit acid. All while treating your skin to naturally derived salicylic acid from willow tree bark.

PROS: Treats acne problem without drying out your skin.

CONS: None.

Beauty by Earth Face Scrub Exfoliating Face Wash

Unscented this scrub exfoliation wash has a universal appeal. Both men and women can enjoy it. Nice for clearing blackheads your skin is treated to a microdermabrasion scrub that can be done in your home. It cleanses as your skin is primed, exfoliated, hydrated, and brightens using earth and vegan-friendly ingredients that not only do the job, it is gentle to your skin and the environment.

PROS: Works for all skin types too. Doesn’t leave a film or tightness.

CONS: None.

Clean & Clear Oil-Free Deep Action Exfoliating Facial Scrub

Here is a face scrub that will not only exfoliate but invigorate you as well. A well-liked product for those who have acne issues, but sensitive skin. You get the deep-down pore cleansing you want but will be surprised by the cool refreshing sensation afterward. It makes your skin almost feel brand new.

PROS: Gentle enough to use every day. The cooling face effect is nice.

CONS: None.

DRMTLGY Microdermabrasion Facial Scrub

A wonder scrubs! Not only will your skin’s pores get purged of impurities that cause blackheads and acne, watch how past acne scars start to lighten. Fine lines and wrinkles are polished away. You not only get clearer looking skin, but smoother and younger-looking skin too. Contains sugar cane extract (Also often seen called glycolic acid), green tea leaf extract, lemon fruit extract, and apple fruit extract.

PROS: Harsh chemical, paraben, and sulfates free.

CONS: None.

MY Konjac Sponge

Made from Konjac root and bamboo charcoal this sponge exfoliates your skin pulling out all the acne-causing impurities thus helping create clearer skin and lessening the appearance of your pores. Results are softer, silky skin.

PROS: Holds PETA’s Leaping Bunny seal of animal cruelty-free.

CONS: None.

Neutrogena Rapid Clear Foaming Exfoliating Facial Scrub

A foaming exfoliation scrub this stuff is made for acne troubled skin. Reduces /prevents acne breakouts as it contains salicylic acid. This stuff cleans your skin as it delivers acne-fighting medicine to it using what they call MicroClear Tech. Afterwards your smooth skin will shine.

PROS: Non Drying

CONS: None.


While exfoliating is good it is important to not exfoliate too much. Many boast you can use them daily, but in truth you need to opt to exfoliate once or twice a week. Using these scrubs too much can cause dryness, skin irritation, and rid you of the healthy skin you helped bring out to shine through.





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