If you struggle with acne and all it entails – pimples, pustules, whiteheads, blackheads, or inflammation – we feel your pain. Having battled with hormonal acne for years, I have spent so much time trying to find the right ingredients for my skin.
While there are no magical acne-clearing ingredients specific to vegan skincare, all the best anti-acne ingredients are vegan-friendly. So you won’t be missing out on anything. Hope you enjoy our selection of the best vegan skincare for acne.
See also: Best Vegan Skincare For Acne Scars
We have written about vegan skincare for acne-prone skin but in this article, we focus more on vegan skincare products to treat acne and blemishes. Luckily, there are some effective nonprescription topical vegan skincare products you can try right away.
PS all products below are vegan and cruelty-free, meaning they are free of animal-derived ingredients and have not been tested on animals. 💚
Best Vegan Skincare Products For Acne
Here is the best clarifying vegan skincare for acne in 2023. Shop the best vegan acne cleansers and exfoliators, vegan acne treatments, and more.
Do not opt to use all these products together as most of them are quite potent. If your acne persists, take a break from topical solutions and get in touch with a dermatologist.
Paula’s Choice offers the best vegan acne treatments. We especially love their Daily Skin Clearing Treatment which has completely cleared up my hormonal acne. The lotion uses skin-clearing benzoyl peroxide and soothing allantoin that come in a silky well-absorbing lotion.
While Paula’s Choice is not a fully vegan brand, their Clear range is 100% vegan. For treating acne, we also love their BHA Liquid Exfoliant, Oil-Free Moisturizer, and Back And Body Acne Spray. Everything from Paula is free from fragrance and harsh chemicals.
If you are committed to getting rid of your acne problems for good, try also their Clear Extra Strength Kit for severe acne and Clear Regular Strength Kit for moderate acne and occasional breakouts. These vegan skincare sets are excellent value for money and they really work.
Dermalogica Acne Clearing Skin Wash is the best vegan cleanser for acne. Made with salicylic acid and tee tree oil, it helps to unclog pores, clarify blemishes, and balance sebum. It keeps the skin clear and prevents future acne. We also love the cooling effect it has on the skin.
We also recommend their new Breakout Clearing Liquid Peel for teen acne. This vegan facial exfoliates the skin, unclogs pores, and clears up acne and blemishes.
If you struggle with severe acne or cystic acne, we recommend this 10% benzoyl peroxide vegan acne wash from Humane. This vegan cleanser is simple, strong, and effective in treating acne, pustules, blackheads, and inflammation. The cleanser is also unscented.
Humane is a certified vegan brand that never uses animal ingredients. For acne, also love the Oil-Free Moisturizer, Clarifying Toner, and Regular Strength Cleanser. The company uses a minimum amount of ingredients and everything is dermatologist-tested.
This bestselling vegan acne treatment from Tula is also a fantastic product. Made with salicylic acid, azelaic acid, prebiotics, and niacinamide, the gel is designed to clarify pimples and brighten skin tone. It also targets post-imflammatory pigmentation and prevents future breakouts.
Versed Skincare is a fully vegan skincare brand that offers high-quality, clean skincare for treating acne and blemishes. Our favorite product is their Game Over Acne Drying Treatment which uses 10% sulfur and clay to fully dry our blemishes and unclog pores.
If you also struggle with body acne, we suggest trying their Back-Up Plan Acne-Control Body Mist which features salicylic acid, witch hazel, and tea tree oil. It’s lightweight, affordable, easy to use, and effective in getting rid of acne and pimples.
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension is a vegan acne treatment we recommend for mild acne. Azelaic acid is effective in getting rid of acne-causing bacteria, it also gently exfoliates the skin and keeps away future breakouts. This solution is also affordable and uses clean ingredients.
Peace Out Skincare specializes in vegan spot treatments such as these Acne Healing Dots. Made with salicylic acid, retinol, and aloe, these patches get rid of blemishes by killing bacteria and removing excess oil and dead skin cells. They’re easy to use and great for emergency breakouts.
As Peace Out is fully vegan, you could also get the spot treatment with their Acne Champs Vegan Skincare Set. The acne kit includes Acne Healing Dots, Acne Treament Serum, and Blemish Balm.
Best Vegan Skincare Ingredients For Acne
Animal ingredients such as beeswax, lanolin, or milk are not usually recommended when dealing with acne. The best ingredients for acne are vegan by default.
Here are the best vegan skincare ingredients for treating acne and blemishes.
- Benzoyl peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide is a vegan ingredient effective in treating mild to moderate acne. It’s an antiseptic that kills acne-causing bacteria on the skin.
- Salicylic acid: Derived from white willow bark, salicylic acid is a vegan BHA acid that treats acne by unclogging pores and reducing inflammation. See more vegan BHA skincare.
- Azelaic acid: Recommended for mild to moderate acne, azelaic acid is a vegan-friendly ingredient that reduces acne-inducing bacteria and gently exfoliates the skin. See more vegan azelaic acid skincare.
- Niacinamide: Niacinamide is also vegan. It reduces inflammation and redness from acne and helps to regulate sebum production to prevent breakouts. See more vegan niacinamide skincare here.
- Retinol: Retinoids are one of the most effective ingredients for treating acne. We recommend both over-the-counter retinoids such as retinol and adapalene and prescription-strength retinal and retinoic acid. In skincare, retinol is usually vegan. See our selection of vegan retinols.
- Sulfur: Effective for mild to moderate acne, sulfur is a tested and true acne-treating ingredient for its antibacterial and drying properties. Sulfur is also a natural vegan-friendly element.
- Tea tree oil: A natural vegan antibacterial ingredient, tea tree oil has been shown to significantly improve mild to moderate acne vulgaris.
- Witch hazel: Witch hazel is an astringent that helps to tighten pores and reduce inflammation related to acne. As a herb, witch hazel is also vegan.
- Clay: Natural clay minerals such as bentonite clay and Kaolin clay are effective vegan ingredients for opening up and drying out blemishes and unclogging pores.
Vegan Skincare Routine For Acne
With acne, it is about building a consistent vegan skincare regimen that consists of cleansing and exfoliating the skin and then giving the skin some light moisture. As free radicals can aggravate acne, it is crucial that you also wear vegan sunscreen every day.
To clarify acne, prefer science-backed vegan ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Just do not use benzoyl peroxide at the same time as salicylic acid or strong retinoids to avoid irritation. Benzoyl peroxide and hydroquinone do not also match and can cause staining.
While parabens and silicones are generally harmless to ‘normal’ skin types, you should avoid these potential irritants with acne. As parabens mimic estrogen to some extent, they can have an increased potential for acne and breakouts.
When it comes to moisturizing your skin, good vegan ingredients are hyaluronic acid and niacinamide. Avoid rich oil-based cream that can clog pores but do not skip hydration. Acne-prone skin can overreact to dryness with increased sebum production and more blemishes.
FAQ About Vegan Skincare For Acne
Vegan skincare can be good for acne as it’s free of pore-clogging lanolin or beeswax. Overall, vegan skincare is as good as any other skincare since the best acne-fighting ingredients (e.g. salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide) as vegan-friendly.
The best vegan skincare for acne includes Dermalogica Acne Clearing Skin Wash, Humane Maximum-Strength Acne Wash and Tula Clear It Up Acne Clearing & Tone Correcting Gel.
No. This gel cannot be considered vegan since Differin is a brand that still tests on animals.
Hope we were able to help you find the best vegan acne treatments for your skin. Whichever products you end up choosing, make sure not to burden your skin with too many different active ingredients.
Our favorite vegan skincare for acne comes from Paula’s Choice, Humane, and Versed – companies that are cruelty-free and science-based. If your problems with acne persist, do book an appointment to see your dermatologists for some tailored solutions.
See also: Best Vegan Skincare For Acne-Prone Skin
Article update on May 04 (2023): Fact checked and medically reviewed by MD Shimona Garg
Article update on February 18 (2023): Added more references