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23 Best Makeup Removers for Acne-Prone Skin: Reviews & Buyers Guide

by  Doris Harris -  Last Updated On 18th November 2020
Best Makeup Remover for Acne-Prone Skin

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Which is the best makeup remover for acne-prone skin?

After all, there are many available.

It’s not just price that should influence your decision.

You’ve got to look at your skin type and consider the type of makeup you wear, too.

When you shop for a face cleanser to remove makeup, think about these things.


What kind of makeup remover is safe for acne-prone skin?

At a glance, two words can make all the difference.

They are “non-comedogenic” and “non-acnegenic.”

These terms mean that the product won’t clog pores and won’t trigger breakouts (1).

Plus, there are other features to look for.

For example, a product that rinses clean is better for your skin. And you don’t need artificial fragrances, oils, or dyes to remove makeup.

Next, if the makeup remover is pH-balanced, it’s less likely to cause irritation.

Finally, avoid alcohol. Use witch hazel instead (2).

As we go through the reviews below, I’m confident you’ll find the right makeup remover for your needs.

23 Top Makeup Removers for Acne-Prone Skin (2020 Update)

1. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Micellar Cleansing Water and Makeup Remover

Here’s a non-comedogenic makeup remover made by a reputable manufacturer. They have dermatologists and ophthalmologists test their products for safety.

You’ve probably seen micellar cleansing water before.

It cleanses by trapping impurities with tiny molecules called micelles. It can remove makeup as well as sebum, dirt, and pollution. This is true even if the particles are 20 times smaller than a human pore.

To enjoy a deep-cleanse of your skin, you don’t even need to scrub when you use micellar water.

It’s oil and alcohol-free and doesn’t have soap in it, either. Moreover, this particular formula doesn’t use parabens as a preservative.

The complete list of ingredients includes other important components.

For one, there’s glycerin to hydrate the skin. Then, poloxamer (the same cleanser in contact lens solution) removes grime.

Meanwhile, zinc removes excess oil without causing dryness.

This liquid is versatile, too. It serves as a face wash, makeup remover, and toner for oily skin.

2. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water, For Waterproof Makeup

Did you know that the best drugstore makeup remover for sensitive skin has won 23 beauty awards?

It’s this micellar cleansing water made by Garnier.

It’s free of oils, fragrances, alcohol, parabens, and sulfates. Yet, it can effectively remove waterproof makeup.

It may take a few moments longer than some makeup removal products, but it won’t cause breakouts or irritation.

Plus, it leaves the skin soft and not tight.

3. Garnier Skin Skinactive Clean+ Charcoal Oil-Free Makeup Remover Wipes

Skip the cotton pads and use makeup remover wipes instead.

This type from Garnier is infused with charcoal to cleanse oily skin. It draws out impurities that could clog pores.

A clinical trial showed that four weeks of regular use leaves the skin less oily with less congestion in the pores.

4. Cetaphil Gentle Waterproof Makeup Remover

But what if you use waterproof makeup but have very sensitive skin? How can you remove the makeup without harming your complexion?

Cetaphil has the answer.

According to ophthalmologists, the formula is kind to the eyes.

Then, it’s been tested by dermatologists and proven not to clog pores.

Furthermore, it’s fragrance-free and soothing. It contains ginseng, green tea, and aloe to rejuvenate the skin.

5. Cetaphil Gentle Makeup Removing Wipes

You might also enjoy Cetaphil’s wipes that remove makeup, oil, and dirt.

They are infused with aloe, chamomile, and green tea. Yet, they are unscented and non-comedogenic.

There’s no alcohol in them, either. This keeps them from drying out your face.

When your skin is dehydrated, it’s prone to breakouts and infection. That’s why you want to avoid any makeup remover that sucks the moisture out of your skin.

6. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Foaming Face Wash

I reviewed Garnier’s waterproof makeup remover above. So, what’s the difference between this gel cleanser and the makeup remover?

For one, this is an all-purpose face wash. It can remove makeup, but it doesn’t work as quickly or as well on long-wear mascara, for example.

Still, it does a good job on regular makeup.

Pump once into your hand and massage it into damp skin. Soon, you’ll have plenty of lather.

You don’t need to scrub, but you can use this with an exfoliating washcloth or brush if you like.

When you rinse, it leaves the skin soft and clean with no residue left behind.

The water-based formula has only seven ingredients. There are no sulfates, parabens, alcohol, oil, or artificial fragrances in it.

7. The Body Shop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Facial Wipes

The Body Shop wipes contain tea tree oil, a natural remedy for acne.

It purifies the skin to clear up blemishes. Plus, it feels refreshing, with just a hint of tingle.

If you have a naturally oily complexion, these are a smart choice.

The wipes are vegan and biodegradable.

8. Bioré Daily Facial Cleansing Cloths

Bioré’s cloths have a special texture to remove makeup and dirt plus exfoliate dead skin.

They are infused with tea leaf extract and coconut water.

The tea leaf improves circulation and tightens pores while the coconut water hydrates thirsty skin.

Unfortunately, these wipes have parabens and an artificial fragrance.

9. Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes

Neutrogena’s towelettes are made to dissolve makeup and oil with as little effort as possible.

They are clinically proven to clean up waterproof mascara, too.

But there’s more to love.

First, you never need to rinse after using them.

Second, they are safe for contact lens wearers.

And third, they are alcohol-free. I checked the ingredients, and I didn’t see an artificial fragrance or parabens listed either.

10. Clean & Clear Oil-Free Makeup Dissolving Facial Cleansing Wipes

Although Clean & Clear wipes have a fragrance, they are tested against common allergens.

You can use them to remove waterproof mascara as they are certified for contact lens wearers.

The wipes are gentle enough for all skin types and don’t require rinsing.

11. Neutrogena Cleansing Fragrance-Free Makeup Remover Facial Wipes

Are you looking for a dermatologist-recommended makeup remover? If so, check out Neutrogena’s fragrance-free towelettes.

They’re okay to use around your eyes as ophthalmologists have verified that they won’t make them sting.

Each one is big enough for your whole face and saturated with alcohol-free makeup remover. They won’t leave a residue behind.

12. Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit Cleansing Wipes

The pink grapefruit version of Neutrogena’s wipes is made for oily skin.

They contain fruit extract to purify acne-prone complexions and cut through oil. As a result, they unclog pores without the need for rinsing.

13. Aveeno Ultra-Calming Cleansing Oil-Free Makeup Removing Wipes for Sensitive Skin

Aveeno’s wipes are approved by dermatologists and ophthalmologists.

They eliminate makeup, oil, and dirt without causing irritation.

The key ingredient is feverfew. It’s a plant that’s related to chamomile. It calms irritated red skin and inflammation.

Also interesting, feverfew is also rich in antioxidants to keep the skin young.

14. Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser and Makeup Remover for Dry, Sensitive Skin

Wipes are handy, but here’s the best makeup remover for dry, sensitive skin.

It’s a creamy cleanser with the same active ingredient as the wipes: feverfew. It soothes irritation at the same time; it foams away makeup, dirt, and oil.

Not only is it fragrance-free, but it’s also non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic. It doesn’t even have actual soap in it.

That’s important as true soap is very alkaline, and it dries out the skin.

I took a look at the label and was only disappointed by one thing – parabens. These are a type of preservative for cosmetics. In this case, they shouldn’t be a problem as they have temporary contact only with the skin before rinsing. They are also some of the last ingredients on the list.

15. Simple for Sensitive Skin Face Cleansing Wipes

Simple’s wipes are impressively soft and silky. It’s too bad regular washcloths aren’t this pleasant to use.

They store in a resealable package with an “aqua-lock” lid that seals in moisture. That’s nice as there’s nothing more irritating than getting down to the last wipe and pulling it out dry as a bone.

The wipes are free of alcohol, dyes, perfumes, and other harsh chemicals. They’ve been tested and approved by dermatologists for sensitive skin.

Yes, they may take a little longer to remove makeup. But they get the job done without damaging your face.

In reality, they help rejuvenate the skin with Vitamin E and Vitamin B5.

16. Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleansing Towelettes with Pink Grapefruit

As you might expect, these Burt’s Bees wipes are 99.1% natural.

They contain grapefruit extract to dissolve makeup, unclog pores, and refresh oily skin.

Moreover, they are free of parabens, phthalates, and petrolatum.

17. Burt’s Bees Sensitive Facial Cleansing Towelettes with Cotton Extract for Sensitive Skin

But Burt’s Bees also makes towelettes with the cotton extract. What’s the difference?

While the ones with pink grapefruit are good for oily skin, the ones with cotton, aloe, and rice are pleasant for sensitive, dry skin.

They’ve been approved by the National Eczema Association, too.

The formula is 98.5 % natural and free of artificial fragrances. Even the fabric is FSC-certified cloth.

Feel free to use them around your eyes as they’ve been tested by ophthalmologists and dermatologists.

18. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water for Oily Skin

Garnier makes more than one type of micellar water. This one is designed for oily skin.

Like the other versions, it’s free of artificial fragrances, parabens, sulfates, and oils.

Yes, it can handle waterproof makeup.

19. Carapex Botanical Facial Cleanser, Gentle Makeup Remover

Carapex is a Canadian company that promises to refund 100% of your money if you’re not pleased with their product.

This creamy cleanser lathers away makeup, dirt, and oil without causing dryness. It’s enhanced with a variety of botanicals that moisturize the skin and soothe irritation.

Of course, it’s free of parabens, perfumes, sulfates, and dyes.

Some of the key ingredients include aloe, cucumber, Japanese green tea, and chamomile. These promote firmer skin and tighter pores.

20. CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

CeraVe’s cleanser can remove makeup without drying out your face.

It’s made by a company that specializes in products for sensitive skin.

Each of their products is fortified with ceramides. They are essential building blocks of healthy tissue. Without them, the skin is prone to infection and dryness.

Next, the cleanser contains hyaluronic acid. This single ingredient can hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water.

Lastly, it has niacinamide to repair broken skin and reduce redness.

21. T.N. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Soothing Multi-Use Cleansing Cloth

Earlier, I mentioned witch hazel as a way to cleanse oily, acne-prone skin. It’s far better than alcohol to tone your face.

These wipes are impregnated with witch hazel and aloe to melt makeup and cleanse grime.

They have a very soft texture that’s pleasant on irritated skin.

Furthermore, they don’t leave a residue, and they don’t contain artificial fragrances or dyes.

22. Neutrogena Gentle Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover & Cleanser for Sensitive Eyes

If you’d like something specific for cleaning eye makeup, try Neutrogena’s solution.

Shake the bottle, then apply it to a cotton pad. Hold the pad to your closed eyelid for a few moments, then wipe.

Be sure to rinse with water once you’re done.

The formula features cucumber and aloe to soothe the delicate eye area.

23. Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel

Let’s wrap up with this specialty gel cleanser.

You’ll notice that it doesn’t foam up as some face washes do. That’s a feature, not a defect.

It dissolves long-wearing makeup while it removes impurities from your pores.

The secret lies in the papaya and citrus extracts that exfoliate the skin and dissolve the oil.

There are two cautions to keep in mind. First, don’t use it around your eyes. And second, rinse with warm water once you’re done cleansing.


When you have acne-prone skin, you need the right kind of makeup remover to prevent breakouts.

Not only do you need to get the makeup off your face to keep your pores clear, but you also need to avoid irritation and dryness.

Fortunately, there are many effective and gentle makeup removers in the reviews above.

If you found a product today that you enjoy using, please tell us about it in the comments below.


1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3088928/ CLEANSERS AND THEIR ROLE IN VARIOUS DERMATOLOGICAL DISORDERS in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, by Partha Mukhopadhyay, published Jan-Feb 2011, accessed April 5, 2020

2. https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/makeup-removal-guide#1 by Liesa Goins, published on August 20, 2015, accessed April 5, 2020

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