Finding cruelty-free acne treatments can be a difficult task. Most acne treatment brands are owned by household product, cosmetic, or pharmaceutical companies that test on animals where required by law.
Popular drug store brands Neutrogena and Clean & Clear are owned by Johnson & Johnson, and Clearasil is owned by Reckitt Benckiser. Both companies are known to conduct animal testing if required by law.
Midrange-upscale brands La Roche-Posey and Murad are also owned by parent companies that test on animals; L’Oreal and Unilever, respectively.
CeraVe is owned by Valeant Pharmaceuticals. All pharmaceutical companies test on animals prior to releasing most drugs into the market. However, CeraVe claims on their website to not test on animals. I reached out to them with these questions:
- Do you test on animals in countries where it is required by law?
- Do you test your finished products on animals?
- Do you test unfinished products or ingredients on animals?
- Do any of your supplier’s test on animals?
- Do your products contain any ingredients derived from animals?
Their reply… please give us call. That answers the question.
It is a shame because CeraVe is actually a good product. It was the one product that cleared my face. I am actually on my last bottle of CeraVe as I type this post. In some cases, I am making the switch to cruelty-free along with you!
Then you have independent brands like Proactive. Proactive claims not to test on animals, and I’ve read on several online posts that they are vegan. I didn’t believe this for a minute so of course I had to do my own research.
I emailed Proactive with the same questions that I asked CeraVe. They never replied, so I took another route. I contacted X Out.
X Out is an acne treatment geared towards teenagers, owned by Proactive. I emailed X Out the same very specific questions that I asked Proactive, and I received this very unspecific but all telling reply…
We’re not able to make the claim that X Out products are cruelty-free. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
In addition, most acne treatments contain glycerin. Glycerin can be either animal or plant sourced. I didn’t bother to ask the glycerin source to the companies above because they’re already known to test on animals, so it is irrelevant.
So, when looking for a cruelty-free acne treatment, you shouldn’t only consider animal testing, but also consider if the product contains any animal by-products. Going cruelty-free is not only about bunny’s, cats, and dogs. Farm animals are affected too.
The cruelty-free acne treatment brands listed below are free of both animal-testing and animal by-products!
List of Cruelty-Free Acne Treatments
Acure is certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny and the entire acne line is 100% vegan. Their products have excellent Amazon reviews.
You can find Acure products at Target, Whole Foods, and other health based stores.
Alba Botanica is certified cruelty-free by PETA and Leaping Bunny. Their parent company, Hain Celestial, has a tough stance on animal testing and has pledged that neither they or any of their brands will ever test on animals.
Their products are 100% vegetarian. They do not claim to be vegan because some of their products (not the acne products) contain beeswax. The acne products contain glycerin, but with Alba Botanica you can be confident that it is vegetable based.
Derma E is not only cruelty-free and 100% vegan, they’re also GMO free, gluten free & soy free! You can find Derma E at your local drugstore and even Sally’s Beauty Supply.
Derma E is proof that good quality products can be affordable and accessible.
DeVita Natural Skin Care
DeVita is certified vegan and cruelty-free by PETA. They offer a very reasonably priced $17 test kit of their entire acne product line before you commit to the big sizes.
Their parent company, DeVita International, has a very strong stance on animal testing. You can read their animal testing policy here.
Exposed Skin Care
Exposed Skin Care does not carry any certifications but they are cruelty-free:
Thank you for contacting us. Exposed Skin Care does not conduct, commission, or pay for any tests on animals for ingredients, formulations, or finished products and pledge not to do so in the future.
I found that some of their products contain glycerin, but they confirmed by email that they do not use any animal by-products.
The product line includes several facial acne treatments as well as a body acne kit.
Forces of Nature
Forces of Nature acne treatment is a simple 3-step process like Proactive. The difference? They are USDA Organic and certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny.
On reviewing their ingredients, it’s also safe to say that the acne treatment is vegan!
Forces of Nature reviewers give this product 5 stars. While Amazon users give it anywhere from 3.5 – 4 stars.
You can find HappyMe at your local drugstore. It is certified cruelty-free by PETA.
They are not certified vegan, but a review of their ingredients didn’t turn up anything that could be animal derived. They are 100% vegan as they say on their website.
Heavenly Botanicals does not test on animals and does not use any animal by-products. Products that contain glycerin are labeled “Kosher vegetable glycerin.” I love it when I don’t have to ask!
This is the product I plan to try once my bottle of CeraVe is done.
Humane Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Body & Face Wash
Humane Acne Treatment is only available for sale on Amazon and has nearly perfect reviews. Note however that it is NOT for sensitive skin. Based on the reviews, it may be too harsh for people with occasional acne breakouts, but may be a life saver for those with severe acne.
Humane does not test on animals, and does not use any animal byproducts.
Other products in the line include a salicylic acid based Clarifying Toner Blackhead and Pore Minimizer.
Just Natural Skin Care
Amazon reviews of Just Natural Skin Care are mixed. Some products seem to work better than others, but acne treatments are not one size fits all. None the less, Just Natural Skin Care is completely cruelty-free and does not use any animal by-products. Products that contain glycerin are labeled as “vegetable glycerin.”
The acne line not only includes facial acne cleansers, but also an acne body wash and soap.
MALIN + GOETZ
MALIN + GOETZ uses honey and beeswax on a few of their products, but the products intended to treat acne are vegan-friendly. I asked them about the glycerin source and they confirmed that it is plant based.
Here’s their stance on animal testing…
We do not test on animals. Because of this position, we are unable to directly sell our products where this is a requirement under law (such as China).
I love companies that don’t sell out to China!
OrganiClear doesn’t say much on their website regarding their ingredients and animal testing policy, and they do not carry any certifications. I emailed them with the same questions I asked CeraVe and Proactive. The founder of the company wrote back:
The answer is no to all of your questions. No animal testing and none of the ingredients are animal derived.
That is great news! What I don’t understand is, if you’re a cruelty-free company, why not use that to market yourself?
Amazon users give OrganiClear close to 4 stars.
Painted Earth Skin Care
Painted Earth Skin Care is an all-natural cosmetics line. On reviewing the ingredients of their acne line, I did not find anything that could be animal derived. Clear Confession, the only acne product that contains glycerin, is clearly labeled as “Kosher, Vegetable.” Hooray for details!
Their stance on animal testing is also very clearly stated on their website…
Painted Earth is a cruelty-free brand and is committed to ending animal testing. We do not test our finished products on animals, nor do we allow others to test on our behalf. Additionally, we require our suppliers to certify that the raw materials used in the manufacture of our products are not tested on animals.
They also have excellent reviews. This is my next option if Heavenly Botanicals does not work for me.
Relogy Natural Acne Treatment Kit for Teen, Adult and Hormonal Acne is sold exclusive through Amazon. Amazon reviewers give Relogy almost 4 of 5 stars. Relogy is certified by PETA to be cruelty-free and vegan.
Tata Harper is certified cruelty-free by PETA and Leaping Bunny. The line is not 100% vegan as some of their products contain honey and beeswax, but the acne line is vegan friendly.
It is a bit pricey, and if you’re switching from Proactive or a drugstore brand you will be in for major sticker shock! Their Maximum Results Regimen for Oily/Combination Skin retails at $800! But you do not have to buy the entire kit.
As stated on TreeActiv’s FAQ, “they never test any ingredient, formula, finished product, or anything else on animals.” Only humans ?
The product line is completely natural and mostly vegan, with the exception of a few products that contain honey.
From TreeActiv’s facial acne line, the products that contain honey are the Acne Eliminating Face Cleanser, Face Scrub Pads, & Four-in-One Acne Treatment. The rest are vegan. TreeActiv’s body acne line is entirely vegan.
Certified cruelty-free by Leaping Bunny, and certified cruelty-free and vegan by PETA, Zyderma uses MicroSilver BG technology as the active ingredient to fight acne. MicroSilver BG is an eco-friendly, antimicrobial agent made of pure metallic silver suitable for medical applications. If benzoyl peroxide or plant-based treatments have not worked for you, MicroSilver BG may be worth a shot.
It is not available through Amazon, but you can purchase Zyderma directly through their website or through select online retailers and boutique shops.
If you’ve tried any of these cruelty-free acne treatments, please leave your thoughts below. Your experience may be helpful to other readers!
Sorry, I’ve decided to turn off comments
The number of comments and emails that I receive are too much to handle, so I’ve decided to centralize all communication to email only. Just scroll down to “contact me”, and feel free to send me any comments, questions, complaints, or concerns 🙂