The Best Cleansers for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin

  1. 10 Best Face Washes for Acne in 2020, According to Dermatologists
  2. How to choose (and use) the best face wash for acne-prone skin
  3. 15 dermatologist-approved face washes for acne-prone skin
  4. 1. Bioré Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser
  5. 2. First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue
  6. 3.La Roche Posay Effaclar Medicated Cleanser
  7. Stuff We Love
  8. 5. Clean and Clear Acne Cleanser
  9. 6.Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser
  10. 7. Kate Somerville Daily Foaming Cleanser
  11. 8. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser
  12. 9. Proactiv Renewing Cleanser
  13. 10.Cetaphil DermaControl Foam Wash
  14. 11.Elta MD Foaming Facial Cleanser
  15. 12.Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser
  16. 13.Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash
  17. 14.SkinMedica AHA BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
  18. 15. iS Clinica Exfoliating Facial Scrub
  19. 12 Blackhead-Erasing Face Washes for Oily & Acne-Prone Skin
  20. What Causes Oily Skin?
  21. What to Look for in Face Washes
  22. Ingredients to Avoid in Face Washes
  23. 12 Best Face Washes for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin
  24. Deeply Moisturizing Face Washes for Oily Skin
  25. Public Goods Facial Cleanser
  26. The Body Shop Seaweed Gel Wash
  27. Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser for Oily Skin
  28. Zit Zapping Face Washes for Acne-Prone Skin
  29. Pacifica Beauty Kale Detox Deep Cleaning Face Wash
  30. Holistic Apothecary Ultimate Detox Face & Pore Cleanser
  31. Alba Botanica AcneDote
  32. First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Acne Clearing Charcoal Cleanser
  33. Face Washes for Oily, Aging Skin
  34. Dr. Bronner’s Almond Pure-Castile Tea Tree Oil Soap
  35. Avalon Organics’ Wrinkle Therapy Milk Cleanser
  36. Face Washes for Oily and Sensitive Skin
  37. Desert Essence Gentle Nourishing Organic Cleanser
  38. Arbonne Advanced Smoothing Facial Cleanser
  39. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Gel Facial Wash for Oily Skin
  40. Aftercare for Cleansing Oily Skin
  41. These Oily Skin-Approved Face Washes Keep Excess Shine Under Control

10 Best Face Washes for Acne in 2020, According to Dermatologists

The Best Cleansers for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin |

Courtesy of brands

There are probably many reasons why you wanted to leave your teen years behind, and saying goodbye to your acne was surely one of them.

But don’t freak out if those pesky pimples stuck around. “Adult acne in women is super common,” says Nazanin Saedi, MD, director of the Jefferson Laser Surgery and Cosmetic Dermatology Center in Philadelphia. The main cause: hormonal imbalance. That’s why dermatologists often recommend medications birth control, which can help keep hormones estrogen and testosterone in check.

However, what you put on your face also matters. The first step in your anti-acne regimen? A face wash that you can lather up with morning and night. “Nighttime cleansing washes off dirt and excess oil that’s sitting on skin, while morning cleansing will clear off anything that accumulated overnight,” says Dr. Saedi.

How to choose (and use) the best face wash for acne-prone skin

Look for actives: A few ingredients to look for in your face wash include benzoyl peroxide (to clean out the P. acnes bacteria that contributes to acne), salicylic acid (to exfoliate and remove pore-clogging debris and break up blackheads and whiteheads), sulfur (to lessen inflammation), or glycolic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid that clears away dead skin cells).

But go mild if need be: One downside is that face washes with anti-acne ingredients can be drying. You may also be tempted to overdo it on cleansing—and see skin irritation as a result. Pro tip: If you do get a bit dry or flaky, scale back to every other day and follow with a noncomedogenic moisturizer designed for oily or acne-prone skin.

Or, if you’re using a super-drying medication, stick with a mild “nothing” cleanser to minimize your irritation. These face washes are formulated for sensitive skin and really just prep your base (cleaning out makeup, oil, and dirt) so your acne medication (say, a prescription retinoid) or spot treatment can do the heavy lifting.

Listen to your skin: Finding the right cleanser for your acne-fighting routine can be tricky, and you’ll have to try both cleansers for sensitive skin and those formulated with active ingredients to figure out which you prefer. If your skin gets red, itchy, flaky, or irritated in general, talk to your doctor about switching to a milder formula instead.

When it comes to cleanser, you don’t have to pick an expensive one—drugstore buys will get the job done, says Dr. Saedi. But there are options in every price category: Here, dermatologists share the best face washes for acne-prone skin, from those with ultra-mild properties to top-notch pimple-fighting power.

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below

The best gentle face washes for acne-prone skin

These mild “nothing” cleansers are great if you find traditional acne face washes too drying or irritating. Follow with your acne treatment and a noncomedogenic moisturizer at night, as well as an SPF during the day.


CeraVe Hydrating Face Wash

Don’t let “hydrating” scare you—many acne-prone patients are susceptible to dry, flaky skin. This fragrance-free, noncomedogenic option will help combat any irritation, says Tara Rao, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. A mix of ceramides and hyaluronic acid work to draw and lock moisture into the skin, so it never feels stripped.


Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

This basic cleanser is a dermatologist favorite for a reason—it’s designed to wash away impurities without irritating, making it great for acne-prone skin (and all skin types, really). It’s especially soothing for those with a sensitive complexion or eczema, says Dr. Saedi.


Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Thanks to a cocktail of soothing ingredients— aloe vera, cucumber, and hydrating glycerin—this cult-favorite face wash is amazing for sensitive, acne-prone skin. Plus, “soy helps brighten the skin,” Debra Jaliman, MD, a Manhattan-based dermatologist recently told Prevention. “It also has properties that lessen redness.” Bonus: It’s fragrance-free and noncomedogenic.


Avène Antirougeurs CLEAN Redness-Relief Refreshing Cleansing Lotion

This ultra-gentle cleanser gets a stamp of approval from Deirdre Hooper, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Audubon Dermatology in New Orleans. The thermal spring water works to reduce redness while cleansing the skin. No need to worry about irritating side effects, as its free of soaps and fragrances.


First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser

A lightweight but nourishing face wash? Yep, it’s a dream for annoyed, acne-prone skin. The formula deeply cleans out dirt, oil, and makeup while maintaining balance in the skin.

Glycerin, aloe, licorice, root, and white tea extracts band together to soothe and hydrate the face sans stinging or burning.

The whipped texture also lathers up nicely, but never leaves the skin feeling dry.

The best acne face washes with active ingredients

These face washes for acne contain active ingredients designed to fight bacteria, unclog pores, and gently exfoliate the skin. Simply follow with moisturizer if you’re only targeting blackheads or white heads, or your go-to acne-treatment if you have deeper breakouts. Always follow with a noncomedogenic moisturizer (and SPF if using in the morning). Discontinue use if irritation occurs.


Neutrogena Oil-Free Pink Grapefruit Acne Facial Cleanser

With skin-brightening vitamin C and blackhead-banishing salicylic acid, this wash is a “refreshing way to start off your morning and treat acne and red marks,” says Dr. Saedi. The grapefruit scent is a great way to perk yourself up in the a.m., too.


Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask

This product goes double duty as a daily cleanser (to clear breakouts) or face mask (to deep clean your pores). A 3.5 percent benzoyl peroxide formula is even suitable for sensitive skin types, says Dr. Saedi. It also helps control that shiny forehead you deal with by 3 p.m., thanks to oil-controlling kaolin and bentonite clay.


Bioré Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser for Oily Skin

The addition of charcoal (a great ingredient for oily skin) to this 1 percent salicylic acid cleanser helps penetrate clogged pores to clear out blackheads, says Dr. Saedi.


Kate Somerville EradiKate Daily Cleanser

Sulfur calms down redness and inflammation, says Dr. Saedi. Catch is, it’s not always pleasant-smelling. However, this raved-about 3 percent sulfur cleanser, which acts as an antiseptic and antifungal, has a mild fragrance and (most importantly) really fades both mild and cystic acne by unclogging congested pores.


Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that gives the face a gentle exfoliation by clearing away dead skin cells, a precursor to pesky bumps. This face wash packs the active ingredient, in addition to herbal extracts to soothe the complexion. Because it helps buff away the dead layers of skin, it’s also helps reduce annoying scars, too.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at

Advertisement – Continue Reading Below


15 dermatologist-approved face washes for acne-prone skin

The Best Cleansers for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin |

Struggling with adult acne? We feel your pain! It can happen to just about anyone and adult acne is surprisingly more common than people often think.

The good news is that you don't have to simply accept pesky pimples and redness as a part of life. The right cleanser and a balanced skin care routine can help nip blemishes in the bud before they become unmanageable.

We asked top dermatologists to share their favorite face wash picks that help combat acne and oily skin — and though you should consult your own dermatologist prior to starting any new skincare routine, this list should help you along the way.

1. Bioré Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser

“The winning combination of salicylic acid and purifying charcoal works to clean out oil and bacteria, while the cooling sensation leaves your face feeling super clean. Plus, the price can’t be beat!” said New York City cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Howard Sobel, founder of Sobel Skin.

2. First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue

“This foaming gel cleanser combines red clay and rosemary leaf oil to help cleanse the skin and absorb excess sebum. As an added bonus, it also contains a blend of botanical antioxidants (licorice root, feverfew and white tea),” said Dr. Dendy Engelman, a dermatologist in New York City.

3. La Roche Posay Effaclar Medicated Cleanser

“The use of 2-percent salicylic acid ensures a quick exfoliation within the pores, where acne develops.

In addition, the lipohydroxy acid takes a longer term approach, diving deeper within the pore and causing a more gentle exfoliation that develops over days and does not increase dryness or irritation.

This 'turtle and hare' approach makes a lot of sense, since acne is a chronic disease that requires consistent, well-tolerated treatment,” said Dr. Ted Lain, board-certified dermatologist.

Stuff We Love

Get a daily roundup of items that will make your life easier, healthier and more stylish.

This site is protected by recaptcha Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

“This face wash cleanses pores, but does not leave skin dry. It moisturizes the skin and is good for all types,” said Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, celebrity cosmetic dermatologist and founder of PFRANKMD and PFRANKMD Skin Salon.

5. Clean and Clear Acne Cleanser

“This product contains 10-percent benzoyl peroxide, which is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, and often used as an acne treatment,” said Dr. Julia Tzu, founder and medical director of Wall Street Dermatology.

6. Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser

“Glycerin, a potent humectant, helps to maintain moisture despite the foaming action.

Salicylic acid, on the other hand, helps cell turnover in the pores to help clear blackheads and whiteheads and reduce the formation of new ones.

Last but not least, this cleanser's soy complex helps reduce dryness, irritation and redness associated with acne treatments and salicylic acid,” said Dr. Heidi A Waldorf of Waldorf Dermatology Aesthetics.

7. Kate Somerville Daily Foaming Cleanser

“Sulfur is a great antiseptic and clears the redness in acne. It can smell and irritate the skin, but the soothing oats and honey in this cleanser help prevent these two potential issues,” said Dr. Patrick Blake, dermatologist at EllaMD and voluntary clinical instructor at UCSD.

8. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne and Redness Facial Cleanser

“This lightweight cleanser helps boost the delivery of salicylic acid to help reduce the appearance of acne. Aloe and chamomile help to calm irritation while visibly reducing facial redness,” Sobel said.

9. Proactiv Renewing Cleanser

“With this product, Proactiv uses a micronized version of benzoyl peroxide, a mainstay acne treatment, which allows the ingredient to have beneficial effects at a low 2.5-percent concentration. The addition of hydrating hyaluronic acid and calming chamomile minimizes inflammation or irritation,” Lain said.

10. Cetaphil DermaControl Foam Wash

“It has an instant impact on oily, overly shiny skin that many people with acne have, giving more of a matte appearance. Also, it's inexpensive and rarely causes irritation,” Blake said.

11. Elta MD Foaming Facial Cleanser

“This is a super gentle cleanser that is great for patients who have acne but also have sensitive, dry skin and are on other topical acne treatments. It does not contain any active anti-acne ingredients, so it does not cause any level of irritation to the skin when other acne medications are applied,” said Tzu.

12. Epionce Lytic Gel Cleanser

“This cleanser effectively dissolves dirt, oil and makeup, and calms the visible appearance of irritated skin without over-drying or leaving the skin feeling tight or stripped of its natural oils. It contains willow bark extract, lavender extract, marshmallow root extract, orange fruit extract and menthol,” Engelman said.

13. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

“This cleanser contains salicylic acid which has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It also exfoliates, and unclogs the pores, eliminating whiteheads and blackheads,” said New York City-based, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Michele Green.

14. SkinMedica AHA BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

“This cleanser contains alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) — lactic acid, glycolic acid, citric acid and malic acid — and beta-hydroxy acid (salicylic acid), in addition to jojoba spheres to help exfoliate and enhance skin texture,” Engelman noted.

15. iS Clinica Exfoliating Facial Scrub

“This scrub/cleanser works to clear clogged pores and acne, and the micro-beads mechanically exfoliate the skin. The botanical enzymes and salicylic acid chemically exfoliate the skin in addition to eliminating stubborn acne,” said Dr. Lily Talakoub from McLean Dermatology and Skincare Center.

To discover more deals, shopping tips and budget-friendly product recommendations, download the new TODAY app and subscribe to our Stuff We Love newsletter!

“,”author”:null,”date_published”:null,”lead_image_url”:””,”dek”:null,”next_page_url”:null,”url”:”″,”domain”:””,”excerpt”:”Sensitive skin? We might be able to help.”,”word_count”:881,”direction”:”ltr”,”total_pages”:1,”rendered_pages”:1}


12 Blackhead-Erasing Face Washes for Oily & Acne-Prone Skin

The Best Cleansers for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin |

She feigned death when I told her my skincare routine.

“A bar of soap?” she shouted with dramatic flair, falling backward into her seat.

I’d always found a bar of soap to be the best face wash solution for my oily skin. Sure, it dried my skin out, leaving that clean-yet-prickly feeling. But that feeling waned quickly as my skin returned to its natural state: that of an oily tarmac.

My skincare-obsessed friend wasn’t having it. With her help (read: demand), my journey to oil management and a healthier skin biome began — not without a few stops at acne town first.

Everyone’s skin is different. Even among oily skin types, the solution isn’t one-size-fits-all. This guide will help you learn to manage oily skin and acne, and offer you 10 blackhead erasing face washes to keep your skin soft and acne-free.

What Causes Oily Skin?

The American Association of Dermatologists asserts that oily skin may be the result of genetics, stress, hormones, poor hygiene and the wrong face washes.

Dr. Viseslav Tonkovic-Capin, MD, dermatologist and editor of, added that a lack of sleep, humid environment, fatty foods and even marijuana can cause the skin to produce excess oil.

And, as you may have already realized, oily skin can lead to acne vulgaris.

You may be thinking, “Great, now I have two problems to tackle!” But for most oily skin types, acne is just a symptom that will clear up once you tackle the root of the problem.

According to the Mayo Clinic, acne has four main causes:

  1. Excess oil production
  2. Pores being clogged by dead skin cells and oil
  3. Bacteria
  4. Excess androgen production

The reason acne typically appears on the face, shoulders and back is because the pores in these areas are connected to more oil production glands than any other area on your body.

With a diligent daily skin care routine and a facial cleanser designed specifically for oily skin, you, too, can be on the road to hydrated, acne-free skin.

What to Look for in Face Washes

Because acne is caused by excess oil and bacteria, you need a face cleanser that controls oil and fights infection. The key is to find ingredients that accomplish this task without damaging your skin barrier or stripping it of vital nutrients (in other words, not bar soap).

The following ingredients have scientifically proven results in reducing oil and acne.

  • Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) derived from willow trees that Dr. Tonkovic-Capin told us opens pores so sebum can freely discharge the skin.
  • Tea tree oil is a powerful essential oil and a natural antiseptic. It combats a wide variety of pore-clogging bacteria, fungi, viruses, and even yeast.
  • Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from sugarcane. It can be hard on sensitive skin because it works by removing dead skin cells that trap oil and dirt in your pores.
  • Benzoyl peroxide comes in an over-the-counter and prescription form. It effectively destroys bacteria and promotes skin cell turnover. It’s anti-inflammatory, but can be irritating on sensitive skin.
  • Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring acid in the body. It prevents overdrying by keeping the skin moisturized while neutralizing bacteria.
  • Bentonite clay is a popular ingredient in cleansers because it absorbs bacteria at a rate so fast it’s obliterated at the cellular level. Bentonite clay can overdry skin.
  • Coconut oil may sound counterintuitive. The idea of adding oil to oily skin may make you want to go wash your hands in degreaser. However, the last thing you want to do is dry out your skin. Dry skin leads to the overproduction of sebum (your skin’s natural oil). Coconut oil balances facial cleansers by repairing the skin barrier and locking in the right amount of moisture to keep your skin from overreacting.

Because every skin type is different, do a patch test first. Apply each face wash to your forearm skin and see how it reacts. If it becomes red or itchy, try a product with different ingredients.

Dr. Tonkovic-Capin added, “Look for any cleansing product stating that it is pH balanced, which at least means that the manufacturer was paying attention to it.”

Ingredients to Avoid in Face Washes

The following ingredients are found in many face cleansers and moisturizers but are often added for aesthetic purposes. They initially give your skin a smooth, clean feeling, but can stimulate oil production and worsen acne over time.

  • Mineral oil has received a bad reputation in recent years because it’s derived from petroleum. However, in this incredibly refined form, it’s completely safe to use. The one caveat is that it forms a layer over skin to retain moisture, making it a bad choice for people with oily, acne-prone skin.
  • Silicones are found in products from cosmetics to sunscreens. mineral oil, silicones give your skin the feeling of hydration by leaving a layer of product on your skin. This residue traps oil and dirt, further clogging pores.
  • Alcohol feels amazing on oily skin at first. It quickly dissolves grease and oil, but also dries out your skin. Dryness is a signal to your skin to produce more sebum, leaving you caught in a vicious cycle of moisturizing and degreasing ad nauseam.
  • Makeup that is “pasty or pressed,” which Dr. Tonkovic-Capin tells us can cause acne and inflammation.

No matter what type of skin you have, always avoid synthetic fragrances and artificial dyes. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) does not require manufacturers to list the plethora of ingredients that go into fragrances and dyes, which are often harsh. Look for unscented products first.

If you love the fresh scent of a fragranced face wash, look for naturally fragranced products. In our list, you’ll find several options that are scented with essential oils and dyed with fruit pigments instead.

12 Best Face Washes for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin

Without further ado, here are our top 10 favorite face washes for oily skin. We take special care to recommend natural products from responsible, cruelty-free brands.

Deeply Moisturizing Face Washes for Oily Skin

When it comes to oil control, the key is keeping your skin hydrated. For oily skin types, this goal can be quite the balancing act. Let’s take out the guesswork.

Public Goods Facial Cleanser

This gentle foaming cleanser for oily skin is rich in nutrients that protect your skin’s natural barrier. Antibacterial glycerin and sodium benzoate stave off acne-inducing infections.

While many cleansers include ingredients that ultimately dry out your skin, our coconut-derived cleansing agents whisk oil away while maintaining the integrity of your skin’s natural biome. The result is a fresh face with a healthy glow.

This vegan-friendly, cruelty-free facial cleanser is rich in antioxidants and contains soothing aloe. Our products are always naturally fragranced and responsibly sourced.

The Body Shop Seaweed Gel Wash

This gel face wash for oily skin ditches oil altogether, opting for hydrating seaweed in its place. Seaweed is rich in minerals that nourish the skin. You won’t get that “too dry” feeling from this face wash, but it will leave your skin feeling refreshed.

This Body Shop product is vegan and cruelty-free.

Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser for Oily Skin

Formulated with natural charcoal that helps unclog pores, this cleanser from Bioré is ideal for those with naturally oily skin. This facial cleanser is infused with Japanese Skin Purifying technology that reportedly cleanses the skin without irritating it. Oil-free and dermatologist tested, this cleanser targets dirt, oil, and impurities while maintaining natural moisture.

Zit Zapping Face Washes for Acne-Prone Skin

The best acne face wash will control oil production while obliterating bacterial infections. Check out our picks of acne washes for oily skin.

Pacifica Beauty Kale Detox Deep Cleaning Face Wash

Pacifica Beauty combines the healing powers of seaweed, kale and coconut water with pimple-destroying bentonite clay for a deep cleaning face wash. Pacifica Beauty boasts this product as their best defense against acne and blemishes.

Vegan and cruelty-free, Pacifica Beauty markets this product to the green generation; it really smells kale!

Holistic Apothecary Ultimate Detox Face & Pore Cleanser

For those who aren’t messing around with their acne, Holistic Apothecary has crafted a unique blend of oil-sapping bentonite clay, alkaline-neutralizing activated charcoal and sebum-reducing tea tree oil. They top it all off with oil-melting castor oil.

Because it uses such powerful ingredients, we recommend doing a patch test of this product before applying it to your face. This product is vegan and cruelty-free.

Alba Botanica AcneDote

Oil-free and noncomedogenic, Alba finds the solution to your acne woes in botanicals. Get a pore-clearing shot of salicylic acid and willow tree bark extract. Salicylic acid is readily absorbed by the skin, meaning it continues fighting acne even after you rinse.

For some, salicylic acid can leave an uncomfortably dry feeling. Combat that side effect by moisturizing after you wash.

First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Acne Clearing Charcoal Cleanser

Another brand to jump on the charcoal train, First Aid Beauty adds bentonite and kaolin clay to 2% salicylic acid to create a totally uninhabitable environment for bacteria. In a twist on the typical bacteria bloodbath many products work toward, this face wash promotes the growth of your skin’s “good” bacteria by adding probiotics via yogurt extract.

Enjoy a clear face with a conscience; this product is cruelty-free.

Face Washes for Oily, Aging Skin

All skin types are interested in preserving their healthy glow. The following face washes include wrinkle-reducing nutrients to help you sustain your youth.

Dr. Bronner’s Almond Pure-Castile Tea Tree Oil Soap

Can a product marketed as an “18-in-1” soap, from laundry detergent to baby wash, be an effective face wash? Well, we’ll let you be the judge.

But we will say that Dr. Bronner’s almond extract infused tea tree oil wash soothes stressed skin — reducing fine lines and wrinkles — while combating oil.

Almond extract is rich in vitamin E, which is thought to reduce the aging effects of sun damage. Tea tree oil prevents excessive production of sebum.

A simple soap, perhaps, but it just may be a match made in heaven.

Avalon Organics’ Wrinkle Therapy Milk Cleanser

With CoQ10 and rosehip oil, Avalon Organics’s Wrinkle Therapy Milk Cleanser claims to brighten and tone aging skin while lifting dirt and oil from deep within your pores.

The key ingredient? Hyaluronic acid. As mentioned above, hyaluronic acid not only dissolves stubborn oil, it also moisturizes your skin for a youthful appearance.

Face Washes for Oily and Sensitive Skin

Think that sensitivity is reserved for dry skin? Not so. Even people with oily skin can suffer from red, aggravated skin after cleansing. That’s why we’re including a couple of the best facial cleansers for oily and sensitive skin.

Desert Essence Gentle Nourishing Organic Cleanser

Reduce the redness with Desert Essence’s gentle, nourishing face wash. This product uses soothing aloe vera, chamomile and cucumber extract to hydrate skin and reduce inflammation. It does all this while dissolving oil using coconut oil and apple juice.

Arbonne Advanced Smoothing Facial Cleanser

Stubborn acne and inflammation leaving you with bumpy skin? Rash-alleviating Arbonne face wash calms irritated skin, smoothing rough patches caused by acne.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Gel Facial Wash for Oily Skin

Another great option for oily and sensitive skin is the Effaclar line by La Roche-Posay. This gentle gel cleanser contains zinc pidolate, which eliminates dirt and oil while maintaining the pH balance of the skin, and La Roche-Posay’s very own thermal spring water. It’s a non-irritating cleanser that has been allergy-tested, purifying the skin without overdrying it.

Aftercare for Cleansing Oily Skin

For people with oily skin, the battle isn’t over after using a face wash.

A natural astringent and toner witch hazel can help you keep your face fresh throughout the day. Because it’s antibacterial, witch hazel prevents infection. As a toner, it will reduce the appearance of pores.

After washing your face, apply witch hazel with a soft washcloth, as scratchy washcloths can irritate the skin, inducing oil production.

Even if you’re using a deeply moisturizing face wash for oily skin, you should always be sure to moisturize your face, especially before bed. Choose a facial moisturizer, as it will be designed to go on light without clogging pores.


These Oily Skin-Approved Face Washes Keep Excess Shine Under Control

The Best Cleansers for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin |

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about ourreview process here.We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

As anyone with oily skin will tell you, dealing with a consistently slick complexion can be a full-time job, requiring multiple different products and seemingly constant attention.

Just you can’t control your eye color or hair color, some people are simply born with more sebaceous glands, resulting in an overproduction of oil.

While we naturally produce oil in order to keep our skin soft and supple, too much of it results in that perpetually shiny and greasy look.

There are other external factors that play a role, too.

While high temperatures and high humidity levels won’t necessarily make you produce more oil, they can make you sweat more; once that sweat mixes with oil, your complexion can look and start to feel greasy.

The good news is there are plenty of oil-fighting products out there, but here’s the thing: If you don’t lay the proper foundation by using the right cleanser, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle from the very beginning.

Courtesy of Ulta

Clay is to oily skin what kryptonite is to Superman; few ingredients are better at removing and absorbing excess oil.

This formula uses not one but two types of clay, specifically kaolin and green clays, which act magnets to pull out unwanted sebum.

But the oil-fighting benefits don’t stop there: A trio of astringent Sambucus, ivy, and lemon extracts also help mattify skin. Plus, cucumber and sage deliver soothing benefits.

This drugstore cream cleanser is so gentle it can be used on super-sensitive skin. Whether you have eczema, rosacea, or acne, this face wash is formulated to clean without stripping or irritating the skin.

What you will find in this multi-tasker: A laundry list of natural ingredients that work to sop up excess oil, tamp down shine, and so much more. Think oil-absorbing kaolin clay and purifying white charcoal powder, coupled with hydrating glycerin to keep skin balanced, and naturally anti-bacterial and antiseptic ingredients cinnamon bark and lavender oil.

What you won’t find: Parabens, dyes, petrochemicals, or GMO ingredients, just to name a few. Gentle enough to use daily, it not only cleanses your skin but acts as an exfoliator and toner too, helping to tighten pores and balance the pH of your skin. To reap the maximum benefits, gently massage it onto wet skin and let it sit for 20 to 30 seconds before rinsing.

This budget-friendly face wash features a gentle foaming action that whisks away impurities and excess sebum, so all you're left with is skin that's refreshed, balanced, and clean.

all CeraVe products, the formula boasts three essential ceramides to cleanse the skin without stripping it in the process.

Hyaluronic acid adds an extra moisture boost (because oily skin needs hydration, too!) while niacinamide helps calm skin.

Having oily skin doesn’t necessarily make you more ly to have acne, but the two do often go hand-in-hand. No matter your issue, this blemish-busting face wash is the solution.

The star of the show is 2% salicylic acid (the maximum strength you can get in an over-the-counter product), one of the best acne-fighting ingredients out there, known for its ability to dissolve oil to keep pores clear and breakouts at bay.

True to its name, it does have a refreshingly ​citrus-y grapefruit scent, but that grapefruit does more than just smell nice. It’s also a great source of vitamin C, an excellent skin-brightening ingredient. 

We'll just say it–some face washes are pretty subpar at removing makeup. This Drunk Elephant cleanser is not one of them. Its creamy formula contains a blend of mild surfactants and emollients to remove all makeup, oil, and grime, and it rinses off totally clean. An added bonus? It's gentle enough to use around the eyes, which we love.

Courtesy of Ulta

Micellar waters are fan favorites among both sensitive and oily skin types; the former appreciate that they’re free of potentially irritating detergents, while the latter that they’re oil-free and don’t leave behind any residue. They work thanks to micelles, tiny particles that attach to and whisk away dirt, oil, and other grime.

This particular option is especially great for oily skin​ since it has the added benefit of foaming up ever so slightly, leaving your complexion feeling extra clean, though still soft and hydrated. It’s also gentle enough to use on eyes and lips and requires no rinsing. Simply dab some onto a cotton pad and swipe it across your entire face.​

If you have oily and sensitive skin, it can be tough to find a face wash that removes makeup and grime sans irritation—but this foaming gel cleanser from First Aid Beauty is a solid option.

Red clay and rosemary leaf oil work to clear the skin and balance sebum production, while a powerful antioxidant blend helps protect against environmental stressors.

Plus, it's allergy-tested and totally free of parabens, sulfates, and artificial fragrances—all things that make it extra safe for sensitive skin.

This soap-free gel cleanser from French pharmacy staple La Roche-Posay is designed with oily skin in mind. Formulated with zinc pidolate, it cleanses impurities and reduces the production of excess oil—all without drying out the skin.

If your skin veers toward oily, odds are you’re also constantly trying to tamp down shine, too. This foaming formula combines skin-clearing saw palmetto with pore-minimizing salicylic acid to reduce both excess oils and shine in one easy step. And thanks to the addition of cooling mint, it also feels pleasantly refreshing, a top pick for muggy summer days. 

Board-certified dermatologist Sonia Batra recommends cleansing with a foamy formula if you're dealing with excess oil. “Foaming cleansers often work well for oily skin because they help break apart and dissolve oil on the skin surface,” she says.

This superfood-based cleanser is loaded with healthy ingredients such as kale, green tea, and spinach to help remove all the bad stuff and deep cleanse the pores. The foamy texture feels silky on the skin, and it's gentle and non-drying, so redness-prone and sensitive skin will love it.

Courtesy of Bloomingdale's 

If you prefer a creamy texture over foam for face wash, this cleanser is the perfect solution. With active ingredients such as green tea extract, calming and soothing aloe, activated charcoal, and jojoba oil, you get a natural, yet effective cleanse while skin is brought back to its equilibrium.

Courtesy of The Organic Pharmacy

Oily skin breeds bacteria, which leads to breakouts, so dermatologists recommend washing oily skin two or three times daily. Just be sure to not dry your skin out with sulfates, detergents that can irritate dry skin. This antimicrobial peppermint cleanser is gentle enough to use multiple times a day.