12 Facial Cleansers Perfect For Oily Skin (2023)

I feel like when it comes to oily skin I say this often, you can’t use just anything on oily skin. I guess I say often because it took me years to figure that out and I want to help others with oily skin by sharing what I’ve learned.

For my oily skin, it’s been beneficial for me to use cleansers that are specifically designed and formulated for oily skin. Cleaners for oily skin have ingredients to help control oil production and unclog pores.

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1. Salicylic Acid Cleansers help to exfoliate the skin and unclog pores which can be particularly effective for those with oily or acne-prone skin.

2. Glycolic Acid Cleansers also help with exfoliating which can unclog pores and reduce oiliness. One watch out is the cleanser having a low percentage of glycolic acid to avoid over-drying your skin.

3. Clay Cleansers absorb excess oil and remove impurities from the skin. Kaolin clay is a particularly good option for oily skin.

5. Charcoal Cleansers can help to draw out impurities and absorb excess oil from the skin.

Sometimes there can be cross-over in the categories, such as a foaming face wash that can also have salicylic acid in it. So don’t feel like you need to try really hard to stick to one specific category.

Now that we know what types of facial cleansers are good for oily skin, let’s talk about some specific products

The great thing is we with oily skin have lots of options when it comes to facial cleansers. There are so many great skincare brands out there, some that have been around for a while and risen from obscurity, and others who are newer to the skincare scene.

Salicylic Acid Cleansers

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser
This is one brand that has risen from obscurity to being pretty popular. I never heard of this brand before but now it’s all over social media.

This medicated gel cleanser from La Roche-Posay contains 2% salicylic acid to gently exfoliate, unclog pores, reduce excess oil, and clear acne breakouts. In fact, it’s clinically tested to reduce excess surface oil by up to 47%.

It's gentle enough twice a day, every day, and won't over-dry the skin.

You can find this La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser at

Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser
I’ve never used Aveeno products but they seem to be pretty effective so I decided to include this one on the list.

Yes, this is a foaming cleanser but it contains 2% salicylic acid so I decided to note it in the salicylic acid group. As I mentioned before some cleansers can fall into more than one of the five categories.

The salicylic acid in the cleanser helps clear up and prevent breakouts. It's gentle enough for daily use and won't over-dry the skin.

You can find the Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser at

Murad Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser
I used Murad back when I had some serious bad acne right after I graduated college. Murad helped to clear up my skin and set it on the right path.

I don’t remember exactly which Murad cleanser I used, I think it was the Murad Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser but even if it wasn’t this is a good cleanser for oily skin for many reasons

  • It has two types of salicylic acid—a free form that starts treating immediately and an encapsulated form that continues treating even after rinsing
  • The green tea extract it contains helps soothe and calm irritation
  • Plus in a 3-day clinical study, 97% said this face wash dissolves excess oil

You can find the Murad Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser at

Related read: Skincare Products I’ve Been Repurchasing Over The Past Year

Glycolic Acid Cleansers

Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel
I’ve never used a Peter Thomas Roth product before, mostly because of the price, but I’ve heard some good things about the brand.

Now, this cleansing gel from Peter Thomas Roth contains glycolic acid and also salicylic acid because they are brightening botanicals that help exfoliate and clarify the skin, leaving it ultra clean, refined, and revitalized.

As an added benefit this facial cleanser contains a blend of anti-aging ingredients to help diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.

One thing to keep in mind with this cleanser is it contains an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that may increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun and particularly the possibility of sunburn. Use sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterward.

You can find the Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel at

Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
This exfoliating cleanser from Murad contains a blend of alpha and beta hydroxy acids, including glycolic acid, to help exfoliate and unclog pores. It's also formulated with jojoba beads to physically exfoliate the skin and remove impurities.

It also includes sodium PCA to optimize the skin’s ability to attract and hold moisture which isn’t a bad thing for oily skin, especially after exfoliating.

This cleanser is only meant to be used a few times a week, it’s not for daily use.

You can find it at

Related read: My Favorite Beauty Products For My Oily Skin

Clay Cleansers

L'Oreal Paris Pure Clay Detox & Brighten Cleanser
This daily cleanser contains three types of pure clay and charcoal to help draw out impurities and excess oil from the skin.

This cleanser goes beyond daily cleansing to clarify and detoxify so the skin can breathe better which makes me think it does a really good job of clearing out the pores. The great thing is it doesn’t make the skin feel stripped or dry.

You can find the L'Oreal Paris Pure Clay Detox & Brighten Cleanser at

Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser
This brand has a lot of great skincare products like this daily cleanser that contains Amazonian white clay. The clay helps absorb excess oil and draw out impurities. It's also formulated with aloe vera and glycerin to hydrate and soothe the skin.

It’s gentle on the skin and doesn’t strip the skin leaving it feeling dry.

You can find Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser at

  • The Kiehl’s website https://rstyle.me/+fnnATd8yFzhwzYyKr_4eIw
  • Ulta https://rstyle.me/+VroriUZ7LAyzpy0vewTcPw

Foaming Cleansers

Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Control Foam Wash
I currently use a Cetaphil face wash, not this one, and I really like the brand. It’s got great products for all skin types.

This specific foam facial wash from Cetaphil is specifically designed for oily and acne-prone skin. It contains zinc technology to help reduces surface oil and shine while calming and soothing skin.

This Cetaphil foaming face wash also helps defend against 5 signs of skin sensitivity including dryness, irritation, roughness, tightness, and a weakened skin barrier.

You can find the Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Control Foam Wash at

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser
This foaming gel cleanser from La Roche-Posay contains zinc as a key ingredient for purifying and removing excess oil.

Another key ingredient is La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water which is a soothing water sourced in the town of La Roche-Posay in France and a core ingredient in most of this brand's products. It contains a unique combination of minerals, trace elements, and a high selenium concentration, a natural antioxidant.

This foaming cleanser is gentle enough for daily use and won't leave skin feeling dry or tight.

You can find the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser at

Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser
Another brand that has risen from obscurity is Paula’s Choice. It’s gained some popularity with the Gen Z crowd through some Tik Tok reviews.

This cleanser oil-reducing cleanser is formulated with gentle, non-irritating ingredients to help remove excess oil and impurities from the skin. It's fragrance-free and suitable for all skin types, but particularly good for oily and combination skin.

The gentle foaming formula works to improve the appearance of enlarged, congested pores. It leaves skin feeling exceptionally clean, smooth, and balanced without any dryness or a tight feel.

You can purchase the Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser at

Charcoal Cleanser

Biore Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser
This cleanser from Biore contains natural charcoal to penetrate pores to help absorb excess oil and impurities. Plus it contains 1% salicylic acid to help fight acne, prevent future breakouts, and clean deep in the pores. It’s gentle enough to be used daily.

You can find the Biore Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser at


12 Facial Cleansers Perfect For Oily Skin? ›

Wash face thoroughly with a mild soap or a gentle alcohol-free non-soap cleanser such as Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Wash, Cetaphil cleanser, or CeraVe cleanser.

What is the number 1 best face wash? ›

  • Best Overall: CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser at Amazon. ...
  • Best Budget: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser at Amazon. ...
  • Best for Sensitive Skin: Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser at Amazon. ...
  • Best for Severe Dryness: First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser at Amazon. ...
  • Best Refillable: ...
  • Best for Acne: ...
  • Best Soothing: ...
  • Best Foam:
Apr 7, 2023

What face wash to use with tretinoin? ›

Wash face thoroughly with a mild soap or a gentle alcohol-free non-soap cleanser such as Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Wash, Cetaphil cleanser, or CeraVe cleanser.

Can I wash my face 3 times if I have oily skin? ›

Editor's tip: If your skin gets oily quickly, you may be tempted to wash your face multiple times a day. However, this will do more harm than good. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should only wash your face twice a day (and after sweating heavily).

What type of cleanser is best for oily and sensitive skin? ›

Gel: Best for those with sensitive skin, gel cleansers are mild products that cause little to no irritation. They're deep penetrating and have high-exfoliating capabilities, making them perfect for removing oil, bacteria, and other impurities.

Does oily skin need cleanser? ›

Deep cleansing is essential for oily skin, as it allows you to remove excess oil that can clog your pores, cause shine and increase the impression of blackheads. A thorough deep cleanse with a face cleanser also fully eliminates debris that can worsen skin congestion.

What is the #1 facial cleanser in America? ›

Philosophy's Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser Is Officially America's #1 Facial Cleanser.

What do dermatologists recommend to wash face with? ›

Use a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser that does not contain alcohol. Wet your face with lukewarm water and use your fingertips to apply cleanser. Resist the temptation to scrub your skin because scrubbing irritates the skin. Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry with a soft towel.

Why is my face so oily even after I wash it? ›

Oily skin happens when the sebaceous glands in the skin make too much sebum. Sebum is the waxy, oily substance that protects and hydrates the skin. Sebum is vital for keeping the skin healthy. However, too much sebum can lead to oily skin, clogged pores, and acne.

Why is my face so oily even though I wash it everyday? ›

There are many reasons for oily skin, including stress, humidity, genetics, and fluctuating hormones.

Why does my face get super oily after I wash it? ›

It's a common misconception that people with oily skin require stronger products to “dry out” their skin. In reality, washing your face too often or with the wrong cleanser can strip your skin of natural oils —triggering an increase in oil production—and may also damage its protective barrier.

What face wash has retinol? ›

7 results
  • Olay Retinol 24 + Peptide Smoothing and Sulfate-Free Face Wash - 16 fl oz. ...
  • Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 + Peptide Face Wash and Moisturizer - Duo Pack - 5 fl oz/1.7oz. ...
  • RoC Deep Wrinkle Retinol Serum Cleanser - 6 fl oz. ...
  • TRULY Vegan Collagen Booster Anti-Aging Facial Cleanser - 8 fl oz - Ulta Beauty.

Which cleanser is best with retinol? ›

Best Cleansers to Use with Retinol
  • FIRST AID BEAUTY | Pure Skin Face Cleanser. SHOP NOW.
  • NEUTROGENA | Hydro Boost Gentle Cleansing Lotion. SHOP NOW.
  • AVÈNE | XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil. ...
  • CERAVE | Hydrating Facial Cleanser. ...
  • LA ROCHE-POSAY | Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Face Cleanser. ...
  • AQUANIL | Facial Cleanser.

What not to mix tretinoin with? ›

Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, it is especially important to avoid using the following skin products on the same area as tretinoin: Any other topical acne product or skin product containing a peeling agent (eg, benzoyl peroxide, resorcinol, salicylic acid, or sulfur).

What serum is good for oily skin? ›

Comparison of the best serums for oily skin
PriceBest for
BeTheSkin Botanical Pore Serum$$balancing pH
Cocokind Vitamin C Serum with Sea Grape Caviar$an eco-friendly skin care routine
The INKEY List Niacinamide Oil Control Serum$oil control on a budget
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%$oil control on a budget
8 more rows
Apr 15, 2022

Do you put serum or retinol first? ›

Must-mention: let your hyaluronic acid serum dry before following with retinol as, if applied to damp skin, there's a higher risk of redness and dryness. Nevertheless, if your skin is already used to retinol, it is okay to apply your retinol serum first, then pat on your hyaluronic acid serum.

Why La Roche Posay is so good? ›

The benefit of La Roche-Posay is its high-quality formulations that address specific skin concerns, including sensitive skin, dryness, acne, and rosacea. The products are well-researched and tested for efficacy and safety. La Roche-Posay is also a widely available and generally affordable brand.

What not to put on oily skin? ›

5 Ingredients To Avoid In Skin Care For Oily Skin
  • Coconut oil. Coconut oil for skin has many benefits, but not if you are the one with oily skin. ...
  • Alcohol. Many kinds of alcohols are used in skincare – some of them hydrate the skin, others cleanse it. ...
  • Harsh scrubs. ...
  • Fragrances. ...
  • Silicones.

What should you not put on oily skin? ›

Ahead, the skin expert lists out all the products and ingredients you need to stay away from if you have oily skin.
  1. 1) Occlusives like petroleum jelly. ...
  2. 2) Face oils like coconut oil. ...
  3. 3) Alcohol-based products. ...
  4. 4) Rough physical scrubs. ...
  5. 5) Silicones like dimethicone. ...
  6. 6) Artificial dyes. ...
  7. Also read:
Nov 29, 2019

Which cream is best for oily skin for daily use? ›

Daily Face Cream For Oily Skin Product Price List
  • DermDoc Vitamin E Day Cream (50 gm) | cream cream vitamin e. ...
  • Pond's Age Miracle Wrinkle Corrector Day Cream, 50g. ...
  • Plum Green Tea Oil Free Moisturizer | Contains Niacinamide & Hyaluronic Acid | 100% Fragrance Free |For Daily Use.

Which is better CeraVe or Cetaphil? ›

CeraVe is the safer bet for anyone with dry or sensitive skin. It's the one I use most often. If you want something for normal, combination, or oily skin, Cetaphil is a better place to start.

What is the difference between cleanser and facial cleanser? ›

While both cleansers & face-washes do the basic common job of cleansing your face, a facewash is a foaming cleanser while a cleansing lotion/cleansing milk (or simply called "cleanser") is non-foaming in nature and doesn't have to be washed off- and instead needs to be wiped off.

Is it better to wash your face before or after a shower? ›

Have no fear – we've done our share of research, and the answer is clear: post-shower is definitely the way to go. Sure, washing your face in the shower saves time but it can also do more harm than good – like, clogging pores with other products (gross) or drying out skin with hot water (ouch).

Why do dermatologists like Cetaphil? ›

For patients with acne, rosacea and eczema — all conditions that cause inflammation and skin irritation — Dr. Palep says that the Cetaphil cleanser helps to keep skin balanced when used as a part of a gentle skin care routine.

Should you wash your face with your hands or washcloth? ›

Contrary to popular myths, the safest way to wash your face is with your hands; washcloths and scrubs can be too abrasive on the skin, and might potentially harm healthy cells, resulting in irritation. It's therefore essential to wash your hands before washing your face.

Is it better to wash face in morning or night? ›

Should you wash your face in the morning or night? Regardless of your skin care needs, all experts agree: you absolutely should wash your face at night. As dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner told Allure, “If you're going to skip (a wash), then it's better to skip the morning one than the evening one.

Should I wash my face with hot or cold water? ›

“Warm water helps plump which makes your pores appear smaller, while cold water reduces puffiness,” says Beal. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends washing your face in lukewarm water.

What foods cause oily skin? ›

5 Foods That Cause Pimples and Oily Skin
  • Red Meat. Red meat including lamb, bacon, and sausages often contain saturated fat, which can increase inflammation in the body. ...
  • Refined Carbohydrate. ...
  • Fried Foods. ...
  • Dairy Products. ...
  • Salty Foods.

Does oily skin age better? ›

"Oily skin may help with aging because sebum is a natural moisturizer and can keep the skin protected and help scars heal better and faster," explains David Kim, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Idriss Dermatology. "This becomes increasingly helpful as we age as our skin loses the ability to hold on to moisture."

What hormone causes oily skin? ›

Androgens are the hormones mostly responsible for oil production, and sometimes they can fluctuate, stimulating an increase in sebum production. This often happens during puberty, just before menstruation, during pregnancy and during menopause.

How can I stop my face from getting oily naturally? ›

Wash your face

It seems obvious, but many people with oily skin don't wash their face daily. If your skin's oily, you should wash your face twice a day — but don't overdo it. Avoid harsh soaps or detergents. Use a gentle soap such as glycerin soap instead.

Will my face ever stop being oily? ›

Age. While you don't necessarily grow out of oily skin, your skin will indeed produce less sebum as you age. Aging skin loses protein, such as collagen, and the sebaceous glands slow down. This is why many people who have aging skin also have dry skin.

Why is my face so oily no matter what I do? ›

She also says that diets that are high in sugar, carbohydrates, saturated fats, and dairy products can trigger our oil glands and cause an imbalance in oil production. In fact, even your skin care routine can make your face oily, especially if you're not using the right products.

Can I use CeraVe if I have oily skin? ›

The CeraVe Foaming Cleanser makes an ideal cleanser for oily skin types as it deeply cleanses skin to remove impurities and avoid clogged pores, whilst it is also formulated with ceramides and hyaluronic acid to support the natural skin barrier.

Should I wash my face more often if I have oily skin? ›

How often should you wash if you have oily or acne-prone skin? The urge to overcleanse is common in those with oily or acne-prone skin. There's no need to wash the face more than twice a day. In fact, doing so may dry out your skin.

Why is my nose and chin so oily? ›

Oiliness occurs when the sebaceous glands on your nose produce too much sebum. This is a natural oil that protects and lubricates your skin. If you have oily skin, your nose may produce considerably more oil because your pores are naturally larger than other pores on the face.

Is oil or water based cleanser better for oily skin? ›

In fact, oily skin types will benefit significantly from using an oil-based cleanser first because it will gently remove excess sebum without stripping your face dry to go into overcompensation mode (read: more excess oil production).

Is CeraVe better than Cetaphil? ›

CeraVe is the safer bet for anyone with dry or sensitive skin. It's the one I use most often. If you want something for normal, combination, or oily skin, Cetaphil is a better place to start.

Is Cerave cleanser oil or water based? ›

A nourishing face wash for allergy-prone skin, this oil-based cleanser is non-comedogenic and contains no parabens or dyes, making it suitable for those with eczema-prone skin.

How do you tell if a cleanser is water or oil based? ›

Oil based skincare products contain no water and are made of oils. You can tell which type of product it is by looking at the ingredient label. If water is listed as an ingredient in your product, it is a water based product.

Do dermatologists actually recommend CeraVe? ›

What you need to know. Developed with dermatologists, CeraVe is the #1 dermatologist recommended skincare brand1.

Which brand is better than Cetaphil? ›

Most people prefer Cerave over Cetaphil for products such as moisturizers, lotions and some cleansers, because of its hydration properties. From my research, most people with dry skin reported to prefer Cerave.

Is CeraVe or Cetaphil better for oily? ›

If you experience dry skin, oily skin, acne-prone skin then CeraVe might be the clear choice. However, if you experience sensitive skin the Cetaphil is the better option.


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