For people with oily skin, finding the right face wash can be tough. The trick is to find a cleanser that'll soak up excess sebum without being overly drying, since completely stripping your face of moisture can cause your skin to produce more oil to compensate for the loss. So while the best cleansers for oily skin will contain pore-unclogging ingredients such as salicylic acid, they'll also be balanced out by lightweight hydrators like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, or aloe vera.
A few more tips from the American Academy of Dermatology for people who have oily skin: Don't scrub your face while you're washing it, because that can irritate skin and cause breakouts; stick with oil-free, noncomedogenic skin care products; don't touch your face during the day, because your fingers can spread spread dirt, oil and bacteria; and be sure to use an oil-free moisturizer daily, as well as a lightweight sunscreen.
Keep your complexion balanced with any of the best face washes for oily skin featured ahead.
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1. The Overall Best Cleanser For Oily Skin
This derm-favorite cleanser from CeraVe is also one of the most highly rated cleansers on Amazon — just check out its near-perfect 4.8-star rating from over 2,000 shoppers. The formula, which was designed with oily skin types in mind, is oil-free, fragrance-free, and noncomedogenic. And though it's foaming — which can sometimes be an indicator that a face wash is drying — it doesn't contain any sulfates, and it's enriched with hydrating hyaluronic acid and skin-strengthening ceramides to keep things balanced. There's also niacinamide in here, which is an incredible ingredient that helps promote clearer, more even-looking skin. You can use this as body wash, too!
2. The Best Cleanser For Oily, Acne-Prone Skin
For oily skin types dealing with acne and/or congestion, go with a cleanser that contains salicylic acid, a BHA that's known for its ability to dig deeply into pores to remove the dead skin and excess sebum that's likely causing blackheads and whiteheads. This La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser, which contains 2% salicylic acid, is another dermatologist (and fan) favorite. The fragrance- and oil-free formula also contains lipo hydroxy acid to further remove excess oil, while glycerin provides some lightweight hydration. That said, people who have known sensitivities to sulfates should steer clear of this cleanser.
3. A Lower-Strength Cleanser For Acne-Prone Skin
Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions Purifying Gel Cleanser contains a lower-strength salicylic acid (1% versus the 2% in the La Roche-Posay cleanser) derived from willow bark extract, so it's a bit less heavy duty on the acne-fighting front. That said, it does contain added fragrance — La Roche Posay's does not — so if you have reactive, easily irritated skin, this may not be the best choice for you. If you don't mind fragrance in your products, though, this is a great, affordable choice for oily/acne-prone/congested skin types.
4. The Best Cleanser For Oily, Sensitive Skin
Go with this PCA Skin face wash if you're looking for a gentle way to exfoliate your oily, sensitive skin. The exfoliants in here are lactic acid and gluconolactone, while aloe vera works to soothe inflammation and encourage softer skin with the help of moisturizing glycerin. Lactic acid is a gentle chemical exfoliant that helps encourage skin cell turnover, while gluconolactone, also a chemical exfoliant, works similarly, but also has moisture-attracting properties. Because of the way these acids work, this is probably a better choice for people who are dealing with skin that looks or feels uneven, rather than severe acne (go with a salicylic acid cleanser to help with that!).
5. The Best Cleanser For Combination Skin
Combination skin types need a cleanser that won't clog their pores or provoke breakouts, but will restore moisture to dry spots. This cleanser from Korean beauty brand Etude House fits the bill. It's foaming, so it'll leave your most oily areas feeling clean, but it doesn't contain any sulfates that'll irritate the dry parts of your face. The ever-so-slightly acidic formula contains panthenol and madecassoside to soothe, repair, protect, and strengthen skin. It's also fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and noncomedogenic.