Having shiny, oily skin prone to acne breakouts can be the most frustrating thing in the world. It’s a vicious cycle: you strip away the oil hoping it solves the problem, but it only exacerbates your issues. So how does one start battling pimples and increased sebum production? The trick is to find the best face wash for oily, acne-prone skin.
The real causes of acne can’t be solved with harsh cleaners. You can’t fix your hormones, stress level, genetics, or diet with any kind of face wash. But you can reduce inflammation, kill off bacteria, and moisturize with the right acne cleanser for oily skin. Contrary to popular belief, these beauty products are not harsh and aggressive. If you know how to pick out a face wash for oily, sensitive skin, you’ll realize that gentle and effective can go hand in hand.
We tried out dozens of cleansers before we narrowed our selection down to six. If you’re looking for best face wash for oily, acne-prone skin, you’ll find it in our review. All of the face washes from out list are gentle on your skin but have no mercy for those pesky pimples. We listed one cleanser that isn’t foaming and two cleaners that don’t even need to be rinsed off when you’re done. (Ideal for those super lazy Sundays when you skip on beauty routine in favor of getting a brunch.)
Check out our suggestions and let us know which of the face wash for oily, sensitive skin is your fave.
Table of Contents
- 1 Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash for a fresh, clean feeling
- 2 All-around useful Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
- 3 CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser to enhance skin’s protective barrier
- 4 Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water is a no-rinse makeup remover and skin cleanser
- 5 Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Oily Skin Formula 6F39 for both men and women
- 6 Olay Foaming Face Wash, the traditional solution
- 7 InstaNatural Vitamin C Facial Cleanser for potent antioxidant benefits
- 8 CHIC REPUBLIC All Natural Activated Charcoal Facial Cleanser to purify your pores
- 9 Botanic Tree Glycolic Acid Face Wash Exfoliating Cleanser with anti-aging properties
- 10 After you’re done washing
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash for a fresh, clean feeling
Neutrogena is one of the most trusted names in the skin care market. Their products are often endorsed and praised by dermatologists and beauty specialists. In 2018, Women’s Health pronounced Neutrogena’s Oil-Free facial cleanser with pink grapefruit the best acne cleanser for oily skin. Allure also sings praises to this tried-and-true classic.
This cleanser contains salicylic acid that kills acne-causing bacteria and minimizes blackheads, too. The pleasant scent comes from grapefruit extract, which will lower sebum production. This face wash for oily, sensitive skin exfoliates gently as it cleans- another bonus if you happen to suffer from hyperpigmentation. But, even with all this cleansing power, this product won’t dry out your face. You can use it as a part of your morning and night routine.
All-around useful Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Like Neutrogena, Cetaphil is another big name in acne-fighting skin care products. This Gentle Skin Cleanser is suitable for all skin types, not just oily skin. You can use it to wash both your face and body, which is a heaven sent for those who have acne on their chests and backs. (Nothing heavenly about bacne, though.) This versatile cleanser is suited for children, teens, or adults. It’s hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and has no scent.
But it’s not just acne that this facial wash targets. People suffering from psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema have benefitted from using the Gentle Skin Cleanser. It moisturizes and doesn’t strip off all the skin’s natural oil, but it does remove makeup and dirt. And one last thing—you can use it without water. Yes, it’s so gentle you don’t even have to rinse it off.
CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser to enhance skin’s protective barrier
CeraVe Foaming Face Cleanser is another gentle wash recommended by dermatologists. It’s also recommended by the National Eczema Association. It contains hyaluronic acid to moisturize, niacinamide to reduce redness, and ceramides to help your skin protect itself.
While this product is recommended for normal skin, too, you might think it’s not adequate for fighting acne. Don’t make this mistake- this is one of the best face wash for oily, acne-prone skin on the market. Since it moisturizes as it cleans, your skin won’t feel the need to overproduce oil. And lower sebum production is what everyone with zits wants to have, am I right?
Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water is a no-rinse makeup remover and skin cleanser
The Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water is similar to Lancôme’s Eau Micellaire Douceur Express Cleansing product, but it costs a lot less. It’s based on the same Micelle technology invented in France.
We liked this acne cleanser for oily skin because it’s an all-in-one. It removes makeup and cleans your face so you don’t need to buy two separate products. You don’t even have to rinse it off when you’re done. It’s safe to use on your eyes and lips, too.
The Micellar Cleansing Water has no fragrance, no oil, and no alcohol. Garnier says the method for using it is, “Pour, Press, Proof.” That translates into putting it on a cotton pad, pressing it against your skin, then wiping gently. They say the Micelle technology attracts dirt and makeup like a magnet, lifting it from your skin. Since it’s water-based and contains no harsh chemicals, it makes a good face wash for oily, sensitive skin.
Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Oily Skin Formula 6F39 for both men and women
Clinique calls this “soap” and it does work up a lather. There are mixed reviews on this product. Most are very happy with it, while a few are very unhappy; there’s not a lot of in-between. However, people with pimples and acne tend to be pleased with its effect, which is why it found its way to our list of best face wash for oily, acne-prone skin.
The Liquid Facial Soap includes menthol for a fresh feeling after use. It also has aloe to soothe skin. This particular combination of purifying, refreshing power and soothing qualities is why this is a suitable face wash for oily, sensitive skin. We say if you’ve enjoyed other Clinique products, it’s highly likely this one will be a good fit, too.
Olay Foaming Face Wash, the traditional solution
Oil of Olay’s been getting it right for years. This is not a new product on the market. Some customers, both male and female, have been using it to keep acne at bay for over a decade. It’s one of the least expensive and most effective acne cleansers for oily skin on the market.
Ignore the “oil” in the brand name, though, as this foaming face wash doesn’t have any grease in it. This version for combination and oily skin contains witch hazel. That’s a natural astringent that will shrink your pores and reduce inflammation. The Olay face wash is gentle enough to use both morning and night.
InstaNatural Vitamin C Facial Cleanser for potent antioxidant benefits
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know how great Vitamin C is for your skin- all the beauty gurus are raving about serums, creams, and cleansers that contain it. This cleanser is infused with natural antioxidant Vitamin C, but it’s not the only great thing about it. Green tea, chamomile, coconut water, aloe, and sugar cane are just some of the natural ingredients this facial wash has, all working clean your skin and hydrate it at the same time. It won’t leave your skin feeling dry and dull like many cleansers for blemished skin tend to do, but rather give you a well-balanced glow. It’s one of the things we loved most about it- it won’t just reduce the inflammation and eliminate your pimples, but it will simultaneously keep your skin in top shape. This cruelty-free, natural cleanser for oily and acne-prone skin is also a favorite with fans of Korean cosmetics, as it helps you achieve that coveted radiant complexion.
CHIC REPUBLIC All Natural Activated Charcoal Facial Cleanser to purify your pores
This deep pore cleanser utilizes the purifying power of natural activated charcoal to target and draw out all the dirt and oil your pores trap throughout the day. If you are prone to acne breakouts, have sensitive skin, or suffer with clogged pores, this natural facial wash is ideal for you- as it targets impurities but isn’t too harsh on your skin. It’s a fantastic wash for skin that is prone to acne and flare ups, as it helps your skin heal and doesn’t just dry out the pimples. Your skin will be well-hydrated, soft, and acne-free with a little persistence. And it’s all thanks to the unique natural formula that, in addition to the natural activated charcoal, contains white, green, and Rooibos tea extracts to soothe and reduce inflammation, and vitamins and oils that invigorate the skin.
Botanic Tree Glycolic Acid Face Wash Exfoliating Cleanser with anti-aging properties
Ideal for aging skin that’s oily and prone to acne breakouts, this organic face wash for women and men will keep your skin clean and youthful-looking. The secret weapon of this Botanic Tree facial wash is the 10% Glycolic Acid, which gently exfoliates, helping you shed dead skin and unclogging your pores to prevent the formation of new acne. This potent ingredient will also even out your complexion and minimize the appearance of fine lines. Additionally, to treat the existing inflammations and balance out the oil production, this cleanser has an array of carefully selected 100% organic extracts in its formula, including tea tree, peppermint, lavender, shea butter, organic bamboo, and many others. If acne and out-of-control sebum are not the only issues you’re dealing with, and you’d want a facial wash that treats all imperfections with one formula, Botanic Tree Glycolic Acid cleanser might just be what you’re looking for.
After you’re done washing
As you can see, there’s not just one best face wash for oily, acne-prone skin. Depending on your individual needs and skin situation, some of these will be a better match than others. Once you find the cleanser you love and your face feels refreshed and clean, remember to moisturize. Check out our article on the The 5 Best Face Moisturizers for Acne-Prone Skin.