Best Face Washes for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin

Having shiny and oily skin that is prone to acne breakouts can be the most frustrating thing in the world. It’s a horrible fate that we wouldn’t even wish on our worst enemy. Struggling with this type of skin is a vicious cycle. Sure, you may strip away the oil hoping it solves the problem, but often that 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. It won’t be an easy process, but the right face wash is out there for you. It’s just a matter of digging through all of the inferior products to find them gem. 

The true causes of acne can’t be solved with harsh cleaners. That’s quite literally just scratching the surface. Sadly, you can’t fix your hormones, stress level, genetics, or diet with a mere face wash. That is never going to happen. However, you can reduce inflammation, kill off bacteria, and moisturize with the right acne cleanser for oily skin. These things will show results. 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. It’s all about balance and finding the right face wash for your specific needs. 

We tried out dozens of cleansers before we narrowed our selection down to the following six face washes. If you’re looking for best face wash for oily and acne-prone skin, you’ll find it in this article. All of the face washes from our list are gentle on your skin, but have no mercy for those pesky pimples. That’s what you need. Something that will treat you with a soft touch while kicking that acne’s butt. We listed one cleanser that isn’t foaming and two cleaners that don’t even need to be rinsed off when you’re done. That’s ideal for those super lazy Sundays when you skip on beauty routine in favor of getting a brunch!

So what are you waiting for?! Check out our suggestions below and let us know which of the face wash for oily, sensitive skin is your fave. If none of these face washes solve your acne, then you are suffering from issues far more severe than a mere face wash could solve. 

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash for a fresh, clean feeling

Neutrogena is one of the most trusted names in the skin care market for a reason. 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. We’re certainly not going to disagree with those valuable sources. 

This cleanser contains salicylic acid that kills acne-causing bacteria and will help minimize blackheads too. The pleasant scent comes from grapefruit extract, which will lower sebum production. This face wash for oily and sensitive skin exfoliates gently as it cleans (yet another bonus if you happen to suffer from hyperpigmentation). But, even with all this cleansing power, somehow this product won’t dry out your face. That means that 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. It has become an industry leader for a reason. The good folks at Cetaphil know what they are doing. This Gentle Skin Cleanser is suitable for all skin types, not just oily skin. You can feel free to use it to wash both your face and body, which is a heaven sent for those who have acne on their chests and back (To be clear, there is nothing heavenly about bacne. It’s this powerful solution that is so exciting.) This versatile cleanser is suited for children, teens, or adults. It’s hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and has no scent. So you can use as much as you need without sweating the consequences. 

However, it’s not just acne that this facial wash targets. Nope, this face wash has a variety of targets in its sights. 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. That’s not easy to find in a face wash and should be cherished. Oh one last thing—you can use feel free to use Cetaphil without water. Yes, it’s so gentle you don’t even have to rinse it off. Try finding that in another face wash. We’ll wait…

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser to enhance skin’s protective barrier

CeraVe Foaming Face Cleanser is another gentle wash recommended by professional dermatologists. It’s also recommended by the National Eczema Association, so if you’re suffering from that particular condition this is the face wash for you! It contains hyaluronic acid to moisturize, niacinamide to reduce redness, and ceramides to help your skin protect itself. It soothes while tarketing problem areas, which certainly isn’t true of all facial washes.

While this product is recommended for normal skin as well, you might think it’s not adequate for fighting acne. Don’t make this mistake. Despite appearances, this is one of the best face wash products for oily and 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? Don’t rule this one out because it isn’t an acne specialist, it still works better than most of the acne creams on the market. 

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, just without the premium price tag. 

We liked this acne cleanser for oily skin because it’s an all-in-one product. It removes makeup and cleans your face so you don’t need to buy two separate products. That’s rare and real life savour for anyone trying to cut down on their skin care bills. You don’t even have to rinse it off when you’re done. It’s safe to use on your eyes and lips, too. Your whole face will benefit from this cleanser without any concerns. 

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. It really is that simple. 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 and 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, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work as well as other facial washes. 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, so you can expect to fall into one of those two extremes. 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. After all, if it helps with acne it belongs here.

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 and sensitive skin. We say if you’ve enjoyed other Clinique products, it’s highly likely this one will be a good fit, too. If you’ve found that they don’t work for you, then stay far away. 

Olay Foaming Face Wash, the traditional solution

Oil of Olay has been been getting face cleaning right for years. This is not a new product on the market, but it doesn’t need to be. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 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. So, even if Oil of Olay may seem like an old and outdated choice, don’t rule it out. Just because this product doesn’t contain some sort of new and exciting formula doesn’t mean it can’t get the job done. 

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, which is an added bonus. 

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 that precious vitamin. 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 found in this facial wash. They will all work together in perfect harmony to 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. Instead, you can expect to your skin to show a well-balanced glow. It’s one of the things we loved most about this product. 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 will help 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. That’s because it targets impurities, but isn’t too harsh on your skin (a tricky balance found in far too few facial washes). It’s a fantastic wash for any 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


Looking for a facial wash that is ideal for aging skin that’s oily and prone to acne breakouts? Then this organic face wash for women and men might be right for you! It 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 and helps you shed dead skin while 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. So, don’t skimp on moisturizer as it’s a vital part of the process. For further details, check out our article on the The 5 Best Face Moisturizers for Acne-Prone Skin.

One Comment

  1. Best I have ever used is Monsia

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