The Best Face Washes & Cleansers for Oily Skin for 2020

Oily skin is not just annoying, but it is also hard to manage, from the shine and grease to the blemishes and breakouts. Excess oil has been found to be potentially damaging to the skin too, as this is prone to oxidation. The good news is that are ways you can effectively control oiliness and minimize the skin problems that come with it, including blackheads, whiteheads and pimples. The most basic yet important of these oil-reducing strategies, according to dermatologists, is cleansing your face. And your must-have: a face wash that is specially formulated for your type of oily skin.

Today’s selection consists of a range of cleansers for men’s and women’s oily skin. You’ll find mild and medicated options for oily sensitive skin and acne-prone skin. There are cleansers that work best as an exfoliating face wash or a whitening face for oily skin. And you can even choose from a variety of organic face washes

To help you decide, we made the How to Pick Best Face Washes & Cleansers for Oily Skin Guide reveling all the secrets.

Best Face Washes & Cleansers for Oily Skin Comparison Chart


ProductOveral RatingFeauturesWhere to buy?

Vitamin C Facial Cleanser with Organic & Natural Ingredients by InstaNatural Review
Vitamin C Facial Cleanser with Organic & Natural Ingredients by InstaNatural★★★★★ (5)Powerful anti-aging Peptide
Vitamin C Facial Cleanser with Organic & Natural Ingredients by InstaNatural Review

La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Face Wash Cleanser Review
La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Face Wash Cleanser★★★★★ (5)Powerful anti-aging Peptide
La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Face Wash Cleanser Review

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser for Daily Face Washing, Normal to Oily Skin Review
CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser for Daily Face Washing, Normal to Oily Skin★★★★ (4.5)Powerful anti-aging Peptide
CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser for Daily Face Washing, Normal to Oily Skin Review

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin Review
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin★★★★ (4.5)Powerful anti-aging Peptide
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin Review

Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Cream Cleanser for Acne Prone Skin Review
Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Cream Cleanser for Acne Prone Skin★★★★ (4)Powerful anti-aging Peptide
Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Cream Cleanser for Acne Prone Skin Review

Biore Charcoal Acne Cleanser Review
Biore Charcoal Acne Cleanser★★★★ (4)Powerful anti-aging Peptide
Biore Charcoal Acne Cleanser Review


Oil or sebum is essential to keeping your skin healthy. It is produced by the sebaceous glands underneath your skin, with oil production particularly active in areas crowded with these glands: your face, neck, chest and back.

Oil travels from sebaceous glands to the surface of your skin through the nearest pores and in the process not only lubricates but also protects your skin by binding to and removing dead skin cells and other irritants. In addition, research suggests that oil helps deliver antioxidants such as vitamin E, which are key to keeping your skin healthy.

At times, however, sebaceous glands produce more sebum than necessary. This excess oil ends up clogging your pores and making your skin look greasy and shiny.

Signs and Effects

How can you tell if you have overactive sebaceous glands? What are some signs of oily skin?

  • Enlarged pores: Oily skin and large pores typically go hand in hand. Pores increase in size to compensate for the amount of oil that overactive sebaceous glands produce. The bigger your pores, the more oil is secreted through your skin.
  • Shiny complexion: If you have oily skin, chances are your face looks shiny, especially around your forehead and nose (T-zone). Your skin might also feel greasy just a few hours after the last time you showered or washed your face.
  • Prone to blemishes and breakouts: Oily skin and pimples are closely associated. Oil attracts dust, dirt and other impurities that clog your pores. Clogged pores in turn lead to acne, blackheads and whiteheads, among other skin problems.

If you wear makeup, you might have noticed that your makeup doesn’t last as long with an oily complexion, necessitating multiple touchups throughout the day.

Or perhaps you’re no stranger to frequent blotting. If the tissue you use gets soaked in oil each time you blot your face, then chances are you do have oily skin.

But if oil buildup is occasional and concentrated around certain areas of your face only (usually the nose), while other parts feel flaky and dry, then you probably have combination skin.


A host of factors contribute to oily skin. And no, it’s not because you feasted on greasy food last night. While your diet can aggravate skin problems, it does not directly cause oily skin. But the following do.

  • Genes: Oily skin is for most part hereditary. So you could be predisposed to oily skin if your mother or father has oily skin. Those “born” with oily skin have bigger sebaceous glands, which are more active at producing oil.
  • Hormones: Oily skin can also be traced to heightened levels of androgen, a hormone that plays a critical role in oil production. Androgen levels increase during specific stages of your life such as puberty, resulting in a spike in oil production, which then leads to oily and often acne-prone skin. Women also tend to have higher androgen levels—and oilier skins—just before their menstrual cycle begins, during pregnancy and as they undergo menopause.
  • Stress: Stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that pumps up your skin’s oil production. So if you’re going through a physically, mentally or emotionally exhausting period, your skin may be more vulnerable to oiliness.

Oily skin has also been linked to air pollutants such as cigarette smoke. This is likewise considered among the side effects of taking steroids and similar medications. And if your face-cleaning regimen is too aggressive or harsh, it becomes part of the problem rather than the solution (discussed in detail below).

Oiliness can be seasonal too. More people have extremely oily skin in summer due to excessive heat and humidity, which ramp up oil production, and increased sweating. This is not to say that you’re spared from oily skin in winter.But because there is less moisture in the air during winter, your oily skin will be prone to drying out.

The Upside

Having oily skin is not all bad. It actually has benefits too. For one, those with oily appear to have fewer wrinkles and fine lines and therefore look more youthful than people with dry skin. And because it has a thicker dermis and is better at holding in moisture, oily skin can more effectively withstand the elements. Also, oily skin can feel softer and smoother, giving you a natural glow.

Best Face Washes & Cleansers for Oily Skin Reviews

Vitamin C Facial Cleanser – With Organic & Natural Ingredients – For Oily, Dry & Sensitive Skin – by InstaNatural

Vitamin C Facial Cleanser with Organic & Natural Ingredients by InstaNatural Review
Buy Vitamin C Facial Cleanser with Organic & Natural Ingredients by InstaNatural

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Buy Vitamin C Facial Cleanser with Organic & Natural Ingredients by InstaNatural

This Vitamin C Facial Cleanser is an organic face wash popular for its anti-aging and blemish- and pore-reducing benefits. It’s one of the best-sellers at InstaNatural, a small business that focuses on natural yet effective skin care solutions. The company does not use parabens, formaldehyde releasers, mineral oil, MCI/MI, synthetic dyes, sulfates, harmful alcohols and any fillers, making their products 100 percent safe.

For their Vitamic C Facial Cleanser, InstaNatural selected and combined pure and nourishing ingredients that together protect, refine and rejuvenate the skin, for better texture and tone and a healthier complexion. Topping the list is the natural antioxidant Vitamin C along with chamomile, green tea and sugarcane extracts. Aloe and coconut water are mixed in as well, making for a refreshing and hydrating formula.

The most notable feature of this cleanser is its anti-aging properties.Its boosters help get rid of dulling skin cells, while the antioxidants from Vitamin C prevent and reduce wrinkles and fine lines andpromote collagen production, resulting in firmer, brighter-looking skin. A lot of users have also seen their acne blemishes and dark spots lighten with daily use.

In addition, the cleanser does a top-notch job of tightening and exfoliating your pores. Users with oily skin and blackheads or whiteheads reported fewer of these unsightly bumps, while those with oily skin and large pores said they felt their pores became smaller. Many also loved how soft, smooth and healthy their skin looked. If you have sensitive skin though, certain ingredients may cause an adverse reaction.

When washing with this cleanser, which has a nice citrus fragrance, a little goes a long way. It also rinses easily and thus does not leave any residue.Some users, however, experienced a tingling sensation while washing and mild drying after washing. The price may be a bit high, but on the whole the product is worth your money.

  • What it’s best for? For an anti-aging cleansing regimen and as an exfoliating face wash
  • Why? It contains natural ingredients that contribute to youthful-looking skin and tighter pores

La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Face Wash Cleanser

La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Face Wash Cleanser Review
Buy La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Face Wash Cleanser

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Buy La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Face Wash Cleanser

The La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel has won fans over with its effective pH-balanced and water-soluble formula, which suitseven those with oily sensitive skin. The cleanser is not only recommended by thousands of dermatologists worldwide but was also developed in collaboration with dermatologists and clinically tested on acne- and blemish-prone sensitive skin.

The formula features a thick and clear gel texture and a light citrusy scent. It is free of oil, soap, alcohol and parabens and relies on zinc pidolate to cleanse and purify the skin.

As a result, excess oil and impurities are removed, leaving your skin feeling fresh, soft and smooth. Plus, there are no ingredients that could clog your pores, making this a safe choice for those who have skin with acne.

According to many users, the cleanser is gentle enough for daily use, with only a few complaining about dryness or irritation after washing. Price-wise, it’s one of the more cost-effective options in La Roche-Posay’s selection. Compared to other brands with water-soluble washes, however, the product tends to be more expensive.

  • What it’s best for? As a cleanser for acne- and blemish-prone sensitive skin
  • Why? It is oil-, soap- and alcohol-free and has been tested on sensitive skin

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser for Daily Face Washing, Normal to Oily Skin

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser for Daily Face Washing, Normal to Oily Skin Review
Buy CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser for Daily Face Washing, Normal to Oily Skin

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Buy CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser for Daily Face Washing, Normal to Oily Skin

The CeraVe Forming Facial Cleanser earns points for its unique non-drying formula. Delivered via a patented controlled-release technology, the formula contains three ceramides (1, 3, 6-II) that help remove excess oil while retaining the healthy oil that forms the skin’s protective barrier. One of its active ingredients, hyaluronic acid, aids in locking in moisture, so you can look forward to all-day hydration. And with niacinamide calming and soothing your skin, your natural glow is restored.

Users also love how the foaming action gently refreshes and thoroughly cleanses, leaving their skin feeling soft rather than tight. And only a little amount is needed to make the clear liquid lather, so a bottle may last you longer than expected.

Plus, this cleanser does not clog pores or cause irritation and is mild enough for everyday use. It is ideal for those with normal to oily skin and can be counted on if you have acne-prone skin.

However, if you’re looking for a product that also gets rid of blackheads, heals dark spots and effectively removes waterproof and long wearing makeup, then this may not be your best bet. Some users warn against washing with the cleanser if you have sensitive skin or a skin condition like eczema, psoriasis or rosacea, having experienced rashes with little red bumps themselves. It has been pointed out too that the formula includes parabens, and propylene glycol, a known skin sensitizer.

  • What it’s best for? Keeping your skin moisturized daily
  • Why? It contains three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid, ensuring that your skin does not dry out

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser, For Normal to Oily Skin

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin Review
Buy Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin

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Buy Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser is developed by dermatologists and widely trusted for its safe and gentle formulation. It steers clear of additives like dyes, phthalates, sulfates and synthetic fragrances and instead makes the best out of the basics—a blend of mild and nonirritating ingredients.

Among these are surfactants that break up and remove the oil, dirt and other impurities for a thorough cleanse that won’t leave your skin feeling dry or tight. And there’s cetyl alcohol, which helps slow evaporation from the skin.

As it’s moisturizer- and soap-free, this cleanser washes off well—without any greasy residue to irritate your skin or to clog your pores—despite its fairly thick consistency. It exfoliates too and aids in tightening pores, enhancing your skin texture and tone so you end up with skin that looks fresh and feels soft.

So it’s no surprise that this has become a favorite acne cleanser for oily skin, especially among users who regularly experience breakouts. And it is ideal not only for men’s and for women’s skin care needs, but suits children and teens as well, which just goes to show how skin-friendly its formulation is.

While it costs a bit more than the average face wash, to many of those who have purchased and tried the cleanser, the price is pretty reasonable since a bottle lasted them up to two months and delivered the results they hoped for. The formulation includes parabens though, a substance which in large amounts could harm your skin.

  • What it’s best for? For sensitive skin requiring a safe and gentle formulation
  • Why? It uses only mild and nonirritating ingredients and rinses well

Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Cream Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin

Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Cream Cleanser for Acne Prone Skin Review
Buy Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Cream Cleanser for Acne Prone Skin

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Buy Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Cream Cleanser for Acne Prone Skin

If you suffer from oily skin, drugstore finds that work really well are an answered prayer, especially if you’re on a tight budget. This is why the Clean & Clear Absorbing Cream Cleanser is a great steal. Available in a 5-ounce tube, the cleanser boasts a dual-action oil-free formula that helps with both oily skin and pimples.

In this case, the combination of salicylic acid and Powder particles technology helps treat and fight acne while washing away excess oil. Suitable for all skin types, it is gentle enough for daily use as an acne soap.

The cleanser works by penetrating pores without clogging them. It dries up, shrinks and reduces the redness of pimples. It is even effective for spot treatment, especially when paired with a disinfectant.

And unlike most acne-control washes, this feels moisturizing, so you don’t have to worry about your skin overdrying. It’s also perfect if you apply makeup in the morning before you go out, as it leaves a smooth, matte and powdery finish that helps control oil throughout the day.

However, some users were disappointed that results took longer than what was indicated on the package, while others did not experience noticeable improvements in their complexion or found the cleanser irritating.

  • What it’s best for? Cleansing acne-prone skin before applying makeup
  • Why? It contains salicylic acid and penetrates pores

Biore Charcoal Acne Cleanse

Biore Charcoal Acne Cleanser Review
Buy Biore Charcoal Acne Cleanser

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Buy Biore Charcoal Acne Cleanser

This dermatologist-tested acne cleanser is Biore’s take on the “activated charcoal” hype, with many purchasing the product because they were interested infinding out if it’s worth the hype. Among satisfied customers, feedback often focused on how deeply the wash cleanses, how smooth and soft their face feels, and how bright their complexion turned out.

The cleanser combines natural charcoal and salicylic acid (1 percent), creating a blend that works even on extremely oily skin with acne. It helps by penetrating deep into pores to clean out oil, dirt and other pimple-causing elements. It also instantly absorbs oily residue on the skin, reducing the likelihood of further breakouts.

It may not clear your skin completely or erase old pimple scars, but users are still happy that this affordable cleanser helps minimize acne and manage oily skin in summer. In case your skin feels dry or needs a hydration boost after washing, applying a non-comedogenic moisturizer ought to do the trick.

However, if you have dry or severely sensitized skin, this cleanser is not recommended as it may make your face slightly red or result in little itchy bumps, as some users have shared in their reviews. Also, what is normally a cool and mild tingling effectfrom cleansing could feel more like a uncomfortable burning and stinging sensation.

  • What it’s best for? Deep-cleaning clogged pores on acne-prone skin
  • Why? It uses a combination of natural charcoal and salicylic acid

What Is Best Face Wash for Oily Skin?

The best facial cleansers for oily skin are gentle and nondrying. So avoid products with strong or harsh ingredients, many of which may seem to be helping at first but over time are actually making things worse. Such ingredients do make your skin less oily, but they tend to overdo it, irritating and stripping oil from your skin. Your body responds by increasing oil production as a way of protecting your skin. So your skin might end up being even more shiny.

One example is alcohol. When added to cleansers, denatured, SD and other volatile alcohols allow for a quick-drying matte finish that degreases your skin. As appealing as this sounds, it’s a short-term benefit that’s counteracted by alcohol’s harmful effects on the skin, from dryness and erosion to enlarged pores and bumps.

Sodium lauryl sulfate is responsible for the “squeaky” clean feeling that some face washes give you. However, it tends to strip your skin of its natural protective oil and is said to cause allergic reactions.

Some people are also wary of parabens. This additive works as a preservative that thwarts the growth of harmful fungi and bacteria. While parabens have not been scientifically proven to contribute to cancer, there are concerns that they may be a risk factor. Also, if you have sensitive skin, cleansers with paraben could be irritating.

Fragrance-free formulas are your best bet if you have oily sensitive skin. Synthetic fragrances are laden with chemicals believed to trigger headaches, asthma attacks and allergies. The phosphates that are used to stabilize them are also associated with birth defects and reproductive problems, according to animal studies.

So what should you keep an eye out for when reading the labels on cleansers for oily skin?

  • If you are looking for an alternative to the acne soap you’ve been using, opt for non-comedogenic cleansers with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Such anti-bacteria medications help with managing or preventing breakouts, especially if you’re dealing with oily skin in summer.
  • For a more radiant complexion, try face washes that contain alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic acid, which help eliminate dead skin cells while encouraging the growth of new ones.
  • To keep your oily skin smooth and soft, you may want to consider cleansers with anti-inflammatory and calming agents like aloe, chamomile and green tea.
  • Need a face wash that will deeply cleanse your skin? Charcoal-based options, formulated to penetrate pores and take out impurities, have been introduced.
  • If you need an exfoliating face wash, choose cleansers with soft and round granules or micro-beads over those that have scratchy and round grains.
  • To get your fragrance fix, be on the lookout for cleansers that are scented using plant and fruit extracts or essential oils.
  • If you would like to try a whitening face wash for oily skin, select cleansers with skin-lightening properties courtesy of fruit or plant essences and extracts. A number of today’s face washes use tomato, lemon, soya, liquorice and saffron extracts to lighten the skin tone and for a brighter and more luminous complexion.

Oil-free and Oil-based Cleansers

Not all cleansers for men’s and for women’s oily skin are oil-free. Some of today’s options are actually oil-based.

Oil-free cleansers are traditionally preferred, as most believe “oil causes oil”—adding oil to the mix would exacerbate oiliness rather than eliminate it. The most effective ones are nondrying and moisturizing.

Oil-based cleansers are formulated around the notion of “like dissolves like,” which in this case would be oil attracting and dissolving excess oil. They also go on and spread easily, especially when applied on oily skin

Foam and Gel Cleansers

Foam cleansers are ideal for people who have oily skin with acne, as they tend to be quite drying. Named for their foamy lather, they are formulated to break down impurities trapped in your pores and to remove oil, makeup and sunscreen. Most include a pump dispenser and last long, as only a small amount is needed to work up enough lather to clean your face.

If you find foam cleansers too harsh, gel cleansers are a good fit, as they are generally more gentle. They are great at cleaning out excess oil and dirt without stripping necessary natural oils, helping to fight acne and to keep your skin moisturized.

Face-washing Tips for Oily Skin

Washing oily skin can be a tricky challenge. This is because excess oil on your face binds to dirt and debris and tends to get stuck in your pores. You could do a thorough cleanse, but then you might strip away the natural oils that help keep your skin hydrated. And you need to watch out for overdrying and irritation, both of which could cause an increase in oil production.

While the right cleanser can set you off on the right track, when and how you wash your face matters a lot too. So here are some face-washing tips and tidbits that can help keep your oily skin both clean and healthy.These guidelines are not gender-specific and work for man and woman alike.

  • Before starting, carefully read the manufacturer’s recommendations and instructions for washing oily skin. Drugstore cleansers are formulated differently, so you may need to adjust your routine based on what is indicated on the product’s packaging.
  • How often you wash your face affects how oily your skin gets. If you don’t wash enough, oil builds up. If you wash too often, oil production increases. Either way, you end up with oilier skin.The general rule is to wash your face twice a day: cleanse in the morning and rinse off grime and oil at night. You could squeeze in another wash after you exercise. But most dermatologists advise against washing your face more than three times daily.Remember overwashing leads to overdrying, and overdrying kicks oil production into overdrive. So don’t overdo it.
  • Use lukewarm water for best results. If the water is uncomfortably hot or too cold, you won’t be doing your skin any good. Hot water causes blood vessels to dilate, irritating and drying out your skin. It might also wash off natural oils responsible for keeping your skin soft and supple. Cold water is not very effective at removing oil and loosening dirt from your skin. This leaves you vulnerable to breakouts.
  • Make sure your hands are clean before you begin. The last thing you want is to add dirt or bacteria to your face.
  • While applying the cleanser, gently massage this into your face in small, circular motions using your fingertips.
  • Be mindful of what kind of and how much pressure you exert as you rub the cleanser in. Extra caution is necessary because the skin on your face is very delicate.
  • Avoid scrubbing if possible, as this can irritate or inflame your skin. Harsh scrubbing can also lead to overdrying, rashes and even burns.
  • Spend a bit more time cleaning your T-zone, which is often oilier than other parts of your face.
  • Don’t forget to also clean your hairline, along your jawline and other areas around your face that are prone to sweating.
  • Ditch the loofah and scrub brush or pad. Their rough texture may be aggravating your skin. Your fingertips should suffice.
  • If you’re using an exfoliating face wash, you could probably rub the cleanser onto your face using a soft washcloth. Do this as gently as possible.
  • Don’t rush. Lather from about 30 to 60 seconds after your face wash foams up for a thorough cleanse.
  • It’s best to clean your face in the sink. But if this is not possible, the shower will do. Just be sure the water is lukewarm and that you don’t wash your face longer than necessary.
  • Pat your skin dry using a clean towel. Avoid rubbing the towel into your skin, and replace the towel you use every week. This can help keep breakouts at bay.
  • After washing and drying your face, apply moisturizer to help keep your skin hydrated. This is especially beneficial before you go to bed, as your face is bound to lose moisture through the night. You can also finish with a toner, which aids in reducing oil and shine during the day.
  • Use an exfoliating face wash at least once a week to slough away dead skin cells on the surface of your skin. This lowers the chances that your pores will be clogged, that you will get blemishes or breakouts, and that your skin will look dull. Clear pores also make it easier for skin care products to penetrate.
  • Adjust your face-washing regimen based on the time of year. Use an extra gentle cleanser to avoid overdrying your oily skin in winter. And to minimize breakouts on your sweaty andoily skin in summer, do a deeper and more thorough cleanse.


You may not be able to put a stop to oiliness, but you can definitely control and manage it. Start by picking a face wash that suits your skin type, addresses your skin problems and fits your budget. Just make sure to closely review your options before making a purchase and to follow a skin-friendly face-washing regimen. And if you have extremely oily skin, do take the time to consult with a dermatologist. Remember excess oil can affect your skin’s health too, so give your oily skin the care and attention it deserves.