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14 Best Face Washes to Combat Your Oily Skin

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When choosing the right cleanser for your skin type, it's important to pay attention to the formula's texture. Marianne Pistilli, a physician assistant at NYC's Schweiger Dermatology Group says she typically recommends oily skin types steer clear of oil-based cleansers (but always talk to your dermatologist because everyone is different). "Cleansing gels and foams are fine, but sometimes foaming cleansers have allergic ingredients, so pay attention if you get rashes or persistent redness." As far as key ingredients go, Pistilli suggests looking for a cleansing formula that features salicylic acid or glycolic acid if your oily skin is also blemish-prone. On the flip side, she recommends steering clear of harsh scrubs. "They cause microscopic scratches in the skin, which can lead to bacterial, viral, or fungal infections," she says.

Ready to find the perfect non-comedogenic oily skin cleanser for your skincare routine? We’ve rounded up the 14 best face washes for oily skin. Whether you're looking to fight blackheads, control sebum production, or do a little bit of both, these oil control formulas will leave your skin clean, clear, healthy, and oil-free. Skincare for oily skin is known to lead to dry skin, so we’re helping you avoid dryness with the skincare products we love that also come highly recommended by the derms. Face cleanser doesn’t have to be complicated. Check out our best cleanser list, head to Sephora (or Amazon), and prepare to lather up your new faves for a deep cleanse. You’ll be able to brighten and replenish your skin in no time!


About the Expert:

Marianne Pistilli is a physician assistant at Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC. She has over 11 years of experience in cosmetic and medical dermatology and is a member of the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants and the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery.

1. Best All-Purpose Face Wash for Oily Skin:

FIRST AID BEAUTY Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay

FIRST AID BEAUTY Skin Rescue Deep Cleanser with Red Clay

This rich, red-hued cleanser gets its vibrant shade from red clay, a deeply cleansing ingredient that promotes cell regeneration. This hero ingredient is paired with rosemary leaf extract, and together, the two create a powerful duo that keeps excess oil production under control. Plus, the rosemary gives this clay cleanser a delightful, herby scent to really delight your senses. Like all FIRST AID BEAUTY products, this is an excellent option for all skin types, but can be especially great for those with sensitive skin. "I’m picky about skincare and really enjoy this brand," one IPSY member writes in their review. "Refreshing and oil balancing which is AMAZING since my oily skin makes it hard to maintain my makeup throughout the day, but this helped!"

2. Best Face Wash for Breakout-Prone Oily Skin:

PANOXYL Acne Foaming Wash Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Maximum Strength

PANOXYL Acne Foaming Wash Benzoyl Peroxide 10% Maximum Strength
Courtesy of PANOXYL

When it comes to breakout-fighting skincare, PANOXYL has it down. This product in particular helps clear existing acne and prevent future breakouts. It contains the highest level of benzoyl peroxide without needing a prescription. We all know acne products can be drying for the skin, which is why we love this cleanser—it also works to keep the skin hydrated. Added bonus? This product is gentle enough to use on your neck and back.

3. Best Gentle Cleanser for Oily Skin:

GLOW RECIPE Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser

GLOW RECIPE Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser

Blueberries? In your cleanser? You bet. This superfood is packed with antioxidants that can protect skin and soothe inflammation. This hero ingredient is backed by an exfoliating AHA duo of glycolic acid and lactic acid. These two ingredients gently break down dead skin cells to keep skin clear, smooth, and healthy. The bouncy gel cleanser is free of parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, silicones, phthalates, and synthetic dyes, making it a great choice for those with sensitive and oil-prone skin. "It’s gentle on my skin, removes all makeup with no residue or sticky feeling, and feels very clean and fresh," says one IPSY member. "I follow up with my daily toner, moisturizer, and serum or a face mask and my skin feels amazing."

4. Best Anti-Inflammatory Face Wash for Oily Skin:

TULA SKINCARE The Cult Classic Purifying Face Cleanser

TULA SKINCARE The Cult Classic Purifying Face Cleanser

This gel cleanser wipes away all traces of makeup, dirt, and daily grime without stripping your skin of moisture—a must for the drier winter months. The key ingredients in this non-comedogenic formula are chicory root, turmeric, blueberry extract, lactic acid, and probiotics. Chicory, turmeric, and blueberry create an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory blend, lactic acid gently exfoliates the skin for a smoother, more radiant complexion; and probiotics keep your skin's microbiome balanced. "Loved how clear and bright my skin looked after washing with this cleanser," says an IPSY member in their product review. "Perfectly completed my double cleanse routine."

5. Best Salicylic Acid Cleanser for Oily Skin:

THE INKEY LIST Salicylic Acid Cleanser

THE INKEY LIST Salicylic Acid Cleanser
Courtesy of THE INKEY LIST

Affordable and effective? Say no more! We recommend this accessible all-star because it reduces acne, blemishes, and oil. It’s also suitable for all skin types. Its salicylic acid inclusion is designed to unclog pores and gently exfoliate for a visibly clearer complexion.

6. Best Face Wash for Oily Skin With Large Pores:

PAULA’S CHOICE Pore Normalizing Cleanser

PAULA’S CHOICE Pore Normalizing Cleanser
Courtesy of PAULA’S CHOICE

We stand by pretty much all things PAULA’S CHOICE, so it should come as no surprise that one of the brand’s cleansers made our list of faves. The harsh reality is we can’t reduce the size of our pores, but if we can at least dig out the grime and minimize their appearance, we’ll settle for that. We’re fans of how this product feels silky and smooth on the skin, unlike other acne cleansers that can be drying.

7. Best Over-the-Counter Medicated Face Wash for Oily Skin:

LA ROCHE-POSAY Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser

LA ROCHE-POSAY Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser
Courtesy of LA ROCHE-POSAY

You typically need a prescription for medicated formulas, but this over-the-counter gem is a lucky find. In addition to salicylic acid, this top-seller from the French drugstore brand is also formulated with lipo-hydroxy acid to remove impurities without harsh scrub particles that may irritate skin.

8. Best All-Natural Face Wash for Oily Skin:

YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE Superfood Cleanser

YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE Superfood Cleanser

A foaming facial cleanser that contains all the same natural ingredients as your morning smoothie? Sign us up. YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE's Superfood Cleanser uses spinach, kale, and green tea to detoxify the skin and clear pores of makeup, dead skin cells, and excess oil. The vitamin-rich nutrients help balance the pH level of your skin to keep it healthy and clear. Oh, and it's cruelty-free, paraben-free, and 100% vegan—and a perfect choice for combination skin types. "This is a great mild cleanser," writes an IPSY member in their review. "My skin feels very nice and perky after using it. I’ve noticed no irritations, breakouts, or any type of skin weirdness after using it."

9. Best Non-Drying Face Wash for Oily Skin:

MURAD Essential-C™ Cleanser

MURAD Essential-C™ Cleanser

Adding vitamin C to your skincare routine is like finally finding the light switch in a dark room—its natural illuminating abilities are pretty much unmatched. If you have oily skin that needs a luminizing lift without shine, turn to MURAD's Essential-C Cleanser. In addition to its hefty dose of vitamin C, this paraben and phthalate-free gel cleanser is also made with vitamin E and A to nourish and firm up tired skin. This cleanser is strong enough to rid your pores of impurities but easy enough on your skin’s natural oils that it’s suitable for all skin types (even sensitive skin). "I break out easily, but this cleanser really went well with my skin type," says one IPSY member. "It left my skin feeling refreshed but not dry," says another.

10. Best Organic Face Wash for Oily Skin:

THE ORGANIC PHARMACY Peppermint Facial Wash

THE ORGANIC PHARMACY Peppermint Facial Wash
Courtesy of THE ORGANIC PHARMACY

Soothe oily, irritated skin with mother nature’s most calming and relaxing ingredients. This peppermint-infused facial wash blends purifying eucalyptus and peppermint with naturally antiseptic lavender and tea tree oil (which is amazing for combating oil). Use it in the morning to start your day off on a peaceful, purified note.

11. Best Oil Cleanser for Oily Skin:

PRIMALLY PURE Cleansing Oil for Oily Skin + Acne

PRIMALLY PURE Cleansing Oil for Oily Skin + Acne
Courtesy of PRIMALLY PURE

By now, we know that acne-prone skin needs oil to prevent overproducing it. This gentle cleanser stands by the “like dissolves like” principle, meaning oil removes oil. We can feel the product penetrating deeply into our pores to get rid of all the gross stuff, leaving us with a much clearer complexion. This also promotes more balanced oil production.

12. Best Vegan Face Wash for Oily Skin:

ALBA BOTANICA Acnedote™

ALBA BOTANICA Acnedote™
Courtesy of ALBA BOTANICA

This PETA-approved product is a maximum strength acne treatment with 2% salicylic acid and willowbark extract. While it’s a pretty potent formula, we’ve used it daily and haven’t had issues. Added bonus? It’s plant-based, fragrance-free and cruelty-free.

13. Best Luxury Face Wash for Oily Skin:

TATA HARPER Purifying Cleanser

TATA HARPER Purifying Cleanser
Courtesy of TATA HARPER

If you want to lap your face in luxury, look no further. This gel to oil to foam formula includes a slew of potent natural ingredients (including clay, oils and other powerhouses) to detox, dissolve buildup and cleanse pores. Oh, and it looks nice on your beauty counter.

14. Best Cleanser for Oily Skin With Skin Barrier Protection:

CERAVE Foaming Facial Cleanser

CERAVE Foaming Facial Cleanser
Courtesy of CERAVE

Ceramides are key to skin barrier protection and repair—and this TikTok-famous formula features three essential ceramides, along with niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. In other words, we vouch for this all-star, which totally lives up to the hype.

No matter your skin type, get in on the IPSY fun by taking our Beauty Quiz now. Already an IPSY member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and TikTok @IPSY.

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About the author
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Brittany Leitner
Brittany is an award winning beauty, health, and lifestyle writer and author of the poetry book "23 Emotions." She has eight years of experience writing for brands like Elite Daily, The. Dr. Oz Show, Shape, Stylecaster, Bustle, and more.
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Article Last Updated August 14, 2023 12:00 AM