Skin Care

12 Best Face Washes For Oily Skin in 2018

best face wash for oily skin

“You know you have oily skin when people ask you why you’re sweating so much.”

People with oily skin probably won’t find the above anecdote all that humorous. Oily skin can be pretty frustrating. Those who have oily skin are usually concerned with:

  • a greasy, unclean appearance
  • blackheads
  • large pores
  • acne

Acne is a major concern for people with oily skin. Some people may only experience a few pimples here and there, while others have more extreme breakouts. Even a mild case of acne can seriously affect a person’s self-esteem.

What is Facial Oil?

Facial oil or sebum is secreted from the sebaceous glands, located in the t-zones (forehead, nose, and chin).  Researcher’s don’t exactly know what is sebum’s purpose, but theorize it plays a role in hydration, combating aging, and in preventing the damage that leads to skin cancer.

Do You Actually Have Oily Skin?

Many people think that just because their face is occasionally shiny, they have oily skin.  While that can be a sign, it’s not the only one. Symptoms of oily skin include:

  • large pores, especially on t-zones
  • blackheads and pimples
  • greasy looking / feeling skin
  • oil that returns shortly after washing your face
  • the urge to wash your face numerous times a day
  • uncontrollable shine
  • makeup that slides off and/or won’t stay on

One way to test for oily skin is to wash your face with a gentle cleanser. Don’t apply and lotion or makeup. If after an hour or two your face is shiny and covered with oil, you most definitely have oily skin. If, however, your cheeks feel dry but your nose and forehead are shiny, you have combination skin.

Why Do You Have Oily Skin?

There are a variety of reasons or perhaps even a combination of reasons why you have oily skin.  They include:

  • Puberty: during this time in every person’s life, the surge of hormones causes a sebum rush.  These skin issues can last until age twenty-one.
  • Genetics: if at least one of your parents have oily skin and suffered with acne, the odds are you will, as well.
  • Diet: if you take in too much fat, salt, sugar, and caffeine, you’ll dehydrate and starve your skin, which can make your sebaceous glands jittery and lead to oily skin.
  • Makeup: most liquid cosmetics are oil based. Such is why they feel greasy and heavy.  They activate your sebaceous glands and make your face oily.
  • Misuse of Skincare Products: cleansers and exfoliates are great, but misusing them can strip your skin of essential oils (yes, some of the oils are necessary), which then cause the sebaceous glands to overreact and produce excess oil.
  • Weather:  when it’s cold, the air is dry and the sebaceous glands overreact and create more oil.  When it’s hot, humidity and high temperatures also cause your skin to produce more oil.
  • Stress:  when you’re stressed, your hormones can vacillate and stimulate your sebaceous glands to overreact and produce excess oil.
  • Menstrual Cycle: each month, a woman’s body produces hormones that activate the sebaceous glands.  Many women claim to breakout during their periods, even after adolescence.
  • Pregnancy:  when a woman is pregnant, estrogen radically fluctuates and the sebaceous glands go wild.  Many pregnant women say that their skin is much more oilier than normal. But, after they deliver their baby, their skin goes back to what it was before their pregnancy.

Treating Oily Skin

Cleansing is the first step in treating oily skin.  Most dermatologists recommend cleansing oily skin twice a day, in the morning and at night or after exercise.

Always wash off your makeup before going to sleep at night. When you sleep, your skin restores itself. If makeup is clogging your pores and oil glands, your skin won’t be able to shed. Old skin cells and contaminants can build up on your pillow and lead to increased acne, blackheads, and irritated skin. It’s, therefore, vital that you always wash off your makeup.  It’s vital that you wash your face every night even if you’re not wearing makeup.

Best Face Wash For Oily Skin

Proper cleansing, naturally, requires a good cleanser.  There are so many from which to choose, how do you decide?  Most dermatologists recommend cleansers that are “noncomedogenic,” meaning that it is specifically formulated not to clog pores. Also look for products that are “oil free,” which are less likely to cause acne.

Also look for gentle cleansers. Many people assume that they need heavy-duty products to combat and dry out oily skin, yet such isn’t the case. You should always use a gentle cleanser. A harsh cleanser actually stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. A harsh cleanser will also irritate and dry out your face. Rather, look for gentle, mild facial cleansers.

Finally, avoid alcohol and oil based cleansers. These can also dry out and irritate your skin.

Some people use several cleansers at one time. If you do that, you won’t know how well a product performs.  If you also experience irritation, you won’t know which product and/or which ingredient caused the irritation.  Such is why it’s best to try one product at a time. Don’t worry or lose patience if it takes several tries to figure out which product works best for you.

Everyone is different and it’s not uncommon to go through a few products before figuring out which works best for you. A consistent routine is key, so once you find a product and/or routine that works, stick with it. Here are some of the top facial washes for oily skin:

1. Eau Thermale Avène Cleansing Foam

The cleansing foam gently washes away make-up and leaves skin soft and smooth. The lightweight formula contains moisturizing Avène thermal spring water, so it never dries your skin. Just one use reduces skin oil by fifty-four percent.  It’s silicone, soap, and paraben free, hypoallergenic, and non-comedogenic.

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Most users were quite pleased with the product and really liked how it cleansed their oily skin and said that it left it soft and smooth. Those with sensitive skin and acne liked it, too. Many actually said that they “loved” it.

2. InstaNatural Vitamin C Facial Cleanser

This cleanser contains organic antioxidant Vitamin C, as well as chamomile, green tea, organic aloe, coconut water, and sugar cane, which improve, nourish, and revitalize the skin.  In addition to blemish protection, benefits also include, anti-aging, skin brightening, pore reduction, hydration, and skin discoloration fading.

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It’s cruelty, paraben, sulfate, synthetic dye, MCI/MI (a cosmetic preservative), formaldehyde releasers, and mineral oil free.   Most users were very pleased with this product. Their skin improved, looked better, and felt clean. Some felt it was the best product they ever used. Some, however, said that the cleanser dried out their skin and they did not like the smell.

3. Skinfood Egg White Pore Foam Cleanser

This hypoallergenic foaming cleanser deeply penetrates skin to deeply cleanse, exfoliate, control excessive sebum, minimize pores, and eliminate pore clogging dead skin cells, blackheads, and oil.  In fact, Skin Food has been the top selling dollar selling brand facial cleanser in Korea for more than ten years. It contains albumen or egg whites (but, it doesn’t smell like an egg), which is one of nature’s superior proteins.

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 It encourages collagen growth, tightens pores, and boosts skin’s resilience and elasticity. It can even be used as a mild shaving soap. Almost all users really liked this cleanser. It improved their skin, reduced the oil on their face, lessened their breakouts, washed off their makeup, and left their skin feeling good.

4. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser for Oily Skin

This dermatologist recommended, refreshing foaming gel cleanser maintains skin’s pH balance while washing away excess oil, shine, and impurities. It’s safe for sensitive and acne prone skin, contains zinc pidolate to purify skin, and is oil, soap, paraben, and alcohol free.

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The majority of users were very pleased with this cleanser.  They rated it highly, claimed that it cleared their skin, and said that it was the best cleanser they ever used. A few said that it didn’t do anything at all for them and some said that it irritated and dried their skin.

5. Neocutis Neocleanse Exfoliating Skin Cleanser

This lavish, dermatologist-tested cleanser contains exfoliating alpha hydroxyl acids (which exfoliate skin’s surface and improves skin’s moisture content) and hydrating glycerin.  It gently eliminates superficial skin cells and exposes fresh, vibrant skin. Daily use, especially with the Neocutis skincare line, smooths, purifies, re-texturizes, and hydrates skin and leaves it feeling clean and fresh.

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 It’s dye, fragrance, color, additive, cruelty, and sulfate free. The majority of users were extremely pleased with this cleanser.  They called it “amazing,” “great,” and “excellent,” and said that it cleared their skin without drying it. Those that weren’t pleased didn’t like how it felt or smelled and said that it caused their skin to flake.

6. CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser

Dermatologists developed this non-drying, refreshing, rich, foaming gel cleanser.  It contains vital ceramides (skin lipids or fats that help prevent moisture loss and protect against environmental stressors) that remove oil and cleanse without disturbing the skincare wall; hyaluronic acid, which helps retain skin’s natural moisture; and, niacinamide, which calms skin.

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 It’s non-comedogenic and thoroughly removes dirt, grime, excess oil and makeup. It’s highly recommended for sensitive skin. Most users were extremely pleased with this cleanser. They said that it was a great for their oily skin, helped clear their acne, and that it did not dry their skin.

7. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water

This is a facial cleanser and makeup remover that also refreshes and soothes, the face in one step. It effectively removes excess oil, dirt and even the most stubborn eye and face makeup.  It’s suitable for all skin types and is fragrance, paraben, silicone, and sulfate free. No rinsing or scrubbing is necessary. Simply drench a cotton pad with the cleansing water and gently wipe all over your face.  Repeat until all traces of makeup and impurities are gone.

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To remove eye makeup, hold the moistened pad over your closed eye for several seconds and gently wipe. Silicone, fragrance, oil, sulfate, and paraben-free. The majority of users were very pleased with the cleansing water.  They love how the product works and also the convenience. It removes all their makeup, even their eye makeup and their skin feels soft and clean. It works with any skin type, including oily, sensitive, and dry skin.

8. Bioderma Sebium Foaming Gel Facial Cleanser For Oily Skin

This foaming gel contains zinc and copper sulfate, laminaria, natural antioxidants, and vitamin E, which inhibit sebum production and control acne, all while soothing skin and preserving its natural radiance.

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Most all users were extremely pleased with this cleanser.  They called it “great,” said that they “loved” it and claimed that it cleared their acne. The few that didn’t like it said that it made them breakout and dried their skin.

9. Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser

This lathering, exfoliating cleanser contains chamomile, sage, marshmallow, St. John’s Wort, yarrow extract, and glycolic acid to rebalance and deeply cleanse skin.  It soothes and brightens dull skin, diminishes wrinkles and fine lines, fades acne marks and discolorations, and leaves skin feeling smooth and younger looking.

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Use it as a supplemental cleanser, at least two-three times a week.  Most users liked this product and noticed a difference shortly after using it. Their blemishes had gone and their skin looked brighter. They considered it a great product and also one of the best they ever used. It cleared their skin without drying it.

10. Dermalogica Dermal Clay Cleanser

This fragrance free cleanser is ideal for congested, tired, irritated, oily skin.  It contains sage to heal and soothe and anti-inflammatory cucumber and menthol to revitalize skin.  Additional ingredients include water soluble kaolin, green clays, sambucus extracts, lemons, and ivy, all of which purify, refine skin, eliminate excess oil, and refine your skin’s texture.

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 Most of the users really liked this product. They said that it was “amazing,” cleared their skin, and left it feeling refreshed.

11. Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Clay Cleanser

This cleanser purifies, balances skin, and noticeably tightens pores, leaving skin healthier looking.  Moroccan rhassoul and French green clays eliminate pore-clogging impurities and excess oil without stripping away moisture.  Essential oils calm, sooth, and balance the skin while antioxidant-rich vitamin C brightens it.

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With ongoing use, pores and skin will look and feel toned and purified.  Sulfate, phthalates, and paraben free. Most users were pleased with this cleanser. They “loved” how it cleansed their skin and how it made their face look and feel. The few who did not like it didn’t like the texture or smell and felt that it was too drying.

12. Drunk Elephant Beste No. 9 Jelly Cleanser

This fresh smelling, groundbreaking jelly cleanser washes away all traces of makeup, excess sebum, and dirt and rinses clean, without any residue.  It’s non-irritating, vegan and sodium lauryl sulfate (a foaming agent and stabilizer frequently used in cosmetics), cruelty, alcohol, silicone, dye, and gluten free.

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 It contains marula oil, zinc oxide, fruit enzymes, thermal mud, and vitamins. Most users were happy with the cleanser and gave it high ratings. The few that were unhappy with the product didn’t like the smell and claimed that it irritated their face.

How to Properly Wash Your Face

There are many myths out there about how to wash your face.  Some say to wash with hot water and rinse with cold. Such are incorrect.  Using extreme temperatures can irritate and dry your skin and actually cause blood vessels to rupture.  It’s best to wash and rinse your face lukewarm or moderately warm water.

Avoid harsh scrubbing.  Gentle rubbing is adequate.  Proper cleansers will cleanse adequately with gentle rubbing.  For the best results, gently massage your cleanser into your skin in an outward circular fashion.  Such will activate your blood flow and stimulate your lymph nodes to remove waste from your tissues.  It also plumps your skin and encourages it to avoid sagging.

When you’re through rinsing, don’t rub a towel against your face. Such will remove the proteins, fatty acids, and lipids that guard your face from irritation.  Instead, pat a towel against your face. It will keep that barrier intact.


Toners are an excellent way to remove any product and makeup your cleansers might leave behind. Use natural, non-drying toners such as witch hazel, which sooths skin and makes large pores look smaller.  Avoid toners that contain alcohol as they dry out skin. Check out: Best Toner for Oily Skin

If you have acne, toners or pads containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or glycolic acid will more deeply cleanse your skin, unclog your pores, remove excess oil, and treat your breakouts.

Some people have very sensitive skin and, no matter what, toners will irritate them and actually cause more sebum production.  If you’re unsure how your skin will react, when you first purchase toner, test a small amount on a patch of skin and see how your react.

Additional Ways to Care for Oily Skin

In addition to cleansing, dermatologists also recommend that you apply daily moisturizer. Such is not counterproductive. An oil free moisturizer protects your skin. Look for an oily skin moisturizer that doesn’t clog pores or cause breakouts.  Also look for one that protects your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

A moisturizer with aloe vera usually works very well for oily and acne prone skin. Aloe vera compounds both hydrate and sooth skin.  Aloe vera gels oftentimes make good moisturizers, but read the label carefully as some contain alcohol, which is drying and irritating.

Choose makeup and skincare products that are water-based, oil-free, and noncomedogenic.  You might be tempted to use makeup to conceal your oily skin, but that could also clog your pores and lead to breakouts.  Use it sparingly and wisely. Use powder lightly, too. You might think that extra powder would soak up excess oil, but using too much can get cakey and might cause your sebaceous glands to produce even more oil.  Use a matte translucent powder sparingly only on shiny areas.

  • If you feel that your skin looks greasy and shiny throughout the day, use blotting papers. Gently press the blotting paper against your face for several seconds. Don’t rub. Rubbing will spread oil around your face.
  • Exfoliate two or three times a week to keep your face looking clean and smooth. You might be tempted to exfoliate more, but doing so might irritate and damage your skin and encourage the production of even more oil.
  • Use a facial mask two or three times a week.  Facial masks help diminish shine and greasy appearances for several days. They also reduce pore size.There are a variety of masks that work well oily and acne prone skin.  Mud masks are one example.
  • Try not to touch your face. Touching your face spreads bacteria, oil and dirt.  The only time you should ever touch your face is when you’re cleansing or applying product.  Always wash your hands prior to cleansing, too.

Advantages of Oily Skin

Though your oily skin may sometimes frustrate you, it does present some advantages. Oily skin tends to be more hydrated, which makes it less prone wrinkles and premature aging. Oily skin rarely looks dull and usually looks more “dewy” than dry skin.

If none of these suggestions work and you find that your skin still bothers you, don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist.  They can assess your skin and provide expert advice. How you feel about your skin can greatly impact your self-confidence, so it would be well worth the consult.