Best Face Wash for Oily Skin, as Recommended by Dermatologists

Each and every one of us has a distinct skin type, and unless you’re not entirely human, chances are you have one of these skin types:

Normal Skin: Well-balanced, neither too oily nor too dry, with few blemishes.

Oily Skin: Produces excess sebum, resulting in a shiny complexion and prone to acne.

Dry Skin: Lacks moisture, feels tight or rough, and may appear dull or flaky.

Combination Skin: Mix of oily and dry areas, typically oily in the T-zone and drier on the cheeks.

Sensitive Skin: Prone to redness, itching, or burning reactions to certain products or triggers.

And since you opened this article, we bet you’ve been blessed with oily skin, which has its distinct disadvantages (hello acne and blazing shine) and advantages (wrinkles? What are they?).

Of course, every skin type needs a skincare routine designed specifically for that type. And if you successfully choose the right products for your oily skin, you can easily have it looking beautiful without much further hassle.

At the base of every skincare routine are cleaners, and in the case of oily skin, they play a very important role. In this article, we have picked a selection of dermatologist-approved face cleansers suitable for oily skin that address various concerns. So, keep on reading!

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How do you use a face wash for oily skin?

Every skincare routine starts with washing your face. Thankfully, there’s not much to it! Here’s a quick walkthrough on how to use face wash for oily skin.

  • First, clean your hands so you won’t rub any bacteria on your face.

  • Then, wet your face by splashing it with lukewarm water.

  • Squeeze a small amount of the cleanser on your hands, and rub your face in circular motions.

  • Keep rubbing for a moment or two, but avoid harsh scrubbing. There’s no need to punish your skin in trying to remove excess oil.

  • Thoroughly rinse your face.

  • Pat dry with a clean face towel or, better still, a disposable towel.

  • Follow up with toner (a gentle toner with AHAs and BHAs, for instance), serum (Niacinamide and Hyaluronic acid work well in this case), or any other products you like in your routine, but never skip moisturizer and good SPF!

And there’s literally all there is to it. Pretty simple, right?

Now that we got the procedure straight let’s skip straight to our product list.

Best budget face wash for oily skin: CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

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CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

Price: 11.60 GBP

Don't let the word 'budget' get you down, this cleanser by CeraVe is excellent for oily skin and is dermatological approved!

This face wash is formulated with Salicylic acid, which gently exfoliates the skin, removing dead skin cells and evening out the complexion. Besides Salicylic acid, this cleanser also has three types of ceramides in its formula, which help to protect oily skin's natural protective barrier. Lastly, every skin type needs a good dose of hydration, and in this cleanser's case, it's done with the inclusion of Hyaluronic acid.

You might be happy to learn that this cleanser also works well for keratosis pilaris (also known as strawberry skin) and minimizing backne (or back acne but in short).

The cleanser is free of fragrance, non-comedogenic, and non irritating. If you're looking for a bigger product package, you can find it in 600ml format, too.

Face Wash for Oily Skin: Purifying Face Wash – Bioderma Sebium

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Purifying Face Wash - Bioderma Sebium

Price: 14.00 GBP

Bioderma is known for its highly effective and skin-friendly formulations, and this purifying wash is no exception.

The formulation in this cleanser is gentle yet effective in combating inflammation, evening out skin tone, and improving complexion. The zinc sulfate in the formula is known for gaming down inflammation and redness; copper sulfate works as an antiseptic, antibacterial, and moisturizing agent. Lastly, there's also Lactic acid inside, which is incredible for evening out any roughness or bumps.

All in all, if you're looking for a product that is gentle on your skin barrier and is capable to remove excess oil, this Bioderma cleanser might be your best bet.

Best face wash for removing makeup: Medik8 Lipid-Balance Cleansing Oil

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Medik8 Lipid-Balance Cleansing Oil

Price: 29.00 GBP

Wait a moment, an oil wash for oily skin? Is that a really good idea?

Yes, it is! This oil cleanser by Medik8 features an optimized ratio of essential lipids specifically designed to remove waterproof makeup without damaging the skin's natural protective barrier. Enriched with moringa seed extract, the cleanser is also excellent at removing impurities and works as an anti-pollution agent.

And don't be suspicious of the term 'oil' in this product's name. As soon as the cleanser hits your skin and lukewarm water, it turns into a milky emulsion that removes excess oil, melts away any impurities, and leaves skin soft and supple.

Best drugstore face wash for oily skin: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Cleansing Gel

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La Roche-Posay Effaclar Cleansing Gel

Price: 24.00 GBP

Okay, this one's a powerhouse of active ingredients!

The La Roche-Posay Effaclar ingredient list is enriched with soothing and anti-irritating thermal water and loads of other superstar things for sebum oiliness and damage control.

All La Roche-Posay products are tested on and suitable for sensitive skin types. They have an optimum concentration of active ingredients and are praised by tons of people who have actually used them.

By the way, Effaclar also works very well on backne, shoulder, and arm irritations without disrupting the skin barrier.

Best face wash for large pores and blackheads: Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser

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Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser

Price: 23.00 GBP

You might not believe it, but the 'rare earth' in the name is no gimmick! This cleanser is actually formulated with ingredients sourced straight from the mouth of the Amazon River.

Here's what this gentle and non-stripping cleanser does for you: it detoxifies and exfoliates your skin while minimizing the appearance of the pores. If that's not impressive enough, this cleanser also softens and hydrates your skin while removing impurities and makeup. By the way, this cleanser works for other skin types that might need a deep clean session, too.

Also, with Kiehl's you can always be sure that the products are full of natural ingredients and are of the highest quality.

Best face wash for oily sensitive skin: Paula’s Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser

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Paula's Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser

Price: 21.00 GBP

If you've been browsing the internet for a list of oily skin cleansers, we bet you didn't find one that does not mention this wash by Paula's Choice.

And it's not without a reason. See, Paula's Choice has perfected all of their face washes but this one stands out from the crowd. It does an excellent job in controlling natural oils, without damaging the skin's natural protective barrier, it unclogs the pores, and leaves your skin feeling refreshed instead of dry and tight. The gentle cleanser comes with glycerin and panthenol to keep your skin calm and moisturized.

After all, cleansing is the first step to improving skin, so why not trust this process with professionals?

Best natural face wash for oily skin: Elemis Clarifying Clay Wash

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Elemis Clarifying Clay Wash

Price: 36.00 GBP

Looking for something a bit more natural? Then leave the cleansing task to clay!

The Clarifying Clay wash by Elemis is enriched with kaolin clay, hawthorn, and boldo leaf extracts to purify your skin from excess oil and cleanse the pores without disrupting the delicate skin barrier. And that is one of the key things you should look for in a good quality cleanser! After all, moisture balance is vital in keeping your skin happy and looking young.

Of course, this cleanser has a steeper price tag, but if you're looking for something with natural and gentle key ingredients, you might like this one.

Best hydrating face wash for oily skin: Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser

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Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser

Price: 31.00 GBP

Love blueberries? Good! They're an excellent source of anti-oxidants that have proven effects for your skin.

Besides the anti-oxidants, this cleanser is also enriched with hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid or hydration, precious AHAs to improve the look of pores, and lots of specialized fruit extracts to deeply cleanse without disrupting the skin's barrier.

Lastly, for added aesthetic appeal, this cleanser has teensy bits of blueberries inside that look like bits of natural confetti.

How we selected the best face washes for oily skin

Naturally, you might be wondering on what criteria we based our choices here, and it is simple to answer:

  • All of these cleansers are dermatologically approved

  • They all work wonders in removing excess oil and battling clogged pores

  • Are formulated with gentle key ingredients and are suitable for sensitive skin

  • Are non comedogenic

  • Have lots of excellent reviews from people who have actually used these products

We based our choices on that and nothing else! So, you can rest assured that all of these cface washes are great for personal use, are non irritating, and do exactly what they promise to do.

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What ingredients should people with oily skin look for?

For anyone with oily skin, it is essential to look for cleansers that are capable of dealing with excess sebum production and clogged pores. Here are some superstar key ingredients you might want to take note of in ingredient lists:

  1. Salicylic Acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that exfoliates the skin, unclogs pores, and reduces oiliness. It helps prevent acne breakouts and promotes smoother skin texture.

  2. Glycolic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that exfoliates dead skin cells, improves skin tone, and helps control oil production. It can also minimize the appearance of pores.

  3. Benzoyl Peroxide is a powerful antibacterial agent that effectively kills acne-causing bacteria and reduces inflammation. It helps to clear existing acne lesions and prevent new breakouts.

  4. Hyaluronic Acid is a lightweight hydrating ingredient that helps maintain the skin’s moisture balance without clogging pores or adding excess oil. Hyaluronic acid is a long-term favorite in the cosmetics industry.

  5. Clay – Clay-based face washes, such as kaolin or bentonite clay, can absorb excess sebum and impurities from the skin, leaving it feeling clean and refreshed.

  6. Tea Tree Oil is a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps combat acne and soothe irritated skin.

  7. Benzoyl Peroxide is an antibacterial agent that kills acne-causing bacteria and reduces inflammation, effectively clearing acne lesions and preventing new breakouts.

  8. Citric Acid is a gentle exfoliating agent that helps brighten the skin and promote cell turnover, reducing the appearance of oiliness and scars.

  9. Sodium Chloride – Also known as salt, sodium chloride can help cleanse the skin and absorb excess oil without causing irritation.

  10. Xanthan Gum is a natural thickening agent often used in face washes to create a smooth, gel-like texture and improve product spreadability.

  11. Propylene Glycol is a humectant that helps attract moisture to the skin, keeping it hydrated without clogging pores.

  12. Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate is a mild surfactant derived from coconuts that helps cleanse the skin without stripping away its natural barrier.

  13. Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate is another mild surfactant that effectively removes dirt and sebum from the skin’s surface without causing irritation or dryness.

  14. Non-Comedogenic Oils – Some oils, like jojoba or grapeseed oil, are non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog pores. These ingredients can help dissolve excess sebum and remove dirt buildup without stripping the skin of its natural oils.

Another thing to know when choosing a cleanser for oily skin is to avoid harsh ingredients that might strip the skin of its natural oils entirely and disrupt the skin’s barrier. These harsh ingredients might disrupt your skin balance and make things even worse with inflammation and excess sebum production. The more non irritating ingredients – the better. Also, don’t forget to use a light moisturizer after to restore the moisture balance.

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