The 5 Best Face Cleansers For Oily Skin

By Marissa DeSantis

Properly cleansing oily skin can be a challenge. On the one hand, you want something that deeply cleanses to help eliminate excess oil and clear out clogged pores. But you also don't want to be excessively using something so harsh that it dries your skin out even further and causes it to produce even more oil. That's why you'll want to choose one of the best face cleansers for oily skin, since they were specifically formulated with your skin type in mind.

Surprisingly, it's not a super-long list of ingredients that makes these cleansers so great, but a few key components. Cleansers with glycerin or hyaluronic acid are great for oily skin types because they soothe and hydrate skin without clogging pores. To help regulate oil production, you'll want a cleanser with zinc or licorice root extract in the ingredients list, as they both help to reduce oil and also have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that can prevent breakouts from popping up.

Choosing a lightweight formula, like a gel or foam, can also help with oily skin as products that are thick or creamy aren't always non-comedogenic and can leave you with clogged pores. And since oily skin types tend to be more prone to breakouts, that can disrupt your skin.

There are also a few ingredients you'll want to stay away from. While gentle exfoliation is essential to removing dead skin cells and pore-clogging dirt and oil, harsh scrubs like apricot or walnut can actually lead to inflamed and dried-out skin. Alcohol is another ingredient that can dry out your skin, which just causes your pores to produce more oil to try to compensate. Talk about a vicious cycle.

To help simplify your options, here are six of the best face cleansers for oily skin you can buy online.

1. Best Drugstore Cleanser For Oily Skin

Cetaphil Pro Oil Removing Foam Wash

$14

Amazon

Cetaphil's Pro Oil Removing Foam Wash was specifically designed to keep shine at bay without disrupting your skin's pH balance and causing even more problems like inflammation and irritation. The lightweight foam helps to cleanse skin gently, while ingredients like glycerin restore moisture without leaving you greasy. Meanwhile, zinc and licorice root extract, which are found at the top of the ingredients list, work to regulate sebum production and reduce shine.

2. Best Cleanser For Oily, Acne-Prone Skin

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser

$15

Amazon

La Roche-Posay's cult-favorite Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser is free of soap, oil, parabens, and alcohol, which can all aggravate oily and sensitive skin types. As you massage it onto damp skin, the gel cleanser turns into a rich foam that dissolves dirt and oil. Though it leaves your face feeling squeaky clean, it never feels dry or tight — keep this on hand for when your skin is feeling extra oily. This particular cleanser is formulated with zinc pidolate, which helps clear out pores and remove excess oil. It also contains the brand's La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water, which contains soothing and antioxidant benefits for troubled or inflamed skin. Many fans turn to this cleanser to help treat breakouts — one reviewers said it got rid of their acne in two weeks, while another said "It’s the only product that can tackle my cystic painful acne." Also great for bacne and other body breakouts.

3. Best Cleanser For Sensitive, Oily Skin

Avène Cleansing Foam

$20

Amazon

For even the most sensitive skin types trying to combat oil, this Avène cleanser won't irritate your skin, but will help to mattify some of that shine. Like Avène's entire line of sensitive skin-friendly products, this foaming cleanser is hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic, and free from parabens, soap, and oil. Patented glutamic acid is the ingredient that helps control excess oil, while the cleanser itself works to gently remove makeup, and Avène's Thermal Spring Water helps to calm skin and leave it feeling soft and smooth. Simple and effective, one Amazon user writes, "I have extremely sensitive skin, and this product helps keep my acne, redness, and oily skin under control." Unlike the La Roche-Posay cleanser, above, this one doesn't contain sulfates, which can be irritating, so it's an extra-safe option for particularly sensitive skin types, including those with dermatitis.

4. Best Prestige Cleanser For Oily Skin

Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser

$38

Amazon

This cleanser might be a bit pricier, but it has some seriously powerful ingredients. Non-comedogenic and made without sulfates, parabens, and phthalates, Ole Henrikson created this cleanser to help with his own cystic acne breakouts. His Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser contains AHAs in the form of glycolic and lactic acids to gently exfoliate the skin's surface, which can help clear out and reduce the visibility of enlarged pores. Additionally, a blend of green tea, eucalyptus, algae, Irish moss extracts, and neem seed work to absorb excess oil while also containing natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that can help acne-prone skin.

5. Another Great Cleanser For Oily Skin To Consider

Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser

$17

Amazon

This cream to foam cleanser not only helps to rid your face of makeup and the dirt and oil that builds up on your skin throughout the day, but it was also formulated to balance oily skin types. Ingredients like sodium hydroxide, which is pH-balancing, are paired with hydrating and soothing ingredients like glycerin and aloe leaf extract to keep your skin from drying out and producing even more oil. "I don't think I'll ever use another cleanser," writes one Amazon reviewer, adding, "It's very effective at reducing oil and helps heal my acne-prone skin." In addition to being alcohol-free, the Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser is also free of fragrances, so it's gentle enough for more sensitive skin types, too.

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