No one likes having an oily face, but more often than not, the products we use to try to combat the problem leads to the production of even more oil.
While we can’t change our genetics, we can definitely reduce the appearance of oily skin by using appropriate skin-care products that will target the problem.
So we asked experts to recommend some of the best face wash that will help control oil without stripping your skin of it.
Dr. Sheila Krishna, MD
Board Certified Dermatologist | Advisory Board, Smart Style Today
Oily skin is caused by excess oil production from the sweat glands on the face. Oily skin can also be very sensitive and many individuals have both oil production and rough, sensitive areas.
It is important to not overdry oily skin in an attempt to remove oil; all skin types benefit from maintaining a healthy balance of natural oils on the skin to promote an even tone and texture.
The ideal face wash for oily skin should gently remove oil while also providing needed hydration.
La Roche Posay Foaming Cleanser
This is ideal for oily skin. Formulated with spring water and gentle cleansers, this product is a balanced, simple cleanser for oily skin.
CeraVe Foaming Cleanser
This also gently cleanses skin while providing hydration with ceramides, a naturally occurring oil on the skin that creates a smooth, even texture.
Neutrogena Hydroboost Cleanser
It is a hydrating cleanser that contains hyaluronic acid, which draws moisture into the skin.
Richard L. Torbeck III, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Dermatology, Mount Sinai
That is a good question that I get asked all the time. I have incorporated this question into my acne patient exam. Depending on how the patient states there skin is oily, dry, or combination, I choose one soap over another.
Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid Wash
For oily skin, I recommend a patient select a benzoyl peroxide wash (like Panoxyl, Neutrogena Clear Pore(R)) or salicylic acid wash (less preferable in my eyes).
After selecting the type of antibacterial soap to control oil and acne-causing bacteria the next step is selecting the concentration. Usually, I recommend 4% or less for the benzoyl peroxide wash because they can be too drying but in a patient with oily skin, I say go somewhere between 5% but less than 10%.
Other over the counter washes that help reduce oily skin are products like Cetaphil that are not harsh on the skin. Products I tell patients to avoid are tea tree oil, rosehip oil, and witch hazel because they can irritate the skin. These products dry up the oils but can cause unwanted redness and flaking of the skin.
Clindamycin Topical Solution
If the patient still states they are getting oily skin or feel shiny with those washes, I recommend a topical antibiotic prescription solution (alcohol base). Clindamycin topical solution works wonders in reducing the sheen and oiliness of the skin.
However, if the patient has combination skin I usually say not to use it every day.
I recommend retinol-based products prescription and over the counter to reduce oily skin over time. These products have not made it in to face washes and probably will not because of they area leave-on products.
They work to reduce oil production from the sebocytes (main oil-producing skin cells). However, each patient’s reaction to the retinol-based products is different causing some people to get red, dry, and flaky patches.
Nikki D. Hill, MD, FAAD
Board-Certified Dermatologist | Founder, SOCAH Center
Neutrogena Foaming Gentle Cleanser
I recommend Neutrogena Foaming Gentle Cleanser for my patients suffering from oily skin.
It is a mild cleanser that gently removes away dirt and debris without over stripping your natural oils. Contrary to belief, oily skin is actually dry skin. Your skin’s feedback to dryness is to make more oil as a barrier to keep the remaining water sealed inside your skin.
I also counsel patients to also avoid salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, alcohol, and other drying agents while we restore their moisture balance.
Rina Allawh, MD, FAAD
Board-Certified Dermatologist, Montgomery Dermatology, LLC
Finding a gentle face wash for oily and/or acne-prone skin may pose a challenge for some. The key is to find a face wash that is gentle and maintains hydration while not being too drying or leaving a greasy residue behind.
There are numerous facial cleansers that claim to be excellent for acne-prone and oily skin; however, consumers may find these products irritating, drying and contain natural botanicals that may trigger a rash (allergic or irritant dermatitis).
La Roche Posay Foaming Cleanser
The ingredients are safe and effective and gentle for patients with sensitive, oily and acne-prone skin. It contains zinc pidolate, an ingredient that effectively cleanses debris and debris on the face while maintaining the skin’s natural pH.
Fragrance-free and noncomedogenic, I find that this product successfully removes excess oils that create that “shiny” appearance of the skin.
CeraVe Foaming Cleanser
Containing hyaluronic acid, this cleansers maintains the moisture and integrity of the protective skin barrier while effectively removes excess oils. It is also non-comedogenic and non-irritating.
Board-Certified Physician Assistant, Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants
The truth of the matter is that there is no face wash that can actually change the amount of oil that your skin produces. Of course, using a gentle, oil-free face wash such as Cetaphil or Cerave is a good start.
The most important part of a skincare regimen for oily skin, however, is using a retinoid on the face daily. Retinoids are a class of medication (also available over-the-counter in various preparations but most recently as Differin 0.1% [adapalene], which used to be available by Rx only) that actually help to decrease the output of the sebaceous glands which produce the oil on our skin.
Retinoids should be applied to the entire face nightly – avoiding the eyelids – and an oil-free moisturizer containing an SPF should be applied every morning.
Higher-strength, prescription retinoids are often necessary for those with very oily skin. An added benefit of retinoids is that they stimulate collagen production, improving the overall tone and appearance of the skin.
Cosmetic Formulation Chemist, Onoxa
Oil-based cleansers are ideal for people with oily skin, as counterintuitive as it may seem
These cleansers work to attract “bad” oils and dissolve pore-clogging agents like sebum, makeup, and other products without stripping the skin of its natural oils.
Oil cleansers don’t make the skin oily, but they do tend to absorb and remain on the skin more effectively. The myth that suggests oil makes the skin greasy is just that – a myth.
Skin “greasiness” is often predetermined by the skin’s natural composition and oil cleansers, when used correctly, can combat the appearance of grease for a cleaner, smoother, healthier complexion.
Former Make-up Artist | Beauty and Lifestyle Blogger, I Spy Fabulous
When you’re struggling with oily skin, the first thought might be to use a face wash that will strip away all of that oil. The problem with this approach is that oil stripping cleansers will actually dry out your skin, causing your skin to overreact and produce more oil than ever!
Honest Gentle Gel Cleanser
To help your skin naturally balance it’s oil levels, use a gentle, gel face wash such Cetaphil, which is recommended by many dermatologists, or a clean face wash such as Honest Gentle Gel Cleanser, which will even remove your makeup without stripping the skin and leaving it tight and dry.
If your skin still feels like an oil slick, you can follow your face wash with a gentle toner, such as Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel. Thayer’s is alcohol-free and includes rose water to improve hydration.