13 Cleansers to Try if You Have Oily, Acne-Prone Skin

December 13, 2022
Alanna Martine Kilkeary
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | skincare.com by L'Oréal
Image of three cleansers on a mint green background

If you have oily, acne-prone skin, starting your skincare routine off with the right cleanser can make a world of difference. If there’s any single piece of advice we can offer, it’s to look for a formula that effectively and gently cleanses the skin without over-stripping it of moisture and natural oils. Bonus points if it also addresses existing blemishes while minimizing the risk for new ones. 


Whether you’re a gel cleanser loyalist or a cream cleanser connoisseur, there’s a facial cleanser out there that’s perfect for your oily, acne-prone skin. Find 13 formulas we love, ahead. 

13 Best Cleansers for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin

Best Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin With Tea Tree Oil

Thayers Blemish Clearing Cleanser

Infused with tea tree oil, salicylic acid and glycerin, this gel cleanser works to detox clogged pores and clear up blackheads and whiteheads. It also contains aloe vera to ensure that the skin feels moisturized and smooth after application. 

Best Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin With Benzoyl Peroxide

CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser

Try this foaming option, which contains 4% benzoyl peroxide, plus niacinamide and glycolic acid, to clear pimples and blackheads. The formula also lathers up into a foamy cream that will make it your new skincare staple.


Best Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin and Large Pores

L'Oréal Paris 3.5% Glycolic Acid Cleanser

A combo of glycolic and salicylic acids help refine skin texture and make for smaller, less noticeable-looking pores over time. The non-drying formula gently yet effectively dissolves dead skin cells, which will keep your pores from getting congested.


L'Oréal Paris 3.5% Glycolic Acid Cleanser

Best Gentle Cleanser for Oily Skin

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser

This no-frills oil-free cleanser is a classic pick for normal, oily and sensitive skin types. The fragrance-free formula lathers into a gentle foam that wipes out grime and makeup without disturbing your skin’s moisture balance.


Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser

Best Vegan Cleanser for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin

Youth to the People Superfood Cleanser

Formulated with 100% vegan ingredients and without parabens, phthalates and dimethicone, this cleanser was also made in the USA and comes in recyclable packaging. The best part, however, is the fragrant green gel, which is packed with a blend of (you guessed it) superfoods — including antioxidant-rich kale, spinach and anti-inflammatory green tea.


Youth to the People Superfood Cleanser

Best Cleanser for Sensitive, Acne-Prone Skin

Vichy Normaderm PhytoAction Daily Deep Cleansing Gel

After just one wash with this cleanser, you should notice your skin looks less shiny. Over time, the blend of salicylic acid and zinc and copper minerals help clear skin and reduce the look of blackheads and blemishes. 


Vichy Normaderm PhytoAction Daily Deep Cleansing Gel

Best Cleanser for Aging, Acne-Prone Skin 

SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel

If you’re struggling with adult acne, you’ll need a cleanser that can help address your specific concerns. Look no further than the SkinCeuticals LHA Cleansing Gel, a decongesting cleanser formulated with lipo-hydroxy acid (LHA), glycolic acid and two forms of salicylic acid to help target breakouts.

Best Cleanser/Micellar Water for Oily Skin 

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Charcoal Cleansing Purifying Jelly Water

If you have oily skin, chances are you’ve heard about the benefits of using a cleanser formulated with charcoal. This is because the ingredient helps draw out impurities from the skin’s surface. You can find charcoal in this cleansing micellar water that dissolves dirt and makeup. The unique jelly texture melts away grime and makes for an extra fun sensory experience when washing your face. 

Garnier SkinActive Micellar Charcoal Cleansing Purifying Jelly Water

Best Foaming Cleanser for Oily Skin

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Facial Wash

This foaming, purifying cleanser is made for normal to oily skin and contains the brand’s proprietary prebiotic thermal water to help remove impurities, dirt and makeup from skin. The gel texture feels super refreshing on the face, too.

Best Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin With Brightening Benefits

INNBEAUTY Project Foam Around Clarifying Daily Cleanser

Foam Around contains a powerful combination of glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids to deep clean and exfoliate the skin. It also contains niacinamide and green coffee bean extract to brighten and soothe.

Best Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin With Willow Bark

Starface Space Wash

Calm redness and acne-prone areas with this naturally-derived formula containing willow bark, sage leaf, holy basil leaf and chamomilla flower. The combination helps to clear and decongest pores, leaving your skin looking clarified and smooth.

Best-Smelling Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin

Rosen Earth Cleanser

This creamy foaming wash has zinc oxide, niacinamide and eucalyptus oil to combat acne and keep excess shine at bay. It also helps reduce inflammation and keep acne-causing bacteria in check.

Design: Juliana Campisi

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