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Best cleanser for oily skin

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In this article

Oil or cream cleansers
Face washes
Face scrubs


Oily skin can be shiny and prone to spots. To control these problems and achieve smooth, healthy-looking skin, it is important both to understand the causes and find the right skincare regime.

Oily skin can be caused by your genes and your hormones, stress, dehydration, climate, irritants, or any combination of these and other factors. Some of these causes can be addressed through lifestyle changes. However, to manage your oily skin effectively, good skincare is also crucial. Choosing the best cleanser for oily skin can be daunting. Our simple guide to choosing an oily skin cleanser will help you pick the right products for your skin.

There are three main options when it comes to selecting a cleanser for oily skin: oil or cream cleansers, face washes and face scrubs. In this post, we explain each type of oily skin cleanser, as well as what to look for in a moisturiser.

Oil or cream cleansers

Oil or cream cleansers are applied directly to the skin, then gently wiped away using cotton wool or tissue. It may seem counterintuitive to use an oil cleanser for oily skin; however, some people find that these types of cleansers can nourish stressed skin, and are effective at removing irritants such as makeup, without drying the skin. The best cream cleanser and most oil cleansers contain natural ingredients - look out for shea butter, jojoba oil or coconut oil-based products.

Face washes

A face wash works in combination with water, creating a foam. This is massaged over and washed away from your skin, along with any grime. The best face wash for oily skin is gentle and soap-free. Avoid harsh medicated washes that will strip your skin of its own natural oil as these can trigger further oil production. Look out for soap-free products containing essential oils, such as tea tree, lavender, and chamomile.

Face scrubs

Face scrubs are cream or gel-based products containing tiny particles, that are massaged over your skin to remove dirt and exfoliate dead skin. The best face scrub for oily skin is based on gentle, natural ingredients. To avoid scratching and irritating your skin, choose a scrub that contains smooth, soft or dissolving particles, and massage very gently. Look out for scrubs containing sugar, salt and ground fruit kernels.


Surprisingly for some, once you have cleansed effectively, correctly moisturising your oily skin is also essential for the best results. Choose products that will help maintain your skin's natural moisture, whilst still allowing it to breathe. The best moisturisers for oily skin will also actively help to keep your skin's natural pH level balanced, minimising excess oil production. Look out for soothing, slightly alkaline products containing natural ingredients. Sönd's allergy-free alkaline day and night creams, made with shea butter, pomegranate extract and natural essential oils, are a great option to try.

It's then a good idea to follow your oily skin skincare regime with the best makeup for oily skin so ensure you keep the shine and oil at bay. 

Everyone's skin is unique, so finding the best products for oily skin may take a little experimentation. Use the above simple guidelines to successfully navigate the vast number of product options available and quickly have your oily skin looking and feeling great!

Hannah de Gruchy BSc(Hons)

About Author

Hannah de Gruchy is a freelancer writer who specialises in health and wellness. She has a keen interest in the biology of skin and loves using her words to help separate the real science of skincare from the pseudoscience of some skincare brands. Hannah has a degree in Human Biology and many years’ experience working in laboratories around London. Using this experience, Hannah enjoys turning complex science into interesting, engaging and easy to digest pieces to read. In her spare time, Hannah runs, practices yoga and loves cooking plant based foods.

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