Having shiny, oily skin prone to acne breakouts can be the most frustrating thing in the world. It’s a vicious cycle: you strip away the oil hoping it solves the problem, but it only exacerbates your issues. So how does one start battling pimples and increased sebum production? The trick is to find the best face wash for oily, acne-prone skin.

The real causes of acne can’t be solved with harsh cleaners. You can’t fix your hormones, stress level, genetics, or diet with any kind of face wash. But you can reduce inflammation, kill off bacteria, and moisturize with the right acne cleanser for oily skin. 

We tried out dozens of cleansers before we narrowed our selection down to eight. If you’re looking for best face wash for oily, acne-prone skin, you’ll find it in our review. All of the face washes from out list are gentle on your skin but have no mercy for those pesky pimples. 

On this page you will find the best options on the market to help deal with this once and for all.



This post features 8 carefully chosen face washes for acne-prone and oily skin with the most effective results available in the market today. When I say carefully, it means that our listing is based on the analysis of over 3,140 real user reviews and in depth understanding of the brands behind these products.

Our team of skincare experts and dermatologists only picked the highest rated and most successful products that work best for acne-prone and oily skin.


Top 3 – Editor’s Picks

If you’re in a rush, here’s our top pick for the best acne face wash.

#1 – Misumi Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser
Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser

Great for oily skin

  • Helps to clear up acne fast
  • Manages oily skin
  • Removes impurities and excess oil that clog up pores and cause acne
  • Results easily beats big brands like Proactiv, Murad  and Exposed
  • 60-Day money back guarantee
5.0 stars out of 5

Read Review

#2 – Neutrogena Oil-Free Pink Grapefruit Cleanser

Suitable for: Sensitive skin

  • It works surprisingly well
  • It is oil-free
  • It smells great
4.5 stars out of 5

Read Review

#3 – AHA 10% Skin Perfecting Cleanser
AHA 10% Skin Perfecting Cleanser

Suitable for: All skin types, especially individuals with adult acne

  • Naturally derived ingredients including Glycolic Acid, Grapefruit, Chamomile, Lemon, Rosehip Oil, Japanese Plum, and Seaweed Extract
  • Anti-aging bonus
  • Does not dry out skin
4.5 stars out of 5

Read Review


A few ingredients to look for in your face wash: salicylic acid (to exfoliate and remove pore-clogging debris and break up blackheads and whiteheads), glycolic acid (the best at exfoliating and unclogging impurities and excess oil due to it’s tiny molecules), lactic acid (to fight acne and even out skin tone), or sulfur (to lessen inflammation). We actually don’t recommend benzoyl peroxide for oily skin because even though BP products aggressively kill P. acnes bacteria, it does strip out the skin’s natural oil balance, which triggers our body to product more oil and later exacerbate the situation.



One downside is that face washes for acne and oily skin can be drying. You may also be tempted to overdo it on cleansing—and get irritated as a result (hello, angry skin!). Pro tip: If you do get a bit dry or flaky, scale back to every other day and follow with a noncomedogenic moisturizer designed for oily or acne-prone skin.

Bonus: when it comes to face wash, you don’t have to pick an expensive one—drugstore buys will get the job done, says Dr. Saedi. Here are 8 that have top-notch pimple-fighting power.

Best Face Wash for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin

Our Number 1 Choice

#1 – Misumi Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser

Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser
Picking the number 1 acne cleanser for oily skin was surprisingly not a hard choice. After trying over fifty of the best rated acne cleansers, we’ve come to a conclusion that Misumi’s Clear Skin Salicylic Cleanser is by far the most powerful and effective cleanser on the market. It easily beats out tough competitors like Murad, Curology, and Proactiv. This breakthrough formula is a powerful blend of Glycolic acid, Lactic acid, and Salicylic acid, the three ‘miracle acne-fighting ingredients’. The trio work together to unclog and tighten pores, remove impurities and excess oil called sebum that cause acne, and accelerate the skin’s natural healing process. It fights acne from the inside out, which ensures long-lasting results.

The cleanser also incorporates Lavender which has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to reduce redness and swelling, while also preventing severe acne scars. Best of all, users who have tested this cleanser have seen a noticeable difference in how oily their skin is. The cleanser helps to control the oil production in the skin without stripping it of it’s natural oil balance. All in all, this is our top choice. Misumi really checks all the boxes of everything we’re looking for in a great acne cleanser for oily skin.

Customer Before and After Picture


  • Powerful combination of Lactic, Glycolic, and Salicylic acid
  • Reduces over-production of oil in the skin
  • High concentration of premium quality ingredients
  • Calms breakouts and reduces redness and swelling
  • Promotes even skin tone
  • Naturally derived
  • 60 Day Money Back Guarantee


  • There are cheaper options out there

Pro tip: Choose a subscription plan (30 or 60 days) and get 20% savings on the cleanser. Easy cancellation anytime.

Check out what these customers have to say about clear skin salicylic cleanser.

Best product ever

This stuff really works. We have tried everything on the market and to be honest this is the only thing that has worked for my son. I have it on automatic delivery and he will never go without.

Dean F

Verified Buyer


#2 – Neutrogena Oil-Free Pink Grapefruit Acne Facial Cleanser

With skin-brightening vitamin C and blackhead-banishing salicylic acid, this wash is a “refreshing way to start off your morning and treat acne and red marks,” says Dr. Saedi. The grapefruit scent is a great way to perk yourself up in the a.m., too.


  • contains Salicylic acid
  • good for deep cleansing
  • good price
  • gentle formula for more sensitive skin


  • Not sufficient on its own for fighting acne



#3 – Misumi AHA 10% Skin Perfecting Cleanser

AHA 10% Skin Perfecting Cleanser
This product goes double duty as a daily cleanser (to clear breakouts) and also a great anti-aging treatment (to reduce fine lines and wrinkles). The Skin Perfecting Cleanser’s list of naturally derived ingredients makes it stand out from the crowd. The advanced formula combines the acne fighting benefits of Glycolic Acid with other natural miracle ingredients including Rosehip Oil (antioxidant), Chamomile (reducing redness and swelling), Seaweed extract (heal acne), Japanese Plum and so many more natural treatments. It also helps control that shiny forehead you deal with by 3 p.m., thanks to oil-controlling Grapefruit and Lemon.


  • Tackles both acne and premature aging
  • Contains Glycolic Acid, the most effective exfoliator for deep pore cleansing
  • Helps kill acne bacteria
  • Natural ingredients
  • Helps control excess oil without drying the skin


  • Not suitable for those allergic to Glycolic Acid


#4 – La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser Acne Wash

This 2% salicylic acid face wash from La Roche-Posay sops up excess oil and contains lipo hydroxy acid, a micro-exfoliant that buffs away dirt and smooths out skin.


  • Great for blackheads and whiteheads
  • Good choice for individuals with mild acne


  • Does not directly fight or kill acne-causing bacteria


#5 – Clean & Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser

If anything reminds you of your teen years, it’s probably Clean & Clear products—but they work! This pick contains 10% benzoyl peroxide (the strongest you’ll find), so it offers serious bacteria-killing power if your skin can tolerate it, says Dr. Saedi. Menthol also leaves behind a tingly, cooling effect—great for those painful bumps. While its intended for daily use, lathering up with this every day might be a bit drying, so give your skin a break if it needs it.


  • Benzoyl Peroxide fights acne-causing bacteria.


  • 10% B.P. is a strong formula. Not suitable for sensitive skin
  • Causes dryness and may cause peeling. Best to moisturize after use.


#6 – Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

This basic cleanser is a dermatologist favorite for a reason—it’s designed to wash away impurities without irritating, making it great for acne-prone skin. It’s especially soothing for those with a sensitive complexion or eczema, says Dr. Saedi. 


#7 – Traditional Sulfur Soap Cleansing Bar

Sulfur calms down redness and inflammation, says Dr. Saedi. Catch is, it’s not always pleasant-smelling. However, reviewers of this bar, which acts as an antiseptic and antifungal, say it has a mild fragrance and (most importantly) really fades both mild and cystic acne.


#8 – Bioré Charcoal Acne Clearing Cleanser for Oily Skin (6.77oz)

The addition of charcoal (a great ingredient for oily skin) to this 1% salicylic acid cleanser helps penetrate clogged pores to clear out blackheads, says Dr. Saedi.


#9 – Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Control 3-in-1 Foaming Wash

The 2% salicylic acid in this foaming cleanser treats existing breakouts while keeping P. acnes bacteria at bay to prevent future ones. 



If you’re tired of acne, try one of the best acne face washes. They will unclog your pores and get rid of inflammation and blackheads. These cleansers are one of the best ways to gently exfoliate your skin and improve its texture, too.