The key to any effective cleansing routine is balance. You want to strike the right balance between removing the pore-clogging dirt and oil that cause breakouts and preventing further problems or damage. This is especially true of oily skin. Remember that some oil is essential for healthy skin. If your cleanser removes too much oil, the layer of protection that the oil provides will be lost. In order to avoid this situation, refrain from using harsh cleansers and cleansing too vigorously or too often [source: Bouchez]. At most, you should cleanse skin twice a day.
So, what kinds of cleansers work well on oily skin? For the most part, choosing a cleanser that is specifically designed to be gentle on your skin is best. Avoid cleansers that contain oils, waxes or soaps. You many think that soap is the most common go-to ingredient in a cleanser, but don't be fooled. Soap will only momentarily make your face feel oil-free. But because soap strips skin of all oil, using it may lead to even greater oil production as your skin works to replace its lost protective layer [source: P&G Beauty Science].
Cleansers containing salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid) or glycolic acid (alpha hydroxy acid) may also be helpful for gently cleaning and exfoliating oily skin. These two acids are often found in cleansers intended for acne-prone skin because they remove dead skin cells and oil that clog pores. But if your skin is easily irritated, look for products that have very low concentrations of these acids [source: DERMADoctor].
Using the right daily cleanser is a good start, but it isn't enough to keep your skin healthy. You may not think that oily skin needs a moisturizer, but read on to find out about the next step in the skin care regimen.