Oily skin is usually caused by overactive sebaceous glands producing too much sebum, which may make the skin feel even oilier and can clog pores, exacerbating acne. While you might think of oily skin as a daily drag, there is a benefit to having this skin type—it's actually less prone to wrinkling, says Dr. Fox. When it comes to cleansing oily skin, avoid products containing natural or synthetic oils, perfumes (fragrances) or additives.
If you have oily skin, your cleansers should contain the same ingredients normal skin needs: antioxidants, hydroxy acids, anti-inflammatory agents and retiniods. But it also needs a degreasing agent like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which is usually found in a gel rather than as a creamy cleanser. Clay-based face masks may also be helpful, and you might want to consider washing your face in the morning and evening if you have oily skin. [source: Dr. Fox]
Deirdre Hooper, MD, dermatologist at Audubon Dermatology in New Orleans, agrees that using products with salicylic acid will help clean your pores and reduce oil buildup. And even though it's tempting to try to get that squeaky clean feeling, she suggests avoiding harsh bar soaps which strip your skin of oils skin and leave skin feeling dry and irritated. Dr. Hooper recommends Neutrogena Oil-free Acne Wash and Cetaphil Cleanser for Oily Skin as good choices for someone with this type of skin. [Dr. Hooper]
People with oily skin often benefit from slightly more acidic washes, says Miguel Sanchez, MD, associate professor of dermatology at NYU School of Medicine. They may also benefit from exfoliating and astringent cleansers. Some gentle exfoliating cleansers, such as Dove Gentle Exfoliating Facial Cleanser, are often well tolerated and usually help people with sensitive skin (who often break out) because it contains stearic acid that may improve the damaged skin barrier that allows water to evaporate abnormally. [source: Dr. Sanchez]