What are the best skin cleansers for men with oily skin?

Keeping your skin clean is important, but choosing a gentle cleanser for oily, acne-prone skin isn't always easy. See more personal hygiene pictures.

Dry, sensitive, oily, normal, combination -- there's a cleanser out there for every skin type. And despite what you may have experienced, cleansers for oily skin don't have to be overly drying to be great. You just need to find the right tool for the job.

Our skin naturally produces oil called sebum -- it's normal and healthy to have some oil on our skin. It's secreted from our sebaceous glands into the hair follicles (pores) near the surface of our skin, and the amount that's produced varies from person to person. An increase or change in the levels and production of certain hormones (androgens, in addition to estrogen, prolactin and glucocorticoids), as well as heredity and stress, can add to how much sebum our sebaceous glands produce. Oily skin, just like sensitive skin, needs special treatment.


The outermost layer of our skin, also known as the stratum corneum or the skin barrier, is packed full of fatty acids, and these natural oils help to keep it healthy and supple. For example, while you might assume that washing an oily face a few times a day will help remove oil and reduce acne, it can actually have the opposite effect. If you clean your skin too often, it will overcompensate by producing more oil.

So what's the right balance? Let's look at the types of cleansers available for oily skin -- which ones are good and which to avoid -- to find out.


Types of Cleansers for Men with Oily Skin

Choosing the right cleanser for your skin type is important. The best cleansers can clean your skin gently without causing lingering dryness. When you have oily skin, select cleansers with ingredients that are oil-free -- a good place to start is with the normal-to-oily skin cleansing products, but don't limit yourself to them. Look for cleansers that are gentle, water-soluble and noncomedogenic, which means they won't clog pores.

People with oily skin commonly complain about acne breakouts. If you have problems with acne, products with salicylic acid, glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide may help clear up and prevent breakouts. Avoiding emollient ingredients such as cocoa butter and coconut oil will also help you avoid acne flare ups -- emollients are thick, greasy moisturizers that seal water in and are best left for the dry skin sufferers. For moisturizing benefits (yes, oily skin still needs to be moisturized in order to maintain a healthy level of skin hydration), look for products that have humectant moisturizing ingredients such as glycerin and lactic acid -- these types of moisturizers attract water to the skin without oils or thick, pore-clogging emulsions.


Related Articles


  • American Academy of Dermatology. "Saving Face 101: How to Customize Your Skin Care Routine With Your Skin Type." Nov. 10, 2009. (Jan. 7, 2011)http://www.aad.org/media/background/news/Releases/Saving_Face_101_How_to_Customize_Your_Skin_Care_Ro/
  • Bouchez, Colette. "Oily Skin: Solutions That Work -- No Matter What Your Age." WebMD. Oct. 19, 2007. (Jan. 7, 2011)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/oily-skin-solutions-that-work
  • ConsumerSearch. "Facial Cleansers: Full Report." July 2010. (Jan. 7, 2011) http://www.consumersearch.com/facial-cleansers/review
  • Draelos, Z.D. "The effect of a daily facial cleanser for normal to oily skin on the skin barrier of subjects with acne." Cutis. July 2006. (Jan. 7, 2011)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16910029
  • Kraft, J.N., and C.W. Lynde. "Moisturizers: What They Are and a Practical Approach to Product Selection." Skin Therapy Letter. June 2005. (Jan. 7, 2011)http://www.skintherapyletter.com/download/stl_10_5.pdf
  • Zouboulis, C.C. "Acne and sebaceous gland function." Clinics in Dermatology. September - October 2004. (Jan. 7, 2011)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15556719