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How To Find The Best Face Wash When You Have Oily Skin & Large Pores


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When you’re dealing with oily skin and large pores, you want all your skincare products to target these concerns. And your face wash plays an important role here. Your cleanser can help you deal with excess oil, acne, enlarged pores, blackheads, and anything oily skin related. A proper cleanser takes the weight off your other skincare products and in some cases, it can even reduce your reliance on those products. Before moving on to the best face washes for oily skin and large pores, let’s set some things straight!

How to Choose The Best Face Wash For Oily Skin and Large Pores

Overall, once you get a handle on excess oil, you also reduce acne and large pores. Because excess oil causes clogged pores. And clogged pores lead to enlarged pores and breakouts. So it’s all about managing oil. Here’s how to choose cleansers that can do that.

Type of Cleanser/Texture

The best types of face wash for oily skin and large pores are foam, powder, gel, and clay cleansers. Other textures like creams and liquid ones may not be as effective.

Even though it has more to do with the ingredients of the facewash, these 4 formulas work best for balancing oil production, because they’re inherently more absorbent.

Ingredients To Look For

Large pores are one of the most common concerns when you have oily skin. Your ideal face wash should contain a type of hydroxy acid.

These types of cleansers are called exfoliating cleansers. And the most common oily-skin-friendly acid in these cleansers is salicylic acid.

It’s deeply exfoliating and it’s used in skincare to fight acne, blemishes, congestion, and large pores. Other active ingredients to look for can be glycolic acid or enzymes.

You can also benefit from any skin-soothing plant extract in your face wash to reduce inflammation and redness from acne.

Ingredients To Avoid

First of all, it’s best to stay away from no-rinse cleansers when you have oily skin. Any residue has the potential to settle in your pores and cause blackheads. Keep that in mind!

SLS (sulfates) are common in daily cleansers. These are drying ingredients that strip your skin off. But even oily skin needs oil! Overdrying actually causes the skin to produce more oil. It’s your skin’s self-defense.

Over-drying can also cause breakouts. If dryness was the answer, you’d have the best skin using bar soaps (SLS to the max). But that’s never the case, is it? Try to avoid SLS.

Most oil cleansers for oily skin are highly nourishing and practical for removing your makeup. You can benefit a lot from those in a double-cleansing routine.

But never use those alone and always follow up with a regular cleanser. Because they can be comedogenic for oily skin. And they have the potential to clog your pores and cause acne.

The Right Way To Wash Your Face

Use your facial cleanser in the morning and evening. If you wear a lot of makeup, it’s safer to double cleanse. Rubbing your face wash harder doesn’t increase its efficacy. It has the potential to cause micro-tears in the skin.

This may cause sensitivity, inflammation, redness, and even breakouts. Apply and rinse off very gently, then pat your face dry. More importantly, remember that facial cleansing means getting rid of unwanted oil as well as some wanted oil.

You barely have any control over it. It doesn’t matter how hydrating your cleanser is, you should never rely on it for moisturizing. So wash your face properly and always moisturize your skin after cleaning it.

The Best Face Washes For Oily Skin and Large Pores

Find below the cleansers and face washes for people with oily skin and large pores.

1. Ren Clearcalm Clarifying Clay Cleanser

Ren Clearcalm Clarifying Clay Cleanser - Best Face Washes For Oily Skin and Large Pores

If you have oily skin, you know that clay masks are absolute treats for your skin. You know how clay absorbs the oil on the skin like a sponge and tightens up the pores. Clay cleansers work in a similar way. This one is formulated with clay to purify and detoxify the skin. Because clay is a natural pore cleanser.

It gets rid of dead skin cells and has a mattifying effect on the skin. This powerful mineral is presented to you along with a whole bunch of plant extracts to avoid irritation. Also, it has willow bark extract, which is a natural source of salicylic acid, to target blemishes. Apply a thin layer and let the clay suck up any remaining oil on the skin. The purifying cleanser is perfect for toning enlarged pores.

Type: Clay
Ingredients: Willow bark
Good To Know: Fragrance-free, SLS-free
Size: 5.1 oz

2. Dr. Barbara Sturm Enzyme Cleanser

Dr. Barbara Sturm Enzyme Cleanser

Powder cleansers are the most concentrated form of cleansing because they’re extremely absorbent. They have fewer ingredients compared to other formulas. Oily skin is usually able to tolerate the potentially drying effect of these cleansers. The enzymes in this powder facewash work as exfoliators to help the skin get rid of dead skin cells accumulating on the outer layer of the skin.

These dead skin cells give you a dull complexion in time. Also, they prevent skincare products from penetrating the skin. This one is as exfoliating as it gets and it’s the most hardcore cleanser for oily skin I’ve ever tried! A tiny amount of powder combined with water lightly foams up.

Tiny powder particles melt on the skin and pick up any makeup, dirt, grime, and oil on the face. It doesn’t leave the skin feeling tight or irritated if you don’t overdo it. It’s the ultimate form of facial cleansing for oily skin! But do not ignore the instructions of the product. This much exfoliation twice a day can cause sensitivity even for oily skin.

Type: Powder
Ingredients: Vitamin C
Good To Know: Fragrance-free
Size: 2.6 oz

3. Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser

Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Daily Cleanser - Best Face Washes For Oily Skin And Large Pores

This is another clay cleanser to provide deep cleansing for large pores. It’s soap-free and it contains tiny particles to scrub the face off any oil build-up to resurface healthier-looking skin. It purifies and balances the face with white clay and minimizes the look of pores.

It also contains salicylic acid to dissolve any debris on the skin that’s potentially pore-clogging. After all, the cleaner they are, the less visible they’ll be! So your benefits are two-fold: mattify the skin and exfoliate it at the same time. Plus, aloe extract in this face wash calms the skin and prevents post-cleansing redness. If you prefer a foaming cleanser, Kiehl’s has another cleanser that I love and can recommend. You can try their Ultra Facial Oil-Free Cleanser. It’s equally purifying.

Quick Tip: Kiehl’s has a clay face mask in the same line called Rare Earth Deep Pore Minimizing Clay Mask. It’s one of the gentlest ones I’ve tried. It’s non-drying but it’s super effective in getting rid of excess oil fast. Consider adding it into your routine to use it a few times a week or whenever your skin is acting out.

Type: Clay
Ingredients: Salicylic acid, Aloe
Good To Know: Fragrance-free, Contains alcohol
Size: 5 oz

4. Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash

Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash

This is one of the best face washes for oily skin and large pores. It’s SLS-free and provides a thorough cleanse without drying your face. It forms a lather on the face and removes any makeup and gunk on the skin. It’s vegan, oil-free, foams up nicely, and as with all foaming cleansers, it’s super satisfying to use too.

A tiny amount is enough to make your face squeaky clean. Honestly, you don’t even need to double cleanse with this one. It leaves the skin feeling soft with less visible pores. After a thorough cleanse, you can be sure that those serums and toners will absorb better.

Type: Foam
Ingredients: Spearmint leaf oil
Good To Know: SLS-free, Scented
Size: 5 oz

5. Shiseido Deep Cleansing Foam

Shiseido Deep Cleansing Foam

This one is a texture combo! This foam cleanser contains tiny powder molecules you’d find in a powder cleanser. And I talked about how absorbent those babies are when it comes to oily skin. The powder sucks up the oil on the face to reduce the shine and ease congested skin.

Meanwhile, several antioxidants (rice germ oil, peony, yomogi) promote hydration and help even out the skin tone. These vitamin-rich extracts prevent roughness and leave the skin feeling smooth and plump.

Type: Foam
Ingredients: Peony extract, rice germ oil, powder particles
Good To Know: Contains fragrance and SLS
Size: 4.4 oz

6. The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Acne + Pore Cleanser

The Inkey List Salicylic Acid Acne + Pore Cleanser - Best Face Washes For Oily Skin and Large Pores

When your pores are clogged for too long, they’re forced to expand in size. That’s how you get enlarged pores. And salicylic acid sits in those pores and clears them by dissolving the build-up dirt. That’s how consistent and moderate use of salicylic acid can reduce the look of your pores. By keeping the pores clean, salicylic acid prevents the formation of acne too.

It also dries out existing acne. And for that, this cleanser packs 2% salicylic acid! If you’re new to the ingredient, it’s the perfect starter amount. With the help of zinc PCA, you get to fight acne-causing bacteria as well as excess oil with your daily cleanser. It’s SLS-free, so it purifies the skin without damaging your skin barrier. Not to mention, it’s super affordable.

Type: Gel
Ingredients: Salicylic acid, Zinc, Allantoin
Good To Know: SLS-free, Fragrance-free
Size: 5 oz

7. Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser

Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser

This is a gel cleanser suitable for all skin types, including oily and acne-prone skin. Personally, I use it to manage shine and even though I have rosacea, this one does not dry or irritate my skin. The gel base is a little bit thick but foams up and cleans any makeup and dirt.

It’s especially great if you have acne and acne-related redness. Because it contains amazing antioxidants with anti-inflammatory benefits. It packs green tea, vitamin C, vitamin E, and a blend of superfoods.

Type: Gel
Ingredients: Green tea, Vitamin C, Vitamin B5
Good To Know: SLS-free, Alcohol-free, Fragrance-free but scented
Size: 8 oz

8. Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser

Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser - Best Face Washes For Oily Skin And Large Pores

This one is a simple and super-effective drugstore face wash for oily skin and large pores. The gel cleanser foams up when combined with water. It contains hyaluronic acid and ceramides to help your skin retain moisture and maintain a healthy skin barrier. The budget-friendly cleanser doesn’t leave any residue on the skin to rule out clogging pores.

Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser
by Ejollify

And thanks to niacinamide, it supports the skin barrier and gives you fresh and brighter-looking skin. With its restoring formula, it’s perfect for oily skin that’s prone to dehydration. So if your skin is sensitive and doesn’t seem to tolerate active ingredients, you can always keep things simple and just keep your face clean with a gentle cleanser.

Quick Tip: If you’re using a kind of acne treatment such as a salicylic acid treatment, retinol, or even benzoyl peroxide, you may see that your skin becomes sensitive. And you’ll soon realize that your cleanser starts to feel irritating. This cleanser is so gentle that you can use it together with your treatment. I love it when I’m using retinol.

Type: Gel
Ingredients: Niacinamide, Ceramides, Hyaluronic acid
Good To Know: Fragrance-free
Size: 12 oz

9. La Roche Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser

La Roche Posay Effaclar Medicated Acne Face Wash - Best Face Washes For Oily Skin And Large Pores

Another drugstore salicylic acid face wash for oily and acne-prone skin to get rid of congestion and excess oil is this oil-free cleanser by La Roche. It is super-targeted and highly anti-bacterial. It’s formulated with 2% salicylic acid as well as lipo hydroxy acid, a derivative of salicylic acid, to double the exfoliating action. Lipo hydroxy acid, in the simplest terms, provides cell-by-cell exfoliation!

This slow but focused exfoliation stimulates cell renewal, fights acne, and increases the skin’s natural hyaluronic acid levels. The daily acne facewash deeply cleans the face and tightens enlarged pores. One thing to note here is that this is not SLS-free. So it’s great if you have very oily skin but it can be a bit drying if your skin is sensitive. You can use it sparingly and take a break if your skin gets dry or flaky.

Type: Gel
Ingredients: Salicylic acid, Lipo hydroxy acid
Good To Know: Fragrance-free, Oil-free
Size: 6.76 oz

10. Caudalie Vinopure Pore Purifying Gel Cleanser

Caudalie Vinopure Pore Purifying Gel Cleanser - Best Cleanser For Oily Skin and Large Pores

This oil-free and SLS-free gel face wash is exceptionally potent and takes daily cleansing to a whole new level. Besides salicylic acid, which is an acne-prone skin’s best friend, it contains the super-charged antioxidant benefits of grape seeds. They help your skin recover from external skin aggressors like UV, pollution, and stress.

All of these directly damage your skin’s protective barrier. So it becomes more prone to further damage. This face wash diminishes the pores with salicylic acid and nourishes the skin with antioxidants and anti-bacterial essential oils. It leaves the skin feeling smooth and silky.

Type: Gel
Ingredients: Salicylic acid, Aloe
Good To Know: Fragrance-free but scented
Size: 5 oz

So these are some of the best cleansers and face washes for oily skin and large pores. If you want to take things to the next level, try pore-minimizing serums to get rid of congestion and reduce the appearance of pores.

Read Next: The Best Toners For Oily Skin and Large Pores


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