The $16 Holy Grail Cleanser for Oily Skin Dermatologists Swear By
When it comes to finding a gentle cleanser that effectively works on oily skin, decent products are few and far between. Some dry out your skin, while others are straight up pore-clogging demons, out to prevent your face from thriving. But thankfully, it seems as if the search for the best cleanser for oily skin is over. According to InStyle’s 2021 Best Beauty Buys, people with oily skin should add Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser to their regimen if they haven’t already.
It’s a $16 holy grail with the backing of both dermatologists and over 17,000 five-star ratings on Amazon. The hydrating cleanser is gentle on skin in part because it’s fragrance- and soap-free, and though it’s a standout face wash for oily skin, it can be used by people with dry and combination skin too.
“Cetaphil is a brand that I call ‘derm-vetted,’” Dr. Sheila Farhang, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Avant Dermatology & Aesthetics, tells InStyle. “I see people come in with dry, sensitive skin either from eczema, using harsh products, stress, change in the environment (or all of them), so I have to recommend products that are non-irritating and formulated for sensitive skin. I also have tons of acne patients that I start on treatment, which can be very drying on the skin, but I always couple it with a gentle, non-fragranced cleanser."
Dr. Farhang has been using Cetaphil products herself for over a decade. As someone with sensitive skin that uses retinoids for anti-aging and acne, she says Cetaphil doesn’t strip her skin of its natural oils.
“One thing that stands out with Cetaphil is that it is actually great for those with combo skin and oily skin as well as it can help with oiliness but not leave the skin super dry,” she said. “[And] a lot of people don’t know that the Cetaphil cleanser can be used without water — I personally use it with water, but great to know if you're in a pinch after working out and need to run errands.”
In addition to a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil, Dr. Farhang recommends following up with a gentle moisturizing cream like Cetaphil’s non-greasy facial moisturizer and a good sunscreen to protect and restore the health of your skin, especially if you’re on an acne medication that can dry out your face.
Shoppers on Amazon are similarly pleased with the results they’ve seen from consistently using the cleanser. “I have sensitive combination skin so my cheeks and the outer parts of my face are really dry while my nose, forehead, and chin are more on the oily side,” one five-star reviewer writes. “This cleanser does an amazing job… It [balances] the oil on my skin so my T-zone doesn't feel oily while my cheeks feel nourished. It's extremely gentle and leaves my skin so soft.”
By the way, I’m one of those Amazon shoppers: I have combination skin that leans oily, and Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is a must-have in my skincare routine. It doesn’t dry out my skin and helps quell unnecessary breakouts (bless!). Plus, I use the same bottle for months before running out. It’s truly one cleanser worth the investment — shop it below on Amazon for $16.