The Best Oil-Controlling Cleansers That Won’t Irritate Sensitive Skin

Mia Maguire
The Best Oil-Controlling Cleansers That Won’t Irritate Sensitive Skin
Photo: Anastasia/Adobe.

If you struggle with oily skin, you’re probably painfully aware of the difficulty that comes with finding a solid cleanser that won’t completely strip your skin of all oils entirely (because this can cause increased sebum production) or irritate reactive skin types. Fortunately, there are plenty of cleansers that keep the skin shine-free but are also suitable for sensitive skin that won’t worsen redness and over-dry. While many mattifying face washes are formulated to leave skin feeling tight and dehydrated, gentle cleansers that combat grease, but also help out with your anti-aging skincare endeavors do exist.

If you have both sensitive and oily skin, looking for a gentle formula that doesn’t contain harsh ingredients like sulfates or comedogenic (aka ingredients that clog your pores) is the best course of action. Of course, there are also all-natural anti-bacterial solutions including Tea Tree oil that tend to be less likely to leave your skin feeling tight, flaky, and downright inflamed compared with other traditional treatments. Salicylic acid and Benzoyl Peroxide are the two gold-standard oil-absorbing actives that are found in most cleansers, and while they’re effective, they can be harsh on the skin — especially if you’re sensitive or dry. Opting for a formula infused with calming additives like Chamomile and aloe will help to offset any drying or irritation caused by them. Ahead, we’ve outlined some of our favorite face washes that keep oil at bay without leaving your skin cracked, dry, and uncomfortably tight.

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1. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser for Oily Skin

La Roche Posay cleanser amazon

La Roche Posay.

This all-natural and organic facial cleanser is chock full of skin-calming ingredients without compromising its oil-controlling and pore cleansing powers. It’s completely free of irritating chemicals, including parabens, synthetic fragrances, sulfates, and preservatives, making it ideal for sensitive skin types and those who suffer from rosacea and eczema.

2. Bioderma Sebium Foaming Gel Facial Cleanser for Combination to Oily Skin

Bioderma Sebium Foaming Gel Facial Cleanser for Combination to Oily Ski


This ultra calming cleanser not only helps prevent breakouts by deeply cleansing the pores, but it also combats redness and inflammation caused irritation and abrasive ingredients. The foaming gel formula creates a nice lather without stripping the skin completely.

3. Clean & Clear Sensitive Skin Face Wash

Clean & Clear Facial Cleanser

Clean & Clear.

Foaming facial cleansers tend to be linked to over-drying, but this affordable drugstore face wash keeps excess sebum and pore-clogging bacteria, dead skin, and other impurities at bay without causing your skin to react or feel uncomfortably tight post-cleanse.

4. Paula's Choice SKIN BALANCING Oil-Reducing Cleanser

Paula's Choice SKIN BALANCING Oil-Reducing Cleanser

Courtesy of Paula’s Choice.

This pore-clearing cleanser can strip your skin of makeup and excess oil, but it won’t dry out the patches of your skin that need moisture. It’ll keep your skin from producing too much oil. It works to reduce the appearance of your pores.