Only those who struggle with acne know how much of a struggle it actually is. Debating whether or not to pop a pimple before a photoshoot, being afraid of applying makeup, and maxing out your credit card on skin care treatments — acne is no less of a tragedy. Before you reach for a new face wash targeted towards acne-prone skin, allow us to introduce you to oil cleansers. You might be wondering: isn’t excessive oil the root cause of my acne problems and should I be slathering on more oil? Well—yes, and no. It’s counterintuitive but on the other hand, helps too.
Oil cleansers for acne work actively towards cancelling out excess sebum in our skin. While traditional foam cleansers can strip our skin of vital oils and leave it dry, inflamed, and flaky, oil-based formulas do the opposite. They maintain the pH balance, deeply nourish and moisturize skin, and unclog pores to prevent the recurrence of breakouts. This protects and strengthens your skin’s barrier and makes it healthier. Sounds too good to be true? There’s only one way to find out! Scroll down and read our list of the best oil cleansers for acne!
13 Best Oil Cleansers For Acne To Keep Pimples At Bay
Sensitive skin that needs settling down will do well with Banila Co’s oil cleanser for acne. Their patented Zero Balance Technology firms up, soothes, purifies, and rejuvenates skin without stripping it of its vital oils. With a smooth sorbet texture, this balm turns to a milky oil upon cleansing. The aromatic scent is pleasing and mild in this hypoallergenic cleansing balm. Problematic skin remains balanced and calm with the help of 7 natural herbs, active botanicals, water from hot springs, and vitamins C and E. Effectively cleaning irritated skin without disturbing its natural moisture balance is exactly what you can expect with this oil cleansing for acne.
- Free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, alcohol, mineral oil, or artificial coloring
- Balances skin’s moisture levels
- Soothes irritation
- Ideal for sensitive skin
- Mild and pleasant scent
- Contains natural ingredients
- Might not effectively remove waterproof makeup
Heimish’s vegan oil cleanser for acne-prone skin is a solid facial cleanser that turns into a silky milk consistency upon application. The lightweight texture works like magic to remove stubborn makeup and dirt from your skin without leaving it feeling tight. As it contains citrus herb oils, white flower complex, coconut extract, and shea butter, you will notice naturally brightened and nourished skin. Dissolving easily into the skin, the All Clean Balm is an oil cleanser for blackheads and clogged pores which doesn’t leave behind any messy residue. And with the tiny spatula provided, you can ensure clean application too!
- Contains nourishing ingredients
- Brightens skin
- Lightweight and silky texture
- Some may find the scent to be strong
With this Burt’s Bees oil cleanser, all of your skin’s impurities are gently dissolved to make way for a healthy and glowing complexion. A blend of the coconut and argan oils gently rid your skin of makeup without disrupting the moisture balance. These skin-loving ingredients have a hydrating effect as coconut oil is rich in vitamin E while argan oil is known as ‘liquid gold’, owing to the vitamins and minerals present in it. For softer and well-hydrated skin, try this argan oil cleanser for acne-prone skin.
- Nourishes and hydrates skin
- Contains natural ingredients
- Gentle formula
- Doesn’t disrupt the skin’s moisture balance
- Dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested
- Doesn’t leave behind an oily residue
- Some may find the fragrance to be overpowering
The best cleansing oil for acne comes in the form of a smooth and richly-textured oil from The Face Shop that works like a charm for dry skin types. It dives deep into the skin to gently remove makeup and other residue for a refreshed feel. Enriched with rice extract along with rice bran, jojoba, and kukui seed oils, your skin is moisturized and brightened with a subtle glow. You can be one step closer to glass-like skin with this Korean cleansing oil for acne-prone skin.
- Smooth texture
- Gentle formula
- Refreshing feel
- Moisturizes and brightens skin
- Effectively removes oil-based impurities
- Helps reduce hyperpigmentation
- Might have an overpowering scent
If you’re new to oil cleansing for acne-prone skin, you should try this Japanese formula that gently removes makeup without making your skin feel taut and uncomfortable. Blended with olive oil and 2 types of hyaluronic acid, these moisturizing agents gently restore the health back in your dehydrated skin. The mild oil can also be used to remove stubborn waterproof eye makeup without you having to tug at the skin for an effective cleanse. We believe this oil face cleanser for acne is a star addition to your double cleanse routine.
- Free of fragrance, alcohol, mineral oil, and artificial colorants
- Removes waterproof and stubborn eye makeup
- Deeply moisturizes skin
- Mild and gentle formula
- Doesn’t require tugging
- Some may not like the thin consistency
When trying out an oil cleanse method for acne, you can give the bareMinerals’ Total Cleansing Oil a shot as it removes impurities and also nourishes the skin. The lightweight formula feels super comforting and glides on easily for an effective cleanse. Mineral-rich sea salts that refine skin combine with bilberry, borage, cucumber, and sunflower oils that have antioxidant-rich ingredients to give your skin a youthful look. Even the most sensitive of skin types will benefit from this deep cleansing oil as it will leave your skin feeling smooth and supple.
- Lightweight formula
- Suitable for sensitive skin
- Contains skin-friendly oils
- Moisturizes skin
- Aids cell renewal
- Makes skin soft
- Might leave behind an oily residue
Julep’s non-comedogenic cleansing oil contains the goodness of rosehip seed oil that works to combat lines, scars, and hyperpigmentation while olive oil evens out skin tone. Grapefruit peel and grapeseed oils care for dry and hypersensitive skin, leaving it soft without clogging the pores while green coffee bean oil aids skin cell turnover. This non-greasy cleanser is great at melting away makeup while protecting the skin against free radical damage. If you want something that moisturizes dry skin and soothes irritation in sensitive skin, let this be your go-to.
- Paraben-free and cruelty-free
- Lightweight and non-greasy
- Protects against free radicals
- Ideal for dry, sensitive, and inflamed skin
- Some may find it to be too mild
Hanskin’s multitasking cleansing oil for acne dives deep into the pores to rid your skin of annoying blackheads. It makes use of an invigorating blend of oils such as jojoba, olive, lemon, orange, and grapefruit for a squeaky-clean skin care routine. With salicylic acid, your skin is gently exfoliated, sebum and shine controlled, and the recurrence of breakouts curbed. Oily and combination skin types that can’t seem to get acne off their tails should definitely give this lightweight Korean formula a shot.
- Reduces blackheads
- Gently exfoliates skin
- Controls sebum production
- Ideal for oily and combination skin types
- Contains a blend of nourishing oils
- Deep cleans pores
- Might increase skin sensitivity in the sun owing to the BHA
Perhaps the best cleansing oil for acne-prone skin, this one by Shu Uemura combines Chinese medicine with beauty oils from all over the world. Its cashmere-like consistency moisturizes your skin and smoothens it for a poreless effect. With the merging of 8 botanical oils like meadowfoam, soybean, camellia, corn, jojoba, safflower, this luxurious formula effortlessly cleanses skin by renewing its quality. Squalene and ginseng root extract are both present, which can boost skin’s hydration and blood circulation.
- Softens and smoothes skin
- Improves blood circulation
- Boosts skin hydration
- Minimizes the appearance of pores
- Might make the skin feel tight
One of the most effective oil cleansers for acne-prone skin, Biossance’s antioxidant-rich formula also works to remove heavy-duty makeup. Its lightweight texture keeps skin fresh and hydrated with high-quality sugarcane-derived squalene. This star ingredient works to restore hydration in skin without making it feel greasy. With the power of antioxidants, signs of stress and aging are reduced to reveal a healthier complexion.
- Reduces signs of aging
- Hydrates skin
- Reveals a healthy complexion
- Some might find skin to become taut
Probiotic extracts and natural oils take center stage in TULA’s oil-based cleanser for oily skin types. They help dissolve makeup and pore-clogging dirt quickly while ceramides and arctic winged kelp condition the skin to keep it smooth. For skin-deep nourishment, the active ingredient rice bran oil lends moisturizing and soothing properties. This gentle cleanser can be beneficial in double-cleansing routines for oily, acne-prone skin owing to its non-comedogenic and balanced formula.
- Free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, gluten, fragrance, silicone, and other irritants
- Deeply moisturize skin
- Made with natural extracts
- Smoothes down skin
- Might be irritating on the eye area
Powered with the Shiseido original Gentle Quick-Removing Technology, this lightweight and comfortable formula can be used on both dry or wet skin. To thoroughly rid your skin of makeup, oil, and dirt, the oil goes deep into the pores. With the nourishing effects of glycerin and grapeseed oil, moisture is restored for a strong skin barrier. Gliding onto skin like silk, this oil can be rinsed quickly without being greasy and will lend your skin a healthy, dewy finish.
- Suitable for all skin types
- Moisturizes skin
- Gives a dewy finish
- Might leave residue
A good oil cleanser for acne works on the principle of ‘oil dissolves oil’ — just like DHC’s crowd-favorite formula! The nourishing oil blend present in the pore cleansing oil attaches with the sebum in your skin to unclog pores and remove makeup. To soothe your skin, calendula comes into action and a citrus extract blend helps brighten and tone with antioxidant benefits. With a single cleanse, you will find your complexion soft, balanced, and revitalized.
- Unclogs pores
- Reduces sebum
- Tones and brightens skin
- Has a soothing effect
- Free of fragrance and colorants
- Ideal for oily skin types
- Might not be ideal for sensitive skin types
Now that we’ve looked at some of the best oil cleansers on the market, let’s look at how you can pick the right one for yourself.
What To Look For In An Oil Cleanser For Acne
- Skin type
Acne doesn’t discriminate based on skin type, so, it’s important that you treat it with products formulated for yours.
Oily, combination and acneic skin types should choose oil cleansers that contain hydroxy acids or BHAs like salicylic acid as it effectively unclogs pores and clears away dead skin cells. Dry skin types will do well if their cleansers are supplemented with squalene, hyaluronic acid, and aloe vera to retain lost moisture. Castor oils and sunflower seed oils can help too. Those with normal skin should focus on acne-fighting ingredients such as tea tree, witch hazel, honey, and green tea. Calendula, chamomile, and shea butter are good ingredients for sensitive skin types owing to their soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
Always stick with gentle and lightweight formulas as they are kind to the skin. Harsh and thick oils can clog pores and cause you to break out even more. Don’t forget to check the label and confirm that the product you’re purchasing is indeed ‘non-comedogenic’ as it won’t clog pores and lead to acne, blackheads, and whiteheads.
As with every beauty product, ensure that the oil cleanser you’re picking out is formulated without the use of any irritants like parabens, SLS, phthalates, gluten, fragrance, colorants, or mineral oils. These chemicals can wreak havoc on your skin especially if you suffer from any skin insensitivities.
Acne is a tough nut to crack but with a wide variety of products on the market, it’s not impossible. You might feel like cleansers that leave your skin feeling ‘tight’ are actually cleaning it deeply, but you might be wrong. When your skin’s natural oils are removed this way, you might be faced with more skin issues. So, to fight fire with fire, use an oil cleanser for acne and watch how slowly but surely, your breakouts are minimized. With soothing and moisturizing additional ingredients, oil cleansers also effectively remove makeup to keep your skin feeling refreshed. So, add oil cleansers to your skincare routine and see your skin texture improve in no time!
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Are oil cleansers good for acne?
Oil cleansers can effectively remove makeup, dirt, and grime from your skin without stripping it of its vital oils. They also contain ingredients that can help the occurrence of breakouts.
Does oil cleansing cause acne?
If you’re beginning to use oil cleansing in your routine, you might notice new pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads in a process called purging. After a couple uses, your skin will calm down and if it doesn’t, you might need to switch to another product.
Can you use cleansing oils for oily skin?
Yes, cleansing oils gently dissolve the dirt in the form of skincare products, makeup, and sweat which can be easily rinsed off with water. Sebum and dirt that clogs your pores is extracted and acne is reduced.
Are oil cleansers good for fungal acne?
Oils can lead to an aggravation in fungal acne. If you want to try oil cleansing, it is best to speak to your dermatologist beforehand.
Does DHC cleansing oil clog pores?
No, as it is non-comedogenic, it will not clog your pores.