Best Face Washes Based on Your Skin Type, According to DermatologistsCleansing is the first step of any basic skincare routine. A good cleanser can break down and get rid of makeup, dead skin cells, oil, dirt, and other types of pollutants from the skin.

You may have noticed cleaners come in different textures. Usually, there are four types of textures:

  • Cream
  • Oil
  • Gel
  • Foam

Each texture is often formulated with different skin types in mind.

It would be best to have a cleanser that does no harm and keeps your skin balanced. After washing your face, your skin should feel refreshed, not dehydrated and tight, and your skin pores should feel clear, and prepare for a serum or moisturizer.

How To Pick The Right Cleanser?

A vast range of face cleansers is available on the market, each one claiming to be a champ. So it becomes tricky for most people to decide which one they use. We talked to many skincare experts and have summarized what to look for, plus which face cleansers they recommend for each skin type. Continue reading for eight options for all skin types, from dry to oily to sensitive.

What Do Dermatologists Recommend To Wash Your Face?

Skin Type: The first obvious thing to look for is to choose a face wash appropriate for your skin type. We have seen many people have no idea what their skin type is when you ask them. If you have no skin problem such as dry or acne, you are most likely having “normal” skin. But things aren’t relatively straightforward for those with complicated issues – such as blemishes stemming from oily skin or excessive dryness that causes tightness and flaking. You need to be aware of ingredients and the texture of your face wash and pick one suitable for your oily, acne-prone, dry, sensitive, or combination skin type.

Texture: Once you know your skin type, consider the texture of the face cleanser. While dry skin types should opt for creamy, almost moisturizer-like face cleansers or hydrating oil face washes to remedy the damaged skin, oily and acne-prone types need Gel or foam textures, which will help soak up any excess oil. Some skin care experts also swear by cleansing oils for oily skin. Believe it or not, oil attracts oil, which leaves your skin balanced. For sensitive skin types, go for something creamier since it’ll likely be less irritating and harsh on the already fragile skin.

Some Champ Ingredients

What ingredients you require depends on your skin type.

For most people, a good rule of thumb is to choose something that is “both oil-free and non-comedogenic,” which means it won’t clog your pores.

If your skin tends to be dry, you should also look for ingredients such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid to lock in as much moisture as possible. They can also be helpful if you use drying ingredients to treat acne.

But oily and acne-prone skin benefits most from exfoliating ingredients such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or alpha hydroxy acids. They will help get rid of extra oil, dirt buildup, and debris, which otherwise can lead to acne.

Those with sensitive skin should make sure to avoid anything harsh altogether and look for calming ingredients like aloe, cucumber, or clay.

Best Overall Face Wash

CETAPHIL Gentle Skin Cleanser

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

All skin types | Creamy | Glycerin, vitamin B5, and niacinamide

Cetaphil face cleanser contains powerful ingredients such as glycerin to hydrate, vitamin B5 to safeguard the skin’s barriers, and niacinamide to smoothen and help retain moisture. Moreover, this non-comedogenic face cleanser works on all skin types, even sensitive skin, including in cases having acne, eczema, and rosacea. It’s nothing swanky, and honestly, won’t be life-changing. Still, it’s a simple, soap-free, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic face wash that wipes out oil, dirt, and makeup without causing irritation or stripping the skin. The best thing is it’s incredibly affordable, allowing you to focus your dollar on other useful products such as moisturizers and serums that have a longer-lasting impact on your skin.

Best Face Cleanser For Dry Skin

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Facial Cleanser

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Facial Cleanser

Dry skin | Creamy | Glycerin, ceramides, and niacinamide

Dermatologists like CeraVe Hydrating Face Wash and this La Roche-Posay Face Cleanser are equally for dry skin. The CeraVe face wash contains hyaluronic acid, which the La Roche-Posay cleanser doesn’t. But in most experts’ opinion, the La Roche-Posay might be a little better since you get an ounce more product for the same price and also because it contains more actives than the CeraVe, such as ceramides, glycerin, and niacinamide. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, it also includes the brand’s famed thermal spring water, which hydrates and soothes irritated, dry skin. Specifically, the glycerin within the formula is a fantastic ingredient that helps hydrate skin without the overproduction of oil.

Best face wash for acne-prone skin

Neutrogena Daily Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser with Salicylic Acid

Neutrogena Daily Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser with Salicylic Acid

Oily skin | Gel | Salicylic Acid

If you have acne-prone skin, we strongly recommend that you consider using:


(i) Either a face wash with salicylic acid, which while unclogging pores decreases inflammation and swelling, or


(ii) A face wash with benzoyl peroxide, an antiseptic that reduces the number of bacteria on your skin to prevent future acne breakouts.


We deep-dived into all the best options available. Finally, we zeroed down on this Neutrogena cleanser with salicylic acid. That might be your best bet. It only has two percent salicylic acid. So, on the one hand, it’s gentle enough on sensitive skin while still being able to tame severe acne breakouts. On the other hand, its gel texture makes it especially good for treating oily skin without drying it out.

Best face wash for oily skin

Youth To The People Kale + Green Tea Superfood Face Cleanser

Youth To The People Kale + Green Tea Superfood Face Cleanser

Oily Skin | Gel to foam | Green tea, vitamins C, E, K

Just like a foaming face cleanser, a gel one will work best for you if you have oily or acne-prone skin due to its ability to cut through excess oil on the skin’s surface (as well as inside pores). However, the downside of a gel face wash is that it can be too drying, causing more harm than good. But this face wash is an exception. It’s made with organic antioxidants like kale, spinach, and green tea, which boost moisture in the skin, provide anti-inflammatory protection, and won’t leave your skin dry or tight.

Best exfoliating face wash for oily skin

iS CLINICAL Cleansing Complex

iS CLINICAL Cleansing Complex

Oily Skin | Gel | Salicylic acid, antioxidants

If you want the texture of gel cleansers like the Youth to the People option above but like something that exfoliates as well, this gentle cleanser from iS Clinical is best for you. It is suitable for all skin types and is phthalate – and sulfate-free. Moreover, the inclusion of the willow bark in the formula (a form of salicylic acid) helps break up oils, exfoliate the skin, and tighten pores. The presence of salicylic acid also makes this great for acne-prone skin since it will deep-clean the skin pores while decreasing inflammation. In addition, the antioxidants in the formula protect the skin from environmental stressors while also brightening the skin.

Best face wash for sensitive skin

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

Sensitive skin is the hardest to deal with. As sensitive skin can react negatively to specific ingredients, it becomes necessary to read labels and exclude any face washes that are too harsh. An excellent choice is to start with this Fresh soy cleanser. Experts recommend it’s “perfect for extra-sensitive skin. In addition to gently cleansing, it leaves the skin “toned and brightened.” Though it has a gel texture, which typically is considered harsh for sensitive skin, this one is lightweight and feels cool and soothing. The combination of soy proteins works to keep skin soft. Moreover, its high concentration of amino acids, the cucumber extract, and rose water hydrate and calm the skin.

Best face wash for combination skin

CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser | Makeup Remover and Face Wash With Hyaluronic Acid | Fragrance Free |

CeraVe Hydrating Cream-to-Foam Cleanser | Makeup Remover and Face Wash With Hyaluronic Acid

Combination skin | Cream to foam | Ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and amino acids

Cleansing combination skin can be tricky. You need to deal with this skin type very cautiously. Just one wrong move can throw off the delicate balance of your skincare routine. You have to keep in mind that your skin is both dry and oily skin, which at times can be challenging. Thanks to this CeraVe cleanser, it’s a best-of-both-world scenario for combination skin. It transforms from a cream to a foam, providing the dry areas the creamy, hydrating nourishment they need, while the foam gets rid of excess oil without leaving your skin feeling dry or tight. The cleanser also contains necessary ingredients like “ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and amino acids that help keep the skin’s natural barrier intact and lock in moisture.

Best face wash for hyperpigmentation

MELE Cleansing Gel For Fresh, Clear Skin Gentle Hydrating Cleanser With Glycerin, Antimicrobial

MELE Cleansing Gel For Fresh, Clear Skin Gentle Hydrating Cleanser With Glycerin, Antimicrobial

All skin types | Gel | Glycerin

Hyperpigmentation is a skin reaction that can occur because of inflammation of any kind, creating challenging-to-get-rid-of dark marks behind. Though serums and retinols do help, a good cleanser is just as important. Hartman says Melē’s gel-based face cleanser can combine with “any skincare routine for treating hyperpigmentation” and help improve even skin tone in the process. According to Hartman, it cleanses thoroughly enough to eliminate any impurities and has a gentle formula that won’t irritate – rather only refresh skin. Glycerin is among its star ingredients, so you can depend on this to hydrate without leaving an oily patch behind.

For those who like foam instead of Gel, we’ve also heard good things about this Ambi exfoliating face cleanser, which has soy extract, salicylic acid, and vitamins C and E. Moreover, it’s a relatively cheaper and fragrance-free option, which the Melē cleanser isn’t.


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