Best Face Exfoliators for Oily Skin

To keep skin looking clear, healthy and glowing, exfoliating is an essential part of any beauty regime. Exfoliation is particularly beneficial for anybody that has oily skin, as it will help to remove any excess oils and will help to restore your skin to a balanced pH. 

People with oily skin, whether it’s naturally consistent or come and goes temporarily through hormonal imbalances such as puberty, pregnancy or menopause are also more prone to acne, and exfoliating will help to reduce and prevent any painful breakouts.

However, as with all things in life, it’s about finding that delicate balance between too much and too little. Over exfoliating can cause oily skin types to dry out, whereas not exfoliating often enough may cause your pores to become clogged up with excess oil, dead skin cells and impurities. 

The different ingredients contained in exfoliating products each play a unique role in helping achieve that perfect balance, as well as provide additional protection for our skin. But with so many different beauty products available to us, how do we know which exfoliator is the best to use on oily skin? 

To take the confusion out of it, we’ve put together a list of five of the best exfoliators for oily skin along with a buying guide that will help you find the perfect product for your skin type and leave your face feeling clean, smooth and beautifully soft.

If you’re in a rush and are looking for a fantastic facial exfoliator that can be used on oily skin, take a look at our top pick.

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Best Face Exfoliators for Oily Skin - Comparison Table

Best Face Exfoliators for Oily Skin - Reviews

Designed to exfoliate and renew your skin, this alpha-hydroxy serum from Luminositie is ideal for anybody with an oily skin type.

Made from glycolic acid, an essential component of any good exfoliation product, this serum will help to gently clear your pores of any impurities, and quickly absorbs into your skin without leaving behind and sticky or tacky residue.

As well as helping to keep oily skin clear of acne, this serum can also help to reduce the size of your pores, meaning that there is less of a risk of dead skin cells, excess oils and other impurities becoming trapped and leading to outbreaks.

Using this unique exfoliating serum will also help open your skin up to any moisturizers and creams you use after it, allowing your pores to absorb all of their goodness without any goding to waste.

On top of all of these benefits, this serum is also 100% cruelty free, so you can rest safe in the knowledge that none of the ingredients have been tested on animals.

Pros

  • Designed to exfoliate and renew skin cells
  • Contains glycolic acid which will gently clean out your pores
  • Absorbs quickly into your skin without any sticky residue
  • Also helps to reduce the size your pores
  • 100% cruelty free

Cons

  • None

Made especially for oily skin types, this pore refining scrub from Burt’s Bees is clinically proven to buff away dead skin cells and impurities, as well as minimize the appearance of pore size.

A mixture of jojoba beads and a fruit acid complex work together to gently clean out your pores and leave your skin feeling refined and smooth, and it’s non-comedogenic properties ensure that no product is left behind in your pores once you’ve washed it off.

Formulated from 99% natural ingredients, including beeswax and coconut oil, it also contains salicylic acid that has been naturally derived from willow bark to help reduce and prevent any acne breakouts without causing further irritation to the skin.

Tested and approved by dermatologists, this facial exfoliator is ideal for anybody with either naturally oily skin, or suffering with a hormonal acne breakout.

Pros

  • Designed especially for oily skin types
  • Contains 99% natural ingredients including jojoba beads and fruit acids to gently buff away dead skin cells and impurities
  • Naturally derived salicylic acid helps to reduce and prevent any acne breakouts
  • Is non-comedogenic so no product will become trapped in your pores during use
  • Dermatologist tested and approved for use on oily skin

Cons

  • The exfoliating jojoba beads don’t give you that proper ‘scrub’ feeling during use that you get from some other exfoliators

Renowned for using natural ingredients in all of their products, The Body Shop have created their Squeaky Clean Scrub with oily, acne prone skin in mind.

Enriched with community trade tea tree oil, well known for its natural antibacterial properties, this scrub gently buffs away impurities and leaves your skin feeling smoother and looking clearer.

Foaming up to a luxurious lather, this exfoliator is gentle and effective enough to use up to three times a week, and also works towards keeping your skin shine-free, which is a brilliant feature when looking for a scrub for oily skin.

100% vegan and cruelty free, you can also rest assured that none of the products in this facial exfoliator have been tested on animals. 

Pros

  • Made with community trade tea oil, renowned for its natural antibacterial properties
  • Buffs away dead skin cells and excess oils from pores
  • Gentle enough to use up to three times a week
  • Helps to balance your skin texture and leave your face shine-free
  • 100% vegan and cruelty free

Cons

  • The size of the container is fairly small and, if used frequently, may only last a couple of weeks

Polishing away dead skin cells and pore-polluting impurities, this spa-quality microdermabrasion scrub from Bliss is an ideal exfoliator for anybody with oily skin.

Using volcanic pumice to powerfully, yet gently, buff your skin and leave it feeling clean and soft, this exfoliator also contains aloe and peppermint to help soothe and moisturize so your face won’t feel dried out after use.

It’s non comedogenic properties will ensure no product is left behind once you’ve washed it away, leaving your pores totally clean and clear of clogging excess oils and daily dirt, and the fresh smelling rosemary and mint fragrance will help awaken your senses.

Amongst it’s natural ingredients are jojoba seeds and soybean oils that are rich in skin-feeding vitamins and antioxidants, so not only will it leave your skin feeling clean and clear, but it will also help to revitalize and renew your skin cells.

Pros

  • Uses volcanic pumice to powerfully buff away dead skin cells and impurities
  • Contains aloe and peppermint to soothe and moisturize
  • The non-comedogenic properties ensure no product is left behind after use
  • Has refreshing rosemary and mint fragrance
  • Also contains jojoba seeds and soybean oils that are rich in vitamins and antioxidants

Cons

  • Some customers found the feeling of the volcanic pumice slightly too abrasive on their skin

This gentle exfoliator from Neutrogena is specially formulated to draw out impurities, dead skin cells and excess oil and leave your skin feeling clean and soft.

It’s oil-free formula is ideal for use on oily skin types as it will help to balance the skin’s pH without the risk of adding any more oil to your face. 

This exfoliator also contains salicylic acid to target impurities, help prevent any breakouts and to reduce soreness and irritation on any existing blemishes, and the non-comedogenic properties will leave your skin completely free of any product.

Recommended by dermatologists, it uses BarrierCare cleansing technology which helps to preserve the skin’s natural moisture levels, without drying it out or causing it to become overly-oily.

Pros

  • Specially formulated to draw impurities out of your pores and leave them clean and clear
  • The oil-free formula is ideal for anybody with an oily skin type
  • Contains salicylic acid to prevent breakouts and reduce irritation on existing blemishes
  • Is 100% non-comedogenic so won’t clog your pores with product
  • Uses BarrierClear cleansing technology to preserve your skin’s natural moisture level

Best Face Exfoliators for Oily Skin - Buyers Guide

Oily skin can be a really tricky thing to try and manage, and there are loads of products available that all claim to do different things in order to get it under control. 

The temptation to give up and choose the first one you come across can be all too great, but it’s absolutely worth researching the best choice for your own specific needs. 

To help you navigate the minefield of skincare products, we’ve put some key factors below that need to be taken into consideration before making your decision.

Skin Issues

The first thing to consider when you’re choosing an exfoliator for oily skin, is what sort of condition your skin is in and whether you have any issues you’d like your exfoliator to address.

Oily skin is much more acne prone than any other skin type, and if you’re suffering with breakouts then an exfoliator that contains acne fighting ingredients is definitely the best choice for you. 

If you aren’t prone to breakouts but still have oily skin, then an exfoliator that has an oil-free formula would be a good choice as it will help to buff away excess oils, dead skin cells and daily impurities without adding to the oil levels in your skin.

Abrasion 

First and foremost, an exfoliator needs to have an abrasive ingredient in it, which will aid in the removal of impurities trapped in the pores. Some exfoliators are gentler than others, depending on what their abrasive agent is, but if you suffer with oily skin you’re likely to benefit from a rougher exfoliant which will clear away excess oils.

Salicylic Acid

Another great ingredient to look for in an exfoliator is salicylic acid. This is a derivative of aspirin and contains antibacterial properties, so not only will it help to soothe and reduce any redness or soreness that come from existing blemishes, but it will also kill any bacteria that may cause future outbreaks.

Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is considered one of the best ingredients in any exfoliator, but it is particularly important in a scrub designed for oily skin. 

Not only does glycolic acid dive deep down into the pores and help to unclog them, but it also helps to heal and reduce the appearance of any existing acne scars.

It even plays a massive role in helping to reverse the signs of aging, and can also help to treat skin discoloration. 

Natural Ingredients

There are also many naturally derived ingredients that can help with the management of oily skin and the issues that come with it.

Tea tree is a brilliant natural ingredient, and has antibacterial properties that can soothe and heal blemishes and help to balance your skin’s natural pH. Other natural ingredients, such as aloe vera and peppermint, help to soothe and moisturize skin after using a rough, abrasive exfoliator. 

Lather

Caring for your skin and exfoliating should be a luxurious experience, so give some thought to how you would like the product to feel when you’re applying it.

An exfoliator that lathers up to creamy, foamy texture will help your skin feel super clean and is aesthetically pleasing when it bubbles up around your face. However, it can be difficult to tell if you’ve applied it evenly as the bubbles begin to lather up. 

Exfoliators that don’t really lather up in a classic, soapy way but instead give you a creamy texture feel more spa-like, and also generally feel more relaxing. You’ll also be able to see if you’ve missed any creases and crevices with a creamy-textured exfoliator. 

Fragrance

The fragrance of your exfoliator is something that you should consider as well. Some are designed with a fresh, zingy fragrance such as grapefruit or vitamin C extract. These are a great choice if you prefer to use your exfoliator in the morning, as they will help your skin wake up and prepare for the day ahead.

Fragrances such as lavender, mint or rosemary have fantastic calming qualities to them, and are ideal if you prefer to apply your exfoliator in the evening, as they’ll help you wind down and relax.

If, however, you would prefer not to have any scent to your exfoliator, then there are fragrance-free and neutral scents available to choose from as well.

Skin Care Technology

As with all things, beauty products are constantly evolving and some exfoliators now include patented technologies that are designed to deliver the best results possible for your skin type.

BarrierCare is one such technology that helps to clean out your pores deeply, whilst maintaining your skin’s natural moisture barrier (the epidermis) and ensuring that it does not become dried out after use.

Another patented skin care technology that is ideal for oily skin is MircoClear technology, which opens up your pores and allows your skin to absorb amazing ingredients such as salicylic and glycolic acids.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I have oily skin?

Determining your skin type can be confusing, and it can also change throughout your life. If you think you have oily skin, here are the things you need to look out for:

  • Your face will look increasingly shiny, or greasy, as the day progresses

  • Any makeup that you apply won’t stay put and will ‘slide’ off throughout the day

  • Your pores will be visibly larger than normal, particularly on the nose and forehead

  • You potentially suffer from blackheads and pimples regularly

Any, or all, of these signs indicate that your skin is oily, and therefore you should look for beauty products that are designed to combat these issues.

Why do I need to exfoliate?

Exfoliation is a really important part of your skincare routine, particularly for people with oily skin as they are more prone to blackheads and breakouts. Excess oils, dead skin cells and other impurities become trapped in your pores, and an exfoliating product will get deep down into them and clear them out, leaving your skin clean and clear.

How often should you exfoliate?

Although exfoliating is a really important part of your skincare regime, doing it too frequently can cause irritation to your skin and risk drying it out. Exfoliating only needs to be done 2-3 times a week, as this will clear out your pores and help your skin retain a good pH without causing any damage.

How abrasive should an exfoliator for oily skin be?

Different exfoliators contain different abrasive ingredients, each of which has a rougher texture to it than the other. If you have oily skin, you should go for an exfoliator that has a medium-rough abrasion to it, as this will effectively remove excess oils and clean out your pores without causing your skin to dry out.

What does non-comedogenic mean?

The term non-comedogenic is something that you’ll see on many exfoliators and beauty products. Put simply, it means that it is designed to clean out your pores without leaving any of the product itself behind. This is a fantastic quality in any skin care product, but is particularly good for anybody with oily skin as it will help ensure your skin doesn’t get clogged up and breakout.

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