Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash Review

Post Image

If you have oily or combination skin, an oil-free face wash should be a mandatory part of your skincare routine to avoid acne. How many times after washing your face have you decided to skip the moisturizer to avoiding oiling up your pores? Welcome to an oily-skinned catch-22.

When you stop using a moisturizer or face wash your face makes up for these lost oils by producing its own oils. The problem is that it’s not doing the same job as a moisturizer or face wash. These products hydrate the skin. Oil…well…oils up the skin.

That’s where oil-free products come in handy. Especially for any acne sufferers out there whose face can’t help secreting those extra oils! Products that don’t contain oils are able to hydrate your skin in other, more effective ways. This should automatically result in a reduction in acne and pimples as you’re applying less oil to your face and more stimulating hydration.

Basically, your skin is finally able to fully function. Neutrogena, being the number one dermatologist recommended skincare brand, is my go-to when it comes to getting to the root of my skin issues. Their oil-free face wash range is top of my oil-free product list. But what’s the difference between the oils you want and the oils you don’t want?

How Can Unsafe Oils Damage Skin? 

tea tree oil skin

How we use oils changes their effects on us.

As with anything in life, the way you do something is usually how it could harm you. A ladder is only unsafe if you don’t have it leaning properly against a wall. Eating tea leaves instead of drinking them will give you very different results. Get the picture? Well, it’s the same with oils. The way we use oils is crucial in their effect on us. Some are more effective by diffusion, some by application and a rare few by ingestion.

Some oils are unsafe because people don’t use them correctly. Synthetic oils and mineral oils are occlusive – which means they sit on the skin and seal in moisture. This is great if you have exceedingly dry skin, but detrimental if you have oily skin. When it comes to skincare for acne it’s more about what to stay away from than what’s inside the product.

Unsafe oils are not essential oils. Essential oils are the essence of their root source. This means they’re trickled down and purified so you only get the stuff you want. Conversely, unsafe oils are oils you don’t want to be put directly onto your skin. These oils (even natural ones like some mineral oils) can cause the skin to become irritated or discolored. The kind of reactions you want to avoid when you’re already dealing with acne!

The Benefits Of Oil-Free Skincare Explained

Woman smiling in the mirror.

Oil-free skin care products help balance the dryness and oiliness of the skin

We’ve already explained how hydrating your skin can actually help your oily skin produce less oil. When we skip our regular moisturizers in an attempt to lessen the oil production on our face, our skin tries to chip in by producing its own moisture from our sebaceous glands. Even if we don’t have particularly oily skin, it’s important to shake things up occasionally with an oil-free cleanser to really get into those pores and remove debris.

Oil-free skin care products basically balance the skin. Their main property is that they are non-comedogenic which means they’re formulated to not clog your pores (the main cause of breakouts). What’s more, is that they usually contain a boost of antioxidants which produce collagen. Collagen keeps your skin looking plump and evened out.

When your skin is dehydrated (because you stopped using your moisturizer and now your face is a hot oily mess) your skin starts to get patchy and saggy due to a lack in collagen production. By using oil-free skin care your face is replenished of this moisture without adding any unwanted or unsafe damaging oils. You want your skin to look radiant, not shiny. And Neutrogena doesn’t think that’s too much to ask!

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Ingredients Breakdown

Before I get into the ingredients in Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Wash, let me just break down what exactly you want to be looking for in any oil-free wash. Right off the bat, the first ingredient should be water (nothing with the word “oil” should be on the label). You also want it to be packed with antioxidants to detoxify the skin and increase collagen production.

This increases the elasticity of the skin rehydrating it from the inside-out. Finally, although you pretty much want this to be factored into any product you buy no matter your skin type, you want to make sure the product is labeled as non-comedogenic, so it doesn’t clog up your pores.

So now that we know the basics, let’s see how Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Wash holds up. For starters, it states clearly on their website that this product is a non-comedogenic. So, we’re already a third of the way to being oil-free. The first ingredient is indeed water, swiftly followed by something called Salicylic Acid.

Salicylic Acid gets deep into your pores, removing that buildup of debris and oil clogging your pores. It also cuts down oil production and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties – which are great aids in combatting acne. This means that Salicylic Acid fights not only your current acne but prevents future breakouts. Essentially, it’s the antioxidant your blemished skin needs.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Review

oil free acne wash

Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

The pump applicator caught my attention more than anything else about the packaging of Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash. I find with most face creams or washes that come in tubs or tubes that there is a lot of opportunities for bacteria to transfer through your fingertips or overall exposure of the product. Neutrogena’s pump applicator avoids all this faff meaning my skin is already being exposed to less gross substances.

When I came to actually use the face wash it didn’t take much product to work up a nice lather. I rubbed it all over my face, left it for a couple of minutes and rinsed it off. With any acne product (or honestly any skin care product at all) you need to give it a chance for about a week or so before claiming it doesn’t work.

This is because all the debris and oils from your skin are finally being removed which might initially result in your skin looking worse. After about a week my skin looked clearer and softer. I could feel that it was less gunky, less shiny and my face looked more even overall. Those rare dry patches that used to be not-so-rare, are now easily taken care of with my daily moisturizer.


I think it needs to be said that you don’t have to be battling acne to be using an oil-free face wash. The benefits of avoiding harmful oils cannot be overlooked regardless of your skin type! But if you are (battling with acne that is) then Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Wash is what you’ve been searching for. Bottom line is that your skin still needs that regular hydration just without the oils.

If you want to add an extra kick to your delicate skin Neutrogena offers two other variations of this acne wash. One contains Grapefruit which gives you a boost of Vitamin C and antioxidants (and smells super refreshing). The other is aimed at soothing redness and contains Cocamidopropyl Betaine. These are surfactants that allow water to fully wash away oil and debris from your skin. This evens out your whole complexion. Either way, if you’re suffering from oily or acne-prone skin you can’t say that Neutrogena doesn’t have the face wash for you.

Even if you aren’t afflicted with a shiny complexion, you should still be considering this cleanser.  Using an oil-free face wash occasionally can do wonders in keeping your skin looking plump and clear of debris! Once you’ve tried it, there’s no going back.