Soap vs Facewash: which is better for oil control?

May 6, 2024


Battling the constant shine and breakouts of oily skin? You’re not alone! While soap might seem like a simple, cost-effective solution, it could be waging a secret war against your skin. Enters the modern hero: facewash. But who emerges victorious in the fight for oil control? soap vs facewash.

Buckle up, skincare warriors, as we look into the science and benefits of each contender, revealing the truth about their impact on your face. Prepare to ditch the confusion and discover the champion primed to unlock your path to balanced, shine-free skin! 

Soap vs Facewash: Untangling the Truth for Oily Skin Control

soap vs facewash

Struggling with oily skin? You’re not alone. It can be frustrating to deal with shine, clogged pores, and breakouts. When it comes to controlling oil, many people reach for soap, considering it a straightforward and cost-effective solution. But is it really the best choice? Enter the modern hero: facewash.

So, who wins the battle for oil control: soap or facewash? Buckle up, skincare enthusiasts, as we delve into the science and benefits of each option to help you choose the champion for your face.

Soap: The Old-School Contender

Traditional soap often contains harsh detergents that strip away natural oils from your skin. While this might seem like a temporary victory for oil control, it actually disrupts your skin’s natural barrier, leading to:

Increased oil production

Your skin, sensing the loss of moisture, overcompensates by producing even more oil, negating any initial oil-control effect.

Dryness and irritation

Stripped of its protective oils, your skin becomes sensitive and prone to irritation, redness, and flaking.

Compromised barrier function

A weakened skin barrier makes it easier for bacteria and pollutants to enter, potentially leading to breakouts and other skin concerns.

Facewash: The Modern Champion

Facewashes are specifically formulated for the delicate skin on your face and offer several advantages over soap:

Gentler cleansers

Formulated with milder surfactants, facewashes cleanse your skin effectively without stripping away its natural oils.

Tailored solutions

Facewashes come in various types, each addressing specific skin concerns. Oily skin types can benefit from oil-free, non-comedogenic formulas that control oil without clogging pores.

Hydration and nourishment

Many facewashes contain hydrating ingredients that help maintain your skin’s natural moisture balance, preventing dryness and irritation.

Additional benefits

Some facewashes offer exfoliating properties to remove dead skin cells and refine pores, further contributing to a clear and oil-free complexion.

pH LevelGenerally alkaline, which can disrupt skin’s pHTypically formulated to match skin’s natural pH
IngredientsMay contain harsh detergents and chemicalsOften contains ingredients targeted for oily skin
MoistureCan strip the skin of natural oils, causing drynessDesigned to cleanse without stripping moisture
ConvenienceEasy to use and storeConvenient packaging, easy to dispense
EffectivenessCan effectively remove dirt and oilSpecifically formulated to combat oil and acne
SuitabilityMay not be suitable for sensitive skinUsually suitable for sensitive and acne-prone skin
Skin FeelCan leave skin feeling tight and dryLeaves skin feeling refreshed and balanced

The Verdict: Facewash Takes the Crown (But with Exceptions)

soap vs facewash

For most people with oily skin, facewash is the clear winner. It offers gentler cleansing, targeted solutions, and additional benefits that soap simply cannot match. However, there are some exceptions:

Sensitive skin

If you have extremely sensitive skin, even a gentle facewash might be too harsh. In such cases, a mild, fragrance-free soap might be a better option.

Also Check – Bridal makeup ideas for sensitive skin

Personal preference

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your individual skin and preferences. If you’ve been using soap with no issues, there’s no need to switch immediately. However, if you’re experiencing dryness, irritation, or persistent oiliness, consider making the switch to a facewash specifically formulated for oily skin.

Beyond the Basics: Your Oil-Control Arsenal

Remember, controlling oil goes beyond just cleansing. Here are some additional tips:

Moisturise regularly

Don’t skip moisturiser just because you have oily skin! Choose a lightweight, oil-free moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated and balanced.

Exfoliate once or twice a week

This helps remove dead skin cells and prevent clogged pores, contributing to oil control.

Blot, don’t rub: When your skin gets shiny, use blotting papers to gently absorb excess oil without irritating your skin.

Sunscreen is non-negotiable: Choose a non-comedogenic sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays without clogging pores.

By choosing the right facewash and incorporating these additional tips into your routine, you can effectively control oil, achieve a balanced complexion, and enjoy healthy, radiant skin. Remember, consistency is key – so stick to your skincare routine and enjoy the victory over oily skin!


  • 70% of people report experiencing oily skin at some point in their lives.
  • 82% of dermatologists recommend facewash over soap for facial cleansing.
  • Increased sales: Facewash sales doubled in the last decade, indicating a shift towards targeted skincare solutions.


soap vs facewash

The verdict is in for most oily warriors: facewash reigns supreme! Its gentle formulas, targeted solutions, and additional benefits like exfoliation and hydration make it the champion you deserve. However, remember, your skin is unique. If super-sensitive, a mild soap might be your best friend. Ultimately, listen to your skin and experiment. Remember, a consistent routine – cleansing, moisturising, exfoliating, and sun protection – is your ultimate weapon against oil. So, choose your champion wisely, embrace these tips, and march towards a clear, balanced, and radiant complexion! 


  1. Why is facewash better than soap for oily skin?

Facewash is designed to gently cleanse the skin, removing excess oil and impurities without disrupting the skin’s natural pH balance. Soap, on the other hand, can be too harsh and strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to increased oil production.

  1. Can using soap on oily skin cause acne?

Yes, using harsh soaps can strip the skin of its natural oils, prompting the skin to produce more oil to compensate. This excess oil can clog pores and lead to acne breakouts.

  1. Are there any soaps suitable for oily skin?

There are soaps formulated for oily skin that contain ingredients like salicylic acid or tea tree oil, which can help control oil and prevent acne. However, it’s important to choose a soap that is gentle and non-comedogenic.

  1. How often should I wash my face with facewash if I have oily skin?

It’s recommended to wash your face twice a day, in the morning and evening, to remove excess oil and impurities. Overwashing can strip the skin and trigger more oil production.

  1. Can I use facewash and soap together for my oily skin?

It’s generally not necessary to use both. Using a facewash formulated for oily skin should suffice. Using both can be overly drying and irritate the skin, leading to more oil production.

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