Last updated: September 1, 2021

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Like people's faces, facial cleansers come in a wide variety of forms. There is no one perfect cleanser for every man because whether it is suitable for each individual depends on the ingredients and how they will react with each specific skin type. You also need to to take into account any particular skin problems or conditions you may have before using a particular cleanser.

In general, you should be sure to understand your own skin's condition and which products work best for you. If you suffer from acne, sensitive skin, dry skin, or other skin conditions you need a different type of cleanser from what you would need if you had oily skin and acne. This guide will help you to navigate the differences between different types of cleansers and which kinds are right for you.


  • First of all, you should familiarize yourself with the various types of facial cleansers that are available on the market. Most can be divided in between four main categories: soaps, synthetic cleansers, combination cleansers with antibacterial properties and oil-free cleansers.
  • Your skin type is a determining factor in choosing the right facial cleanser for you. If you are prone to acne, rosacea or dry skin, you need to choose different products than you might need of you have aging or sensitive skin. It is important that you always test new products as instructed in a small area to be sure that you do not have an adverse reaction, before using on a bigger surface area of your face.
  •  Today's market is full of great products, which can make decision-making quite overwhelming. This guide will cover the best facial cleansers suitable for different skin types as well as different needs and preferences you may have.

The Best Mens Facial Cleanser: Our Picks

It can be very challenging to find the right skin cleanser that fis your skin type, your personal preference and your budget. There are light, strong and combination facial cleansers. Using the wrong product can mean you won't get the great results you're looking for. Below we will share a list of the best products around suitable for different skin types.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Need to Know about Facial Cleansers for Men

Choosing a facial cleanser, or deciding to change from ordinary soap or the cleanser you have been using for a long time can be overwhelming. Nobody wants to make a mistake that will have a negative impact on our skin. In this article, we will try to answer the most frequently asked questions about buying a facial cleanser specifically formulated for men.

Generally cleansers have one key function: to eliminate dirt, microorganisms and dead skin cells.
(Source: Dean Drobot: 45863060/

What are facial cleansers and what are their advantages?

Facial cleansers are one of the main steps in any complete skincare regime which keeps skin healthy and boosts the effectiveness of other products in your regime.

There are many types of facial cleansers on the market and each one can react differently to different skin types. Choosing an appropriate cleanser is very important. In general, all cleansers have the same function. They are used to remove dirt, sebum, microorganisms and dead skin cells from your complexion. Facial cleansers do this by emulsifying or dispersing these elements into the cleaner, which is then removed by rinsing with water.

Very strong cleansers can dry out some skin types by removing lipids, proteins and natural moisturizers but these strong cleansers can be the most suitable cleansers for other people.  It is essential that you understand the components of the cleanser you want to use in order to to prevent damage to your skin or irritation of any existing skin issues.

Following are some of the factors that you should take into account when choosing a facial cleanser:

  • Removes oil, dead cells and dirt from your skin
  • Suitable to use on a daily basis
  • Refreshes your skin
  • Cleansers that are too strong can weaken the outer layer of your skin

What types of facial cleansers are available?

Generally, cleansers are divided into four main categories, each with their own specific characteristics which effect skin in different ways.

  • Soaps are fair cleansers, they remove sebum and dirt without problems. Soaps are made from animal or vegetable fats, but they are are alkaline and can be too strong for some people. Soap can also remove proteins and natural oils that function maintain the skin's natural moisture. Use of soaps can cause damage to the outermost layer of the skin.
  • Synthetic detergents contain little to no soap. The pH levels in these products are close to those of human skin itself. This category of cleansers removes dirt and harmful agents from the skin but does not affect it as much as soap and does not dry out the outer layer of the skin as much as ordinary soap does.
  • Combination cleaners contain both synthetic ingredients and soap with the addition of antibacterial agents. These formulas help to eliminate harmful bacteria but also affect the natural flora of the epidermis. These products can irritate the skin of some individuals.
  • Lipid-free cleaners are quite mild. They do not contain soap but cleanse the skin gently and leave a thin layer of moisturizer on the skin.
Type Composition Effects on the skin
Soaps Soaps are made from animal or vegetable fats, and are alkaline substances which are designed to be strong cleaning agents. They effectively remove dirt, sebum and dead cells, but also remove proteins and natural moisturizers.
Synthetic cleansers pH similar to that of the skin, of synthetic origin. Clean the skin without affecting too much the outermost layer of the skin.
Combination antimicrobial bars Combination of soap and synthetic detergent, contain antibacterial agents. They remove harmful bacteria from the skin, they can also remove the natural microorganisms of the skin and irritate it.
Oil-free cleansers Gentle, clean without soap. They leave a thin layer of moisturizer on the skin.

What type of facial cleanser should I use if I have acne?

Acne is a condition that occurs when the sebaceous ducts of the skin are blocked. It can occur in the form of black or white spots, which may or may not be inflamed.  The facial cleansing routine you choose can either help or exacerbate this condition. If you suffer from acne, you should choose your skin products with great care. There is a false perception that acne is caused by insufficient skin washing and should be treated by the extreme use of strong cleaners and exfoliators.

This can damage the health of the skin and worsen the appearance and recurrence of acne and associated lesions. You should avoid products that dry out the skin, as this can clog your pores, if you are acne-prone.

Dr. Jaishree SharadDermatology Cosmetologist based in Mumbai
"It is extremely important to wash your face the correct way, using an appropriate facial cleanser for your skin type."

In addition, it is recommended that you choose cleansers that also do not alter the pH of the skin. There is evidence that cleansers containing no sodium lauryl sulfate, such as lipid-free cleaners will maintain the skin’s natural pH levels.  You can also try liquid soaps or bars that contain antibacterial properties. This can help improve your symptoms.

What facial cleanser should I use if I have sensitive skin?

People with sensitive skin or who have rosacea or eczema should be careful when choosing a facial cleanser. Usually, it is recommended that you stay away from cleansers that dry out the skin and can irritate it. In this way, you will prevent your skin from being irritated.

There are studies that show that sensitive skin is related to the alteration of the external lipid barrier of the skin. Cleansers that remove this lipid barrier can exacerbate the symptoms of sensitive skin. Look for gentle, moisturizing cleansers that soothe your skin.

People with sensitive skin or who suffer from rosacea or eczema should choose their facial cleanser carefully.
(Source: Pogrebkov: 40974202/

What is the best facial cleansers for normal, combination and oily skin?

Skins are divided into three types for the purposes of finding a suitable cleanser. These are: oily, normal and dry. Normal skin produces a moderate amount of sebum with no dry patches.  If you have normal skin you can use a wider variety of facial cleansers, but we recommend not using anything that is too abrasive.

Normal skin sometimes has a combination of oily dry areas. Usually, the oiliest areas are in the "T-Zone:" the area covering the chin, nose and forehead. For this reason, you should find a cleanser that is suitable for both dry and oily skin. This can feel a bit complicated. Look for natural ingredients and do several tests that allow you to choose the one that best suits your skin. Test which one suits you best, and be sure to tst it along with the other products you use in your daily routine.

Dr. Jaishree SharadDermatology Cosmetologist based in Mumbai
"If you have oily skin, avoid cleansers which contain oil or alcohol, which can make your skin more oily."

If your skin is oily, you should look for cleansers that contain chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid or a slightly stronger ingredient. However, we recommend that you do not overdo it so that you  avoid causing an imbalance in the good bacteria of your skin. Look for a balance that allows you to take care good of your skin easily.

Shopping Criteria

As we have mentioned, your skin type should be the most important factor you consider when deciding which product to purchase to use as a facial cleanser. Here is a comprehensive list of what you should look for according to your skin type, as well as other factors that may come into play.

Skin Type

You should always identify your skin type before choosing a skin care product. This will dictate which components are beneficial to you and the most common skin problems to look out for. If you do not know what your skin type is, you can talk to a dermatologist, and ask about skin care product recommendations.

  • Sensitive or dry skin. If your skin is easily irritated, you should use a mild facial cleanser and hydrate your skin. Products that remove all the natural moisturizers in your skin can worsen your condition. If you have rosacea or eczema, your symptoms will improve with lipid-free cleansers.
  • Normal skin. Normal skin types can use a wider variety of products for facial cleansing, from combination to lipid-free products, which are softer. But you should choose the mildest product that works for you, even if you have nromal skin.
  • Combination skin. Combination skin types need products that do not further dry out already dry areas as well as controlling the production of sebum in oily areas. The best thing you can do is look for softer products that will not be abrasive to your skin.
  • Oily skin. If you have oily skin, you can use a stronger cleanser without compromising the health of the outer layers. However, if you suffer from acne, it is better to use milder products that will not irritate your skin.

Other Ingredients

Before buying a cleanser, read its label to determine what the active ingredients are, as you may have had an adverse reaction to some of these.

There are facial cleansers, for example, that include fragrances, fruit products, parabens or alcohols that can react with sensitive skins or trigger more dryness in your skin. As a rule, it is best that you use products that contain fewer harmful ingredients and so you can maintain control over what comes into contact with your skin.

Exfoliating Cleansers

You should also consider using an exfoliant a few times a week. These remove dead cells from your skin. An important factor when choosing an exfoliating cleanser is the type of abrasive ingredients that they use. Many brands use microplastics or fragments of plastic smaller than 5 mm. Studies show that these are highly polluting to the oceans and are not broken down by treatment plants. Other products use natural exfoliators such as ground seeds, etc. Be sure these products are not too harsh for your skin.

If you can, avoid products which contain microplastics or pieces of these.


Controlling acne breakouts can be difficult if you do not have a proper cleanser. You may be under the impression that using exfoliants and soaps will help you control your acne but these can actually make your acne worse.  These products can dry out the epidermis of your skin and cause skin flakes that in turn clog your pores.

If you are in the middle of an outbreak, you should try a cleanser with antibacterial properties to control the current symptoms. Follow this with a mild moisturizer that will keep your skin hydrated and that do not raise its pH, such as those containing sodium lauryl ether sulfate.

Rosacea or Eczema

Rosacea causes redness as it affects the blood vessels of the skin. In more severe cases, this can cause thickening of the skin, particularly in the area of ​​the nose. Eczema is also a disorder that can cause redness on the skin, but for different reasons. It can also cause itching and peeling.

If you suffer from one of these conditions you must take special precautions when choosing treatments for your skin. In general, you should us only the mildest facial cleansers and, preferably, those that do not contain any soap. This will keep the outer layer of your skin stable, which will help control your symptoms.


Before choosing a facial cleanser, it is important that you identify your own skin type and also take into account which skin conditions you are looking to improve (acne, rosacea, eczema). These will be the key factors guiding your choice of cleanser.  You can either consult a dermatologist or  test various products at home.

Once you understand more about your skin, you can choose between different types of facial cleansers. These can help eliminate dirt, dead skin cells and sebum from your skin. If they are too strong, however,cleansers can damage the outermost layer of your skin, especially if it is sensitive. That is why you must choose your cleanser carefully.

If this guide has been useful to you, we invite you to share it in your social networks with others who may be in search of the perfect facial cleanser. We also invite you to write comments to this article and tell us how your skin reacted to different facial cleansers.