Review: Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Removing Foam Wash

Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Removing Foam Wash is a foaming face wash made especially for oily and acne-prone skin.

Unlike most cleansers made for acne-prone skin, Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Removing Foam Wash isn't medicated. This means it won't clear up a case of acne. But, because it doesn't have any medication in it, you can use it along with the acne treatments you're already using, even those drying prescription acne treatments.

This cleanser is designed to be a gentle, non-irritating cleanser that you can use along with your regular acne treatment routine.

Teenage girl cleaning her face with cleanser in the bathroom
damircudic / Getty Images


About $10 for an 8 ounce bottle

Where You Can Buy It

I found this face wash at Target, but you can also buy it at other big box stores like Walmart and Sam's Club. Many drug stores and some grocery stores carry this foaming wash as well. It's also available from online retailers (compare prices).


  • It's inexpensive.
  • It's gentle, non-drying, and non-irritating.
  • The non-medicated formula means you can use it even if you're using drying acne medications like benzoyl peroxide, Retin-A, or other topical retinoids.


  • It is a bit difficult to rinse off.
  • The foam wash may not cut through makeup or heavy grime.
  • If you don't care for scented products, the fragrance of this one may be too overpowering for you.

Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Removing Foam Wash Full Review

Most facial washes made for people with acne contain either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Removing Foam Wash is different. It's not a treatment cleanser, so it won't help clear up breakouts.

But this doesn't mean it's not beneficial to those of use with acne. Because it isn't medicated, you can use it with whatever acne treatment you're currently using without having it over-dry your skin.

As much as I was excited to find a non-medicated cleanser created specifically for oily, acne-prone skin, I was on the fence about this product. There were certain things I really liked about it. There were other things I didn't care for at all.

I did like the foam. It comes from the pump bottle all light, airy, and perfectly foamed up. There's no need to emulsify with your hands first. In fact, don't. Just apply the foam straight to your dampened face, and massage in.

The first time I used it, I made the mistake of rubbing the foam in my hands together first (old habits, you know). This seemed to "kill" the foam, and it didn't leave me with enough cleanser to actually use on my face.

I learned, though, and all was well next time I used it. I found (as did my other testers) that two pumps dispense the perfect amount for cleansing your face and neck. Beware if you use too much, though. It's tough to rinse away.

I'm not excited about how it actually cleansed, though. For normal cleansing, it was great. But if my face was extra oily, or if I had makeup on, my skin never came away feeling clean.

In fact, it always felt like there was just the slightest tacky feeling to my skin, almost as if the cleanser wasn't fully rinsing away.

The scent is another sticking point with me. This wash is highly scented. If you aren't a big fan of scented skin care products, you won't like this cleanser. I rather liked the fragrance (it's crisp, clean, almost floral) but I still found it a touch overpowering. 

Did it control oil? My skin felt less oily after use. And for being a cleanser meant for oily skin, it's surprisingly not drying or stripping. I'm not currently using any ultra-drying acne medications, but this wash felt fairly gentle. But others felt it didn't deliver on the oil control front. 

Between me and my testers, we couldn't come to a consensus on this wash. It's not a love-it-or-hate-it type cleanser (like Neutrogena's Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub is). With Cetaphil DermacCntrol Oil Removing Foam Wash, people either love it or think it's "just OK." It really comes down to personal preference on this one.

If you need a gentle, non-stripping cleanser and love strong fragrances, you'll probably love it. If you like a cleanser with a bit more oomph and a bit less scent, this cleanser won't be anything special.

By Angela Palmer
Angela Palmer is a licensed esthetician specializing in acne treatment.