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Cleansers - Neutrogena - Oil-Free Acne Wash

rated 2.8(920 reviews)

  • Average Rating: 2.8
  • 44% would buy again
  • Package Quality: 3.5
  • Price: $$

  • Ingredients
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rated 1 of 5 on 11/12/2012 4:01:00 PM More reviews by Octobercutie888

Age: 19-24 Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine Eyes: Hazel

I didn't see any difference in my skin it was like i splashed water on my face and that was all. It smells horrible also.

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rated 1 of 5 on 11/8/2012 1:40:00 AM More reviews by cindy604

Age: 19-24 Skin: Acne-prone, Medium, Warm Hair: Black, Wavy, Medium Eyes: Black

This was my first face wash when I was 10 years old or so and starting to find a need for a skincare regime (puberty break-outs, anyone?). It's still around after so many years, and I expect it will be for many more to come.


The product itself is a liquid dispensed in a pump. A dime-sized amount foams up enough to cover my whole face. Some work is required to get the foam to pop up - you definitely want to do this between your hands rather than on your face where you will likely end up with little foam and a lot of slime.


Even without any other cleansers to compare it to at the time, I knew that I really disliked this cleanser. It was incredibly drying and my skin had hundreds of dry, white lines after rinsing. It was what drove me to need a facial moisturizer in the first place. However, I might have put up with all this, or at least thought it was the norm, if it had taken care of my breakouts at the time. I went through an entire bottle with no improvements.


I can see that this will be a first-time cleanser for many teenagers to come, and I really hope it works for many of them. It was just terrible for myself, and I now compare every other cleanser I ever touch to my face to this one as the bottom standard. Also, Neutrogena is unfortunately not cruelty-free, but I don't include that as part of my rating as the product performance is a separate item from the company's policies.

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rated 1 of 5 top reviewer on 10/20/2012 11:19:00 PM More reviews by KatieLynn

Age: 30-35 Skin: Dry, Fair, Cool Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium Eyes: Blue

I used this one night when my husband I and were staying over at my in-law's. I'd forgotten to take my own bottle of face wash (Philosophy Purity) into the shower with me, so I used a pump of my BIL's cleanser, the Neutrogena OFAW. Oh my goodness. My face felt like it was on fire, and it peeled and flaked for a week. (My skin is a little on the dry side, but fairly normal--just adding this so you'll know I'm not some fool who used this knowing she has really sensitive skin) My BIL has terrible acne, hence, I'm sure, the reason he thinks he needs to use this cleanser. I'd put money on the fact that he breaks out so badly because his face is trying to fight back against the damage this wash does. There have got to be better (better meaning "gentler") cleansers for acne prone skin. My face hurts just thinking about this stuff!

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rated 5 of 5 on 10/10/2012 11:16:00 AM More reviews by rosek514

Age: 19-24 Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine Eyes: Brown

Love it!! I see an improvement in my skin everything I use it! This is my second favorite acne face wash!

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rated 1 of 5 on 10/8/2012 4:57:00 PM More reviews by lizzygee0

Age: 19-24 Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Hazel

This cleanser gave me a horrible reaction. i usually use cliniques foaming cream cleanser but i switched to this one because i ran out and my face looks terrible. I only used this three times to wash my face and my skin is covered in tiny red bunps. it looks like rocasea. Its horribly irritating and my face feels like i fell in an ant pile. much too harsh. next time ill stick to regular soap and water.

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rated 4 of 5 on 10/6/2012 6:35:00 PM More reviews by HelloOBombshell

Age: 18 & Under Skin: Very Oily, Medium, Not Sure Hair: Black, Other, Other Eyes: Brown

This product is getting a bad rep! This thing is amazing I have terribly acne-prone skin and this really helped a lot, I don't get crazy breakouts anymore. I use it almost everyday but only once a day (at night) because it can REALLY dry the living hell out of skin. After that i just moisturize and boom! great looking skin has happened. Neutrogena has different types of versions of this product, there is a green one for redness soothing and the pink grapefruit which may be a lesser harsh than the original. Ladies, pick and choose your product wisely or else your face will suffer greatly and thats the last thing we want.

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rated 3 of 5 top reviewer on 9/30/2012 4:25:00 PM More reviews by melangerehab

Age: 19-24 Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium Eyes: Blue

Hmmm. This is a tricky one. I bought a tiny little sample size bottle of this for 99 cents and I like it, but ONLY on rare occasions.

Every month, right before my red sea floweth, my face tends to get a few angry red zits just to antagonize me. To prevent that from happening, I use a teeeeeny tiny little bit of this as a preemptive measure, and that has worked out well for me.

This is a strong cleanser. It is not gentle. But it helps with acne during my ultra-oily ultra-acne-prone days.

It is VERY drying, so I HIGHLY recommend using lots of moisturizer afterward to keep your skin healthy. I can't speak for everyone because I'm sure lots of the reviewers here saying they use this every day are giving their own sincere accounts of this product, but I cannot say I would ever want to use this every day, or even every other day, and I wouldn't recommend that much frequent usage with it, either. It is good in moderation. Don't strip your skin with it, though.

edit: The reason why this is good for my skin is because salicylic acid is a BHA and BHAs reaaaally help my skin. If you don't use BHAs and still get minor breakouts, I'd suggest using one. Perhaps not this one, though - I use Maximum Strength Stridex pads after cleansing, and those are gentler but more effective.

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rated 4 of 5 on 9/21/2012 3:40:00 PM More reviews by Manda7focus

Age: 25-29 Skin: Very Oily, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Hazel

Every time I go and try a new face wash, I always come back to this (or the target generic version). Its not a miracle worker, but it works. My face always feels clean and like this product stripped everything from it, with that being said it is very drying! BUT if you have super oily acne prone skin then sometimes that's a good thing, you can always moisturize afterwards. This product has always just seemed to be one of those tried and true products for me. And obviously if I keep coming back to it for years and years then I must like it.

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rated 5 of 5 on 9/16/2012 10:11:00 PM More reviews by dahnab

Age: 19-24 Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Blue

I have been using this product for years and probably won't stop. It makes me feel refreshed and clean, keeps away bumps, and removes makeup. I would not use it if you have extremely dry skin or are on Accutane or using a retinoid cream. But if you have mild acne and oily skin, this product is for you!

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rated 3 of 5 on 9/3/2012 2:26:00 PM More reviews by ariraven

Age: 25-29 Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Neutral Hair: Red, Curly, Coarse Eyes: Green

I have been using this cleanser for years and it does a decent job. It doesn't dry me out, helps keep acne under control (I still get a few but not as many as when I am not using this), and removes my makeup. It does not completely clear my face, help with my ginormous pores that are always clogged or even out my complextion. So until I find something that does better than this it will be my go to cleanser.


Active Ingredient:
Salicylic Acid 2%

Inactive Ingredients:
Water, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Propylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, C12-15 Alkyl Lactate, PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Disodium EDTA, Benzalkonium Chloride , Yellow 5, Red 40, Fragrance

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