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Published on September 11th, 2015 | by Yashodhara Ghosh

PRODUCT 101: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

We all have our crosses to bear. If sensitive, acne-prone skin is yours, someone’s sure to have asked you to try Cetaphil…

Dermatologists heartily recommend it, websites gush over it, and the ads (of course), promise that it is the miracle antidote to all your skin problems. So is this really the solution to all your skin problems, as it’s touted to be? Cetaphil’s official website sells its products as an alternative to ‘traditional soap cleaners’. If all this sounds a little too good to be true, we’re here to break it down for you.


The best thing about Cetaphil is perhaps the fact that it is non-comedogenic. This is the key reason why it works so well for acne prone, oily skin. Acne, as you know, occurs when dirt, sebum, or natural oils get blocked in your skin pores. This inflames the pore, and makes it susceptible to infection-causing bacteria. The next thing you know, a nasty and stubborn breakout has you poking and prodding your zits in desperation before the mirror. The deceptively simple-sounding solution to this problem is to keep your skin clean so that the pores stay ‘open’. Non-comedogenic products help doing precisely this: they prevent your pores from getting blocked, in turn keeping bacteria at bay.

Breathe easy

Another significant feature of Cetaphil is that it is fragrance-free. And that’s not just good news for those who hate perfumed creams and lotions. The fact is that chemicals used to add a pleasing smell to cosmetics may have their own role to play in inflaming your skin. This is yet another reason why Cetaphil is a good choice for those cursed with sensitive skin. Whether it’s their antibacterial soap, gentle cleansing bar, their daily cleanser, or gentle cleanser, they will keep your skin’s oil balance intact.

The other side

If these nuggets of information have you scrambling for the pharmacy to grab a tube, then wait till you hear some less happy facts about the product. At the end of the day, Cetaphil is nothing but a concoction of chemicals, which are never really – let’s face it – as GENTLE as you want them to be on your skin. The gentle cleanser, for example, contains the following ingredients: water, cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulphate, stearyl alcohol, methyparaben, propylbparaben, butyl paraben. No natural ingredients barring the H2O, as you can see. Of the chemicals, the dangers of sodium lauryl suphate are many and well-known. In fact it is one of the most staple chemicals used in most shampoos and soaps, so the argument that Cetaphil is an alternative to conventional soaps doesn’t really hold water. The greatest concern however is generated by the last three chemicals in that list: the paraben cousins, who hail from that notorious family of chemical compounds used as preservatives in a whole host of cosmetic products. More and more studies recently have linked parabens to breast cancer, and skin care experts the world over have been asking their clients to slowly start switching over to paraben-free alternatives with shorter shelf lives. After all, why knowingly slather yourself in stuff that is known to be carcinogenic?

Final verdict

So while Cetaphil is a good alternative to regular, harsher face washes and cleansers, it definitely doesn’t have ingredients that could have an active, noticeable impact on the health of your skin. All it does well is keep those colonies of stubborn bacteria at bay. So ladies thinking of giving it a shot: tone down your expectations, and you’ll be just fine.


Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion

Cetaphil cleansing lotion is a non-soap and liquid free lotion that allows gentle and through cleansing without the irritation associated with harsh soaps and cleansers. Cetaphil cleansing lotion is specially formulated to be non-drying and non-irritating. CLICK to view product.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

This moisturizing lotion from the house of Cetaphil® is specifically formulated to soothe chronically dry skin. Its non-greasy formula is mild, long lasting, and suited for sensitive skin. CLICK to view product.



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