Antibacterial Gentle Cleansing Bar
4.5 fl. oz. for $4.79
Category:Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:04.06.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Antibacterial Gentle Cleansing Bar is a standard bar cleanser with the antibacterial active ingredient triclosan. There isn’t a lot of research demonstrating triclosan’s effectiveness against acne-causing bacteria, but it has the potential to be a good first line of defense when acne is the concern. However, in a bar cleanser like this the ingredients holding the cleanser in bar form won’t reduce acne and may make it worse. It is not preferred to Cetaphil’s water-soluble cleansers.


An effective cleanser that removes surface bacteria and oils.


Active: Triclosan (0.3%), Other: Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Sodium Tallowate, Water, Sodium Stearate, Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate, Sodium Cocoate, PEG-20, Sodium Chloride, Masking Fragrance, Sodium Isethionate, Petrolatum, Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylate, Sucrose Cocoate, Titanium Dioxide, Pentasodium Pentetate, Tetrasodium Etidronate. May contain Sodium Palm Kernelate

Brand Overview

Cetaphil At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; mostly fragrance-free products; affordable and widely available; offers complete ingredient lists on its Web site; the sunscreens offer sufficient UVA protection.

Weaknesses: No anti-acne products; no state-of-the-art moisturizers; the original Gentle Skin Cleanser is a dated formula that isn't nearly as elegant or efficacious as many other water-soluble cleansers.

This familiar, widely distributed skin-care collection is manufactured by Galderma, the same company that markets the prescription products Differin and MetroGel.  Given the dermatology heritage of Galderma (the company's Web site mentions this consistently), it's surprising the Cetaphil line hasn't advanced beyond the basics. Yes, most of what's available is a safe bet for those with sensitive skin, but it's disappointing that their SPF-rated products utilize active ingredients that can be a problem for sensitive skin. A mineral-based sunscreen would be a welcome addition for a line that stresses its value for sensitive skin!

We'd have expected the company to keep pace with the latest research into what it takes to create a truly great moisturizer, but that hasn't occurred either, and it could be done while still keeping the products suitable for those with sensitive skin.

As for their original Gentle Skin Cleanser, it is no longer one we recommend. Why? Although we were a champion of this cleanser for years (back when hardly anyone knew about it and good water-soluble cleansers were scarce), the formula has become dated and just isn't worth strong consideration over several other cleansers at the drugstore.

For more information about Cetaphil, call (817) 961-5000 or visit www.cetaphil.com.

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The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Good soap that worked for me

There was a time when I suffered from painful cystic acne, and this soap played a role in helping my face calm down, while I was following an acne treatment through Acne.org. Something about it did discourage bacteria from aggravating my breakouts. I used it for a good couple of years with good results. While I have since generally moved on from this soap, I would recommend it for those with tough-to-control acne who are following a treatment program.

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Works for Me

Although this product received a poor review because of the bar form I've had positive results with this on my super-dry rosacea and acne prone skin. I bought this in the middle of a very bad flare up of rosacea papules and pustules. It's no miracle but it reduced the irritation and made my irritated cheeks and forehead clear up significantly in a few weeks. I don't like that it is in a bar form because it's a pain to store it but so far it is the best thing out there for me.

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