Cetaphil's Moisturizing Lotion has a no-frills, straightforward name, and is a no-frills, straightforward product as well. This lotion can certainly make skin feel softer, but it lacks a more sophisticated ingredient list, ultimately making it an average, two-star product when it comes to really being able to moisturize skin.
True to its claims, Moisturizing Lotion is lightweight, and easily dispensed from its pump-style bottle (it also comes in a smaller squeeze tube). It absorbs quickly into skin, and thanks to some emollients (such as glycerin), will make skin feel more moisturized. There is only one antioxidant, though (vitamin E), and this lacks some great additional emollients and anti-irritants that could help to soothe skin.
We should point out that while Cetaphil claims this lotion is fragrance-free, it contains farnesol, an ingredient whose chief function is adding fragrance to a product (Source: International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook, 11th edition, 2006, page 864). This shouldn't be an issue for most skin types, but it is something to consider if you have very sensitive skin.
One final note: Cetaphil claims this product is "non-comedogenic," which it claims means that this won't clog pores. Non-comedogenic is largely a marketing term, with no real indication of how a product will affect your skin. See More Info for details on non-comedogenic claims in skincare products.
Ultimately, while this isn't a bad moisturizer, it's just not as good as many other options, including quite a few at the drugstore. You can find those other options on our list of Best Body Care Products.
- Lightweight lotion absorbs easily into skin.
- Emollient ingredients will make skin feel moisturized.
- Lacks a more sophisticated ingredient list to truly moisturize dry skin.
- Not completely fragrance-free as claimed.
Non-Comedogenic: Labels like "non-comedogenic" or "non-acnegenic" seem like safe bets, but are actually unhelpful because these terms were coined under test conditions that are not even remotely applicable to how you, or anyone for that matter, use skincare or makeup products. The "non-comedogenic" myth got its beginnings from a 1979 study published in the British Journal of Dermatology. This study examined the potential of various ingredients (cocoa and shea butters, lanolin and waxes, among others) to clog pores and lead to the formation of comedones—hence the term "comedogenic."
Under the conditions of this study, 100% pure concentrations of ingredients were layered five times per application over a period of two weeks, without cleansing the skin at any time. The manner in which these tests were conducted is not remotely similar to how we use skincare or makeup products—plus very few products are formulated with 100% of any one ingredient. What really determines whether an ingredient present in your skincare or makeup products is likely to trigger a breakout is how much of the ingredient is present in the formula and what else you apply as part of your skincare routine.
The researcher largely credited for developing the concept of comedogenic, Albert Kligman, said as much in his 1972 study, "Acne Cosmetica":
"It is not necessary to exclude constituents which might be comedogenic in a pure state. The concentration of such substances is exceedingly important. To exile such materials as lanolin, petroleum hydrocarbons, fatty alcohols, and vegetable oils from cosmetics would be irrational. What is ultimately important is the comedogenicity of the finished product (Archives of Dermatology, 1972)."
Last, the terms non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic are not regulated so they're not beholden to any agreed-upon standards. Any product, from the richest cream to the thinnest lotion, can use these claims and not have to prove they really don't clog pores or trigger acne breakouts.