11.26.2014
10
312
Gentle Skin Cleanser
Rating
16 fl. oz. for $13.99
Category:Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:11.26.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This is a cleanser we have recommended for years, but no more. In many ways the formula has become dated and is now a poor representation of the best of the best when it comes to facial cleansers. Part of what led us to this reconsideration (well, beyond the wealth of beautifully formulated water-soluble cleansers) is the amount of sodium lauryl sulfate in this so-called “gentle” cleanser. Although the amount is likely 1% or less of the product’s contents, there are many other cleansers available that don't use this potentially problematic ingredient and that are far better for skin.

There is little reason to consider this over dozens of other options plus this cleanser is not adept at removing makeup.

Claims

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is a mild, non-irritating formulation that soothes skin as it cleans. In fact, it's gentle enough for a baby's delicate skin. Designed specifically to work for all skin types, it is a simple, yet highly effective way to care for your skin.

Ingredients

Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben

Brand Overview

Cetaphil At-A-Glance

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

Weaknesses: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, 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.

About the Experts

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.

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05.26.2015
Clinical study about Cetaphil for rosacea

I use and like Cetaphil. Below I copy a link to a clinical study to show how things are not black and white regarding it being "not gentle" because it has sodium lauryl sulfate in small concentrations http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16706247 "The mild nonirritating action of the gentle skin cleanser was supported by the lack of adverse events and the tolerability shown in the study. There were no increases in erythema, scaling, dryness, stinging, burning, or lack of smoothness...

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Reviewed by
Cat S.
05.27.2015
Beautypedia Team Response

Hi there!  If you like Cetaphil and find it works for you, great, use it! It’s not a bad formula, just not as good as many others that don’t contain SLS. Plus, we’re fairly certain the study in question was one Cetaphil sponsored; in other words, the dermatologist who authored the study was paid by Galderma/L’Oreal (Cetaphil’s owner) to do so. But even if that’s not the case, the study only looked at results from two weeks of use, while we know from lots of other research that the effects from irritation can be cumulative. 

—Admin
04.10.2015
cetaphil user for 10 plus years

not good skin burns patch itchy stopped using

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Reviewed by
Maria C
03.05.2015
Cetaphil Gentle Skin cleanser is awesome.....

I have very sensitive acne prone skin (mainly hormonal acne), and this is the only face wash I've used that doesn't leave my skin feeling tight and dry. It also never causes me any irritation. Maybe due to the fact that it does not contain too many ingredients. Everyone reacts differently to different ingredients, so no one product will work for every person. However, if something isn't broke then why try and change it? When it comes to skin care, less is more, especially for sensitive skin.

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Reviewed by
Rebecca S.
01.19.2015
Not Exactly a Cleanser

My dermatologist recommended this product to me years ago. Over several months of using this, the oil on my face became thick pads of oily, dead skin cells on my cheeks, chin and brow area. The doc said I must not be using it enough. I would wash my face 4 times in a row and it would still feel dirty. Finally I stopped seeing the doctor, went back to my regular face cleanser, added an exfoliant and the oily pads gradually went away.

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Reviewed by
Nancy E.
07.12.2014
disapponited in bp for their review

I'm so disappointed by the reviews by BP. I have very sensitive skin and rosecea. Ive tried numerous other products recommended by BP with disastrous results. I can only use Cetaphil precisely because it doesn't have all the bells and whistles other products do. I hope Paula reconsiders this review, particularly when you have severe skin issues, Cetaphil is the only product gentle enough for really sensitive skin.

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Reviewed by
sexxy m.
06.12.2014
No thanks!

Trying to think if this cleanser was the worst I've ever used! One fact that is true however, this cleanser definitely ranks within top 3 of worst ever!! Like so many had heard "good things" about it, plus it wasn't expensive. My skin was so itchy, dry, & stripped not to mention it turned my face red. And I don't have sensitive skin!!! I wouldn't even want to wash my hands with this stuff. Bonnie

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Reviewed by
Bonnie
04.14.2014
Love this cleanser

I have been using Cetaphil gentle cleanser for 20+ years and have still not found anything better. There were two reasons I started using it - one was a recommendation from a dermatologist & 2nd was Paula's rave reviews about it when she first started publishing her reviews - 15+ years ago. I have what I would call "normal" skin with no real problems. This cleans, moisturizes and never leaves my skin feeling tight or dry. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! And the price is extremely reasonable.

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Reviewed by
NM
03.22.2014
The best

This is the best cleanser that i ever use! I have normal to dry skin and i use CeraVe cleanser because Paula's team says thas is the best but i wan it to try this one.No way this cleanser is very gentle on my face and beat CeraVe gentle cleanser!My skin feel very happy when i wash it with this cleanser.Love,love,love!

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Reviewed by
Sonya Georgieva
11.11.2013
CETAPHIL CLEANSER IS THE BEST

I have mild Rosacea and I have been using this cleanser for years. I am a bit annoyed that Paula's Team rated this cleanser as average. I have tried Paula's Choice cleansers and products aimed at Rosacea prone skin with no success. I flare up. Cetaphil is the only cleanser that I can use that does not irritate my skin and I don't think that the formula is out-dated. if you have Rosacea do not dismiss this product. It works for me.

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Reviewed by
Zoe.J.
08.17.2013
Now I know what was causing my skin irritation for years!

I finally stopped using Cetaphil Cleanser. This product is supposed to be "gentle." There's something in the product that was causing red spots and peeling on my face for years. I never thought it was the cleanser until recently reading Paula's review. The cleanser was not removing my makeup either. Since I stopped using it, all that redness and peeling is gone. It's enough that most of the moisturizers these days have some sort of peeling agent in them, I don't need that in a cleanser t

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Reviewed by
Lisa C.
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