11.26.2014
7
313
Cetaphil
Gentle Skin Cleanser
Rating
8 fl. oz. for $7.99
Category:Skin Care > Cleansers (including Cleansing Cloths) > Cleansers/Soaps
Last Updated:11.26.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
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 great for daily makeup removal. Originally formulated for dermatologists, this cleanser is gentle on your skin and sensitive to your skin’s needs.

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 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.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula Begoun herself.

Member Comments
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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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