Cetaphil

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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