Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser: 3 Surprising Reasons to Avoid it

Cetaphil Gentle skin cleanser

It’s time to ditch the Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser from your skincare shelf!

Cetaphil is one of the leading facial cleanser brands in the USA (~84.9 million sales in 2019). Its popularity is huge. But does that mean Cetaphil cleansers are safe to use on your face? Is it worth the hype?

If you have been asking these questions, worry not!

Cause that’s what I will be telling you today. This article will explain the top 3 reasons why Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser is not worth your money. And why you, girl, should stop using it on your face.

Reason 1: Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser is neutral in pH

Our skin has a thin, acidic layer of film on top of it (pH ~ 4.5-5.5). Scientists named it acid mantle. The purpose of having an acidic layer is to prevent bacteria colonization.

Skin looks best when the acid mantle is maintained properly. Hence, a cleanser that matches your skin’s pH will give the best results.

On the contrary, a cleanser with high pH will strip away the natural oil from the skin. As a result, it will disturb the acidic nature, leading to skin dryness. Considering that, many people might think using a neutral cleanser is the best option for healthy skin.

That’s where Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser won the heart of many. As its pH is close to neutral, the cleanser doesn’t make the skin dry. However, it’s not acidic either. So what it does? Nothing!

Yes, it doesn’t irritate the skin. But it doesn’t do any good either.

Remember the uncle in your family who did nothing out of the ordinary in his life, so everyone likes him? Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser acts the same way on your face! It does nothing extra, so everyone likes it!

Reason 2: Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser has toxic ingredients

Cetaphil gentle cleanser has only 8 ingredients:  water, cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulphate, stearyl alcohol and three types of parabens.

And unfortunately, only three of them are safe to use (yes, I counted water in)! The cleanser has 5 of those ingredients which any skincare nerd would hate to have in their products.

The first one you should be concerned about is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).

SLS is used in cleansers as a surfactant or foaming agent. This ingredient is irritating to sensitive skin. Worse part? Long-term use of SLS interferes with the skin’s natural function and damage it.

SLS as foaming agent in Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser
SLS acts an foaming agent . Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

I have no clue how a cleanser that claims to be “gentle” has SLS in it!

The next culprit is propylene glycol.

Don’t worry, this ingredient itself is labelled as safe. In a product, propylene glycol acts as a penetration-enhancing agent. So it helps other ingredients to penetrate your skin easily. Usually, it makes the active ingredient to go deep so that skin gets the maximum benefit.

But what if your product has a potential irritant present, like SLS here?

In that case, propylene glycol will enhance the SLS penetration on the skin too. And you certainly don’t want that.

Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser can make your facial skin harsh
A deep penetration of an irritant can be dangerous to facial skin. Photo by Gabb Tapic from Pexels

On top of that, Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser has 3 parabens: methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben.

Parabens are nothing but a group of preservatives. But the presence of parabens in skin care products is a matter of concern to many.

However, despite so much negativity about parabens, there was no single study that could prove anything against parabens. So are they actually safe or not? There is no easy answer to that.

But in my personal view: it’s always better to avoid controversial ingredients, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Reason 3: Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser has very few beneficial ingredients

This one got me!

As Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser has fewer ingredients, a lot of people see that as an advantage.

And to be honest, I would have too. Only if the ingredients were useful!

Cetaphil has two great ingredients, I must agree. One is cetyl alcohol. This is used in skincare products to stabilize them. Please don’t be scared cause it has alcohol in its name. It’s a good one and works best for dry skin.

dry skin from Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser
Both the cetyl and stearyl alcohol works best in dry skin. Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Another one is stearyl alcohol. It’s an emollient. And emollients helps the skin barrier to stay intact by sealing the moisture inside.

But my complaint is: why a cleanser has only a few beneficial ingredients and more toxic ones? And how come a cleanser like that gets so much praise even?

To make it more useful, Cetaphil could have incorporated antioxidants in the cleanser to prevent free radical damage. Or hydrating agents to make the effect of SLS less harmful. But they did not.

Instead, Cetaphil put a whole lot of toxic ingredients and made the pH neutral so that it will literally do nothing on your skin. And if you have reactive, sensitive skin: that’s a jackpot, right? Pffff!

My experience with Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser

I used Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser for the last one year. Like other people, I was happy, too, until I tried a different cleanser.

My Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser which I don’t use anymore

I noticed no significant change in my skin when I was using it. In fact, my dehydrated skin was more dehydrated and kept on being dehydrated. No matter how much I serums or moisturizers I put. Ugh!

But luckily, due to brand collaboration, I came across another cleanser. And as soon as I started using it, I could see how a good cleanser acts like. Only then I realized what I was putting on my face so far and how useless it is!

It’s like after trying a comfy pair of shoes; you realize what you were missing till now!

The alternative to Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser

But worry not. There are alternatives to Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser. So instead of using Cetaphil cleanser on your face, try these gentle cleanser instead.

This hydrating cleanser from CeraVe works best if you have dry or dehydrated skin. But if you have oily skin, go for this one:

To wrap up…

Hear me out: Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser is a basic cleanser. It has nothing good to offer.

Yes, it won’t irritate your skin in a way that is severe. But won’t help to make your skin better too!

You will keep using it for years and your skin will stay the same. And you will be happy thinking “yeah, at least it’s not irritating!” But is it the only purpose of a cleanser? Something to think about!

If you are into skincare, you can check my review about The Ordinary Niacinamide 100% powder review here.

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