Cetaphil(R) – Does Not Make a Total Acne Solution

Recommended by dermatologists and pediatricians, Cetaphil(R) Cleansers are gentle facial cleansers often used by those with acne prone skin.  Specially formulated for dry and sensitive skin types, moisturizing Cetaphil face wash cleanses to “gently remove what your skin doesn’t need, without stripping away natural emollients and oil” the way soap and other skin cleansers can.

Cetaphil Cleansers are available in both liquid and bar form.  In addition to their cleansing abilities, all products in the Cetaphil Cleanser line make excellent dry skin moisturizers and can replace a separate lotion “to address the dryness caused by topical medications used in the treatment of acne” and other skin conditions.  While the liquid cleansers are used primarily on the face, the Cetaphil bar cleansers can be used all over the body.

Company Information

Cetaphil is marketed by Galderma Laboratories, L.P.  This company venture began in 1981 as a joint effort by Nestle and L’oreal.  In addition to Cetaphil, Galderma markets “innovative, therapeutic, corrective, and aesthetic solutions that meet the needs of dermatology patients and physicians.”  Galderma recognizes that “skin conditions reach much deeper than the skin itself,” and they strive to help people improve the quality of their lives.

Based in Fort Worth, Texas, USA, Galderma Laboratories has been a Better Business Bureau Accredited Business since 2003 and receives a BBB grade of A+.  In the last 36 months, the BBB has received only one consumer complaint regarding Galderma.

Product Specification

The liquid Gentle Skin Cleanser is “the mildest skin cleanser” in the Cetaphil treatment line and was “originally formulated by dermatologists.”  It will not strip away skin’s “natural protective oils and emollients” and will not disturb the natural pH balance of your skin.  This cleanser is gentle enough to be used daily by people with sensitive skin and “is ideal for people with special skin conditions like acne, rosacea, or eczema.”  Gentle Skin Cleanser is gentle enough to be used by children, teens, and adults.

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser will effectively clean normal, combination, or oily skin.  This foaming cleanser has a non-irritating formula that will not leave “skin feeling tight or overly dry” and “doesn’t leave behind irritating residue.”

Gentle Cleansing Bar is a non-alkaline, non-soap, all-over body cleanser that is “free of harsh detergents that might dry or irritate your skin.”  Because it moisturizes as it cleans, this cleansing bar is good for “dry, sensitive skin.”

Cetaphil Antibacterial Gentle Cleansing Bar offers “dual-action moisturizing and antibacterial/deodorant benefits” with .3% triclosan as its active skin care ingredient.  Triclosan is a chemical antibacterial agent that – in addition to being registered with the Food & Drug Administration for inclusion in hand soaps, toothpaste, deodorants, and other household items – is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency as a pesticide.

All of the cleansers in the Cetaphil family contain a blend of pharmaceutical ingredients.  No warnings or side effects to using these skin care products are discussed on the website.

Where to Buy Cetaphil(R)

Cetaphil products can be purchased in stores at drug stores, grocers, and mass merchandisers.  They can also be found at select online retailers.


The cost of Cetaphil(R) products will vary depending on your place of purchase.  Average prices are $11.49 for a 16 fluid ounce pump bottle of liquid cleanser and $4.49 for a 4.5 ounce cleansing bar.

Return Policy

The Cetaphil(R) website does not specify any return policy, but most retail stores will accept returns of unused, unopened products.


While Cetaphil(R) does not market itself as a direct acne treatment system, many acne sufferers use one of the Cetaphil cleansers as part of their skin care routine.  I’ve found people of all ethnicities saying that Cetaphil works very well for their skin problems.  I’ll try to clue you in on the pros and cons that I’ve discovered.

Quite a few reviews give Cetaphil cleansers high ratings.  In the words of one user, “It doesn’t dry my skin, leaves it soft, and so far I haven’t had anything new pop up.”  Many say that it really works for sensitive skin.  One person with sensitive skin goes so far as to say Cetaphil is “the best [cleanser] I’ve used.”

Some have experienced excessive drying when using Cetaphil cleanser.  As one person says, “It made my face feel tight and dehydrated, quite uncomfortable.”  Strangely, this same person, however, says that the cleanser “moisturizes skin.”  Others are not so ambiguous and say plainly that Cetaphil was drying to their skin.  One woman writes, “Everyone’s skin is different but it worked very well on my oily/dry combination skin.  It has made all the difference for me, actually.”

Cetaphil’s acne treatment abilities vary from person to person.  One says it “gets rid of acne,” while another says it “clears up my face somewhat.”  On the other hand, some feel that Cetaphil doesn’t do anything for acne.  One woman writes that she’s used Gentle Skin Cleanser for ten years and her “acne never really went away.”  She stopped using Cetaphil and actually saw her skin tone and acne condition improve significantly.  All the redness and blotchiness she had experienced for years went away and her “skin tone [became] so much smoother and even.”

It’s obvious that opinions about Cetaphil vary widely.  Perhaps the best final statement is that Cetaphil will not make a total acne solution.  In conjunction with other acne treatments, it works well for some people but not for everyone.