Cetaphil Review: The 10 Best Cetaphil Skincare Products



If you look up just about any article written about the best facial cleansers, there is one product that is almost guaranteed to be on it — Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. It’s one of those cult-favorite drugstore products that have maintained their popularity for decades. This Cetaphil cleanser originally debuted in 1947, but didn’t gain momentum until the 1960s.

Cetaphil certainly has staying power — the formula hasn’t changed at all since 1947! What has changed, however, is that today Cetaphil offers over 40 products, including moisturizers, body lotions, cleansers, and even a baby line.

In this review, we’ll discuss the top 10 best Cetaphil skincare products. We’ll cover the formulation details, including the key ingredients in Cetaphil skincare products and the research that supports (or doesn’t support) their use in skincare. Lastly, we’ll share some Cetaphil reviews so that you can get an idea of what customers really think of these products.

What Are The Top 10 Best Cetaphil Skincare Products?

The Cetaphil skincare collection consists of cleansers, moisturizers, makeup removers, sun care, eye care, and more. Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 best Cetaphil skincare products.


Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

This multiple-award-winning cleanser is beloved by dermatologists and editors alike, and for good reason. It has a lotion-like texture that feels extremely soothing, which is great if you’re struggling with acne, dry skin, or skin conditions like eczema or rosacea. But anyone with normal to dry skin can use this non-foaming cleanser to gently lift away dirt, oil, and makeup without irritation.

The only problem? The Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser contains three parabens as preservatives. There is still debate over whether or not the low concentration of parabens used in cosmetic products presents a harm to human health, but if you want to play it safe you should avoid using this Cetaphil cleanser.


Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser

This facial cleanser transforms from a gel to a foam in order to to remove dirt, excess oil, and makeup, making this Cetaphil cleanser ideal for those with combination to oily skin. The formula consists of glycerin (a type of humectant) combined with surfactants. Unfortunately, this is another Cetaphil cleanser that contains a paraben. And the formula also contains a synthetic fragrance blend, so that’s something else to keep in mind before purchasing this cleanser.


Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

This fragrance-free lotion can be used by all skin types on the face and body to provide lightweight hydration. The formula combines glycerin with avocado oil, vitamin E, dimethicone, and panthenol. This combination of ingredients should provide very light hydration, so if you’re struggling with very dry skin, this Cetaphil Lotion may not be rich enough for you.


Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

Petrolatum (aka Vaseline) gives the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream a very rich texture, making this Cetaphil moisturizer a good option for those with dry skin. The formula also includes glycerin, silicones, emollients, and vitamin E. There are quite a few Cetaphil reviews that confirm how well this cream works for very dry skin. For example, one reviewer shares, “This is a great moisturizer for very dry and sensitive skin. It was very gentle and hydrating.”


Cetaphil Body Wash

This fragrance-free body wash is ideal for those with sensitive skin. It is formulated to gently cleanse the skin without stripping it of its natural moisture, while delivering nourishing ingredients to help maintain the skin’s moisture barrier. A few of those nourishing ingredients include glycerin, betaine, aloe vera, and panthenol (provitamin B5).


Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub

Skin looking a little dull? If so, adding in a product that exfoliates (aka removes dead skin cells) can help to revive dull, tired skin. The Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub is formulated to do exactly that. The formula contains surfactants to remove excess oil, dirt, and impurities while micro-fine granules from bamboo buff away dry, dull skin to support natural surface cell turnover. Plus, the formula is infused with hydrating ingredients like glycerin and panthenol to help maintain adequate moisture levels. The result? Softer, smoother, more radiant skin.


Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel Cream

This gel-cream formula absorbs quickly like a gel, but moisturizes deeply like a cream. We love that the formula contains a decent amount of niacinamide. Why? Well, we think niacinamide is an amazing skincare ingredient due to all of the benefits it provides. And research confirms this. For instance, a publication in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, states that niacinamide can repair the skin barrier and improve skin moisture, as well as reduce inflammation, blotchiness, hyperpigmentation, acne, and wrinkling. Additional key ingredients in this Cetaphil eye cream include sodium hyaluronate, vitamin E, purslane, licorice root extract, and green tea extract.


Cetaphil Restoring Lotion

When it comes to restoring moisture to aging skin, you’ll need a moisturizer that contains more than just emollients, like the Cetaphil Restoring Lotion. Not only is this formula packed with nourishing emollients, like meadowfoam seed oil, mineral oil, and squalane, it also contains vitamins like niacinamide (vitamin B3), panthenol (vitamin B5), and vitamin E. Together, these vitamins hydrate, brighten, and protect your skin from environmental free radical damage, making this Cetaphil lotion ideal for dull, tired skin.


Cetaphil Advanced Relief Lotion

A lightweight yet nourishing lotion that can be used on both your body and face to strengthen the skin barrier and lock in moisture. There are several emollients in this formula, including macadamia nut oil and shea butter. Plus, the emollients in this lotion are non-comedogenic (won’t clog your pores) so you don’t have to worry about breakouts!


Cetaphil Intensive Healing Lotion With Ceramides

This Cetaphil lotion should help to heal rough, dry, flaky skin thanks to the inclusion of emollients and ceramides. Ceramides are a family of waxy lipid molecules that are naturally found in the stratum corneum (outer layer of skin). According to a publication in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, ceramides are important for skin barrier function, and exogenously applying ceramides may help to improve skin barrier function.

Is The Cetaphil Cleanser Right For You?

Before purchasing the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, here’s a summary of the most important factors to consider:

  • Key ingredients? Cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, stearyl alcohol
  • Skin type? Ideal for dry to normal skin
  • Texture? Lightweight lotion
  • Fragrance? No
  • Parabens? Yes
  • Cruelty free? No
  • Cost? Under $10 (price varies depending on where you purchase)

        What Are The Key Ingredients in Cetaphil Skincare Products?

        After evaluating the top 10 best Cetaphil skincare products, we noticed that this brand primarily focuses on using emollients as key ingredients. But what exactly is an emollient? And how does it benefit your skin? Let’s answer these important questions.

        An emollient is an oily substance that fills in the spaces between dead skin cells, thus creating a smooth skin surface. Basically, an emollient is a film forming substance that makes the skin feel and look smooth. While an emollient will provide some occlusive effects, the primary function is to help soften the skin.

        Examples of emollients you’ll find in Cetaphil skincare products include:

        • Shea butter
        • Mineral oil
        • Fatty alcohols (cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, etc.)
        • Oils (meadowfoam seed oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, etc)
        • Ceramides

        Emollient ingredients help to repair the skin barrier function. The skin barrier is composed of dead skin cells held together by a lipid matrix. Without these essential lipids, the barrier is weakened. A weak or damaged barrier leads to transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and may allow harmful things like allergens, bacteria, and irritants to pass through into the deeper layers of skin. This can lead to symptoms of dryness, itching, and irritation, and may eventually cause skin conditions such as acne, eczema, sensitive skin, and even signs of aging. Using emollients can help to fill in the spaces between dead skin cells where the barrier has been depleted, ultimately leading to soft, hydrated skin.

        Lastly, keep in mind that several Cetaphil products (including the popular Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser) contain parabens. Parabens are preservatives used to extend the shelf life of a product by preventing microbial contamination.

        The use of parabens in cosmetics and skincare products is controversial because there is conflicting research on the potential health consequences of long term exposure to parabens. According to the EWG, parabens can act like the hormone estrogen in the body and disrupt the normal function of hormone systems affecting male and female reproductive system functioning, reproductive development, fertility, and birth outcomes.

        Which Cetaphil Lotion is Right For You?

        After discussing the top 10 best Cetaphil skincare products, you may have noticed that this brand offers several different types of lotions. This may leave you wondering which Cetaphil lotion is right for you.

        It really comes down to your skin type and skin concern. Nearly everyone can benefit from an emollient product like the Cetaphil lotion products. Whether or not you should use an emollient moisturizer largely depends on what emollient ingredient is used in the product.

        For example, those with oily or acne prone skin should avoid products with comedogenic emollients, such as coconut oil and avocado oil, and only use products with non-comedogenic emollients, such as jojoba oil, safflower oil, and squalane, to prevent clogged pores and acne breakouts.

        But if you have very dry, flaky skin, you’ll want to try a Cetaphil lotion with an occlusive emollient, such as petrolatum (found in the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream) or shea butter (found in the Cetaphil Advanced Relief Lotion). Reparative ingredients are also helpful for those with very dry skin, such as ceramides (found in the Cetaphil Intensive Healing Lotion With Ceramides).

        CeraVe vs. Cetaphil

        Cetaphil and CeraVe have quite a few similarities. They are both drugstore skincare brands that start with “Ce”. They are both recommended by dermatologists. And they both offer products for similar skin concerns, primarily dry skin. They both even have similar packing (white bottle with blue and green label) which adds to the confusion! So what’s the main difference between these brands?

        If you’ve read any of our CeraVe reviews, you know that CeraVe formulates all of their products with ceramides in order to strengthen the skin barrier. In contrast, Cetaphil only uses ceramides in some of their products. Like we mentioned above, the key ingredients in Cetaphil skincare products are emollients.

        In our opinion, it’s really not about one brand being better than another. What it comes down to is the individual product formulations and how well they react with your skin.

        Where to Buy Cetaphil Skincare Products?

        Cetaphil skincare products are not sold on the brand’s website. You must buy Cetaphil skincare products on third party online retailers, such as Amazon, eBay, Ulta, and more. Cetaphil skincare products are also sold in physical retail locations throughout the United States, such as Walmart, Target, Walgreens, etc. Cetaphil has a store locator on their website so you can find a location near you.

        What is The Cetaphil Return Policy?

        Cetaphil does not have a return policy on their website since they do not sell products on their website and, therefore, don’t accept returns.

        Is Cetaphil Cruelty Free?

        Cetaphil is not cruelty free.

        Our Verdict

        Overall, we think that Cetaphil skincare products are an affordable option for those with dry skin, although we wish the brand would formulate all of their products without fragrances and parabens.


        • Affordable
        • Cetaphil products are formulated with beneficial ingredients (emollients, humectants, vitamins, etc.)
        • Many positive Cetaphil reviews


        • Cetaphil is not cruelty free
        • Some Cetaphil products contain parabens
        • Some Cetaphil products contain fragrance

        J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 Feb; 3(2): 22–41
        Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, July 2014, pages 177-184
        EWG “What Are Parabens, And Why Don’t They Belong in Cosmetics?” April 2019



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      • Cheryl Chambers Original review: Aug 06, 2023. Reply

        I really like and had good results with Cetaphil lotions But have not purchased in some time as when the pump dispenser stops output, it leaves ounces of lotion inaccessible. As I am a senior citizen and try to maximize spending, I check for a better dispenser when I shop. Would very much appreciate if Cetaphil was available in a more economical dispenser.

      • Mary Ann Thompson Original review: Jul 18, 2023. Reply

        I spoke to someone a couple of months ago about the foaming face wash for redness prone skin. I love the product but the pump is difficult to use. The lady sent me a coupon for $3.00 off and it has expired because no one seems to carry it in a store and I also have a $15.00 off any product but the same problem and can’t use it by ordering from the internet. Could someone help me with this? Is there a way to order it directly from you and use the coupon? I was unable to find a number to call this time to ask. I would greatly appreciate someone getting back to me. Thanks so much!

      • Marilyn Moragne Original review: Oct 05, 2021. Reply

        My ophthalmologist requested I use a baby shampoo for an eyelid scrub each day. I’ve used Cetaphil products for years so I was happy to see they have “baby” Wash & Shampoo, which says on the label “Tear Free”. I have used this product twice now and my eyes still burn! It burns excruciatingly!! It is not cheap, so I say do not use on your baby!!

      • Your Review
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        Cetaphil Pro Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30 Review

        The Cetaphil Pro Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30 was designed to serve as a moisturizing, hydrating and rejuvenating daily moisturizer that specially serves oily skin types. For those with naturally oily skin, finding a moisturizer that works for you can be extremely frustrating. In order to make this a little easier, the Cetaphil Pro Oil Absorbing Moisturizer delivers all of the ingredients your skin needs to stay healthy and balanced, while also absorbing excess oil and sebum for a shine free finish. In addition to helping regulate oily skin types, this product also includes SPF 30, which is essential for maintaining healthy and well balanced skin in the long term. More and more research has been published to support the importance of minimizing sun damage for your overall health and risk for developing things like skin cancer, as well as minimizing the effects of premature aging on the skin. With all this in mind, this would be a great product for those of you who aren’t yet incorporating anti-aging actives into your routine, but would like to start out with some preventative steps to benefit you in the long run.


        Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser Review

        An absolute classic, the Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser is by far one of the most recognizable skincare products on the market. Cetaphil is a drugstore brand that makes sensitive friendly skincare products and a very affordable price point, making them an excellent option for those workhorse skincare products like foaming cleansers and basic moisturizers. The Daily Facial Cleanser is the hero product from Cetaphil that offers users a simple yet effective cleanser that us suitable for use both as part of your morning and evening routine. The ingredients list behind this product is super simple, featuring mainly gentle surfactants to offer that cleansing, foaming action, with a few additional ingredients to create the gel-like texture. This product can be slightly drying for those with already dry skin, so we’d recommend this type of product to those of you with oily or combination skin types that are looking for an easy, no frills, no fuss cleanser that will slot into your existing routine without worry.


        Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Night Cream Review

        The Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Night Cream was designed to serve as a workhorse moisturizer for use as part of your evening skincare routine. Slightly more rich then their daytime equivalent, the Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Night Cream packs a bit more of a nourishing punch with a combination of humectants, emollients and occlusives to balance the skin and protect your natural moisture barrier. Like all Cetaphil products though, you won’t find an extensive ingredient list here. Instead, the beauty of this product lies in its simplicity. The minimal ingredients list allows this product to work well with a wide variety of skin types and to also layer well overtop other serums in your routine. Although we don’t often think about it, moisturizers with active ingredients on top of already active serums can actually do more harm than good and be too much of a good thing. Using a more basic moisturizer like the Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Night Cream allows the rest of your skincare to go to work and deliver even better results without causing any irritation or sensitivity.


        Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer Review

        Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 50 is a fragrance-free sunscreen moisturizer that is claimed to nourish and hydrate your skin while helping to defend against sunburn. The active sunscreen ingredients in this formula include octinoxate (7.5%), octisalate (5%), octocrylene (7%), oxybenzone (6%), and titanium dioxide (5.7%). The first four ingredients are chemical sunscreen agents, which protect the skin by first absorbing UV light, then transforming that light energy into some other form of energy, such as heat. In contrast, titanium dioxide works by blocking or deflecting UV light, rather than being absorbed by the skin. The micronized titanium dioxide in this formula is said to absorb quickly, leaving no filmy, white residue.

        Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 50 includes the humectant glycerin, which works by drawing moisture into the upper layers of skin to improve hydration. This moisturizer also contains several different types of silicones, such as dimethicone, cyclomethicone, and dimethiconol. Silicones help this sunscreen to spread easily across the surface of skin, providing a silky, smooth skin feel. Silicones also form a thin film on the surface of skin that helps to keep moisture in. There are also some good but rather basic emollients in this formula, such as stearic acid and glyceryl stearate, which help to soften and soothe the skin. Lastly, Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 50 contains a small amount of the antioxidant vitamin E.


        Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel Cream

        Eye creams can be a particularly challenging product to introduce in your skincare routine, given that the eye skin is the most sensitive skin on your face. In fact, the skin around the eye area is the thinnest skin, making it one of the most susceptible areas for skin issues like milia or clogged pores to start appearing. If you’ve struggled with these skin concerns before and have become a little bit weary of heavy eyes creams, you may want to check out a lighter eye gel cream like the Cetaphil Hydrating Gel Cream. This lighter weight, hybrid formula is becoming more and more popular in skincare products, and for good reason. Rich in humectants, these gel creams combine all of the essential moisture that our skin needs to function optimally, along with a much more lightweight texture. The result is a product that sinks into the skin quickly, leaves no greasy residue, and yet appropriately hydrates and calms the skin. This specific eye gel cream from Cetaphil contains hyaluronic acid, which is a humectant that is capable of holding up to 1000 times its weight in water. In addition to this heavy hitting ingredient, this formula also contains a pro-vitamin complex as well as licorice root extract to smooth and brighten the skin under the eye.


        Cetaphil Moisturizer Lotion

        Where to Buy Cetaphil Moisturizer Lotion If you cannot find enough information about this product after reading Cetaphil Moisturizer reviews and do not feel confident about buying it online, you can also find it locally at supermarket and drugstore chains. While there is no store locator on the company website, it does list which chains carry their products. However, the company also warns that not every store carries the complete line of products from the brand, and that you can always order Cetaphil Moisturizer Lotion directly from the website or from other authorized online dealers.

        This Cetaphil Moisturizer comes in several different sizes, from as small as two ounces to as large as sixteen ounces. Prices range from about $3-$12, depending on where you shop and the size of the product you purchase. The low cost of this product may be beneficial for those who have a limited skin care budget and cannot afford to buy a number of costly moisturizers in order to find one that works for them.


        Cetaphil Oil Control Foam Wash Review

        Cetaphil Dermacontrol Oil Control Foam Wash is designed to cleanse oily skin. It is clinically proven to effectively remove pore-clogging oil, impurities, and makeup from the skin. One of the key ingredients in this cleanser is zinc coceth sulfate, a mild surfactant that cleans the skin while simultaneously depositing zinc basic salts onto the skin. A surfactant molecule contains one end that is hydrophilic (attracted to water) and one end that is lipophilic (attracted to oil). This allows surfactants to attract and suspend oil, dirt, and other impurities that have accumulated on the skin and wash them away. Cetaphil Dermacontrol Oil Control Foam Wash also contains zinc gluconate (the zinc salt of gluconic acid). The exact mechanism for how zinc gluconate works when applied to skin isn’t fully understood. One theory is that zinc has a balancing effect on the skin microbiome, which refers to the naturally occurring microorganisms that live on the surface of skin. In addition, zinc gluconate has anti-inflammatory activity that can be helpful for reducing redness from acne. Besides these two zinc ingredients, Cetaphil Dermacontrol Oil Control Foam Wash contains the humectant glycerin, which draws moisture into the upper layers of skin to improve skin hydration. This cleanser also contains dipotassium glycyrrhizate, a component of licorice root extract that functions as a skin-conditioning agent with anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties. Lastly, Cetaphil Dermacontrol Oil Control Foam Wash does contain fragrance, which can aggravate the skin.


        Cetaphil Redness Relieving Night Moisturizer Review

        The Cetaphil Redness Relieving Night Moisturizer, which has now been renamed the Cetaphil Pro Night Moisturizer could be an excellent option for you if you struggle particularly with sensitive skin. Those with sensitive skin often have the hardest time finding a suitable moisturizer, as the ingredients in moisturizers can often be too thick or rich for the skin, causing clogged pores. Some of the additional ingredients, even those that can benefit the skin, can also trigger allergic reactions that can lead to increased skin reddening, heat in the skin, blotchiness and inflammation. The key to finding a suitable moisturizer for sensitive skin is to keep it simple, which is exactly what brands like Cetaphil are known for. With streamlined ingredients lists that remove some of the most common culprits of allergy or sensitivity including fragrance, alcohol or pore clogging ingredients, you can use this product with confidence. This formula also contains hydrating and nourishing ingredients that help to calm and soothe the skin, making this product an excellent option for those of you who are currently dealing with irritation caused by other factors or products. Ingredients like ceramide NP, hyaluronic acid and shea butter help to thoroughly moisturizing the skin without weighing it down, so your skin feels comfortable and hydrated all night long.


        Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

        In the past, you’ve probably picked out moisturizers based on a specific brand name or the marketing claims made by brands. But did you know that all moisturizers are not created equal? There are actually several different types of moisturizers, with the three most common types being occlusive, humectant, and emollient. In this review, our focus is on a product that contains all three of these moisturizers: the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream.


        Cetaphil Lotion

        You've probably noticed Cetaphil lotion at your local drug or department store. Typically sold in white bottles that display the blue / green logo of the brand, this cream is widely distributed through many shopping outlets. But individuals suffering from dry, flaky skin may wonder about the benefits of Cetaphil lotion and whether it is strong enough to make a difference. After all, many lotions claim to be the best and to provide relief for severely dry skin. Is there anything that makes Cetaphil lotion different? Does it have specialty ingredients to nourish and moisturize the skin? To answer these questions, we took a deeper look at how Cetaphil lotion works and the ingredients it contains.

        Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

        Does Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser Work? Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser was created as an option for individuals with sensitive skin. According to the manufacturer, this skin cleanser has a very simple formula that's gentle enough to be used on young children. Having access to gentle products like Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser can certainly be helpful if you're struggling with problems like atopic dermatitis, allergies, or other skin sensitivities. However, it's vital to carefully consider the ingredients in this product and discuss it with your dermatologist to avoid unexpected side effects. After all, even though most Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser reviews are quite positive, some consumers did experience issues with this product. Therefore, even though it is labeled as "gentle," a full assessment must be made before incorporating this cleanser into a regular skin care routine.

        How Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser Works

        The idea behind Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is to cleanse the skin without causing irritation. When it comes to skin cleansers, the ideas of cleansing and skin irritation are often directly at odds with each other. On the one hand, harsh chemicals can do an amazing job at lifting dirt and oil from the skin's surface (chances are your hands have no oil after doing dishes!). But on the flip side, effective cleansing often leaves the skin very dry and can even stimulate an inflammatory response.


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