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Why Would Cetaphil Gentle And Phisohex Give Me Dryness/flakiness?

Hi everyone! Short-time lurker, first-time poster!

My acne is mild (a few pimples a month). A while ago I regularly used Phisohex Face Wash. For the past four days, twice a day, I’ve used Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser. Both of these products make my whole face dry, and my brows and nose become flaky.

A short while ago I went a week of washing my face twice a day with only water, and as a result my face didn’t feel as dry -- and there was no flakiness. Apart from these two products, I don't use any other face products -- no BP at the moment, no moisturiser, etc...

What do you think could be causing the dryness/flakiness? I’m so confused because Cetaphil Gentle is widely regarded as gentle, non-drying and non-irritating! I think my skin type is 'combination'. Could there be a specific ingredient in these products that irritates my face?

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser ingredients:

Water, cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, stearyl alcohol, methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben.

Phisohex Face Wash ingredients:

1% w/v Tricolsam (10mg/mL)

Sodium Benzoate 5mg/mL

Benzyl Alcohol 5mg/mL

Basically I want to find a cleanser that doesn't irritate my skin!

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Hello and Welcome!

Cetephil in my opinion is an outdated formula lacking ingredients. I would say from my previous experience using Cetephil the SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate) is more than likely the offender. Some skin is just sensitive to this ingredient. It is a cleansing agent that can cause problems with already problematic skin. There are far better cleansers out there that do not use SLS and have the same ability to cleanse while still being gentle. Not to mention the addition of other ingredients that mimic the structure and function of healthy skin. My favorite cleanser for sensitive, dry, acne-prone skin is CeraVe. http://cerave.com/our-products/hydrating-cleanser/

I've never used Phisohex. However I did use Clearsil for quite a long time in High School and College. The active ingredient in their formula was Triclosan. Which for some can cause flakes and drying of skin. As an antibacterial agent, triclosan can help begin the process of killing the bacteria that plays a role in acne, which is why it is included in some rinse-off products designed for those with breakout-prone skin. Hope this info helps you out!

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In the Cetaphil, it could be the sodium lauryl sulfate. SLS is a detergent and is typically an irritating ingredient (at least for my skin it is lol). It's usually best to avoid detergents in cleansers and face washes because they dry out the skin and might aggravate acne. Or maybe you could just be allergic or sensitive to the propylene glycol or another ingredient. Everyone's skin is different. (:

With the other face wash, it's medicated (Tricolsam) and medicated/antibacterial products are usually drying as well, such as salicylic acid cleansers. :/

You could try Spectro Jel. I used to use it and it was VERY gentle. Never left my skin red and/or flaky. It doesn't even foam. But, it did make my acne worse and I think it clogged my pores....but you say that your acne is mild and you just want something non-irritating, so who knows. Right now I use the brand Organique by Himalaya and all their cleansers are SLS free, paraben free, phthalate free, and has no artificial colours or fragrance. Basically it doesn't have a lot of the crap that can contribute to irritation. The one I use is the turmeric and neem cleanser, and it's targeted for people with normal to oily skin, but they have other ones as well. (: It has a slight lather to it, but it's very gentle and you only need a TINY amount to wash your face. I think when looking for a cleanser, it's important to actually look at the ingredients and don't just purchase things that say "gentle", "non-irritating", "non-comedogenic", etc. It's good to familiarize yourself with common skin care ingredients.

By the way, I have very sensitive skin that is oily and prone to dehydration.

Hope this helped!

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Thanks so much guys! I will definitely avoid SLS in my next cleanser biggrin.png

CeRave looks great – I just can’t find it anywhere in Australia! Apart from on eBay or random online shops…nor can I find Spectro Gel or Organique.

I'm going to bed now, tomorrow I'll look through all the top-reviewed cleansers to see which one's don't contain SLS....in the meantime any more suggestions would be appreciated!


Edited by BigKev

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Happy to help! I too, have to buy a few of my facial regimen products online. I live in a small town that offers a slim assortment of products. If it works-I have no problem with the order. It some cases it's actually worked in my favor. A lot of online stores offer free shipping and discounts for members (with no fees) or first time buyers.

Your main objective is trying to find a product that's free of irritating ingredients. SLS's and fragrance. Those two seem rank high on the scale of irritants for skin.

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