Cetaphil : Gentle Skin Cleanser

996 Reviews

Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben.

Items marked with orange can be irritating and over-drying, especially to acne-prone skin.

The list of ingredients above is provided for informational purposes only. Always check the actual product label in your possession for the most accurate ingredient information due to product changes or upgrades that may not yet be reflected on our web site.


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April 4, 2020
Not a cure alone, but a great staple

This shouldn’t be looked at to “cure” acne alone, but rather should be viewed as a strong staple to a balancing skincare regimen. 

I have found for myself that using a gentle yet effective cleanser such as this one and saving the harsher “acne fighting” ingredients for my serums and lotions That I put on afterwords, has been the biggest key in finding balance in my skin. 

I have found that adding a cleanser that has more acne fighting chemicals in it may seem to work in the beginning, but ultimately my acne never fully went away and I now believe it is because I was over stressing it by using acne cleansers plus acne lotions plus acne serums (all with different ingredients over the years from benzoyl peroxide, AHAs, glycolic acid, etc.). But regardless of what combo I used, I have not seen my skin as clear as it currently is with just using this cetaphil cleanser morning and night and a high quality moisturizer (I’m using Tatcha - The Dewey Skin Cream) and then I also use Differin gel once or twice a week. I also use a vitamin C serum once or twice a week before bed underneath my moisturizer. I’ve been using this face wash for two weeks now and currently have zero active acne spots after battling with acne for the past 6 years. This is the best my skin has looked since that has all happened. 

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June 5, 2020

I agree I also use it as a staple to my skin care regimen and is gentle on my skin.


March 2, 2020
this thing is the bomb

Worked great! but then again, it is not an acne fighting Company. Great for sensitive skin though

October 24, 2019
Skin Revived After Overexfoliation

A few weeks ago I used the acne.org Glycolic Acid for 4 consecutive days...oops! My skin started peeling/flaking, it was dry and I all the moisture was sucked out of my skin. #lessonlearned. I stopped using all my acne.org products and used this Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser for 2 weeks. My skin is back to being soft and supple but I still need to treat my acne. I am still using this cleanser but I am slowly adding back my acne.org Benzoyl Peroxide. It's been 3 days and so far it working just fine. I am going to use this cleanser until I run out and then go back to the acne.org cleanser since it is tailored for the regimen.

June 29, 2019

I have mild acne that is very stubborn. In my case this did not clear my skin.. but does feel like your skin is being cleaned.

January 27, 2019
Cleanses but does not clear

I've owned and used this cleanser for over 6 months now. I have combination skin, with acne and blackheads. 

While it does cleanse my skin without leaving it irritated or tight, I have not seen any change in my acne while using it - although my acne is probably hormonal. [redacted]

edited 17/03/21

December 4, 2018
gets rid of acne

I copied and pasted a comment I made on a blog. This will get rid of your acne. This product is mentioned. Read the whole thing.

 I also went on Accutane when I was 20. I am now 29. The acne was gone for some time and came back until I've discovered how to get rid of it FOREVER (recently about a year ago I discovered the missing piece). Before I tell you what to do, I'm going to educate you on how the skin works. Many people like to buy products or start harsh treatments without knowing what they do. It is important to know how the skin functions before using anything. First of all, your skin likes oil. Sebum, also known as an oil or fat is naturally acidic to keep bacteria away. Our skin is at a ph between 4-5-5.5 to keep acne away and healthy bacteria on our skin. The issue is humans like to strip their acidic mantle (oil) and dry out their barrier, which makes our skin OVERPRODUCE OIL AND MIXES WITH DEAD SKIN CELLS (your pore gets clogged). You are breaking out because you have dead skin cells sitting on your surface that aren't being properly shed. You have DRY dead skin cells. Our skin knows how to desquamate or shed unless the barrier is dry and damaged. We have certain enzymes that shed our skin but when it's disrupted we get inflammation or dry skin or acne. Our skin needs to be properly balanced with the right amount oil and water, similar to our natural barrier. Too much oil, you get acne. Too much dead skin you get acne. Cleansers and certain alkaline products do this (SOAP). Think about it: Why do you think some of your friends who do nothing to their skin have great skin? They aren't stripping the acidic mantle, or oil from their skin. Most of these people probably cleanse once a night or never. Now I'm going to tell you what to do for clear skin FOREVER.

At night ONCE A NIGHT: Use Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser (not the daily facial one) for thirty seconds up to a minute max. Why? cleansing the skin too long causes dryness which in turn causes skin cells to dry out and clog your pores. They stick to the pore and do not know how to exfoliate properly. You need to keep skin acidic. If you cleanse too long skin becomes alkaline and a breeding ground for bacteria to invade. 

Next: Apply Cetaphil Moisturizing CREAM (not lotion): With your palms melt this moisturizer on your face. Do not rub!!!!! Pat it into your skin so it absorbs. This cream is in a range of 4.5-5.5. It will keep acne away by being acidic and providing water to the skin that aids in exfoliation/desquamates. Never I mean ever again scrub your skin, rub it hard, never. Moisturizers exfoliate the skin that's a secret. People think they have to scrub and get rid of those dead skin cells that cause acne. NOPE. A moisturizer with oil and water will dissolve dead skin in about an hour and you'll glow. So as I was saying...melt it into your skin and put your finger on your face and if you see oil, good job. That oil is going to dissolve those dead skin cells that cause pore blockage (in about an hour your skin will glow bc all the dead skin went bye bye). Now when you pat it, pat it for about ten seconds or 15. You don't want to be patting it too long or rubbing. You also can sweep it on your face in an outward motion or downward. The point is youre applying heat to the moisturizer. and you are dabbing/patting You can even rub the moisturizer in your hands first then swipe it on your face (that works wonders). What you just did is you made the moisturizer absorb better into your skin and you created a barrier from air and harsh winds. Your skin needs to stay moisturized in order to be acne-free. Acne medications do get rid of acne bc they increase cell turnover and shedding as I mentioned, but guess what???????? MOISTURIZERS DO THAT TOO EXCEPT IT DOESNT DRY OUT YOUR SKIN. People who have healthy skin have acidic skin and moisturized skin. Okay so back to the regimen....you cleanse ONCE A NIGHT AND APPLY THIS CREAM. THIS PROCESSS SHOULD NOT INCLUDE RUBBING, SCRUBBING, LONG EXPOSURE TO WATER (DRIES YOUR SKIN OUT). Oh and when you shower, keep your face away from water.  Let water touch your skin only at the sink, once a night. Why??? bc water is a ph of 7 which is neutral not acidic. Also tap water has chlorine and salts which are drying and slow down the shedding of dead skin cells. In the morning, don't do anything at allllllllll. washing your face too much causes dry skin which causes that combination skin aka acne! comfortable skin is acne-free. When using the moisturizer, pat it in for not that long so you also let the water in the moisturizer get trapped in the skin to effectively exfoliate your skin. Skin needs water and oil to effectively shed. So your job is to provide a barrier overnigh, once a day, only at night. In a month, your skin will be a lotttttt better. it takes 28 days for skin to renew itself. why do u think acne meds take a while? they are shedding layers of dead skin which a moisturizer does the same thing, but bad dermatologists won't tell u that. Only the good ones will. The secret to clear skin to cleanse once a day and melting oil/water in your skin (moisturizer). have questions? message me.

the products mentioned above can be found in any drug store or supermarket and I don't work for the company btw. Those are the only products I like by cetaphil, the other ones haven't been good to me, for other reasons not due to acne. Other water in oil emulsions aka moisturizers can do fine but I just mention this one bc it's correctly ph-balanced and it has oil/water to dissolve that sticky layer that sits on your face. My skin is clear now and it glows every morning. 

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January 17, 2019

So you're not going to use any products in the morning even sunscreen?

February 9, 2019

There are times when I don't wash and put anything on my face at all on weekends (all day) and i have to admit my face does look better when i don't wash'em in the morning. Maybe I should try not washing my face in the morning once when I go to school.. but rn i have a problem with pimple marks.. i'm guessing my pimples are hormonal since i get breakouts every time i'm on my period and pms.

February 9, 2019

replying to Roeldpl...you may use sunscreen in the morning (or MUST IF YOU LIVE IN A HOT ENVIRONMENT). Do not wash your face though. Once a day is enough for at least a month to repair your barrier. What you can do is apply a sunscreen such as one of Nuetrogena's (ex: Neutrogena clear face 55). The sunscreen should have an absorbent property bc if not, excess sebum and sweat may cause irritation/yeast produces fatty acids that cause dermatitis. This is why one must wash their face. So to avoid irritation, get a sunscreen like Neutrogena that contains the ingredient silica. This will absorb excess oils. In addition, depending on how your skin is (either extremely dry or semi-dry) it matters which cream you use. The stickier the cream, the more repair it will do. You see cream acts like a mortar, that holds your skin cells together and traps water, acne patients have a disorganized mortar. I will list three creams down below to repair the barrier, strongest to lightest! Go with the strongest and then move to the lowest once your barrier's mortar is repaired. Think of a brick wall, you have cells that are held by GLUE/cement (mortar). You need moisturizer to repair the glue. Apply it to DAMP SKIN. You pat dry your skin ever so slightly, and immediately apply a cream gently, to trap water in your cells so your skin can shed effectively, acne patients have ten times more dead skin cells than others. YOU HAVE TONS OF DRY, DEAD SKIN CELLS THAT ARE TRAPPING SEBUM..CREATING ACNE. All you need to do is cleanse your skin for less than a minute In the shower or sink, drench skin in water, and then apply a cream in circular light motions and pat.





if you don't want to buy these, just get a sticky cream of your choice and apply to damp skin in light circular motions. thats the basic key. the stickier, the better to repair. Once repaired, move down the frame to the lightest product. I did bc I dont like wearing heavy-duty things. It took two weeks to repair and I moved down the spectrum to the moisturizing lotion, and now I apply to wet skin. Be aware though that some people can never move down the Frame, these are older folks and people who suffer eczema etc. I

The key is to repair your mortar/lipid barrier. Lipid barrier is made of waxes, fatty acids, etc. How to do it? GET A STICKY CREAM TO ACT LIKE IT. AND BAM BYE BYE DRY SKIN AND ACNE.

Acne marks take time to go away, some people enjoy exfoliating to rid excess layers of dead skin that smooth out acne marks and discoloration but I say DON'T! Exfoliation if not done correctly will damage the lipid barrier. In fact I just said to apply a moisturizer to damp skin, that right there will shed dead skin leading to less acne marks. cells need water to shed. Do the routine in the morning with one of those products above to damp skin. Use the Cetaphil Daily facial cleanser instead of the gentle since you have excess oil and irritation. 

if you guys aren't understanding this, message me and I'll list out the routine based on your lifestyle..some people go to the gym etc. message me for a more detailed approach, and tell me if your skin is dry etc. and if you workout things like that. everyone is different..

and stingray...just do the routine in the morning and do nothing at night. as long as you repair your mortar it doesn't matter what time of day you do it. I like to do my routine in the morning bc at night we shed dead skin cells, so I like cleansing and moisturizing for a fresh glow and face.

December 2, 2018
It's alright, but eh...

I have this before, since most youtubers love and rave about it and also my mom's friend recommend to me (when I used to have really bad acne), so I gave it a shot. I don't remember too much about it (since I used it a long time ago but somehow used up two bottles of original and knock off brand) but the three things that I remember were: it left this uncomfortable film feeling, kinda dried out parts of my face, and somehow it kinda stings (which SURPRISINGLY this is supposed to be GENTLE and be suitable for every skin type). Since it is a liquid cleanser, I felt that you have to used more inorder to take off all of the makeup.

I would probably try this out again in a travel size to see how my skin will react to it since I have hardly any breakouts...but yet again I don't wanna take the risk.. 

My current regimen:

Morning: Nothing (unless if there's a special event then gently cleanse with soap bar for 30 to 45 seconds, rinse, pat dry, and moisturize). If skin feeling tight/dry then slap on moisturizer (current fav vanicream cream).

Night: Cleanse with dove soap bar. If had makeup, then cleanse twice for 30 seconds. Every 2 to 5 days (or just when my skin needs it) exfoliate with a device (a baby rag towelette or hand glove exfoliate). Then use moisturizer (current fav vanicream cream).

Budget friendly?: Depending of where you buy it at, also if you get the generic brand of it. 

Does it do its purpose?: Cleansing the skin, yea but its comes down to what type of skin the person has.

Would recommend?: Probably not...but then again EVERYONE skin is different.

Overall, I would probably suggest to try out the travel size and see how it goes from there (so that you don't have to spend the whole bottle), to see if you need to wash twice a day, once a day, and so on.

December 4, 2018

The reason why this cleanser stings when you put it on your skin is because your acidic mantle is disrupted. Our skin is naturally acidic (4.0-5.5 range). Your skin is alkaline due to dove which falls in a 7-8 range, not good. Your skin gets dry, leading to more dead skin cells that trap your sticky sebum aka oil under the pore, and bam acne. You should be using an appropriate ph-cleanser like this one actually which is a 6.5. You are def. doing the right thing by keeping your cleanse for 30-40 seconds good job love. Just once a day cleanse at the sink and in the shower never let water touch your face, that dries skin out (making a ph of 7) causing more dead layers of dead skin, leading to acne. Why do u think acne meds break you out before u get better? bc its shedding tons of layers of dead skin in which acne is underneath. How to solve the problem? this cleanser for 30 to 60 seconds once a night or once in the morning and melting/patting a moisturizer in your skin. you'll see your acne coming to the surface and think its the products breaking u out, NO YOUR DEAD SKIN IS SHEDDING DUE TO YOU JUST ADDING WATER AND OIL WHICH OUR SKIN NEEDS TO PROPERLY SHED. UNDERSTAND? READ MY ABOUT ME SECTION ANF GET OF ACNE FOR GOOD.

December 2, 2018
Gentle but Cannot See Improvement on my Skin

At first, my impression is that Cetaphil has a watery texture so I need to put a little more amount than I should because the formula slips between my fingers so in that situation is a minus point for me because its such a waste knowing that this product is way too expensive and too mainstream esp here in my country PH (shout out to the 'kuripot' people out there haha). Second is that when I rub it on my face, I can't feel that its doing anything on my face (yeah because its GENTLE psh! hihi) because I like the feeling of stripping the excess oils and dirts off my face. Third is I can't see any improvement on my face. Maybe because this is not the product for me or for people who suffers from adult hormonal acne. 

September 27, 2018
Definitely gentle, but didn't help my acne.
After my skin became only further irritated at my use of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid products to combat acne, I decided to try a more gentle approach. While this stuff definitely helped my skin to get less dried out, it just didn't keep any of the bad acne away like some face washes do. I struggle with cystic acne especially, so mine is more severe. If your skin is like mine, I don't recommend this cleanser. However, if you don't struggle with deep acne, or if your acne is just mild to moderate, I think this would do well for you since it is less drying. **side note: I did have a skin-colored itchy rash once on my neck caused by some kind of plant or pollen I was possibly allergic to- this stuff worked wonders for getting rid of that! Just not for my acne, unfortunately.**
July 17, 2018
I have heard of this product from my dermatologist and friends, but never tried it as I have seldom used skincare products. However, this product was wonderful for my combination skin. It moisturised my skin, but did not strip it of its natural glow.
September 10, 2018
is this product good for acne? will it make me break out even more?