Why Cetaphil Isn’t As Awesome As It Seems

cetaphil gentle skin cleanserMany of my clients are surprised when they find out that I don’t love Cetaphil. I mean, it can’t be all bad if your dermatologist recommended it, right?

I generally don’t get worked up over cleansers, simply because they rinse off. Of all the steps in your skin care routine, I’m more concerned about the stuff that stays on your face, like serums and moisturizers. I always tell my clients that as long as it’s getting you clean, not irritating your skin, and not drying your skin out, I’m fine with it. But let’s take a quick look at the ingredients in the cleanser that claims to be “gentle and non-irritating.”

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

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

(from cetaphil.com)

Breaking down the ingredients list is pretty easy. There’s not a lot here. First we see water, which is standard for most cosmetic formulas. Cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol are both fatty alcohols, used for emulsifying and moisturizing.

The next ingredient that catches my attention is sodium lauryl sulfate. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a surfactant, meaning it releases oil and dirt from the skin and creates that foamy texture we love so much. The problem is that SLS can be stripping for dry skins (which may explain the inclusion of cetyl and stearyl alcohol to neutralize the stripping effects), and it can also be an irritant. I’ve talked about SLS before, and my number one recommendation for irritated skin is stop using products that contain SLS. So why would you include this in a product that claims to be gentle?

The final ingredients are preservatives, which are three different parabens: methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben. While I am not someone who is concerned about parabens as a toxic ingredient, and I believe they are generally safe to use, I do know that parabens are an allergen for a percentage of the population. Because of this, I generally recommend that my clients with hyper-allergic skin avoid products with parabens.

The truth about Cetaphil is that dermatologists recommend it for two reasons. The first reason is that it doesn’t have any of the obvious irritants in it like synthetic fragrances or dyes. But the primary reason your derm may have told you to use Cetaphil is that the makers of Cetaphil ship thousands of samples to dermatologists across the land, making that recommendation easy. Amazingly, dermatologists know more about disorders of the skin than they do about products (generally speaking, of course there are exceptions), and they often have neither the time or the desire to shop the drugstore shelves to figure out what cleanser is best for every skin type and concern you may have. Also, most dermatologists (especially male derms) don’t consider a cleanser’s ability to remove makeup in their recommendation.

My beef with Cetaphil is pretty basic. First, I take issue with any line claiming to be gentle while using the harshest surfactant out there. Second, before I became an esthetician, I tried Cetaphil. I found it drying, and it stung my eyes. Additionally, I think it does a terrible job removing makeup. I hate to use a makeup remover and a cleanser; I want one product to do the whole job. So for me, Cetaphil never cut it. If you absolutely love it, and it’s not irritating your skin, I don’t have a problem with my clients using it. But keep these things in mind, and if you find yourself suffering from dryness or irritation, you may want to swap your cleanser.

 

Speak your mind! Do you love your Cetaphil cleanser? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

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What I’m Loving Now: Deep Moisture for Dry Skin

Colder temperatures make me crave creamier moisturizers. But finding a moisturizer that’s got enough weight to get the deep moisture that you need and not clog your skin up can often be a challenge. Here are a few of my winter favorites for dry skin.

Nia24 Intensive Recovery Complex

I’ve been trying out some new products recently, and the Nia24 Intensive Recovery Complex has really captured my heart. Quick absorbing but still deeply moisturizing, this cream gives long-term moisture. Nia24 boasts a form of niacin that penetrates deeper into the skin, so in addition to rich moisture, you also get brighter, healthier skin in the long run. The Pro-Niacin complex also helps to thicken the top layers of the skin, giving you a heartier, more resilient complexion.

 

Sircuit Skin Cosmeceuticals Cloud 9

The intensely moisturizing Sircuit Skin Cloud 9+ cream has been one of my standbys for my own dry skin the last few years. It leaves a protective barrier on to defend your skin against the elements. It also features antioxidants and other botanical ingredients to protect against aging and restore at the same time.

 

 

 

Philosophy When Hope Is Not Enough Replenishing Cream

I’ve always liked many of the products in the Philosophy skin care line. For many years, this moisturizer, the Philosophy When Hope Is Not Enough replenishing cream. It has a buttery texture that melts into skin, protecting dry, chapped skin from the elements and restoring suppleness.

 

 

Korres Greek Yoghurt Moisturizing Face Cream

One of my favorite moisturizers, the Korres Greek Yoghurt Moisturizing Face Cream, recently got a texture makeover, and is now richer and even more moisturizing. It still has a light, whipped texture, so it’s a great cream for people who are on the oilier side of the skin type spectrum. The yoghurt in the cream is reparative and soothing, so that makes this particular product a great choice for irritated or inflamed skin, such as skin types that suffer from eczema or psoriasis.

 
Boscia Tsubaki Beauty OilFacial oils are all the rage, and it’s one of my favorite ways to tweak a skin care routine that’s just not quite enough moisture for dry skin. You don’t need to purchase an entirely new routine; just amp up your current moisture by layering an oil under your favorite lighter summer ones. Your skin absorbs layers better, so using several light products may actually work best for you. My current favorite oil is the Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil, which has a lovely light texture and tons of antioxidants for brightening and extra protection.

 

 

Have you tried any of my winter favorites? What products do you rely on when temperatures drop? Tell me in the comments below!

 

See a product here that you think would work for you? I earn a commission and you help to support this blog if you use the affiliate links provided. But your trust is important to me, and I’d never recommend something that I haven’t used or didn’t like. Read my disclaimer.

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I am a licensed esthetician and fully certified skin care nerd. I am passionate about all things beauty. Get your skin glowing now with my skin care tips and secrets. I want to help you take care of yourself, to feel better about how you look, and to live a happier, healthier life.

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