Friday, 2 September 2016

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser



Describe the brand in five words.
Cheap. Foam. That's all I've got.

What is it?
'A gentle, non-irritating daily cleanser for sensitive and dry skin.'

Well it's a 'cleanser' of sorts, but it's certainly not as described by the brand.

Who is it for?
'Sensitive and dry skin.'

Except don't. Please. The fact that they specifically recommend this for rosacea on their website gives me the horrors.

What’s in it?
Aqua, Cetyl Alcohol, Proylene Glycol, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparben, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol

What's not in it?
Anything of benefit to the skin. Water, three parabens, two alcohols and SLS do not a 'suitable for dry skin' cleanser make.

Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?
Parabens
SLS

Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan?
Man made

Tested on animals/sold in territories that advocate testing?
Yes/Yes

How does it smell?
Fragrance free

How does it feel on the skin?/Absorption rate?
Like soap/washes off.

How do you use it?/Where to use in your routine?
Cleanser - am or pm

How long before you should see results?
N/A - it's a cleanser

How much is it? /Size/Approximate cost per usage?
£14.99 for 473ml

What’s good about it?
Honestly? Nothing. There are cheaper and better cleansers so the price isn't a plus.

What’s not so good about it?
Where to begin. Cetaphil has taken on a life of its own in recent years. Crossing over from the States and becoming the cult must-have 'affordable' cleanser that will apparently do no harm and makes a great cleanser for people with sensitive skin. I am asked about it much more often now than I was five years ago.
There is nothing, not one ingredient in this product that will do anything to benefit your skin, with the exception of 'clean' it. And I use the word 'clean' loosely. In all seriousness, there are shampoos with better and less harmful ingredients on the market.
It doesn't even remove makeup, so can't be used as a first cleanse.
I know this is frequently recommended by dermatologists as a 'must-have', but it's worth mentioning that Cetaphil is owned by Galderma, a huge big pharma corporate brand that also own Restylane (fillers), Differin and Epiduo among many other brands - both regularly prescribed by derms and therefore generating cash for both the derm and Galderma.
Dermatologists being on the books of multi-nationals is almost never talked about in the industry. They are doctors and therefore untouchable, a position they reinforce by dismissing any brand/person that dares to question them. Let me be clear: I love doctors. I love some dermatologists. I am not a dermatologist. Never pretended to be. But any derm telling you to use this and stating that it will not damage/alter your epidermis/acid mantle is just wrong. In my humble, non-dermatologist-but-I'm-right opinion.

Works well with?
Nothing. But you'd have to use some hydrating, calming and soothing products afterwards to say sorry to your face.

What’s the website like?
What you'd expect, but it's irrelevant really as everyone will buy this from their drug store/chemist/supermarket. www.cetaphil.com/gentle-skin-cleanser

Would I purchase/repurchase?
No.

Similar Better products?

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
Yes To Carrots Daily Cream Facial Cleanser
Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing + Makeup Remover
Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, Creamy Formula









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See my full disclaimer here:
http://bit.ly/1rpEmSq

The views expressed on this site are the author's own and are provided for informational purposes only. The author makes no warranties about the suitability of any product or treatment referenced or reviewed here for any person other than herself and any reliance placed on these reviews or references by you is done so solely at your own risk. Nothing on this site shall be construed as providing dermatological, medical or other such advice and you are always advised to seek the advice of a suitable professional should you have any such concerns.

99 comments:

  1. I am in shock, had my preteen using this religiously!

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    Replies
    1. When you know better, you do better. ;) xx

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  2. Is the moisturiser something to avoid also?

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    Replies
    1. No it's ok but there are better. See next review.

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  3. Oh im so confused!!!!! Why cant the beauty industry be honest and straightforward πŸ˜” Even Dr Sam recs this!

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    Replies
    1. Never take anything as standard, read labels and make your own decisions :) xx

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  4. Never seen the appeal of the brand. I've only liked their SPF50 but have graduated to Skinceuticals, EltaMD (lush!) & more.

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    1. Lots of people love it, but yes, those are better. :)

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  5. πŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ™ŒπŸΌπŸ™ŒπŸΌ Holla!

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  6. I have patches of psoriasis on my face and gave this a whirl as I'd heard it could help reduce the scaly spots. Never again! My psoriasis didn't get any worse but my skin felt like baking paper it was so dry. Been using balms ever since and it's made much more of a difference so I couldn't agree more with the above!

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    Replies
    1. It must have been awful. Hope it heals soon xx

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  7. I KNEW it!! I've never bought this stuff, but I've always borrowed it from my sister when I'm visiting. And I knew my skin felt tighter and dryer, and I knew it didn't look good after a couple of days, I'd get dry and start breaking out. But it's recommended by Doctors, by dermatologists, it's gentle... It's not me! I'm not crazy!! (sighs with relief)

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  8. Oh - I am disappointed to read this. I used Cetaphil for a long time, and currently I use some days their 'oily skin' version of this, I prefer their Gentle one though and was going to rebuy it. I guess not anymore...

    However, this being a cleanser, isn't it okay if all it does is cleanse? I mean, the product of a cleanser is rinsed of almost immediately, so there is no time for a fancy product to really do amazing things for your skin. Isn't 'just cleansing' really all there is to cleansers? The fact that you say it has harmful additives (I think you are talking about SLS here), however, concerns me. On your recommendation, I will try Cerave or Neutrogena instead next time I hit the drugstore.

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    Replies
    1. See how you get on with the others. SLS is horrible. x

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  9. My US dermatologist specifically told me to use this to help my rosacea. Well that was $240 of advice well spent 😐 At least I stopped using it after 3 months...

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    Replies
    1. OMG I can't imagine on rosacea. How was it? x

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  10. Hi Caroline I'm glad you have written this post as this was recommended by the pharmacist in boots to my husband to clean his face as he has dry skin with oily patches.
    He has had a nightmare with really dry red patches on his face with flacky skin. I have been trying to get him to use cleansing balms but he thinks it makes his face feel oily. I got him some heal gel moisturiser from space nk which was their recommendation it has improved slightly. I will throw cetaphil in the bin!

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    Replies
    1. Try him with cream cleansers if he hates balms etc x

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  11. The tags XD
    Can I ask; '' Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan? ''
    I think I know what the other three mean, but what do you mean by man made? Surely no cleanser is found in nature, or else it would be ''natural'' but then nature is chemistry.. I'm so confused by this, sorry. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. I believe that when Caroline says "man-made", she means "synthetic ingredients".

      However, parabens are naturally in blueberries, and SLS can be derived from coconut. Soooo...

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    2. That could be the case, and I agree with you on blueberries. I think parabens are mistreated and attacked unnecessarily anyway. As to SLS many are now saying it's overrated anyway and not the health hero everyone was claiming it to be. As if it can't get more confusing!

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    3. Hi. I added this section specifically to make a difference between plant-based and lab-based. And even then you can say everything is made in a lab. :) Man-made means a selection of chemical/non-plant ingredients. I tried using non-chemical and chemical for a while but then you technically have the same argument. :)

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    4. Thank you for replying :) and I totally meant 'coconut' isn't the health hero and not SLS, they never were! Lol. As for Cetaphil I never used it. I was going to once, then I found something else and now I'm glad about that!

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  12. Thank you! I have had proper disagreements with people over this product. It has such a loyal following. I don't get it.

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  13. Next one aqueous cream and epaderm!they do nothing but make my eczema worse, all these SLS, alcohol heavy, mineral oil filled dermatologist recommendations for hypersensitive skins baffles me.

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    Replies
    1. Amen. I knew I couldn't be the only one!

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    2. Yes! They often recommend to infants and toddlers for eczema as well.

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    3. Epiderm took away all my eczema on my face - hasnt flared up since using it! Aqueous cream was useless tho x

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    4. Yeah aqueous cream is not a favourite.

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  14. THANK YOU! I used to use this and was recommended it by dermatologists. I stopped using it after I discovered your blog and learned about SLS and started to read ingredients list. My skin is so much better (not just down to not using this cleanser anymore), but seriously I will NEVER touch it again.

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    Replies
    1. Glad it helped. The advice I mean, not the cleanser!

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  15. Thank you for posting this. my entire family, besides myself, swears by cetaphil cleanser and moisturizer! I've told them hundred of times that it has absolutely nothing of benefit in it, but their excuse is that the derm recommended it. I despise Cetaphil because of the fact that they market this as gentle!

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  16. Cetaphil is literally the only cleanser/lotion that doesn't break out my acne-prone/very sensitive skin. I don't want to use it...over the years I've tried a thousand different products, trying to find something that won't irritate & break out my skin...but I keep coming back to Cetaphil, and my face clears right up. Help!!! ��

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    Replies
    1. Hope you don't mind me commenting as I'm not Caroline but my sister had really bad sensitive/rosacea/acne skin and I bought her some Sukin charcoal products and they have really helped. They are very natural and I can't see any nasty stuff in them unless you can't tolerate essential oils and if you are in the UK you can get them from Look Fantastic. I'm not linked in any way to either Sukin or Look Fantastic it's just where I ordered them from :-)

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    2. I think that the bottom line is that this works for you. As the saying goes, you do you. If you have ethical issues regarding chemicals or origin or big business, that's a different matter.

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    3. if it works for you, don't stop. Simple.

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  17. Hahaha, the first question about the CeraVe on the Amazon link you posted is "is this similar to Cetaphil"! Cracking review; I love when you post honest reviews of cult products. Thanks Caroline!

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  18. Hi Caroline, I reside in the US and am looking for a good cleanser for my 13 year old daughter that is not a drugstore brand. Any recommendations? I have heard that One Love Organics cleanser is good. Is Tata Harper a smart choice for teens? My daughter so far has been blessed with blemish free beautiful skin. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. My daughter uses the Tata Nourishing Oil Cleanser. Depending on your budget obviously. xx

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    2. Love Tata and use it myself. Glad you think it's a good choice for teens. Love all your info! Merci.

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  19. Omg thanks for this! I just can't see any benefits to Cetaphil. I don't get the hype at all. Tried it once cos a friend insisted. Never again (but I still love my friend).

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  20. For some reason I always had it in my head this would be like cheap washing up liquid now I know why !
    Great to see Yes To on your list, some of their products are really good my dehydrated dry face really loves the carrot moisturiser when the bank balance is a bit low :-)

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  21. Thank you, Caroline! This is why we love you! No nonsense, great and "honest" advice vs. hype. So appreciate all that you do! Big hugs!

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  22. Shocked. I've been recommend this by Dr Sam and my previous dermatologist. I've been using it for years! Still have a battle with my acne prone sensitive skin....the war continues. What to try now?

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    Replies
    1. I know it's hard. Keep trying. Have you tried most milks?

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  23. Yep I was using this as its meant for 'sensitive' skin and I wondered my my Rosales had flared up!

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  24. Aaaaaaaaagh!!!! Have been using the cetaphil cleanser for oily skin for years on advice of a dermatologist!! Is it just as bad? Is there an alternative you'd recommend? I use it for a first cleanse then use ceramic slip or the ren clay wash followed by either good genes or p50 then moisturize. (Skin is oily and congested)

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    Replies
    1. It's not a first cleanse. At all. I'd use the others on their own to be honest.

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    2. Thank you so much for replying, I'll bin the cetaphil! X

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  25. Thank you, you wonderful woman you! It's awful that people with sensitive skin would put this stuff on their faces :(

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  26. Foaming cleansers = Avoid! Are there any that aren't crap? SLS is used in research to create irritated skin for them to work on fixing...

    http://bendybeauty.com

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  27. I use the Cereve foaming facial cleanser, but the hydrating one clogs my pores and breaks me out every time I've tried to use it for more than two washes.

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  28. Bless you for having the balls to speak the truth. This cleanser is dreadful but has such a good reputation ...

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  29. I used this for years and years and years as my morning cleanse. It saw me through starting Retin-A prescription, and cold cold winter months and I have never felt dry or stripped or that it wasn't doing anything. I moved on a few years ago as I was somthi g new but have always love Cetaphil. Bring the mini version when i travel for morning cleanser. It got me through a lot and i appreciated it.

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  30. Someone who agrees with me about this!
    My skin has hated this product from wash one when my GP recommended it.

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  31. Agree, tried it and my sensitive skin hated it. Didn't get what all the fuss was about and now you confirm it. THANK YOU for not being in the pockets of multicorps lol.

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  32. My mom will only use Cetaphil Cleanser, even on her hair, and Cetaphil cream, because her dermatologist recommended it when she had skin problems. At the same time I can't get her to use something to remove her makeup.

    I'm glad that my dermatologist recommended CereVe when I needed to calm my skin and see what was going on. I don't use it all the time, but the ingredients list is worlds better. And while you are going to rinse off a cleanser and you don't want it to be where you have your expensive ingredients, you want it to have good things that won't strip your skin like alcohols and SLS.

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  33. Thanks Caroline!
    I was wondering if the normal Cerave cleanser, not the hydrating one is alright for normal skin?
    I've seen it compared to cetaphil a lot, so now I'm a little worried.

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    Replies
    1. If your skin feels good, then keep going. If you feel tight or dry, move on.

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  34. Thank you for a genuine review. I cringe whenever I hear/see anyone use or recommend this cleanser.

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  35. I was encouraged to buy it years ago and thought it a waste of money. And then just recently my husband came home with some after talking to his doctor about his dry skin. He has the typical redhead's skin. I didn't say anything but about a week later I saw he'd thrown it in the bin. Awful stuff. Totally agree with Caroline.

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  36. But Caroline, this isn't an American product. Its ubiquitous now but I believe it started in Europe.

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  37. Thank-you for the return to This kind of review! I know the Vlogs get lots of clicks/are fashionable but this is the business, (plus it's hard to watch several long videos with a toddler who won't nap and a hungry newborn, but I can speed read an article!!!)
    Plus thank-you for a review of a product/brand that is widely available/used and in the affordable bracket- I love this kind of review as it explains false economy in beauty and justifies where it's better to look away from hype and/or spend a little more money for something better.

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    1. Thanks Danielle. I try - work just gets in the way! ;) And congratulations! x

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  38. I've always hated this! I'm a fair skinned redhead and this always left my skin feeling stripped and not clean at the same time... I know that's hard to imagine but I felt like my sunscreen was never fully removed plus there was some cleanser residue. Yuck. Lately I've been double cleansing with Banila balm and then Eucerin sensitive skin cleanser or TraderJoe's Nourish cleanser. Gets the sunscreen, light makeup, and summer sweat off. My preteen daughter uses the same and so far so good. Thanks for saying the emperor has no clothes.

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  39. Thank you for such an honest review! I've seen so many people raving about this cleanser that I was actually considering trying it myself!

    http://fannyanddailybeauty.com

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  40. Yes, Caroline! *holds tea mug in the air to toast* thank you for honest reviews like this, much needed!

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  41. I purchased this year ago after reading what a great product it was meant to be! I only used it a few times before throwing it straight in the bin!! HORRIBLE PRODUCT!! Thanks so much for always telling it like it is Caroline x

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  42. Dr Sam Bunting recommended this to me and I find that it does the job of cleansing the face. Doesn't have a whole list of ingredients so less likely to have trouble with it. If you wear minimal makeup that isn't long wearing, and spf, cleansing with this for a full minute will clean your skin I find :)

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    Replies
    1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. What do you do when you do wear makeup?

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  43. As a teen in the 80s, this seemed to be the only "gentle" cleanser available. Spent my allowance on it and my face turned red. (Started using almond oil since my grandmother used it.) I did manage to use it up by using it on my body in the the shower. Lots of my friends in their 50s still swear by it, but I have developed a sensitivity to SLS so I will never use it again.

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  44. Hi Caroline - THANK YOU for this blog post! When I tried this cleanser (many years ago before I reallystarted looking closer at ingredients) I found it didn't remove all of my makeup and tossed it after 2-3 uses. I can't stand this cleanser and for the life of me couldn't figure out why derms would recommend this. I didn't realize it's owned by Galderma.

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  45. Somehow or other I ended up with a massive hamper of Cetaphil products (I think a friend entered me in a competition). I used the cleanser as shaving cream on my legs because it was just horrible on my face. I binned the rest.

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  46. I can't agree with this review. I never comment on reviews because they are opinions and I accept it. But this one is wrong at so many levels. No offence but there are lots of things mentioned here that just don't look right. Alcohols? Well they are not those ethanol type ones. It has those good fatty ones that you find even in moisturisers etc. Even CeraVe hydrating cleanser has them. Definitely doesn't have alcohols used in the context here. Not defending parabens.
    It doesn't foam. So not like soap either and definitely doesn't dry out the skin like soap. It doesn't dry out the skin at all in fact. It's very basic one so doesn't have great make up removal yes but otherwise it does clean your skin. And I also don't get the point of benefits on skin. Cleansers will wash away so as far as they are doing the job it should be ok. Also it says on the pack that you can tissue it off though of course rinsing out any cleanser is always a better option. So again it's just not like soap at all.

    SLS is below parabens in the ingredients list so well below 1% I assume. As I said it doesn't foam. I think tiny bit it there just to assist this cleanser to rinse off well. It's gentle enough. I have used it with super high strength retinoids and it did calm down the skin when it was at most sensitive/dried out phase. - Parul

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    1. Completely agree, this review is nonsense. Of course Cetaphil is not for everyone, but by and large it performs exactly the way it is designed to - gently cleanse.

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    2. Hi Parul,

      SLS is a horrible ingredient. It leaves a residue on the skin that builds up and dries out the skin over time.

      And 'PL'. This review is not nonsense and it does NOT 'gently cleanse'.

      Delete
  47. Confirmation that I wasn't imagining things when I foud my skin in a huge flare-up (KP) with itcy, red, irritated mess dry as a desert after using this. Galderma "generously" offered to pay my doctor's bill and asked if I wanted to try any other products from their line. Uh thanks no thanks.

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  48. My Perioral Dermititis is flaring up just reading the ingredients list!! ��

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  49. Just returned from camping at Hayling Island this weekend. Barely washed my face for two days :/ But this review makes me feel so good for waiting for my return to a Hirons Sunday Special Facial.

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  50. I was prescribed this for rosacea by a dermatologist.... horror! Don't buy into a crazy hype out there. It was the worst product I ever used and it only made my condition worst . It should be banned, full of nasty stuff.

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  51. When I first went to a dermatologist, they recommended this to me on top of a prescription for epiduo. Now I know why. The cleanser never did anything for me personally but just didn't know any better as a young acne-prone teen.
    Thanks for the better recommendations at the end. I like higher end cleansers like everyone else but as a Uni student having some drugstore options are always nice. :)

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    Replies
    1. I'm trying to bring more and more 'affordable' options, it's not always easy, but I'm trying! x

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  52. Count me into the crowd who isn't surprised at all to hear Caroline's thoughts on this- even as a 90s teen I hated this stuff (though I did love Noxema... We all have our skeletons!) I hate the texture, it left my skin feeling filmy and gross and made my sensitive dry skin flare red and itchy. I was also recommended it back in the day by a derm for my KP and all it did was make it much worse. Sad to see so many sold this crap. Everyonce in a while I'll run into someone who hears I write a beauty blog and they'll say, "oh I bet you love Cetaphil-that stuff is a cult classic" and then they are shocked to hear that I don't know any of my beauty blogger friends that would risk using it.

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  53. Of course Cetaphil is not for everyone, but this review is nonsense. By and large Cetaphil does exactly what it is designed to do - gently cleanse. No miracle ingredients, exfoliants, anti-ageing, or skin correcting ingredients are needed when it comes to cleansing.

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    Replies
    1. No, but neither is SLS, a horrible ingredient. This review is solid. Not nonsense.

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  54. Dear Caroline. I am really in shock, like most of your readers. I use it a lot. I use the no-rinse formula (lotion nettoyante in France) that doesn't foam, so not quite sure we're talking about the same product. I suffer from rosacea, what would you advise instead ? Thanks for your blog, the pro tips and you honest point of view.

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  55. Hi Caroline, this post just surprised me and not in a good way. I've been using this Cleanser like forever and of course I use this as my second cleanser on day and night. I don't feel tight or dry after I use this but this could be because I have oily skin, is that make sense? and I always use hydrating product afterwards.

    "There is nothing, not one ingredient in this product that will do anything to benefit your skin", I have to quote your review here because no wonder I don't feel any kind of benefit after using this product for so long. But I have to say that this product didn't do anything bad to my face either.

    Anyway, your post here is like a wake up call for me to stop being lazy and looking for a cleanser which have more benefit to my skin. I have been eyeing Antipodes Juliet Skin Brightening Cleanser for so long but now it's time to get my hands on it.

    Thank you so much for your review Caroline.

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