What Is Cetaphil?

Portrait of man applying cream on his face
Man putting lotion on his face (Image: Goodluz/iStock/Getty Images)

Cetaphil is a line of over-the-counter skin cleansers and moisturizers offered by Galderma Laboratories, a Texas-based joint venture between L'Oreal and Nestle. Cetaphil products have received the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval and are the most recommended products by dermatologists and pediatricians for treating acne, dry skin, rosacea, eczema and other skin conditions.

Ingredients

The basic Cetaphil skin cleanser contains water, cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, stearyl alcohol, methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. There are also daily facial and gentle skin cleansers for removing surface oils, dirt and makeup, as well as oil control products and moisturizers available in lotions, creams, and a sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection and an SPF rating of 50.

Benefits

Cetaphil products are non-comedogenic and are fragrance-free, a big help to those with sensitive skin. They also include humectants, emollients and occlusive agents which help skin maintain its moisture. The biggest benefit comes from the ability of Cetaphil’s gentle formulations to cleanse sensitive skin without irritation. Since they're over-the-counter products, they're much less expensive than department store or prescription brands.

Acne

Although Cetaphil products are not a replacement for prescription acne treatments, they are recommended by dermatologists to gently remove surface oils, bacteria, dirt and makeup without drying out the skin or causing acne flareups. They’re formulated for all skin types, but are especially helpful for greasy skin that is prone to acne.

Rosacea

Rosacea is a common, chronic disorder which causes redness and flushing of the face and neck, as well as broken capillaries and pustules. Rosacea skin is particularly sensitive to harsh chemicals and irritants. A clinical trial reported in a 2007 issue of the “Journal of Dermatological Treatment” showed that patients using a standard prescription treatment plus Cetaphil twice daily were able to restore the skin barrier, and improve skin dryness, roughness and sensitivity, versus a control group who did not use Cetaphil.

Head Lice

Head lice is a common problem among school-age children. The American Academy of Pediatrics' website references a 2004 study that reported a 96% “cure” rate technique which eliminated lice in more than 90 percent of patients. The technique involves soaking the scalp and dry hair with Cetaphil, blowing the hair dry and leaving it untouched for eight hours, then washing and combing normally. The treatment works by forming a shrink-wrap-like coating which suffocates the lice.

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