Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser Ingredients

face washing

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Cetaphil’s cleansing products remove dirt and debris while leaving skin’s natural oil and pH intact. Designed at first for dermatologists, it now retails for over-the-counter usage. Dermatologists still rely on this for patients with rosacea and eczema. Gentle enough for kids, it is free of fragrance and is non-comedogenic, meaning it will not clog pores.


Cetaphil’s main ingredient in the Gentle Skin Cleanser, water, is typically in pure form—without minerals added. Water can be seen in different personal care product lists as purified water and distilled water.

Cetyl Alcohol

Cetyl alcohol reduces friction and allows for lubrication of the skin. It emulsifies oil and water combinations and is not a derivative of isopropyl alcohol so it has no drying or irritating skin effects. It is classified as a lubricant.

Propylene Glycol

Cosmetics use propylene glycol as a vehicle—a base which carries the active ingredients. It hydrates and increases moisture in skin’s texture and tone. Propylene glycol will lessen the amount of flaking and dryness in skin. While many Internet groups say propylene glycol is a form of antifreeze, analysis does not show this as truth.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Sodium lauryl sulfate, or SLS, foams up well and acts like a surfactant. Surfactants glide products over the skin easily and lower surface tension. It shows up on many personal care product ingredient lists for its foaming ability. While there is much speculation on SLS being carcinogenic, there are no studies to back up this claim.

Stearyl Alcohol

This fatty alcohol smooths and softens skin like an emollient. Fatty alcohols also keep additives intact while in the compound so they don’t break down.


Parabens are preservatives that are less irritating than some which release formaldehyde. Parabens in the Gentle Skin Cleanser include butylparaben, propylparaben and methylparaben. They irritate skin less, and are included in more personal care products than other preservatives.