Foaming Face Wash
Cetaphil's Foaming Face Wash is designed to be a gentle, soothing option for people who experience redness. Although it had potential, it ends up being less than an ideal option!
This liquid-to-foam cleanser comes in a large plastic bottle with a pump-style dispenser. The product itself is lightweight and very foamy; in use it does a good job removing dirt, oil, and makeup without making skin feel dried out after it's rinsed.
The formula contains gentle cleansing agents and a plant oil for moisturizing benefits, and a few skin-soothing ingredients, too.
Up to this point we have the makings of a great cleanser for someone with sensitive or redness-prone skin. However, Cetaphil also included fragrance, which can irritate any skin type, especially skin that falls into the "redness-prone" or "sensitive" categories. Fragrance, whether it's synthetic or natural, is always a problem for skin (something the Cetaphil brand has known for years but seems to have forgotten). In fact, the scent is so strong it lingers even after rinsing and is absolutely not what's needed to improve redness and sensitivity!
Another mark against this supposedly gentle cleaner is that it contains potentially drying isopropyl alcohol (again, not what red or sensitive skin needs!).
There are far gentler, fragrance-free options than this one that are excellent for sensitive, redness-prone skin. You'll find them on our list of Best Cleansers.
- Effectively removes dirt, oil, and makeup without drying skin.
- Contains gentle cleansers.
- Has skin-soothing allantoin and licorice extract.
- Has a strong lingering fragrance even after rinsing, which can irritate skin.
- Contains alcohol, which can dry out skin.
Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin's barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin's surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can't always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it's not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don't need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
This familiar, widely distributed skin-care collection is manufactured by Galderma, the same company that markets the prescription products Differin and MetroGel.Given the dermatology heritage of Galderma, it's surprising the Cetaphil line hasn't advanced beyond the basics. Yes, most of what's available is a safe bet for those with sensitive skin!
If you're in search of simplicity, this is a good line to consider. We should note that many of the formulas omit more complex anti-aging ingredients, but they can always be used alongside a serum or treatment of your choosing.
Strengths: Inexpensive; mostly fragrance-free products; affordable and widely available; offers complete ingredient lists on its website; the sunscreens offer sufficient UVA protection.
Weaknesses:A few formulas could be updated with more complex ingredients, but forgoing that there is a lot to like here.
For more information about Cetaphil, call (817) 961-5000 or visit www.cetaphil.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.