Does Cetaphil Help Acne?

Published Categorized as Beauty Tips
Cetaphil Facial Cleanser, Daily Face Wash for Normal to Oily Skin, 16oz (Pack of 2)

If you’re struggling to find ways to combat your acne, you’re not alone. Many teenagers and adults suffer from blemishes, clogged pores, and oily skin that contribute to acne and acne scarring. Many people turn to the cleansers and moisturizers of Cetaphil as a way to achieve healthy skin. But does Cetaphil help acne?

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Table of Contents

What Is Cetaphil?

The Cetaphil skincare brand is well-known for creating gentle cleansing and moisturizing products for the face and body. A popular brand used worldwide, the brand markets its products as gentle and effective skincare that works for all skin types and concerns. The products are also loved by so many because the list of ingredients is rather short.

All of the Cetaphil formulas are fragrance-free, so even the most sensitive skin types can use them.

Will Using Cetaphil Help Manage My Acne?

Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become clogged with oil, sweat and bacteria.

Oil is naturally produced by your sebaceous glands and helps provide moisture to your skin. But when there is too much oil and dead skin, your pores can become plugged. This can lead to whiteheads, blackheads or pimples. Although most commonly found on the face, acne can occur on your neck, chest, shoulders and back.

Many factors play a part in the occurrence and severity of acne. Fluctuating hormones during puberty, pregnancy and menopause can trigger or further aggravate existing outbreaks. Genetics can also play a role in whether or not you suffer from acne. If one or both of your parents had acne as an adolescent, you will probably have it as well. Even choosing the wrong kind of cosmetics, such as foundation, can affect your skin.

Keeping your skin clean is commonly considered one of the most important ways to fight and control acne.

Dermatologist consultant Dr. Vikram Rajkomar shares their expertise on the matter:

“Acne prone skin can be easily irritated. As acne is normally correlated with hormone changes, which affects the sebaceous (or oil-producing) glands, these glands will produce more sebum. The overproduction of sebum makes skin cells clogged and sebum and cell renewal can cause bacteria growth, therefore causing spots to be angry and inflamed.
Washing your face with a cleanser, morning and night, will work by washing away any bad bacteria caused by the overproduction of sebum mixed with skin cell renewal. If experiencing acne, look for a skin care brand which is non comedogenic, which shouldn’t contribute to blocking pores.”

As part of a healthy skincare routine, Cetaphil’s cleansers and moisturizers may be able to help you manage your acne outbreaks. Choosing the right Cetaphil products for your skin type and using them properly are keys to an effective self-care regimen.

All of Cetaphil’s products are non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. This trio of qualities has proven beneficial to acne-prone skin because it can mean less chances for irritation, allergic reactions and clogged pores.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser | 20 fl oz | Hydrating Face Wash & Body Wash | Ideal for Sensitive, Dry Skin | Non-Irritating | Won't Clog Pores | Fragrance-Free | Soap Free | Dermatologist Recommended

Best Cetaphil Cleansers For Acne-Prone Skin

Cetaphil’s products work best when you know your skin type. It’s important to note that not all acne-prone skin is oily. You can have dry, normal or combination skin and still have blemishes.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what Cetaphil cleanser is best for what:

If your skin is DRY and SENSITIVE

Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser is a soap-free hydrating product that is ideal for cleansing dry and sensitive skin. The formula is designed to be soothing, hydrating and non-stripping. While a great choice for a light cleanse and adding moisture, it may not remove excess oil.

If you have OILY and COMBINATION skin

Cetaphil’s Daily Facial Cleanser is designed for combination and oily skin types. The low-sudsing lather provides a deeper clean than the Gentle Skin Cleanser without stripping away your skin’s natural oils. It effectively removes makeup and excess dirt.

If you have OILY skin

Cetaphil’s DermaControl Oil Removing Foam Wash provides a deep cleansing for oily skin types. The foaming formula focuses on removing oil and impurities from pores while leaving the skin hydrated.

If you have NORMAL skin and don’t have too many skin issues

Cetaphil’s Gentle Foaming Cleanser can be used on all skin types. The rich foam effectively removes oil, makeup and dirt without leaving your skin feeling dry and tight.

For more uses other than just the face

Cetaphil’s Gentle Cleansing Bar is a gentle and hydrating formula for those who have acne on the back and shoulders or prefer to wash the face with bar soap. Made for dry and sensitive skin, the soap won’t leave the skin parched and tight.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Best Cetaphil Moisturizers For Acne-Prone Skin

Many people who have acne-prone skin believe that they don’t need to use a moisturize after washing their face. In fact, it is just as important to replenish the moisture in oily skin as in dry skin.

RELATED: Best Moisturizers for Oily Skin

When you expose your skin to pollution, damaging sun or harsh cleaning, your skin reacts by producing more oil to protect itself and to replace any lost moisture. Your best defense to an over-production in oil is to use a moisturizer to help restore your skin’s natural balance.

Cetaphil has an assortment of facial moisturizers that are oil-free and lightweight.

Check out what Cetaphil Moisturizer is best for you


Cetaphil’s Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 provides non-greasy hydration and is light enough to wear under makeup. Suitable for any skin type, this moisturizer has the added benefit of sun protection.


Cetaphil’s Daily Hydrating Lotion with Hyaluronic Acid works well for dry and combination skin looking for lightweight moisture. Hyaluronic acid is a powerhouse ingredient that provides an extra boost of intense hydration.


Cetaphil’s DermaControl Oil Absorbing Moisturizer SPF 30 has a unique ingredient to absorb oil and reduce shine. Formulated for oily and combination skin, it’s hydrating sun protection will give the skin a matte finish.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Why Do Dermatologists Recommend Cetaphil?

Take a look at the label and you may understand why so many dermatologists have recommended Cetaphil products.

For instance, Cetaphil’s  has only eight ingredients, none of which are known irritants. All of the cleansers are slightly acidic (ph 6.3-6.8), which makes them more compatible with skin (ph 4.7) and effctive cleansers. This means less irritation, less sensitivity and less chances for breakouts. All of the products are designed to be used for even the most sensitive skin and any skin type.

Because they’re widely available without a prescription, dermatologists can recommend Cetaphil products to a wide variety of people.

Dermatologists Weigh In

In fact, according to Dr. Angelo Landriscina, Cetaphil carries solid products at a very good price point.

“Cetaphil products are a good compliment to acne treatments. I recommend their Gentle Skin Cleanser to my patients with acne often as it won’t strip or irritate their skin.
Many of the medications we use can cause dryness or irritation, so their gentle cleanser is a great product to remove excess oil without adding to that irritation.
Also, most of their products are non-comedogenic meaning they won’t clog pores and result in more acne.”

Dr. Rajkomar adds,

“Cetaphil is non-comedogenic, soap free, and fragrance free, meaning that it is gentle on the skin.
Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser is a gentle cleanser that will help to keep pores clean and balance skin PH levels. The Cetaphil acne range is useful.”

But they also share the limitations of this product line:

“Because Cetaphil is not harsh on the face, like other skincare brands out there, Cetaphil will maintain the natural PH levels on the skin, but won’t necessarily prevent you from getting acne as other factors contribute to acne. Cetaphil works to some extent to limit bad bacteria on your face and reduce irritation.
However, if wanting to treat acne, skin care including salicylic acid (regulates skin cells) and benzoyl peroxide (treats dead skin cells, blogging the pores) can be more effective. Cetaphil won’t clear up your acne but will help to moisturize and cleanse your skin. Acne is not necessarily caused by a dirty face, but other factors including hormones and lifestyle. Cetaphil will not counteract these factors.”

Dr. Anna H. Chacon, board certified dermatologist, also recommends Cetaphil to her patients due to the brand’s gentle, affordable, effective and easy to tolerate and use products.

“Cetaphil’s products for acne are a good choice to use if you have a normal or oily complexion that is susceptible to acne flares or breakouts. Their formulas are gentle on the skin, particularly skin that could be irritated or dry from acne medications or products.
Acne-prone skin is also more susceptible to breakouts, and Cetaphil products are able to gently remove dirt, makeup, impurities and oils on the surface of the skin without stripping the skin of natural lipids.”

As for which Cetaphil products she recommends, Dr. Chacon mentions the following:

“The best Cetaphil products to treat acne are the ones that are geared to combat excess oil and shine. This includes the derma control oil removing foam wash, which provides a deep cleansing which washes away impurities in the skin and avoids clogging pores.
Another important item to have in your treatment regimen is sunscreen.. Sunscreens may sometimes clog pores and cause the skin to appear oily. Cetaphil also has a derma control oil-absorbing moisturizing sunscreen with SPF 30, It is specifically formulated for oily skin, softens the skin, and also relieves dryness that may be associated with acne treatments.”

FAQs on Cetaphil for Acne

Is Cetaphil Good For Oily Skin?

Most of the soaps you find in stores are effective at removing excess oil and dirt from your face and body. Cetaphil’s products are no exception.

However, Cetaphil’s products gently remove impurities without stripping the skin of its natural and essential oils.

Cetaphil has a line of products uniquely-designed to eliminate excess oil build-up on the skin. In addition, Cetaphil’s oil-free moisturizers benefit oily skin by replacing lost moisture.

How Does Cetaphil Affect My Acne?

Cetaphil cleansers and moisturizers can help you develop strong skincare habits.

Cleansing, moisturizing and applying sunscreen are essential steps for healthy, vibrant and acne-free skin. With proper use, Cetaphil may help you prevent breakouts, protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB light, and aid in your anti-aging efforts.

Cetaphil products do not contain any active or inactive ingredients that are proven to treat acne. Ingredients such as salicyclic acid, benzoyl peroxide and tree tea oil can be found in acne treatment products. These ingredients not only eliminate excess oil but they kill bacteria on the surface of and just below the skin. If you’re looking for a regimen that cleans and treats, combine your Cetaphil products with products made to fight acne.

Does Cetaphil Help Acne Or Make My Acne Worse?

Acne is caused or exacerbated when oil, bacteria and dead skin block your skin’s pores. So it is unlikely that using gentle cleansers like Cetaphil can cause acne or make it worse.

The formulas in Cetaphil have been tested and proven to be non-comedogenic, meaning the ingredients are lightweight and won’t clogs. The formulas are also hypoallergenic. If you have sensitive and are prone to having adverse reactions to certain ingredients, this is an important quality to have in a skincare product. Cetaphil doesn’t add any fragances to its formulas. If you have a sensitivity to scents or just prefer to use fragance-free products, Cetaphil may be right for you.

Keep in mind that there may be other ingredients in a product labelled non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic that can cause immediate irritation or long-term unwanted effects. It pays to read the label and understand what you’re putting on your skin.

Can Cetaphil Treat Or Prevent Acne Scars?

Acne scarring is a result of picking at or popping inflamed or infected blemishes. Small lesions may heal themselves and may not be evident on your skin’s surface. However, once you’ve ruptured the skin, it can lead to scarring in the form of keloids or raised skin, depressions or discoloration.

Although Cetaphil may help prevent acne from forming, it does not treat acne scars and cannot prevent scars from forming.

If your acne scars are causing you angst, try one of the many proven medical treatments that can help diminish or eliminate your scarring. If you don’t want to go that route or your scars are mild in appearance, use a good high-coverage foundation for acne scars and pores to help conceal uneven skin tone and minimize the appearance of pores. Some foundations can even help absorb excess oil and reduce shine.

How Do I Use Cetaphil?

Because acne-prone skin is easily irritated, aggressive washing and scrubbing is not recommended. Whichever Cetaphil cleanser you use, wet your face with warm water before applying with clean fingertips. Massage your face and neck gently before rinsing with warm water. You should wash your face twice daily.

If you’re using the Cetaphil bar soap to treat acne on your chest and back, use as any other bar soap in your bath or shower, making sure to rinse thoroughly.

Apply your moisturizer for acne prone skin immediately following washing and before any acne treatment. If you moisturizer doesn’t contain some type of sunblock, it’s crucial to finish your routine with a non-comedogenic full-spectrum sunscreen. This is especially important if your acne treatment contains ingredients that make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

When Should I Know Cetaphil Is Working?

If you want to know if your skincare routine is working, you need to have patience.

Cetaphil’s cleansers and moisturizers can provide immediate relief if your skin is dehydrated, needs a deep cleaning or needs soothing. You can expect to see and feel instant results.

However, if you want to find out if Cetaphil products are helping your acne, you will have to wait. It can take at least 30 days to have any visible results. If you want to determine any potential changes, try taking before and after pictures.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser | 20 fl oz | Hydrating Face Wash & Body Wash | Ideal for Sensitive, Dry Skin | Non-Irritating | Won't Clog Pores | Fragrance-Free | Soap Free | Dermatologist Recommended

Are Cetaphil Products Bad For Me?

Cetaphil cleansers and moisturizers have been around a long time for a reason. Their products are effective, inexpensive and doctor-recommended.

However, a closer look at the label will reveal some ingredients that have recently come under scrutiny. One such ingredients is sodium lauryl sulfate, contained in the Gentle Skin Cleanser. It is considered a notoriously harsh surfactant.

Other ingredients, like methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben, have been linked to breast cancer in higher concentrations than found in Cetaphil products.

Cetaphil products also lack any skin-nourishing antioxidants and essential emollients. Many ingredients, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, argan oil, jojoba oil, rose hip oil, and shea butter are shown to have a multitude of benfits for your skin. Many people are also realizing the acne-fighting properties of essential oils like tea tree and lavender. All of these are not present in Cetaphil’s formulation.

However, Cetaphil is still widely recommended by dermatologists, so the verdict is that it isn’t bad for you. According to the dermatologists we spoke with, there are no negative setbacks to the brand and it remains safe to use.

FAQs on Acne Management

Should I Exfoliate My Acne-Prone Skin?

It takes your body approximately 28-40 days to naturally shed dead skin cells and reaveal fresh new skin beneath. This process slows down as we age and is somewhat flawed in acne-prone people. Physical and chemical exfoliants can help accelerate the shedding. They help unstick dead cells and prevent pores from clogging with debris.

Cetaphil’s Extra Gentle Daily Scrub works to fight acne by gently exfoliating dead skin cells. The gentle buffing supports new cell turnover without irritating or over-drying the skin.

Extra Gentle Daily Scrub ,Gently Exfoliates & Cleanses Without Over-drying, For All Skin Types, Non-Irritating & Hypoallergenic,Suitable For Sensitive Skin, 6 Fl Oz, Pack of 2
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If you prefer a non-abrasive exfoliant, choose a chemical-based formula. There are numerous serums, acne friendly enzyme masks and clay masks with ingredients designed to gently loosen and slough away dead skin and help with inflammation.

RELATED: Chemical Exfoliants for Sensitive Skin

Does Cetaphil Help Acne? A Summary

Cetaphil is a good, gentle skin care brand that shouldn’t worsen acne with use. A product line that promises to treat your skin gently, does not contain a lot of unnecessary ingredients and can be universally applied to any skin type, Cetaphil may help acne-prone skin. They carry a wide range of products for many skin types. Many dermatologists recommend them.

Keep in mind the company doesn’t claim its products to be acne treatments, so you may find it works best in conjunction with other products marketed as acne treatments.

Don’t forget to seek advice from your dermatologist if you do not know which Cetaphil products are right for you. Check out the Cetaphil website to help narrow down what may be helpful to you, depending on your needs and skin type.

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Do you use Cetaphil to help out your acne? What are your thoughts, does it work for you?

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  1. Cetaphil is seriously the best cleanser- so effective and gentle!


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