Cetaphil Gentle Clear Clarifying Acne Cream Cleanser Ingredients Explained

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Last updated on July 19, 2023. Submitted by bradley_gilbert.

Overview

What it is

Face cleanser with 18 ingredients

Cool Features

It is reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne and sensitive skin

Free From

It doesn't contain any common allergens, fragrances, oils, parabens, silicones or sulfates

Fun facts

Cetaphil is from United States. This product is used in 20 routines created by our community.

We independently verify ingredients and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Does this product need an update? Let us know.

You should know

Here's our breakdown of the notable ingredients, benefits, and concerns we determined from the ingredients in this product. Click any item to learn more.

Benefits

Redness Reducing
Reduces Irritation
Acne Fighting

Concerns

Drying (2)
May Worsen Oily Skin
Acne Trigger
Irritating
Rosacea (2)
Eczema (2)

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and view relevant ingredients.
alcohol-free
silicon-free
fragrance-free
sulfate-free
paraben-free
oil-free
fungal-acne safe
reef-safe
eu-allergen-free
vegan
cruelty-free

Ingredients Overview

Here's our quick-to-read summary of the ingredients in this product. Keep scrolling if you'd like to learn more about what each ingredient does!
Ingredient
Features
1
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
2
Cleansing
May worsen Eczema Icon
3
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
4
Cleansing, Foaming
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
5
Masking
Can worsen Dry Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
6
Emollient, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Masking
2 / 2
Fatty Alcohol Icon
7
Emollient, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Masking
2 / 2
Fatty Alcohol Icon
8
Emulsifying
0 / 0
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
9
Preservative
Preservative Icon
10
Buffering
11
Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
12
Skin Conditioning
13
Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
0-2 / 0-1
14
15
Solvent
0 / 0
Alcohol IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
16
Skin Conditioning
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation Icon
17
Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
1 / 0
18
Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Astringent, Emollient, Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Tonic
Antioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconHelps fight Acne Icon

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 18 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
1
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. Talk about multi-purpose! If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
2
What it does: Cleansing
Community Rating: Disliked

Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a fatty acid created by mixing similar compounds in coconut oil and dimethylaminopropylamine. Dimethylaminopropylamine is a diamine, an amine with two amino groups.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a surfactant and cleanser. It helps gather the dirt, pollutants, and other impurities in your skin to be washed away. It also helps thicken a product and make the texture more creamy.

Being created from coconut oil means Cocamidopropyl Betaine is hydrating for the skin.

While Cocamidopropyl Betaine was believed to be an allergen, a study from 2012 disproved this. It found two compounds in unpure Cocamidopropyl Betaine to be the irritants: aminoamide and 3-dimethylaminopropylamine. High-grade and pure Cocamidopropyl Betaine did not induce allergic reactions during this study.

Learn more about Cocamidopropyl Betaine
3
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Distearyl Phthalic Acid Amide.

4
What it does: Cleansing, Foaming
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate isn't fungal acne safe.

5
What it does: Masking
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Chances are, you eat sodium chloride every day. Sodium Chloride is also known as table salt.

This ingredient has many purposes in skincare: thickener, emulsifier, and exfoliator.

You'll most likely find this ingredient in cleansers where it is used to create a gel-like texture. As an emulsifier, it also prevents ingredients from separating.

There is much debate on whether this ingredient is comedogenic. The short answer - comedogenic ratings don't tell the whole story. Learn more about comegodenic ratings here.

The concensus about this ingredient causing acne seems to be divided. Research is needed to understand if this ingredient does cause acne.

Scrubs may use salt as the primary exfoliating ingredient.

Learn more about Sodium Chloride
6
What it does: Emollient, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Masking
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Cetyl Alcohol is a fatty alcohol. Fatty Alcohols are most often used as an emollient or to thicken a product.

Cetyl Alcohol is not related to SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, or ethyl alcohol.
The FDA allows products labeled "alcohol-free" to have fatty alcohols.

7
What it does: Emollient, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Masking
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Stearyl Alcohol is a type of fatty alcohol from stearic acid. It is a white, waxy compound used to emulsify ingredients.

Fatty Alcohols are most often used as an emollient or to thicken a product. Emollients help soothe and hydrate the skin by trapping moisture.

They are usually derived from natural fats and oils and therefore do not have the same drying or irritating effect as solvent alcohols. FDA allows products labeled "alcohol-free" to have fatty alcohols.

Learn more about Stearyl Alcohol
8
What it does: Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Peg-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate is used to improve texture and stability of a product. It is sugar based and helps thicken a product.

Once applied, it also creates a thin film to trap moisture in. This helps keep your skin hydrated.

This ingredient is the polyethylene glycol ether of the diester of oleic acid and methylglucose. The 120 represents an average of 120 moles of ethylene oxide.

There is limited research on this ingredient, although it is considered safe to use in skincare products.

Learn more about Peg-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate
9
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent germ and microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

It's often used in formulations along with Caprylyl Glycol to preserve the shelf life of products.

10
What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: Mixed

Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. It is used to adjust the pH of products; many ingredients require a specific pH to be effective.

In small amounts, sodium hydroxide is considered safe to use. However, large amounts may cause chemical burns due to its high alkaline.

Your skin has a natural pH and acid mantle. This acid mantle helps prevent harmful bacteria from breaking through. The acid mantle also helps keep your skin hydrated.

"Alkaline" refers to a high pH level. A low pH level would be considered acidic.

Learn more about Sodium Hydroxide
11
What it does: Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Caprylyl Glycol is a humectant and emollient, meaning it attracts and preserves moisture.

It is a common ingredient in many products, especially those designed to hydrate skin. The primary benefits are retaining moisture, skin softening, and promoting a healthy skin barrier.

Though Caprylyl Glycol is an alcohol derived from fatty acids, it is not the kind that can dry out skin.

This ingredient is also used as a preservative to extend the life of products. It has slight antimicrobial properties.

Learn more about Caprylyl Glycol
12
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

Ethylhexylglycerin (we can't pronounce this either) is commonly used as a preservative and skin softener. It is derived from glyceryl.

You might see Ethylhexylglycerin often paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol. Ethylhexylglycerin has been found to increase the effectiveness of these other preservatives.

13
What it does: Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Disliked

Hexylene Glycol is a surfactant. Glycols are a class of alcohols. Hexylene Glycol is a surfactant and emulsifier.

As a surfactant, Hexylene Glycol helps gather dirt and oil on your skin to be washed away.

As an emulsifier, Hexylene Glycol helps keep water and oil together. This prevents them from separating in a product. Hexylene Glycol also thins out the texture of a product by lessening viscosity.

Hexylene Glycol has a small molecular weight.

Learn more about Hexylene Glycol
14
What it does:
Community Rating: Disliked

Disodium EDTA plays a role in making products more stable by aiding other preservatives.

It is a chelating agent, meaning it neutralizes metal ions that may be found in a product.

Disodium EDTA is a salt of edetic acid and is found to be safe in cosmetic ingredients.

Learn more about Disodium EDTA
15
What it does: Solvent
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Isopropyl Alcohol is more commonly known as rubbing alcohol. It is most commonly used as a solvent, meaning it helps other ingredients dissolve.

This ingredient is an astringent alcohol. Astringent alcohols may also irritate skin as they high amounts may strip away your skin's natural oils.

Other types of astringent alcohols include:

According to the National Rosacea Society based in the US, you should be mindful of products with these alcohols in the top half of ingredients.

Any type of sanitizing product will have high amounts of alcohol to help kill bacteria and viruses.

Learn more about Isopropyl Alcohol
16
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice comes from leaves of the aloe plant. Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice is best known for helping to soothe sunburns. It is also anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, antiseptic, and can help heal wounds.

Aloe is packed with good stuff including Vitamins A, C, and E. These vitamins are antioxidants, which help fight free-radicals and the damage they may cause. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells, such as pollution.

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice also contains sugars. These sugars come in the form of monosaccharides and polysaccharides, folic acid, and choline. These sugars are able to help bind moisture to skin.

It also contains minerals such as calcium, 12 anthraquinones, fatty acids, amino acids, and Vitamin B12.

Learn more about Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
17
What it does: Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Mixed

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

  • It is a solvent, meaning that it helps to dissolve other ingredients. This also enhances the absorption of the product into one's skin.
  • It is a humectant, which means that it helps attract moisture into the skin.
  • It helps improve product application.

Overall, Butylene Glycol is a safe and well-rounded ingredient. It is unlikely to irritate skin, and works well with pretty much all other ingredients.

18
What it does: Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Astringent, Emollient, Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Tonic
Community Rating: Loved

Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract is derived from the leaves of the tea plant. Black tea, green tea, and oolong tea are all harvested from this plant.

Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract has many benefits. It contains polyphenols, a strong antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight off free-radical molecules that damage skin cells. The antioxidants in green tea neutralize free-radicals from the sun. This gives the skin some extra UV protection, but should not replace sunscreen.

Many components of tea have anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols and L-theanine help soothe the skin and reduce irritation. L-theanine is an amino acid that makes up most of the amino acids found in tea leaves. The caffeine in Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract helps calm inflamed blood vessels.

Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract also contains Vitamin Bs, linoleic acid, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract also has antimicrobial properties.

Research has shown both drinking Camellia Sinensis Leaf Tea and applying it to the skin can help boost skin elasticity and hydration. Studies also show using tea extract may reduce sebum, or oil, production.

Learn more about Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract
Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 18 ingredients in this product ✨

22% are loved or liked
17% have mixed ratings
56% are disliked or very disliked
6% have no rating yet

When to use

Here's some more info on how this product is used by our community.

When to use

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