Cetaphil Gentle PHA Exfoliating Cleanser Ingredients Explained

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Published on February 03, 2022. Submitted by bradley_gilbert.

Overview

What it is

Face cleanser with 26 ingredients that contains niacinamide and PHA

Cool Features

It is reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, anti aging, dry skin, brightening skin, oily skin, reducing pores, dark spots and better texture

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 5 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.

Notable Ingredients

PHA
Niacinamide

Benefits

Hydrating
Good For Oily Skin
Redness Reducing
Skin Texture
Reduces Large Pores
Anti-Aging
Dark Spots
Acne Fighting
Brightening (2)

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
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
0 / 0
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
3
Skin Conditioning
PHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging Icon
4
Cleansing
May worsen Eczema Icon
5
Smoothing
Niacinamide IconGood for Oily Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Dark Spots IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin Icon
6
Cleansing
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
7
Cleansing, Emollient
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
8
Cleansing
9
Masking
Can worsen Dry Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
10
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
11
Masking, Preservative
Preservative Icon
12
Emulsifying
2 / 0
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
13
Cleansing, Foaming
14
Solvent
15
Cleansing, Emollient, Emulsifying
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
16
Antimicrobial, Astringent, Masking, Solvent
Alcohol IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
17
Buffering
18
Skin Conditioning
19
20
Skin Conditioning
21
Skin Conditioning
22
Skin Conditioning
23
Skin Conditioning
24
Astringent, Skin Conditioning
25
Astringent, Skin Conditioning
26
Antioxidant, Masking
Antioxidant Icon

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 26 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: Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
Community Rating: Loved

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

A study from 2016 found glycerin to be more effective as a humectant than AHAs and hyaluronic acid.

As a humectant, it helps the skin stay hydrated by pulling moisture to your skin. The low molecular weight of glycerin allows it to pull moisture into the deeper layers of your skin.

Hydrated skin improves your skin barrier; Your skin barrier helps protect against irritants and bacteria.

Glycerin has also been found to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Due to these properties, glycerin is often used in wound and burn treatments.

In cosmetics, glycerin is usually derived from plants such as soybean or palm. However, it can also be sourced from animals, such as tallow or animal fat.

This ingredient is organic, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic.

Glycerin is the name for this ingredient in American English. British English uses Glycerol/Glycerine.

Learn more about Glycerin
3
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Gluconolactone is a PHA. PHAs have a larger structure than AHAs and BHAs and are more gentle. It is an created by reacting gluconic acid with an alcohol.

When applied, Gluconolactone has the same affect on skin as AHAs such as lactic acid. It helps dissolve the dead skin cells in the top layer of your skin. This helps improve texture and brightens the skin.

Gluconolactone is a humectant and helps draw moisture to your skin. This helps keep your skin hydrated.

PHAs are more gentle than AHAs due to their larger structure. They do not penetrate as deeply as AHAs and take a longer time to dissolve dead cells. Studies show PHAs do not cause as much irritation.

PHAs also exhibit antioxidant activity by neutralizing free-radical molecules. This can help with anti-aging.

In a 2004 study, Gluconolactone was found to prevent UV damage in mouse skin cells. However, we still recommend wearing SPF especially after using exfoliating ingredients.

Learn more about Gluconolactone
4
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
5
What it does: Smoothing
Community Rating: Loved

Niacinamide has emerged as an all-star ingredient due to its many benefits.

It is known to treat acne by reducing inflammation. It also helps fade dark-spots and strengthen the skin by promoting the growth of the ceramide barrier.

Other benefits include smoothing wrinkles and minimizing redness.

The cherry on top? Niacinamide can also help build keratin, a protein that keeps skin firm.

When incorporating niacinamide into your routine, look out for concentration amounts. Typically, 5% niacinamide provides benefits such as fading dark spots. However, if you have sensitive skin, it is better to begin with a smaller concentration.

Niacinamide can be mixed with other ingredients to boost benefits. For instance, it has shown to be effective when used with copper, folic acid, and zinc to treat acne.

Learn more about Niacinamide
6
What it does: Cleansing
Community Rating: Disliked

Sodium cocoyl isethionate is a natural ingredient from the fatty acids of coconut oil. It is a surfactant and helps with cleansing the skin.

By binding to water and oil, it helps gently clean skin. It also helps the spreadability of the product.

Sodium cocoyl isethionate is also added to help create foam without drying the skin. However, this is depending on the amount of Sodium cocoyl isethionate.

Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate may not be fungal acne safe.

Learn more about Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate
7
What it does: Cleansing, Emollient

Peg-120 Methyl Glucose Trioleate isn't fungal acne safe.

8
What it does: Cleansing
Community Rating: Liked

Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate is a cleansing ingredient. It is a surfactant, meaning it helps gather dirt, oil, and other pollutants. This helps them be rinsed away easily.

9
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
10
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning

This ingredient is more commonly known as Cromollient SCE. It is an emollient and helps moisturize your skin by preventing evaporation.

According to the manufacturer, this ingredient is suitable for sensitive skin and works well with other ingredients.

11
What it does: Masking, Preservative
Community Rating: Disliked

Sodium Benzoate is a preservative. It's used in both cosmetic and food products to inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria. It is typically produced synthetically.

Both the US FDA and EU Health Committee have approved the use of sodium benzoate. In the US, levels of 0.1% (of the total product) are allowed.

Sodium benzoate works as a preservative by inhibiting the growth of bacteria inside of cells. It prevents the cell from fermenting a type of sugar using an enzyme called phosphofructokinase.

Sodium Benzoate is the salt of benzoic acid. Foods containing sodium benzoate include soda, salad dressings, condiments, fruit juices, wines, and snack foods.

Studies for using ascorbic acid and sodium benzoate in cosmetics are lacking, especially in skincare routines with multiple steps.

We always recommend speaking with a professional, such as a dermatologist, if you have any concerns.

Learn more about Sodium Benzoate
12
What it does: Emulsifying

Peg-150 Distearate is an emulsifier and thickening agent. It is created from stearic acid.

As an emulsifier, peg-150 distearate helps other ingredients dissolve. This helps prevent ingredient separation.

This ingredient may not be Malassezia folliculitis, or fungal-acne safe.

Learn more about Peg-150 Distearate
13
What it does: Cleansing, Foaming

We don't have a description for Sodium Methyl Oleoyl Taurate.

14
What it does: Solvent
Community Rating: Liked

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Propanediol is not likely to cause sensitivity and considered safe to use.

It is derived from corn or petroleum with a clear color and no scent.

Learn more about Propanediol
15
What it does: Cleansing, Emollient, Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Coconut Acid isn't fungal acne safe.

16
What it does: Antimicrobial, Astringent, Masking, Solvent
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Alcohol comes in many different forms. Different types of alcohol will have different effects on skin. This ingredient is usually an astringent alcohol.

These alcohols are drying on the skin. They may strip away your skin's natural oils and even damage your skin barrier. Astringent alcohols may also irritate skin.

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.

Fatty alcohols come from plant oils such as coconut oil. These can help hydrate the skin and are non-irritating. Some fatty alcohols include cetyl and stearyl alcohol.

Learn more about Alcohol
17
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
18
What it does: Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Achillea Millefolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract.

19
What it does:
Community Rating: Liked

Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate is used to help stabilize a product.

It is a chelating agent, meaning it helps prevent metal ions from binding to other ingredients. This prevents unwanted reactions in products. Metal ions can come into a product via the water ingredient. They are found in trace amounts and are not known to be harmful.

20
What it does: Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Malva Sylvestris Flower.

21
What it does: Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract.

22
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Disliked

Mentha Piperita Leaf Extract is extract from peppermint leaves.

Studies show peppermint extract have antimicrobial properties against some bacteria and fungi.

In large percentages, peppermint extract may sensitize the skin.

Learn more about Mentha Piperita Leaf Extract
23
What it does: Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Primula Veris Flower Extract.

24
What it does: Astringent, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Alchemilla Vulgaris Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract.

25
What it does: Astringent, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Veronica Officinalis Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract.

26
What it does: Antioxidant, Masking
Community Rating: Liked

This BHA stands for butylated hydroxyanisole. If you are looking for the beta-hydroxy acid, aka as Salicylic Acid, click here.

In cosmetics, butylated hydroxyanisole is used as a perservative. It also has antioxidant properties. The concentrations usually used in skincare are low and do not penetrate through skin.

However, it is considered a carcinogen when ingested.

Butylated Hydroxyanisole is a synthetic and waxy petrochemical. It is used as a preservative in foods and cosmetics.

Learn more about BHA
Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 26 ingredients in this product ✨

31% are loved or liked
4% have mixed ratings
27% are disliked or very disliked
38% 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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