Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser review: Decent, if a little stripping

If you’re acne-prone and combination-skinned like me, you’ve probably done this too:

Used the strongest cleanser you can possibly find, lathered way too much of it on your face in a bid to clear your skin and made the whole situation 10x worse. Think red skin, stinging and endless dryness – by the scientific term, a compromised skin barrier.

That’s exactly why I was so excited to try the Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser. It claimed to ‘deeply clean and minimise pores’ without drying the skin, thanks to Cetaphil’s savvy blend of niacinamide (vitamin B3) and panthenol (pro-vitamin B5).

For an acne-prone, combination skinned (hello, stubborn dry patches) girl like me, that sounds like the cleansing dream!

Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser review

Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser review

I put the Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser to the test, so you don’t have to. Here’s my full Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser review where I deep dive into the texture, results, ingredients and whether it’s a good option for acne-prone guys and gals like myself.

Key benefits & claims

Product: Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser

Benefits & claims: “A gentle gel-to-foam formula that removes excess oil, dirt, skin debris and light make-up. This cleanser deeply cleans and minimises pores without stripping skin of natural moisture.”

Suitable for: Sensitive, oily skin

Price: Around £10 for a 236ml bottle, but often on offer at Boots, Amazon or LookFantastic for £6–8

The texture & consistency

The Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser has a clear, gel-like consistency when you first pump it out of the bottle. It glides on smoothly to the skin but foams up very slightly as you begin to rub it in. This means a little goes a long way. I’ve been using it for a few weeks and still have around half of a small bottle left.

There’s not much else to say here. It’s nothing magical… in all honesty, it’s just a standard face wash texture. I should add that it doesn’t foam up too much, so if you’re looking for a heavily foaming wash, this probably isn’t for you.

Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser texture

The results

In terms of makeup removal, the Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser does a really thorough job. I wear makeup most days, including concealer and powder, and this removes it without a trace.

But in terms of oiliness, I didn’t see any miracle results. I have fairly oily skin in my T-zone and I wouldn’t say this particularly reduced the day-to-day oiliness of my skin. However, it did give my skin a really good cleanse and thoroughly removed any oil that had built up during the day.

I have combination skin, which means I’m prone to dry patches in certain areas. Even though this was supposed to be a non-drying cleanser, I did find it a little drying on the sensitive areas of my skin. This was a major disappointment for me! In terms of my oily t-zone, though, it did a perfect job – my skin was left cleansed and balanced.

Closing point? I think this really is best for oily-skinned guys and gals. It might not be the best match for anyone who can be prone to dry patches, like myself.

The scent

The Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser has a very light natural scent. It’s nothing too strong and it’s not unpleasant. The ingredients list says it contains ‘parfum’ and other fragrances a strange choice from a sensitive skincare brand like Cetaphil! If you’re looking for something fragrance-free, this isn’t for you.

Good for, bad for…

The Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser is a great option for anyone with oily, acne-prone skin who’s looking for a thorough cleanse, without the majorly drying effects of other acne washes.

As I said earlier, I don’t think it would be a good option for those with drier skin types. While it does contain skin-soothing ingredients, it’s not exactly hydrating. If you have very dry skin, you might find that this dries you out a little.

If that applies to you, why not check out the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser or CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser instead?

Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser ingredients

Is the Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser good for acne?

I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but it totally depends on your skin type.

Acne-prone with sensitive, dehydrated, dry or combination skin? It might be worth a try, but my gut says you’d be happier with something gentler, such as the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser or Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser.

Acne-prone with oilier skin? Yep, this should give you a really thorough cleanse and remove oil buildup without completely stripping your skin.

One thing to note is that (other than niacinamide) this cleanser doesn’t contain any acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

But, if you’re using other acne treatments after your cleanser (think retinol, tretinoin, Differin, benzoyl peroxide creams and the like), a gentle wash like this is probably the better choice. Overdoing it on actives is never a good thing!

Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser ingredients

Aqua, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Panthenol, Niacinamide, Pantolactone, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Benzoate, Parfum, Amyl Cinnamal, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid. FIL.1744.V00

Stand out ingredients

  • Niacinimide has an endless list of proven benefits for the skin it can support a healthy skin barrier, improve hydration and improve skin conditions including acne, rosacea and atopic dermatitis.

  • Glycerin is a natural moisturiser that protects against irritation and helps to restore the skin barrier.

  • Panthenol (also known as pro-vitamin B5) is a humectant, meaning it can help the skin to attract water and then hold onto it.

Not-so-nice ingredients

  • Parfum is, essentially, an artificial fragrance put into cosmetic products so that the product smells nice. According to IncideCoder, it’s made up of 30 to 50 chemicals on average! This isn’t a good choice for sensitive skin.

  • Citronellol, linalool, geraniol & hydroxycitronellal are fragrances that oxidise on air exposure and can trigger allergies. Again, it’s best to avoid these if you have sensitive skin.

Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser: Decent, if a little stripping

So there we have it – my full review of the Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser! Summed up, this is a good option for anyone with oily skin looking for a thorough, oil-busting cleanse. Make sure to check out Amazon, LookFantastic and Boots to find the best price!

However, if you’re prone to dryness in any way, I wouldn’t recommend it as it can feel a little stripping. Plus, it contains fragrance, so could trigger reactions if your skin is sensitive.

If this applies to you, check out my review of the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser or have a look at the Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser – I loved these two and think you will too!

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2 responses to “Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser review: Decent, if a little stripping”

  1. Sonali Patil says:

    I think I will slip this!

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