Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream tops our list of moisturizers for sensitive skin because it is a very emollient formula with no irritants. The cream is suitable for use on the face and body, but it doesn't contain sunscreen. A separate SPF formula is recommended for daytime use. If you have oily skin, you may prefer a lightweight moisturizer like Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel (*Est. $25 for 4.2 oz.), which is loaded with antioxidants and is also fragrance-free.
Basic "bare bones" formula. Sensitive skin types require the gentlest ingredients as well as those that help to hydrate and soothe red, irritated skin. Experts point to Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream as an excellent option for those with dry or sensitive skin. It is fragrance-free and contains gentle but moisturizing ingredients like petrolatum, glycerin, dimethicone, glyceryl stearate and cetyl alcohol. It also contains antioxidants in the form of vitamin E, but skin care expert Paula Begoun says there isn't enough of it to make a real difference. Still, she says that Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is a very gentle, albeit basic, option.
In a study published in the Journal of Dermatologic Treatment, Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream was effective at reducing dryness and sensitivity in individuals undergoing rosacea treatment. The cream also improved the skin texture of participants.
Users at MakeupAlley.com and Drugstore.com are also pleased with the formula. More than 1200 reviewers give the cream a combined overall score of 4.2 out of 5 stars. Many say that the moisturizer is soothing to eczematous skin as well as skin that's dry and irritated from various medications. One says, "In less than a week it has cleared my dry patches up."
Thick and heavy but very moisturizing. Users say Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is very thick and heavy -- ideal for those with dry and sensitive skin, but it may not perform well on oily, combination or acne-prone skin. It's super emollient, and some say that it takes a while to absorb into skin. One user at MakeupAlley.com explains: "…it might feel a bit heavy at first, but usually in about 15 minutes it's soaked in and any greasy feeling is gone."
The formula is fragrance-free, which is ideal for sensitive skin, but some users don't like the smell of the ingredients.
Review Credibility: Excellent Paula Begoun gives Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream a mediocre rating because it's basic with few antioxidants. She says the gentle formula would do more for dry, sensitive skin if it contained more "antioxidants, repairing, and cell-communicating ingredients. …"
Review: Moisturizing Cream by Cetaphil, Paula Begoun, Aug. 24, 2012
2. The Journal of Dermatological Treatment
Review Credibility: Excellent This study, which was performed on 20 individuals undergoing rosacea treatment, shows Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream to be effective at reducing dryness and sensitivity and improving skin texture.
Review: Beneficial Use of Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream as Part of a Daily Skin Care Regimen for Individuals with Rosacea, Laquieze, S., et al, 2007
Review Credibility: Very Good More than 1000 reviewers at MakeupAlley.com give an overall rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars to Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream. Users say it's gentle enough for sensitive skin, and it does an excellent job of moisturizing dry skin. A few reviewers with oily, acne-prone skin say Cetaphil is too greasy and causes breakouts, but it isn't designed for oily skin.
Review: Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, Contributors to MakeupAlley.com, As of November 2012
Review Credibility: Good More than 200 users rate and review Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream at Drugstore.com, giving it an overall rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Reviewers here say the formula soothes dry, sensitive skin and isn't overly greasy, although it is very thick.
Review: Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, Fragrance Free, Contributors to Drugstore.com, As of November 2012