The Best Cetaphil Products For Acne, According To Dermatologists

With so many skin care brands vying for your attention, trying to figure out which products will actually treat your breakouts can get super overwhelming — but don’t spend hours comparing reviews online just yet. To help streamline your search, Bustle pinged a few dermatologists for their picks of the best Cetaphil products for acne. No knock to the newcomers on the shelves, but Cetaphil — a drugstore beauty MVP and TikTok darling skin care brand — has been beloved by derms and consumers alike for more than seven decades, and its products are specially formulated for finicky, sensitive skin.

When treating mild to moderate acne, each of the derms Bustle spoke with point to three star ingredients: benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and retinoids. With that in mind, their top-recommended Cetaphil products for treating and preventing acne mainly contain at least one of those within the formula. You’ll find a benzoyl peroxide cleanser, a salicylic acid serum, and a dark spot corrector that features bakuchiol, a plant-based alternative to retinol. These derm-approved products also include a host of supportive ingredients to balance the breakout-busting ones, like ones that keep your skin barrier nourished and your complexion protected from sun damage as you treat zits.

Some advice, courtesy of the experts: Stay consistent, be patient, and if the OTC concoctions just aren’t doing the trick, check in with your dermatologist who may want to up the ante with a prescription-strength treatment plan. But, with any luck, the Cetaphil products ahead could be your ticket to clearer, blemish-free skin without the in-office appointment.

We at Bustle only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.


The Benzoyl Peroxide Cleanser


The OG Gentle Cleanser

An acne-fighting regimen can be drying, so board-certified dermatologist Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd, M.D. points to this non-foaming cream cleanser as a great option since it won’t strip your skin’s natural oils. That’s thanks to hydrating glycerin and panthenol within the formula. “This gentle cleanser has been a derm-favorites for dozens of years,” Woolery-Lloyd tells Bustle.


The Lightweight Moisturizer

This salicylic acid-boosted moisturizer is perfect for those with oily and acne-prone skin, says Tomassian. It’s a low dose at just .5%, so you can use it daily without irritation to keep your skin hydrated as you treat your breakouts — and keep future ones at bay.


The Body Wash

Turner recommends this all-over wash to exfoliate, unclog pores, and treat and prevent body acne. It contains 2% salicylic acid plus a blend of glycerin, shea butter, and soybean oil to moisturize and soften skin while removing troublesome dirt and impurities.


The Salicylic Acid Serum

For a leave-on treatment that helps quash blemishes and brighten your complexion, consider this salicylic acid-infused serum. “Salicylic acid is a type of beta-hydroxy acid that is oil-soluble, so it penetrates deep into pores to eliminate excess oil and unclog the pores,” Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology, previously told Bustle. The niacinamide and prebiotics within the formula keep your complexion quenched with moisture, too.


The Mineral Sunscreen

No skin care routine is complete without sunscreen — acneic skin types included. Turner recommends this ultra-lightweight sheer SPF from Cetaphil for the sun protection job. It’s a mineral (physical) versus chemical sunscreen, so it’s less likely to irritate and exacerbate breakouts. “Mineral-based sunscreens are better for people with acne-prone skin,” he explains.

Studies referenced:

Chaudhuri, R. (2011). Bakuchiol in the management of acne-affected Skin. Cosmet Toilet. Vol. 126 No. 7/July 2011.

Martin, T. & Goodman, M.B. (2021). Benzoyl Peroxide. StatPearls.


Dr. Chris Tomassian, M.D., Kansas City, Kansas-based dermatologist

Dr. Ryan Turner, M.D., New York City-based board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd, M.D., board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology

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