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75 Years of Cetaphil: What the Universally Beloved Brand Has in Store

Published September 25, 2022
Published September 25, 2022

Cetaphil is celebrating 75 years of skincare with its 21.7 million users worldwide. Created in 1947 by a pharmacist hoping to treat patients’ more sensitive skin, the Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion, known today as the best-selling Gentle Skin Cleanser, was the first in a collection of skincare products that would grow to acquire cult status among beauty fanatics and consumers looking to get in and out of the skincare aisle as fast as possible. In fact, one Gentle Skin Cleanser is sold every 1.25 seconds. The timeless quality of the brand is only emphasized by the present-day oversaturated market chock-full of incessant launches. Despite its old-school roots, the brand has had its fair share of viral moments on TikTok, cementing Cetaphil as a Gen Z favorite, thanks to creators like Dr. Chris Tomassian and EdwardZO. Cetaphil’s name—a straightforward amalgamation of its core values: “-phil” meaning “love” and “Cet” coming from the hydrating agent, cetearyl alcohol—even has a soothing medicinal quality to it. The packaging, while evolving slightly, has yet to stray from its original soothing blues and greens. Carried in 93,000+ stores and available in more than 70 countries worldwide, it’s safe to say this classic isn’t going anywhere.

Beyond the brand’s ironclad customer loyalty lies a commitment to pioneering formulas for sensitive skin across categories. The expansive 70+ product portfolio addresses sensitive skin needs in areas including cleansers, moisturizers, sun protection, baby products, and targeting specific needs, like acne and eczema. According to Lisa Morris, General Manager, U.S. Consumer Business, for Galderma, Cetaphil has “conducted over 600 clinical studies on more than 35,000 sensitive skin subjects over the years to not only ensure product efficacy, but also sensitive skin tolerability, going above and beyond industry standards.”

The brand’s latest campaign, “We Do Skin, You Do You,” positions the brand as the champion of people with sensitive skin doing more of what they love. “Our research indicated that consumers feel their sensitive skin holds them back and stops them from being their best selves. These everyday sensitive skin moments can include a change of seasons, uncomfortable fabrics, strong winds on a bike ride, sweating at the gym, a new makeup routine or even cuddling with a pet,” shares Morris. The message? Trust Cetaphil’s 75 years of research and expertise, and get back to the life you love to live.

While modern brands lean on “research” as an overarching promise, Cetaphil has put in the time and hours in the lab to earn a well-deserved spot on the list of dermatologist favorites. For Dr. Tiffany Jow Libby, board-certified dermatologist, scientific research and clinical studies mean that she can recommend the brand, which she describes as “simple, yet effective skincare that addresses patients’ skin concerns while also being affordable,'' wholeheartedly. When it comes to clinically backed recommendations in a sea of TikTok skincare trends, dermatologists like Dr. Libby turn to Cetaphil, whose core mission to protect sensitive skin happens to overlap with the of-the-moment movement to repair the skin barrier.

Cetaphil products contain “essential elements proven to strengthen skin barrier function. Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and Panthenol (Pro-Vitamin B5) soothe sensitive skin and increase skin hydration,” says Dr. Libby. With a customer base that skews toward millennial buyers, offering some newness is part of healthy competition in the skincare space. Recent launches from the brand, of which there have been 12 this year alone, include Gentle Clear Complexion-Clearing BPO Acne Cleanser and Triple-Action Acne Serum. A focus on those with eczema inspired the recent line of Eczema Restoraderm products. “We really wanted to make it easier for eczema sufferers because there is a lot of confusion on how to manage eczema with over-the-counter products. Now with a distinct dermatologist-developed regimen, accepted by the National Eczema Association, and three brand-new products –Eczema Restoraderm Itch Relief Gel, Eczema Restoraderm Relief Cream, and Eczema Restoraderm Soothing Moisturizer, we’re confident this routine will really make a difference for those who are looking to manage their eczema throughout its entire lifecycle from flare to remission,” shares Morris.

As for the next 75 years of Cetaphil, the brand’s commitment to what it calls “The 5 Signs of Sensitive Skin”— irritation, roughness, tightness, dryness, and weakened skin barrier—remains its sole focus, proving the rare presence of heritage skincare, backed by science, has a rightful place in the ever-evolving world of skincare.


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