Is Cetaphil Cruelty Free and Vegan? (Caution!)

Cetaphil has recently become a cult favorite when it comes to skincare.

It has a stripped-back and almost medical series of products.

Their packaging is simple and looks dermatological.

As their products are so simple, are their products cruelty free?

Unfortunately, the answer is no.

Cetaphil cannot be classified as cruelty free. 

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Does Cetaphil test on animals?

Yes, however it depends on the country in which it is sold. 

Cetaphil is sold in mainland China which automatically means that it is not cruelty free.

This is because mainland China legally requires all imported cosmetics and skincare products to be tested on animals.

It is common for brands to miss out on a cruelty free certification because they sell in mainland China.

Whilst they might be committed to reducing testing on animals and won’t test on animals in other countries.

Many still sell in mainland China despite the requirement for animal testing.

Is Cetaphil sold in China?

As well as selling in mainland China, Cetaphil also allows testing on animals in other countries.

The brand of Cetaphil is owned by Galderma which is in turn owned by L’Oreal and Nestlé.

Both of these brands sell in countries that test on animals.

L’Oreal is a company more associated with cosmetics and skincare.

L’Oreal products are not classified as cruelty free.

On Cetaphil’s website, it states that the brand does not test on animals.

This means that the brand itself does not test its finished products on animals.

But, this doesn’t mean that their products are not tested on animals before they reach you.

It is also possible that, before they were included in the final product, certain ingredients were tested on animals.

It is at the ingredient level that most animal testing takes place.

This means that final Cetaphil products are not tested on animals.

But, it means that animals have been used to test ingredients or products at some point in the manufacturing process.

It also means that they allow third-parties and companies in other countries to test their products on animals, if it is required by law.

This means that Cetaphil cannot be classified as cruelty free.

Is Cetaphil safe for animals?

There is no specific research into the use of Cetaphil on animals.

So it should not be used, just in case.

Cetaphil is produced by Galderma, which is a pharmaceutical company.

This means that their products have been specifically designed for human skin.

The skin of animals can be incredibly sensitive, just as human skin can be.

This is a difficult question to answer.

This is because Cetaphil allows certain countries to test their products on animals.

Some might make the argument that, if the product is sold in a country that requires cosmetic and skincare products to be tested on animals, this means that it must be safe for use on animals.

But, animal skin varies greatly across different species.

It can also vary greatly within certain species.

So, while animals that were used in testing might not have reacted badly to Cetaphil products (although we can’t know that for certain), it is best not to use Cetaphil on animals.

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Is Cetaphil Vegan Friendly?

No, sadly Cetaphil is not a 100 % vegan skincare brand because 1 of their products (The Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar) is not.

However, it seems all their other products are so it's a difficult decision to make for a hardcore vegan.

Does Cetaphil cause cancer?

Conversations and debates around Cetaphil products have been raging across the internet.

But it’s important to be careful when you’re reading up on skincare products.

There have been cases of skincare and makeup products being reformulated to reduce the inclusion of toxic ingredients (read up on the “Big 8” and products that are “8 Free” for more on this).

But, generally speaking, if a product is for sale it will have been through rigorous testing.

This will be by your government’s drug and cosmetics regulator.

But also other organizations.

To state that a certain brand “causes cancer” is a huge claim to make.

The conversation around Cetaphil and the potential to cause cancer likely stems from debates around parabens.

Some argue that parabens cause cancer, especially breast cancer.

But there is currently no evidence to suggest this.

On Cetaphil’s website, there is an FAQ section that lists the paraben-free products available.

These conversations often take place on “clean beauty” websites and blogs.

Clean beauty argues that certain chemicals and ingredients in cosmetic and skincare products are toxic.

But it’s important to ensure you receive all information on topics such as these from verifiable and reliable sources.

If you’re concerned, speak to a professional, such as a dermatologist.

Do Dermatologists recommend Cetaphil?

If you are concerned about the issues mentioned in the section above, you will be relieved to hear that Cetaphil is often recommended by dermatologists.

This is because most Cetaphil products are very simple and do not include many active ingredients.

In fact, some products do not use any.

A lot of skincare fans look for products that contain ingredients intended to reduce and prevent pimples, reduce signs of aging, and even out skin tone.

This is fine if you do not have sensitive skin or severe acne.

But, if you have very sensitive skin or have medication or creams from a dermatologist to treat acne or other skin disorders, then these products can further irritate and damage your skin.

This is why dermatologists recommend Cetaphil.

Cetaphil is made by a pharmaceutical company called Galderma.

Cetaphil will clean your face but not much more.

This is why it is so good if you use other products to combat skin problems.

Cetaphil washes are such gentle cleansers (see the best Korean cleansers) that they are unlikely to interfere with other products.

If you use other products, especially strong ones prescribed by your dermatologist, then active ingredients in other products can react to them.

This means that they can cause even more damage and irritation to your skin.

So, dermatologists often recommend Cetaphil, especially their facial cleansers, as a way to clean your face without causing your skin any further irritation.


Overall, Cetaphil cannot be classified as cruelty free or vegan.

But, if you have very sensitive skin that requires professional treatment, it might be one of the best options for you.

Last update on 2024-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API