Cerave vs Cetaphil – A Complete Guide to Which Is Best For You

Cerave vs Cetaphil – A Complete Guide to Which Is Best For You
November 25, 2021 Ellis James
If you’re like the rest of us, there’s no doubt you’ve stumbled across Cetaphil or CeraVe in the store and thought, “What’s the difference? Is buying either of these brands worth it?” If you’ve been wondering about the difference between CeraVe vs Cetaphil then you are in for a real treat.

Join us as we delve into the differences between the two brands as well as why both brands are popular amongst dermatologists for soothing irritated, dry or acne prone skin.

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Skin | Body Lotion & Facial Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides | Fragrance Free | 19 Ounce

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Skin issues

Cerave vs Cetaphil Hormonal Acne

Acne sufferers everywhere often use either CeraVe or Cetaphil and remain thoroughly satisfied. But the truth is that due to a few controversial ingredients in Cetaphil, CeraVe may win out for many users looking to fight hormonal acne (or acne of any sort for that matter).

Ingredients in Cetaphil, like sulfates and parabens, might leave those that suffer from acne with unwanted skin irritation, and potentially, more breakouts.

Cerave vs Cetaphil Dry Skin

When it comes to comparing Cerave vs Cetaphil for moisture, the truth is that both do a great job.


It is definitely worth highlighting that CeraVe packs more in the department of moisture than Cetaphil because it offers ceramides and hyaluronic acid which is great for those with dry and sensitive skin.

In fact, CeraVe is recommended by the National Eczema Association. It is a top pick for those suffering with the condition as it contains little to no harmful ingredients and offers plenty of moisturizing ingredients to banish dry skin.

Having said that, Cetaphil does contain cetyl alcohol which is actually fatty alcohol known to add moisture to the skin. So, in actuality, both have the potential to nourish and moisturize your skin.

RELATED: Best Moisturizer without Fatty Alcohol

Cerave vs Cetaphil for Eczema and Cerave vs Cetaphil for Baby Eczema

Cerave and Cetaphil are neck and neck for the battle of moisturizers and cleansers for eczema.

This is especially true when considering that Cetaphil’s Pro Restoraderm Eczema moisturizer has been described as the best of both Eucerin and Cerave put together.

Cetaphil Pro RestoraDerm Eczema Soothing Moisturizer 10oz (295ml)

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While Cerave offers skin barrier reinforcing ceramides 1,3 and 6-11,  Cetaphil’s formula offers colloidal oatmeal, ceramides and Filaggrin technology that can provide you (and your baby) relief from itching, stinging and red eczema prone skin.

Cerave vs Cetaphil for Acne and Acne Prone Skin

When it comes to acne, we can say with confidence that both Cetaphil and CeraVe fit the bill.

But which is best?

Both cleansers are gentle and basic formulas which is often a relief for acne sufferers.

Cetaphil’s gentle cleanser is more well known and widely reviewed. In fact, Cetaphil’s ingredients list on many products is so minimal that it will likely shock most buyers. But does that make it the best pick?

Oddly enough, although Cetaphil’s ingredient list is small, it is CeraVe who wins out in terms of defeating acne. That’s because Cetaphil’s ingredient list, though minimal, contains controversial ingredients that are known to cause irritation in some people. Their ingredients include parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Cerave, on the other hand, contains none of these controversial ingredient types.

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser | Moisturizing Non-Foaming Face Wash with Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides and Glycerin | 16 Fluid Ounce

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Product Showdown

Cetaphil vs Cerave Lotion

Both Cetaphil and Cerave have great, hydrating and smoothing lotions. But their ingredients are quite different.

Cetaphil has recently updated their formula to contain Vitamins B3 and B5 while also offering glycerin which is great for locking moisture in the skin.

Cerave, on the other hand, offers that coveted trio of ceramides while also bolstering the benefits of their patented MVE technology that claims to deliver ongoing moisture over a 24-hour period.

Both are free of fragrances and dyes and claim to restore the moisture barrier in the skin.

Cerave vs Cetaphil Moisturizer

For facial moisturizers, both brands have a little something to offer everyone.

Cetaphil, for example, has a daily facial moisturizer that packs SPF 15 and hydration all in one go. It is gentle on the skin and has a thinner consistency than that of CeraVe.

Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15, Fragrance Free Unscented 8 Fl Oz (Pack of 2)

Buy on Amazon


While thicker, CeraVe has more options. You can choose from the AM version of the facial moisturizer or the PM version. A big difference between the two is that the AM moisturizer has sunscreen, a whopping SPF 30! The PM doesn’t.

CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 | Oil-Free Face Moisturizer with Sunscreen | Non-Comedogenic | 3 Ounce

Buy on Amazon


Still both moisturizers contain those signature ceramides and hyaluronic acid, while also offering niacinamides which is also great for the skin.

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion | Night Cream with Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide | Ultra-Lightweight, Oil-Free Moisturizer for Face | 3 Ounce

Buy on Amazon


Cerave vs Cetaphil Cream

If you’ve got dry, cracked or scaly skin, you know that a simple lotion typically won’t cut it.

If you reach for the Cetaphil creams, you’ll be glad to know that it contains glycerin, Vitamin B5 (panthenol) and sweet almond oil and meadowfoam seed oil in some versions.

CETAPHIL Moisturizing Cream | 20 oz | Moisturizer For Dry To Very Dry, Sensitive Skin | Completely Restores Skin Barrier In 1 Week | Fragrance Free | Non-Greasy | Dermatologist Recommended Brand

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CeraVe cream moisturizer is also an excellent pick. It’s rich, velvety and thick consistency is a favorite among eczema and dry skin sufferers. And while it may not contain Vitamin B5, it does contain the three ceramides previously mentioned, along with hyaluronic acid which works to attract and retain moisture.


CeraVe Moisturizing Cream | Body and Face Moisturizer for Dry Skin | Body Cream with Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides | 19 Ounce

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Cetaphil vs Cerave Face Wash

We’ll compare in these next few sections Cerave vs Cetaphil Cleansers. There are many of them, so let’s start with their face washes.

When it comes to CeraVe vs Cetaphil for face wash cleansers, the two brands are quite different.

Cetaphil, for example, contains disodium lauryl sulfate and masking fragrances. This could prove irritating for some. Still, it has Vitamins B3, B5 and glycerine to help combat dryness, and claims to remove up to 94% of impurities.

CeraVe, on the other hand, contains no fragrances at all, and continues to bolster it’s MVE technology, ceramides, hyaluronic acid and even glycerin making this one a potentially better grab than the Cetaphil cleanser, especially for those with exceptionally sensitive skin.

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser | Makeup Remover and Daily Face Wash for Oily Skin | 16 Fluid Ounce

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Cerave Hydrating Cleanser vs Cetaphil

Cetaphil offers two cleansers, both a daily facial cleanser and gentle skin formula cleanser. Unlike their daily cleanser discussed earlier in this segment, this cleanser does not contain parabens, masking fragrances or sulfates. It’s a win!

Face Wash by Cetaphil, Hydrating Gentle Skin Cleanser for Dry to Normal Sensitive Skin, 20 oz, Fragrance Free, Fragrance Free and Non-Foaming

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For this category, CeraVe also has two cleansers, a hydrating cleanser and a foaming cleanser. Since both are designed for sensitive skin, meaning no parabens, sulfates, fragrances or other irritating ingredients, there is no need for them to distinguish between which one is a “gentle” cleanser.

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser | Moisturizing Non-Foaming Face Wash with Hyaluronic Acid, Ceramides & Glycerin | 19 Fluid Ounce

Buy on Amazon


Cerave Foaming Cleanser vs Cetaphil

Having already discussed CeraVe’s hydrating cleanser, let’s delve into the foaming cleanser. CeraVe’s foaming cleanser is a fan favorite that claims to protect the moisture barrier in the skin while also banishing impurities. It also makes the claim that you can use the product on your face, body and also, your hands!

Cetaphil also has a lesser known foaming version of their gentle cleanser, which claims to be non-irritating, fragrance free, packed with vitamins and softening on the skin.

Gentle Foaming Cleanser (Pack of 2) - Gently Cleanses without Leaving Skin Dry or Tight - Rich Airy Lather - For All Skin Types - Fragrance Free & Suitable For Sensitive Skin 8oz

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About Cetaphil

Do Dermatologists recommend Cetaphil?

Yes. Dermatologists frequently recommend Cetaphil due to it being non-comedogenic and suitable for most sensitive skin types.

RELATED: Does Cetaphil Help Acne

And while Cetaphil doesn’t contain the three ceramides that CeraVe does, some of the newer formulations also contain Vitamins B3 and B5, both of which play important roles in caring for dry and also acne-prone skin.

Cetaphil is also formulated with the use of lipids and high concentrations of cetyl alcohol which is a fatty alcohol (not drying) that attracts moisture to the skin.

Is Cetaphil better than Cerave?

Well, not quite.

Although Cetaphil certainly delivers stunning results for many people, the truth is that CeraVe tends to have much more to offer than most Cetaphil products.

In fact, not only does CeraVe deliver more in terms of “good for you” ingredients, but it also doesn’t contain many of the harmful ingredients, like parabens and sulfates, that many Cetaphil products contain.

So, while Cetaphil remains a favorite among many buyers looking for clear skin, it isn’t necessarily better than CeraVe.

Is Cetaphil good for sensitive skin?

Yes it is…for the most part.

Despite Cetaphil not having the particular bells and whistles that CeraVe offers, it is still a solid choice for most skin types.

You will need to be careful, though.

Some of the pesky ingredients that lurk in Cetaphil products can cause skin irritation in some people, so if you notice breakouts, redness or inflammation while using Cetaphil you might need to switch to something else.

Is Cetaphil bad for your skin?

It can be.

Because of some of the controversial ingredients present, including SLS and parabens, you might need to steer clear of Cetaphil, especially if you know you are sensitive to these ingredients.

The good news? Cetaphil offers some products in “sensitive skin” format, meaning that they won’t contain some of the harsher ingredients that their original formula does. Hey, it’s worth a try!

Is Cetaphil cream good for face?

While you certainly can give Cetaphil moisturizing cream a go on your face, it may or may not be recommended.

Although Cetaphil’s line tends to be minimally irritating and the cream formula is non-greasy, it might be better to go for Cetaphil’s facial moisturizer as it is specially formulated for the delicate skin on the face.

Cetaphil Face Moisturizer, Daily Oil-Free Hydrating Face Lotion with Hyaluronic Acid, 3 Fl Oz (Package May Vary)

Buy on Amazon


Is Cetaphil good for your skin?

Cetaphil is good for most types of skin, however, if you know or think you may be sensitive to sulfates, parabens and masking fragrances, then you may want to steer clear of Cetaphil products.

Nevertheless, Cetaphil remains a longstanding solid product for people dealing with acne and other skin ailments.

Is Cetaphil moisturizer good?

Many people love Cetaphil’s moisturizers and for good reasons. Updated formulas contain Vitamins B3 and B5 which work to hydrate, smooth and restore skin.

Other perks to Cetaphil moisturizers include being affordable, gentle on the skin and non-comedogenic.

The downside? Cetpahil does not contain the three essential ceramides that CeraVe does which works to do wonders for restoring and hydrating your skin.

Does Cetaphil lotion cause acne?

While most Cetaphil products claim to be non-comedogenic and safe for acne-prone skin, if you have oily skin that tends to breakout, you may wish to reach for their oily skin and acne-prone moisturizer, instead.

The Cetaphil Dermacontrol Facial Moisturizer is perfect for those suffering from acne that still need a little non-greasy hydration.

Cetaphil DermaControl Acne Prone Skin SPF 30 Moisturizer, 4 Fluid Ounce ( Pack May Vary )

Buy on Amazon


Is Cetaphil lotion good for your face?

You can use Cetaphil lotion on your face, especially if it is the type of lotion that is specifically formulated for facial use. In this case, Cetaphil could do wonders for your face. But you’ll want to be careful of certain ingredients if you are sensitive to certain chemicals, as some of Cetaphil’s washes and moisturizers may contain controversial ingredients.


About Cerave

Do dermatologists recommend CeraVe?

Yes they do! CeraVe takes the lead in skin products recommended by dermatologists, and especially for sensitive skin, because of its special formula that offers little to no controversial ingredients while also bolstering powerful additions such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid all of which is crucial for skin.

Is Cerave better than Cetaphil?

In many ways, yes.

CeraVe can be better than Cetpahil because it doesn’t contain parabens, SLS or masking fragrances as many of Cetpahil’s products do. As such, those with particularly sensitive skin may opt for CeraVe over Cetaphil in order to avoid potential skin irritation.

Having said that, you’ll always want to try products for yourself to see what you think before making any judgments. Some prefer the thinner consistency of Cetaphil’s facial cleanser, for example, over CeraVe. Some things, such as consistency, is a matter of taste!

Is Cerave good for your skin?

CeraVe can be incredible for your skin.

Not only does it not contain many of the icky ingredients found in most skincare products, but it also offers patented MVE technology which works to restore and rehydrate your skin.

Is Cerave a good moisturizer?

CeraVe does a great job of adding moisture to the skin. It even works to restore your skin’s natural moisture barrier for smoother, healthier and more supple-looking skin!

Is Cerave a good facial moisturizer?

Users love that CeraVe AM and PM moisturizers are gentle on the skin, contain hyaluronic acid and ceramides, and that the AM version contain SPF.

The only downside seems to be that some think that the AM version puts off too much of a white cast during the day. Otherwise, it’s great!

CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 | Oil-Free Face Moisturizer with Sunscreen | Non-Comedogenic | 3 Ounce

Buy on Amazon


Is Cerave good for your face?

As with Cetaphil , we recommend opting for CeraVe’s AM or PM facial moisturizer instead of using the moisturizing body cream on your face.

While it may not cause breakouts or greasiness, the facial moisturizer is specially formulated to work on the delicate skin on your face.

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion | Night Cream with Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide | Ultra-Lightweight, Oil-Free Moisturizer for Face | 3 Ounce

Buy on Amazon


Can you use Cerave on your face?

Yes, absolutely! CeraVe has several facial moisturizers and cleansers that are specifically formulated for use on the face. And they do a great job to restore, heal and hydrate skin, to boot!

Is Cerave good for face?

Overall, CeraVe is a top contender for the skin in general, and this trend extends to their facial products as well. Because of the nourishing and hydrating ingredients, it’s hard to go wrong with CeraVe!


Cerave and Cetaphil: Difference Between Cetaphil and Cerave

Do dermatologists recommend CeraVe or Cetaphil?

In general, it seems that dermatologists recommend both, however, CeraVe is likely the one most touted by dermatologists as being effective.

Because of its lack of controversial ingredients and the addition of ceramides and hyaluronic acid, CeraVe is uniquely different from Cetaphil and thus may be safer to use for those with particularly sensitive skin.

Having said that, those with sensitive skin may be able to get away with using either or, and they may find that their dermatologist recommends both.

For many, the test of which will perform better on their skin will depend on trial and error…try each for a week or two and see what happens!

Is Cerave or Cetaphil better? Which is better Cetaphil or CeraVe?

So, after reviewing the strengths, weaknesses and overlap of these two brands, you may be wondering whether or not it is CeraVe or Cetaphil that takes the leading reign.

To be frank, CeraVe is the overall better brand.

Although Cetaphil has a strong following and is often recommended by dermatologists, it in no way competes with CeraVe’s offer of three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid to repair, restore, smooth and moisturize skin.

Unlike Cetaphil, CeraVe products contain no masking fragrances, no parabens, no sulfates and very few, if any, other controversial ingredients.

Because of these facts, CeraVe wins out by a long shot if you’ve got particularly sensitive or acne prone skin.


CeraVe vs. Cetaphil: Each Brand is Unique

As you can see, despite what you may have heard, Cetaphil and CeraVe are not the same thing. Each brand contains their own set of differing ingredients, and each have something unique to offer your skin. We hope you’ve found this breakdown useful for the next time you are faced with the decision of whether or not to choose CeraVe or Cetaphil!

Learn more about caring for skin by having  a look at some of these related posts on our blog:

Comments (2)

  1. Mi vida en Rojo Inmaculada Orduna 9 months ago

    Thanks for sharing!
    Happy New Year!!!

    • Ellis James Designs 8 months ago

      Happy New Year to you, too!

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