CeraVe and Cetaphil are two popular drugstore skincare brands. Each brand offers several dermatologist-approved skincare products that are both affordable and effective. But how do they compare? We’ll look at similar products between CeraVe vs Cetaphil to determine which is better.
Whether you have dry skin, oily skin, sensitive skin, or are one of the lucky ones that have normal skin, finding the right product for your skin concerns can be tricky when there are so many options.
Dermatologists often recommend CeraVe and Cetaphil products, so how can you tell which one is better? It all depends on what your skin needs and your preferences in regard to formula, texture, and fragrance. Let’s take a look at each brand and compare nine of each of their skincare products.
This post contains affiliate links, and any purchases made through these links will result in a commission for me at no extra cost to you. Please read my Disclosure for additional information.
CeraVe was founded in 2005 after experts noticed that skin conditions like dry skin, acne, eczema, and psoriasis all share the same quality: a compromised skin barrier. So CeraVe set out to develop products with dermatologists that contain three essential ceramides and a patented delivery system to replenish the skin’s natural protective moisture barrier. Many of their products also contain sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) for hydration.
Three Essential Ceramides
Ceramides are lipids found naturally in the skin that makeup about 50% of the skin’s composition and help prevent transepidermal water loss. Think of ceramides like the glue that hold skin cells together and lock in moisture, keeping impurities out.
CeraVe uses a unique combination of three skin-identical ceramides in their products: Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, and Ceramide EOP. These ceramides support the skin barrier and help the skin retain moisture, making their products perfect for dry skin.
Multivesicular Emulsion (MVE) Delivery Technology
CeraVe’s Multivesicular Emulsion (MVE) Delivery Technology is a delivery system that makes CeraVe products more effectual. An MVE sphere holds active ingredients such as ceramides, fatty acids, and water-binding agents. These time-released spheres create multiple phases of moisture release by slowly dissolving and releasing the actives onto the skin’s surface.
Related Post: The Best CeraVe Drugstore Skincare Products
Cetaphil was founded in 1947 by a pharmacist in Texas. The brand has grown over the years, focusing on formulating skincare products that treat multiple skin conditions and skin types. It all started with their Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion, which is currently known as Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. The Formula today is the same as it was back then!
Cetaphil is available in over 70 countries and offers a variety of skincare products, sun care products, and even baby care products. Many of their products are good for sensitive skin and conditions such as acne, eczema, and rosacea.
CeraVe vs Cetaphil Comparison: Which is Better?
For each CeraVe vs Cetaphil comparison, you’ll see a table with similarities and differences between each product so that you can decide what would work best for your skin. What might be the better choice for one person might not be the best choice for someone else.
Please note that you’ll see a WHICH IS BETTER section under each of the product comparisons. Keep in mind that there won’t be a definitive answer as these picks are very subjective. Product ingredients and benefits will be explained so that you can make the best choice for your skin and skin condition. Prices are not considered as pricing varies and may change over time.
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser vs Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is all about moisture balance and is formulated for normal to dry skin. While it removes makeup, dirt, oil, and other debris, it doesn’t strip the skin and protects the skin’s natural moisture barrier. This gentle face wash won’t leave skin feeling dry or tight thanks to enriching ingredients such as three essential ceramides (Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, Ceramide EOP), and moisture-binding sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) for hydration.
This CeraVe cleanser also contains glycerin, a humectant that draws water to the skin, and pure vitamin E, a potent antioxidant that protects the skin against environmental stressors like UV rays and pollution.
The cleanser also contains CeraVe’s MVE patented technology that releases the product over an extended period of time to relieve dry skin and improve moisture retention. Accepted by the National Eczema Association, this gentle cleanser is fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and non-irritating, making it ideal for those with sensitive skin.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is Cetaphil’s first and best-selling product. This cleanser uses Micellar Technology to attract and remove dirt, makeup, and oil without irritating the skin.
It’s non-foaming and a very useful property of this cleanser is that it can be used with or without water. This makes it ideal for travel or when you are on the go and don’t have access to water.
This Cetaphil face wash would be ideal for sensitive skin since it defends against the five signs of skin sensitivity: irritation, roughness, tightness, dryness and a weakened skin barrier. It’s fragrance-free, non-irritating and non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores.
|✅ Ideal for Normal to Dry Skin||✅ Cetaphil can be used without water|
|✅ Non-Foaming||✅ CeraVe contains more actives|
WHICH CLEANSER FOR DRY SKIN IS BETTER?
If you have dry skin and are looking for a cleanser with hydrating and moisturizing properties, go with CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser since it contains ceramides and sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid). If you prefer a gel cleanser that can be used without water, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser may be a better choice for you.
In the evening, both cleansers could benefit from using a cleansing balm first to remove stubborn makeup and sunscreen and then following with one of these gentle cleansers.
CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser vs Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser
CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser is an oil control cleanser that is formulated for normal to oily skin. It cleanses the skin with a gentle foam to get rid of makeup, dirt, oil, and other impurities without altering your skin’s natural moisture barrier.
This gel cleanser removes excess oil without stripping the skin or leaving it feeling dried out. The cleanser is formulated with three essential ceramides, glycerin, low-molecular weight hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide to protect, soothe and hydrate the skin.
It’s non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, and non-irritating to the skin. If you have oily and acne-prone skin, this cleanser is ideal for your skin as it is gentle but targets excessive oil that can clog pores and eventually lead to acne and breakouts.
Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Cleanser is an instant foaming cleanser that removes dirt, oil, and makeup to reveal clean, soft, and healthy skin. It is formulated with skin conditioners and a vitamin complex, including vitamin B5 and vitamin E to clean and purify skin without stripping it of its natural moisture.
This Cetaphil cleanser has a self-foaming pump which creates an airy lather. This lather dissipates rather quickly after being applied to the skin, yet it rinses away easily without leaving any film or residue on the skin.
This cleanser is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores or irritate the skin. It is formulated for all skin types and proven to be gentle enough for sensitive skin.
|✅ Non-Comedogenic||✅ CeraVe is a Gel, Cetaphil is an Instant Foam|
|✅ Fragrance-Free||✅ Different Active Ingredients|
|✅ Non-Irritating||✅ CeraVe is for Normal to Oily Skin, Cetaphil is for All Skin Types|
WHICH FOAMING CLEANSER IS BETTER?
The texture of these products is vastly different and the ingredients are too. CeraVe creates a more traditional foaming action with its gel formula, while Cetaphil’s foam dissipates rather quickly after application. CeraVe has more potent actives including ceramides, niacinamide, and sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) which help offset the drying effects of a foaming cleanser, so CeraVe wins this one.
NOTE: If you have oily or acne prone skin, while not compared in this post, each brand offers products to target acne. While CeraVe uses ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, Cetaphil uses Zinc Technology.
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion vs Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion for normal to dry skin is an oil-free moisturizer that is formulated with three essential ceramides (Ceramide NP, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide EOP) and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and protect the skin barrier.
This lightweight moisturizer uses CeraVe’s MVE Technology for long-lasting hydration that lasts up to 24 hours. The moisturizer is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores and cause acne and breakouts. The lightweight texture works well under makeup.
Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion is formulated with six moisturizers plus vitamin E and vitamin B5, also known as panthenol, to soothe and nourish the skin. The lightweight lotion is fast-absorbing and formulated to hydrate the skin for up to 24 hours.
The formula also contains avocado oil, an oil-rich in fatty acids and vitamin A, E, and D, making it perfect for dry skin. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties and soothes the skin. Vitamin B5, also known as panthenol, is a humectant and supports the skin barrier by helping to reduce transepidermal water loss in the skin.
This Cetaphil lotion is non-comedogenic and fragrance-free and works well under makeup. It also can be used on the body. It’s ideal for all skin types including sensitive skin.
|✅ Lightweight||✅ Different Active Ingredients|
|✅ Non-Comedogenic||✅ CeraVe is Oil-Free|
|✅ Fragrance-Free||✅ CeraVe is for Normal to Dry Skin, Cetaphil is for All Skin Types|
|✅ Can be used on Face and Body|
CeraVe uses three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and moisturize the skin, while Cetaphil uses a variety of moisturizers and Vitamins E and B5 to keep skin soft and moisturized.
WHICH MOISTURIZING LOTION IS BETTER?
Cetaphil wins this comparison if you have dry skin. While both are lightweight lotions and CeraVe contains ceramides and sodium hyaluronate, Cetaphil packs in moisturizing and soothing ingredients like avocado oil, panthenol, and vitamin B5 making it an excellent choice for dry skin.
Cerave Eye Repair Cream vs Cetaphil Eye Gel-Cream
Cerave Eye Repair Cream is formulated for dark circles and puffiness. It contains a Marine & Botanical Complex for brightening. It also contains anti-ager niacinamide, hydrating sodium hyaluronate, and three essential ceramides.
The eye cream also contains pure vitamin E, a potent antioxidant, and soothing aloe. Asparagopsis Armata extract, also known as red algae extract, moisturizes and nourishes the skin and horsetail extract has anti-inflammatory and toning benefits.
This eye cream uses CeraVe’s patented MVE Delivery Technology to continually release moisture for long-lasting hydration. It sinks into delicate under-eye skin quickly and works well under makeup.
Cetaphil Eye Gel-Cream contains hydrating hyaluronic acid, a Pro-Vitamin complex, and licorice extract to brighten and smooth the under-eye area. It is formulated to moisturize and hydrate skin for up to 24 hours.
Niacinamide offers multiple benefits for the skin such as brightening, skin barrier protection, and smoothing. Portulaca Oleracea extract and Camellia Sinensis Leaf (green tea) extract offer protective antioxidant benefits.
The gel-cream has a rich texture but sinks in quickly like a gel. It keeps your under-eye area hydrated and moisturized like a cream. Unfortunately, it is fragranced which is not ideal for the sensitive and delicate skin under your eyes.
|✅ Formulated to Brighten and Hydrate the Under-Eye Area||✅ Cetaphil’s Gel-Cream Texture is Thicker|
|✅ Contain Niacinamide, Glycerin, and Sodium Hyaluronate/Hyaluronic Acid||✅ Cetaphil Contains Fragrance|
WHICH EYE CREAM IS BETTER?
CeraVe Eye Repair Cream has long been one of my favorite drugstore eye creams and continues to be after trying Cetaphil for one reason: Cetaphil is fragranced. If fragrance doesn’t bother you, Cetaphil could be a great choice for you.
I really love the ingredient list of Cetaphil Eye Gel-Cream and it moisturizes and hydrates under the eyes and works well under makeup. I just wish it wasn’t fragranced.
While I don’t expect miracles from any eye cream, CeraVe Eye Repair Cream hydrates, brightens, and works well under makeup and concealer. Plus, it’s fragrance-free so CeraVe wins this comparison.
CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion vs Cetaphil Daily Oil-Free Hydration Lotion
CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is a super lightweight night cream formulated with niacinamide, sodium hyaluronate, and three essential ceramides, which help to strengthen the skin’s natural moisture barrier while you sleep. Think of ceramides as the glue that holds skin cells together. Ceramides strengthen and protect the skin’s natural barrier.
This facial moisturizer uses CeraVe’s Multivesicular Emulsion (MVE) Delivery Technology to keep skin hydrated for up to 24 hours and to replenish the skin’s barrier function. Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, calms, brightens, and increases cellular turnover. Sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) improves the skin’s ability to retain moisture.
This non-comedogenic moisturizer won’t clog pores or cause acne or breakouts. Plus it’s fragrance-free. This oil-free moisturizer is ideal for normal to oily skin.
Cetaphil Daily Oil-Free Hydration Lotion is a lightweight oil-free moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump dry skin, and seal in moisture for 24 hours. The lightweight texture sinks in quickly and doesn’t interfere with makeup.
Cetaphil recommends this lotion for combination skin, but I think normal and oily skin types would also benefit from this lightweight lotion. It’s non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic and fragrance free.
|✅ Ideal for Normal to Oily Skin||✅ CeraVe contains more actives|
|✅ Contain Hydrating Sodium Hyaluronate/Hyaluronic Acid|
While both are lightweight moisturizers (even the bottles are shaped the same!) and work well for oily and acne prone skin, CeraVe contains the following additional actives to restore the skin barrier and provide anti-aging benefits while you sleep:
WHICH OIL-FREE LOTION IS BETTER?
While both moisturizers are lightweight and hydrating, CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion wins out for the extra actives in its formula including niacinamide and ceramides that moisturize and protect skin while offering anti-aging benefits.
NOTE: CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is one of my favorite CeraVe products. It immediately leaves my combination skin soft, plump, and moisturized. It’s light enough that it can be used during the day, too, even though it is formulated to be a PM moisturizer.
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream vs Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is CeraVe’s best-selling product. This rich cream moisturizes and protects your skin’s barrier with actives that nourish normal, dry, and even very dry skin. This CeraVe cream is formulated with three essential ceramides, Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, Ceramide EOP. Ceramides are lipids that are naturally found in the skin. They support a healthy skin barrier and help and protect and hydrate the skin.
This CeraVe moisturizer also contains sodium hyaluronate, the salt form of hyaluronic acid, for hydration and to help the skin retain moisture. Glycerin is a humectant that moisturizes, and pure vitamin E provides antioxidant protection and soothes the skin.
This moisturizing cream is formulated with CeraVe’s patented MVE Delivery Technology to release moisturizing ingredients throughout the day. It’s rich but non-greasy and works just as well on your body as it does on your face.
Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is a rich cream that is formulated for 24 hours hydration. Ideal for very dry and sensitive skin, this cream binds water to the skin within 24 hours to prevent moisture loss and support the skin barrier.
It is formulated with glycerin, sunflower oil, and vitamin E to soothe and moisturize dry skin. It is formulated specifically for the body: your hands, feet knees, elbows, and other dry areas without leaving your skin greasy or oily.
|✅ Non-Comedogenic||✅ Cetaphil is Formulated for the Body|
|✅ Fragrance-Free||✅ CeraVe is Formulated for the Face and Body|
|✅ Paraben-free||✅ CeraVe Contains More Actives|
WHICH MOISTURIZING CREAM IS BETTER?
I really like both of these creams. I think CeraVe wins this comparison since it includes more potent actives such as ceramides and sodium hyaluronate to restore the skin barrier and lock in moisture. Plus, CeraVe’s formula is more versatile, as it can be used on both the face and body.
CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream vs Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Cream
CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream is a thick and rich night cream that is formulated with multiple actives: biomimetic peptides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides.
The biomimetic peptide Kollaren (Tripeptide-1) is supposed to stimulate collagen and per the manufacturer, might be an option for acne-prone skin as it can help to reduce the look of acne scars. Chronoline (Caprooyl Tetrapeptide-3) may help to reduce the look of wrinkles and fine lines.
This rich night cream is intensely moisturizing and the ceramides create a noticeable smooth protective film on the skin to restore the skin barrier while you sleep. The cream contains CeraVe’s MVE technology to release moisturizing ingredients throughout the night.
Ideal for all skin types, this moisturizer would be an excellent choice for dry and dehydrated skin.
Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Cream is all about hydration. This rich cream improves moisture while helping to protect the skin’s natural moisture barrier. It builds moisture in the skin for up to 24 hours.
It is formulated with olive fruit oil, rich in oleic acid, a fatty acid that nourishes the skin. This plant oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamin E. The cream also contains glycerin and additional vitamin E to soothe and moisturize the skin.
This Cetaphil cream is extremely hydrating, so much so that it would probably not be the best choice for combination and oily skin. Instead, this cream is ideal for those with normal to dry skin and even those with sensitive skin. Those with dry skin would really appreciate the intense hydration, moisture, and skin barrier protection provided by this cream.
|✅ Formulated to Hydrate Dry Skin||✅ Different Active Ingredients|
CeraVe contains sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) to hydrate while Cetaphil contains olive fruit extract for hydration. The textures are different, as CeraVe is thicker and forms a film on the skin. Cetaphil isn’t as thick but leaves skin very hydrated. (Cetaphil left my skin very shiny but not greasy.)
WHICH HYDRATING CREAM IS BETTER?
Once again, CeraVe formulates its products with multiple actives to address multiple skin concerns, so due to the inclusion of niacinamide and anti-aging peptides, CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream is my pick due to its anti-aging benefits. For really dry skin in need of hydration, Cetaphil might be a good option, as it is intensely rich and hydrating.
CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 vs Cetaphil Ultra Sheer Mineral Sunscreen
CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 is a 100% mineral broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 sun protection in the form of 6% titanium dioxide and 5% zinc oxide.
CeraVe formulated this sunscreen with skin-loving ingredients like three essential ceramides to lock in moisture and protect the skin barrier. Niacinamide offers anti-inflammatory properties, brightens the skin, boosts collagen production and strengthens the skin barrier. Sodium hyaluronate is moisture-binding and helps skin hold onto water.
This mineral sunscreen is tinted a medium shade to help offset any potential white cast that typically comes along with mineral sunscreens. It’s fragrance-free, oil-free, paraben-free, non-comedogenic and suitable for those with sensitive skin.
Related Post: The Best Drugstore Mineral Sunscreens
Cetaphil Ultra Sheer Mineral Sunscreen is an ultra-lightweight 100% mineral broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 50 sun protection in the form of 12% zinc oxide to protect against UVA and AVB rays. The sheer formula hydrates skin without leaving a white cast or greasy or oily residue.
Like CeraVe, this sunscreen is formulated with skincare actives like niacinamide, a brightening, calming and anti-inflammatory ingredient. It also contains pure Vitamin E a potent antioxidant that soothes the skin. Allantoin from the comfrey plant and bisabolol from chamomile provide additional soothing, softening, and skin protection.
This Cetaphil product dries to a matte finish, making it ideal for those with combination or oily skin types. It also works well under makeup due to its elegant texture and sheer formula.
All products in Cetaphil’s Cheer Mineral Sunscreen Line defend against the 5 signs of skin sensitivity:
- Weakened Skin Barrier
These qualities makes this mineral sunscreen perfect for sensitive skin. In addition, it is water-resistant up to 80 minutes, paraben-free and fragrance-free.
|✅ 100% Mineral Formulas||✅ CeraVe is SPF 30, Cetaphil is SPF 50|
|✅ Fragrance-Free||✅ CeraVe is Ideal for Normal to Dry Skin|
|✅ Paraben-free||✅ Cetaphil is Ideal for Normal to Oily Skin|
|✅ Cetaphil is a Liquid Formula with a Matte Finish|
|✅ CearVe Contains 6% Titanium Dioxide and 5% Zinc Oxide, Cetaphil Contains 12% Zinc Oxide|
WHICH MINERAL SUNSCREEN IS BETTER?
If you want a sunscreen with the highest sun protection, then you should choose Cetaphil, as it has SPF 50 compared to CeraVe’s SPF 30. Since CeraVe’s formula is tinted a medium shade, it may not work for all skin tones.
Otherwise, choose based on your skin type. Those with dry skin may prefer CeraVe’s formula while those with combination and oily skin might prefer Cetaphil for its lightweight texture and matte finish.
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar vs Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar is a soap-free cleansing bar formulated with 5% moisturizing cream. Ideal for normal to dry skin this bar cleanser removes dirt oil and makeup without stripping your skin’s natural moisture barrier. It has CeraVe’s patented MVE Delivery Technology built in to release moisture for up to 24 hours.
This bar cleanser contains glycerin, three essential ceramides, and sodium hyaluronate to hydrate, nourish and protect your skin. Plus it’s non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, and accepted by the National Eczema Association, which means that it meets its criteria for use by those with sensitive skin or eczema.
Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar is a soap-free cleansing bar that contains five nourishing ingredients to cleanse the skin and remove makeup, dirt, and oil without over-drying the skin.
This gentle cleansing bar can be used on both the face and body. While suitable for all skin types, it is specially formulated for dry and sensitive skin. Non-comedogenic and free of soap and detergents.
|✅ Soap-Free||✅ CeraVe is for Normal to Dry Skin, Cetaphil is for All Skin Types|
|✅ Non-Comedogenic||✅ CeraVe Contains More Actives|
|✅ Good for Sensitive Skin||✅ Cetaphil Contains Fragrance|
WHICH CLEANSING BAR SOAP IS BETTER?
Both cleansing bars are formulated without soap to be non-drying and gentle on the skin and can be used by those with sensitive skin. CeraVe has an extra endorsement for those with eczema by the National Eczema Association.
While I stick to liquid cleansers and cleansing balms for my face, these cleansing bars are perfect for dry skin on your body. Although Cetaphil has a creamier foam, I prefer CeraVe for its fragrance-free formula and actives: ceramides and sodium hyaluronate.
Final Thoughts on CeraVe vs Cetaphil
Both CeraVe and Cetaphil are loved by dermatologists and skincare enthusiasts for their no-frills formulas that work for a variety of skin types and skin conditions. The products are affordably priced, too, making them both accessible and effective.
Whenever I need to take a break from strong actives like retinol and acids, I reach for these brands to soothe and replenish my skin barrier. Which is better? It depends on your skin and your skin issues. I tend to reach for CeraVe more often as I love the ceramides and other actives in their formulas Cetaphil has excellent products, too.
Thanks for reading!