Drugstore skincare brands Vanicream and CeraVe offer similar products at affordable prices. But is one brand better than the other? And which one is right for your skin concerns and your skin type?
Today, we’ll take a look at four products from each brand and compare them side-by-side. I’ll compare eight product formulations to help you determine which brand is right for you in this post on Vanicream vs CeraVe.
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Vanicream vs CeraVe
Skincare products from both Vanicream and CeraVe are available at most drugstores and online retailers, making it easy to try them both and see which one works better for you. So, which one should you choose?
Vanicream is a skincare line that is specifically formulated for sensitive skin. While CeraVe isn’t formulated specifically for sensitive skin many CeraVe products contain moisturizing ingredients that are beneficial for those with sensitive skin.
If you have very sensitive skin, Vanicream is probably the best choice. Their products contain limited ingredients and are specifically formulated to be gentle and avoid triggering any skin sensitivities.
If you prefer products that contain more actives, CeraVe may be the better option. Most CeraVe products contain three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid, both of which can help to hydrate and nourish the skin.
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser vs CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser is a gentle, soap-free cleanser that is formulated for even the most sensitive skin. It removes makeup, dirt, and oil without drying out your skin.
The fragrance-free formula is basic and contains moisturizing glycerin and gentle surfactants.
The foaming gel cleanser is pH balanced and does not contain any harsh cleansing agents. It also does not contain any botanical extracts or essential oils. It’s non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores or cause breakouts or acne.
It also received the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance, which is given to products that are suitable for those with eczema or sensitive skin.
The face wash deeply cleanses your skin and removes dirt, makeup, and oil while supporting a healthy skin barrier.
The cleanser contains CeraVe’s three essential ceramides (Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, Ceramide EOP) that are the same as those naturally found in our skin. Ceramides are lipids that help to restore and lock in moisture and maintain your skin’s protective moisture barrier.
Ceramides are like the glue that holds skin cells together, and they are essential for keeping your skin hydrated. Decreased ceramide levels have been linked to skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.
The cleanser also contains hyaluronic acid in its salt form of sodium hyaluronate to attract and hold moisture in the skin.
Cholesterol is another lipid that is included in the cleanser to help support the skin’s moisture levels. Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is included to help soothe and calm the skin.
The cleanser uses CeraVe’s proprietary MVE technology to encapsulate ceramides to enable their continuous delivery to the skin barrier.
The foaming wash is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic.
NOTE: If you have normal to dry skin, CeraVe offers additional liquid cleansers:
CeraVe also offers liquid cleansers for oily and acne-prone skin:
Vanicream vs CeraVe: Foaming Cleansers
While CeraVe offers multiple liquid facial cleansers, Vanicream only offers one.
Since Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser is a foaming cleanser, I’m comparing it to CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. Both are fragrance-free and formulated to be gentle on the skin.
If you have sensitive skin, Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser contains fewer actives, is less likely to irritate your skin, and has the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.
On the other hand, CeraVe contains more actives like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides to support the skin’s barrier function.
Vanicream has a runny, opaque, gel-like texture, whereas Cerave is a runny, clear gel. Both come in pump bottles and foam nicely on the skin.
Vanicream comes in 2.5 oz. and 8 oz. sizes, while CeraVe offers a few more sizes: 3 oz., 8 oz., 12 oz., and 16 oz.
THE BOTTOM LINE: If you’re looking for a gentle but effective facial cleanser for sensitive skin, Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser is the better option. If you’re not particularly sensitive but have normal to oily skin and are looking for something that will help hydrate, repair, and nourish your skin, consider CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser.
Vanicream Moisturizing Cream vs CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
Vanicream Moisturizing Cream
Vanicream Moisturizing Cream is formulated to maintain moisture levels in the skin and soothes and calm redness, irritation, and dry, itchy, cracked skin.
It has a short ingredient list that contains petrolatum, also known as Vaseline or petroleum jelly. Petrolatum is an occlusive agent that forms a barrier on the skin to lock in moisture.
The cream is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores and doesn’t contain botanical extracts or essential oils. The moisturizer is formulated without common allergens like fragrance, dyes, lanolin, parabens, and formaldehyde.
It’s ideal for atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, psoriasis, ichthyosis, and winter itch, and can be used on the face, hands, and body.
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is designed to restore your skin barrier. A compromised skin barrier can lead to dryness, itchiness, and a feeling of tightness.
The cream contains ingredients that help to replenish your skin, such as CeraVe’s three essential ceramides that lock in moisture and replenish the skin barrier.
Like Vanicream, it also contains petrolatum (petroleum jelly), which forms a barrier on the skin to lock in moisture.
Sodium hyaluronate (the salt form of hyaluronic acid) acts like a sponge and helps the skin retain moisture. It also contains cholesterol and phytosphingosine, which are lipids that help repair and restore the skin barrier.
Formulated for normal to dry skin, the cream is lightweight, non-sticky, and sinks into your skin quickly. It uses CeraVe’s MVE delivery technology to slowly release the ingredients over time for all-day hydration.
This CeraVe cream can be used as a body and/or facial moisturizer. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic.
Related Post: CeraVe vs Cetaphil
Vanicream vs CeraVe: Moisturizing Creams
Both creams are fragrance-free and contain petrolatum, which is an occlusive ingredient that reduces water loss in the skin and locks in moisture.
Vanicream contains minimal ingredients, making it ideal for sensitive skin.
CeraVe contains more nourishing actives like ceramides and hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate) and other emollient lipids. CeraVe is also formulated to deliver long-lasting moisture with its MVE Technology.
Both Vanicream and CeraVe moisturizing creams are thicker and heavier on the skin than their lotion counterparts (discussed below).
Between the two, CeraVe feels slightly lighter on the skin.
Vanicream is available in a 2 oz. tube, 4 oz. tube, 16 oz. jar and a 16 oz. jar with pump. CeraVe is available in a 1.89 oz. tube, 8 oz. tube, 12 oz. jar, 16 oz. jar, and a 19 oz. jar (the larger jars are also available with pumps).
THE BOTTOM LINE: Again, if you have sensitive skin, Vanicream Moisturizing Cream will probably be the better option. This CeraVe moisturizer is a great choice if you prefer more nourishing skincare actives.
Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion vs CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion
Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion is a lighter version of Vanicream Moisturizing Cream. Like the cream, it soothes irritated, red, cracking, or itchy skin.
It has a minimal ingredient list and contains petrolatum, which acts as a barrier to lock in moisture. It’s also free of common allergens like fragrance, dyes, lanolin, parabens, and formaldehyde.
The lightweight lotion spreads easily, isn’t greasy or sticky, and leaves your skin feeling soft.
It’s non-comedogenic, ie. it won’t clog your pores, and doesn’t contain potentially irritating ingredients like botanical extracts or essential oils.
This Vanicream product has received the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association, which is given to products that have been shown to be suitable for people with eczema and sensitive skin.
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion for normal to dry skin is a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer that provides long-lasting hydration and replenishes the skin barrier.
The lotion contains three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid to help restore the skin’s natural barrier and prevent moisture loss.
Like the other CeraVe products, this moisturizer uses CeraVe’s MVE Technology to provide 24-hour hydration. This technology is designed to help the skin hold onto moisture and prevent dryness.
This CeraVe lotion can be used as a body and/or facial moisturizer. It is non-comedogenic and fragrance-free.
Vanicream vs CeraVe: Moisturizing Lotions
The comparison between Vanicream and CeraVe lotions is very similar to the comparison between the creams. Both lotions are lighter than their cream counterparts.
The most noticeable difference is that Vanicream contains oil-based petrolatum, while CeraVe is oil-free.
CeraVe contains more active ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid in the form of sodium hyaluronate.
Vanicream contains minimal ingredients making it more suitable for easily irritated and sensitive skin types. It also has the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association.
Both lotions feel light and comfortable on the skin, but once again, CeraVe feels a bit lighter than Vanicream, probably since Vanicream contains petrolatum, which is an occlusive and can make the cream feel a bit heavier.
Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion is available in a 2 oz. tube, an 8 oz. tube, and a 16 oz bottle with a pump. CeraVe is available in a 3 oz. bottle, 8 oz. bottle, 12 oz. bottle, and 19 oz. bottle.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion should appeal to those will irritated and highly sensitized skin. CeraVe is an oil-free option and contains more actives to hydrate and moisturize the skin.
Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer vs CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer
Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer is formulated specifically for sensitive skin and contains ingredients that are naturally found in the skin.
Unlike the other Vanicream products in this post, the moisturizer is notable because it contains some skin-beneficial actives:
Squalane is a saturated hydrocarbon that’s similar to our skin’s natural sebum, which provides lightweight moisture. Squalane is ideal for all skin types, as its texture and composition is suitable for acne-prone skin, while its moisturizing properties are beneficial for dry skin.
The Vanicream moisturizer also contains hyaluronic acid, a humectant that helps the skin attract and retain moisture.
Other notable ingredients include three ceramides (Ceramide EOP, Ceramide NG, Ceramide NP), which help to restore and maintain the skin barrier, and carnosine, a peptide that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The moisturizer doesn’t contain ingredients that could irritate sensitive skin, like botanical extracts or essential oils, and it’s non-comedogenic, so it won’t cause breakouts or worsen acne by clogging pores.
The fragrance-free moisturizer is pH-balanced and has a lightweight texture. It is non-greasy and leaves skin feeling soft, smooth, and nourished.
CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is an oil-free night cream that is formulated with soothing and nourishing ingredients to repair the skin barrier.
It’s formulated with niacinamide, a multi-benefit active that has been shown to help with skin brightening, evening out the skin tone, and reducing inflammation. It also helps restore the skin barrier and smoothes fine lines and wrinkles.
The night cream also contains CeraVe’s three essential ceramides to improve moisture, as well as hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate) to hydrate and plump the skin. Lipids, including cholesterol and phytosphingosine, support a healthy skin barrier.
Like all CeraVe products, the night cream uses the brand’s MVE delivery technology to provide hydration that lasts through the night.
Due to the lightweight texture, this cream would be ideal for those with normal to oily skin.
The lotion is super lightweight, which makes it ideal for use during the day as well. Just be sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher after this moisturizer in your morning skin care routine.
NOTE: CeraVe offers a day moisturizer with SPF in addition to this night moisturizer. This post compares the CeraVe night moisturizer to Vanicream since neither contains SPF, and both can be used during the day.
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Vanicream vs CeraVe: Facial Moisturizers
Vanicream offers only one moisturizer specially formulated for the face: Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer. This moisturizer strays a bit from the minimal ingredient formulas of the Vanicream cream and lotion, as it contains a few additional skincare actives.
Both facial moisturizers contain ceramides and hyaluronic acid. Vanicream also contains squalane, while CeraVe contains niacinamide and nourishing lipids.
Both Vanicream and CeraVe are super lightweight and feel weightless on the skin, but Vanicream has a slightly thinner texture and feel.
Both moisturizers are 3 oz.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Both moisturizers offer super lightweight nourishment for the skin. Once again, if you have sensitive skin or easily irritated skin, Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer could be a good choice for you. If you want a moisturizer with more active ingredients, consider CeraVe.
Vanicream vs CeraVe: Which Brand Should You Choose?
Both Vanicream and CeraVe offer products that can help moisturize and protect the skin. They are both gentle and safe for people with sensitive skin. However, there are some differences between the two brands.
Vanicream has a long-standing reputation for being gentle on sensitive skin since many of the brand’s products are formulated with minimal actives and non-irritating ingredients. It is a great choice for people who can’t tolerate more traditional moisturizers.
Cerave, on the other hand, is backed by years of scientific research and focuses on using gentle actives in their skincare products that help restore the skin barrier. They focus on ceramides and use their MVE Technology to deliver hydration and moisture throughout the day.
While product pricing varies from retailer to retailer, the brands are very similarly priced.
If you have sensitive skin and are looking for paired-down, minimal-ingredient products that soothe your skin, Vanicream products would be a great choice. Otherwise, go with CeraVe products, all of which contain ceramides that help restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier.
I like both Vanicream and CeraVe products since their products contain no unnecessary ingredients, which is really helpful when my skin is inflamed after using retinol or AHAs, or during the winter months when my skin is dehydrated and flaky.
Please note that I have somewhat sensitive skin, but I can tolerate both brands.
I reach for CeraVe products more often because they use skin-loving ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides, which my skin drinks in.
While I prefer the lightweight and nourishing feel of Vanicream Gentle Daily Cleanser to CeraVe, I tend to reach for Cerave Lotion, Moisturizer, and PM Lotion more often than Vanicream corresponding products.
Thanks for reading!