Cerave vs Cetaphil – which skincare brand is better for you? We have spent over 30 hours of research to find out!
Both Cerave and Cetaphil are great brands if you are looking to build a new skincare routine. Want to know the differences?
Below, seven categories of skincare products (daily moisturizer, cleansers, night cream, eye cream, exfoliator, hyaluronic acid serum, and body lotion) in the Cerave and Cetaphil range go head to head.
We reveal the differences between these similar skincare products, and which brand is better for you in each category based on your unique needs and skin type!
Cerave Vs Cetaphil: Overall Brand Comparison
Cerave and Cetaphil are two of the most talked-about skincare brands when it comes to good bang for your buck! Great for skincare beginners and those on a budget, both brands focus on creating products with carefully chosen ingredients that really work to tackle particular skin concerns.
However, reflected in the more affordable price point, both Cerave and Cetaphil are not the most luxury brands, nor do they have beautiful packaging. The branding is basic, but if the ingredients are good and the products work in their skincare routine, it’s easy to overlook the packaging.
Main Differences Between Cerave And Cetaphil
Cerave products utilize a special slow-release technology to provide the skin benefits of each product gradually throughout the day, plus they contain a special Cerave blend of 3 ceramides to help repair the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
Cetaphil’s formulas tend to be more basic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Cerave is better. Cetaphil can work better on sensitive skin even though some of the products are fragranced.
Cerave never use fragrance in their products while Cetaphil sometimes do add fragrance to their skincare. Whether or not you like fragrance is totally down to personal preference, however if you have sensitivity, many skin care professionals advise against adding fragranced products to your skincare routine.
Even though Cetaphil products are fragranced, they are specially designed for sensitivity and many customers vouch that they work great for this skin type. Both brands create products that are targeted towards certain skin concerns and types.
Below we compare the top daily face moisturizers, night creams, cleansers, eye creams, hyaluronic acid serums, and body lotions for each line and let you know which one is best for your particular skin type and skin concern!
1) CeraVe vs Cetaphil: Daily Facial Moisturizers With SPF 30
Cetaphil Pro Oil Absorbing Moisturizer with SPF 30 vs CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
Cetaphil = 4 ounces
Cerave = 3 ounces
- Both oil free
- Both non comedogenic
- Both broad spectrum SPF 30 (UVA and UVB protection) sun protection for preventing both burning and sun aging
- Cetaphil is a purely chemical SPF: Avobenzone (3%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (7%)
- Cerave is a mostly chemical SPF: [with the exception of mineral Zinc Oxide]: Homosalate (10%), Meradimate (5%), Octinoxate (5%), Octocrylene (2%), Zinc Oxide (6.3%)
- Both designed for daytime use
- Both fragrance free
Key Differences: Skin Type (Dry vs Oily) And Skin Benefits (Shine Control vs Redness)
Dry Skin Vs Oily
Cetaphil’s daily moisturizer was designed for oily and combination skin, while Cerave is advertised for all types of skin.
Cetaphil is targeted towards those with skin sensitivity issues.
Different Key Ingredients & Skin Benefits: Shine Control vs Redness and Moisture Retention
Cetaphil’s daily facial moisturizer reduces shine, hydrates, absorbs oil, and gives a matte finish to oily skin using their special micropearl technology. It utilizes Olesome technology – a special lower concentration of sunscreen filters to ensure more hydration and less skin irritation. Great for oily skin, it is lightweight, oil free, does not feel greasy, and absorbs into the skin quickly!
Cerave’s AM facial moisturizer contains niacinamide to tackle redness and to help calm skin. Plus, it contains three essential ceramides (1, 3, and 6-11) to retain moisture in your skin and block out impurities. The added hyaluronic acid helps retain the moisture of your skin.
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Both of these facial moisturizers have impressive customer feedback.
Cerave promises no white cast, and customer reviews assure that Cetaphil does not leave a white cast either – meaning it is suitable for any skin tone.
Some reviewers find the Cerave dries a lot quicker than the Cetaphil facial moisturizer, while others said the opposite – Cetaphil absorbed better, and Cerave created small white balls of cream on their faces.
The main difference in reception typically comes down to skin type. Customers with oily skin tend to strongly prefer the Cerave moisturizer over the Cetaphil. Cerave was well-received by all skin types.
Which Is Better For Me?
If You Have Oily (Even Sensitive) Skin:
If you have oily or combination skin, Cetaphil’s oil free formula will work well for you as it was specially designed for your skin type (even if you have sensitivity). The Cetaphil moisturizer provides oil control, reduces shine, absorbs quickly and provides a matte effect.
If You Have Acne Prone, Normal, Or Dry Skin:
For any other skin type, the Cerave AM moisturizer is a better option. Thanks to the niacinamide, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid, this Cerave daily moisturizer is great even if you have troubled skin.
2) Night Time Moisturizing Creams: Cerave vs Cetaphil
Cerave = 3 ounces
Cetaphil = 1.7 ounces
- Both designed for night time use
- Both are fragrance free and paraben free
- Both are non comedogenic and hypoallergenic
Differences: Ingredients, Skin Type
Cerave vs Cetaphil: Cerave Is Oil Free and For All Skin Types | Cetaphil Eases Redness, Sensitivity & Dry Skin
This Cerave moisturizing cream is oil free while Cetaphil’s version contains seed oil.
The nighttime Cetaphil facial moisturizer is designed to tackle redness prone skin, and rehydrates sensitive and dry skin. It contains licorice extract, allantoin, and caffeine to counteract redness while also maintaining moisture.
Meanwhile, the Cerave moisturizer is marketed for all types of skin. Among other moisturizing ingredients, it contains hyaluronic acid to attract hydration to the surface of the skin and keep the moisture in.
Niacinamide provides a calming effect on the skin, and a special slow release Multivesicular Emulsion (MVE) Technology hydrates throughout the night while you are sleeping. Plus, this night cream contains the classic CeraVe ceramides (1, 3, 6-11) to repair the skin’s natural barrier.
Both of these Cerave and Cetaphil moisturizers have overwhelmingly positive feedback. Multiple reviewers said they switched from Cetaphil to Cerave because the pump is annoying on the Cetaphil night cream. Others said they switched from Cerave to Cetaphil because they found the Cetaphil moisturizers are thicker and longer lasting.
Which Night Cream Is Better For Me?
If You Have Dry/Sensitive Skin Or Redness
If you have sensitive or dry skin, especially if you are prone to redness, the Cetaphil night cream is a great option for you. The ingredients are specially targeted towards addressing redness concerns so it’s a great option even if you suffer from skin conditions like rosacea.
If You Have Any Other Skin Type And Are Focused On Nighttime Hydration
The Cerave moisturizer contains a great combination of hydration ingredients to suit common skin concerns. The niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and ceramides address common hydration issues while helping to balance oil production for oily skin!
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3) Cerave vs Cetaphil Cleansers: Four Cleansers For Different Skin Types and Concerns
Both Cerave and Cetaphil offer a range of different cleansers to suit different needs. We have researched the entire range for you and picked the best cleanser for every skin concern!
a) Dry Skin: Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser VS Cerave Hydrating Cleanser
(i) Best For Very Dry Skin: Cerave Hydrating Facial Cleanser For Normal To Dry Skin
The hydrating ingredients make this Cerave Hydrating cleanser range great for dry skin types!
Cerave offers two different facial cleansers for dry skin – a non foaming gel for extremely dry skin, and a cream foaming cleanser version for normal to dry skin types. We recommend the gel version for extremely dry skin.
Cerave cleansers are suitable for both am and pm face and body washing. Plus they can also be used as a hand wash!
The non-foaming version contains hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and the 3 Cerave ceramides to help hydrate your dry skin. Although it’s designed for more normal to dry skin types, the foaming version has an additional amino acid complex to support your skin’s natural moisture barrier.
This Cerave Hydrating cleanser removes dirt, makeup, and oil without stripping your skin, leaving your skin prepped for moisturizer. It does not feel greasy and leaves your skin hydrated for 24 hours.
It’s free from fragrance, parabens, and soap. Additionally, this Hydration cleanser will not clog your pores or dry out and irritate your skin. Cerave’s cleanser is certified by the National Eczema Association and works well for contact lense wearers.
Therefore the non-foaming cleanser version is good for sensitive skin, but the Cetaphil Gentle foaming Cleanser below is even better for dry sensitive types.
(ii) Best for Dry Skin That Is Also Sensitive: Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser
Unlike the gel and cream-to-foam Cerave formulas, Cetaphil’s Gentle skin cleanser is a non foaming creamy cleanser. The gentle creamy hypoallergenic formula, micellar technology, and gentle ingredients list, make it ideal for dry sensitive skin!
This creamy cleanser is designed for a gentle daily clean that helps to soothe sensitive skin while retaining moisture. You can use this Cetaphil product with or without water. It helps clean out dirt, impurities, and makeup without drying out the skin, and helps keep your natural pH balance! Great for softness on even the most sensitive skin.
The Cetaphil Gentle foaming cleanser utilizes micellar technology to attract all the dirt, makeup, and excess oil and remove it from your skin.
Although it can work for any skin type, Cetaphil’s Gentle cleanser is targeted towards dry and sensitive skin types. It is soap free, hypoallergenic, fragrance free, and pH balanced for sensitive skin. Cetaphil claims it is more gentle than water!
This cleanser is suitable even if you have acne, rosacea, dermatitis, or eczema. Plus, it’s ideal if you suffer from dryness caused by anti-acne medication or creams.
b) Oily Skin: Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser VS Cerave Hydrating Cleanser
(i) Oily, Acne Prone Skin: Cerave Foaming Cleanser For Normal To Oily skin
If you have oily, acne prone skin it can be tempting to use harsh facial cleansers that will completely strip all of the oils from your face. However, that will trigger an overproduction of oil. This Cerave cleanser regulates oil production and hydrates to balance the oiliness of your skin.
A gel to foam formula, this Cerave cleanser is targeted towards oily and normal skin types. It looks like a gel as you apply it, and then transforms to a foam as you gently work it into your skin.
The ingredients were formulated with oily and acne prone skin in mind. Niacinamide helps to calm your skin from redness and regulates excess oil production, the hyaluronic acid is both hydrating and smoothing, and the Cerave 3 essential ceramides repair the skin’s moisture barrier.
Cerave facial cleansers remove dead skin cells, dirt, excess oil, and makeup without drying, stripping the skin, or leaving your skin feeling super tight.
This cleanser was developed in collaboration with dermatologists. Acne prone customers will be happy to know that it is fragrance free and does not clog pores. Plus, this Cerave cleanser can be used on the body and hands too if you suffer from body acne!
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(ii) Oily and Sensitive Types: Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Oily Skin Cleanser
This gentle foam Cetaphil cleanser is ideal for normal to oily skin. It is non irritating and specially designed for very sensitive types.
It deeply cleanses makeup, dirt, and excess oil without drying out your skin. A low lather gentle foam cleanser, this Cetaphil cleanser does not leave your skin feeling tight – instead, it feels fresh and prepped for moisturizer immediately after cleansing.
This Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser contains Glycerine, a skincare ingredient known to work well with oily skin. If you are oily, you know the importance of balancing excess oil production – this humectant helps locks in moisture to balance your skin.
Like the Cerave Foaming cleanser for oily and acne prone skin, this Cetaphil competitor is non comedogenic, and it is hypoallergenic for sensitive skin. However, this option does contain fragrance, unlike the Cerave oily skin cleanser.
4) Cerave Vs Cetaphil: Exfoliator
Cerave Chemical Salycilic Acid Smoothing Cleanser Vs Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub Physical Exfoliating Cleanser
Cerave = 8 ounce
Cetaphil = 6 ounce
These exfoliants do not have many similarities as they use different exfoliating methods and address different skincare concerns.
- Both non-comedogenic
Key Difference Cerave Vs Cetaphil: Designed For Acne Prone Skin vs Sensitive Skin
Tackling Acne: CeraVe Salycilic Acid Smoothing Cleanser
CeraVe’s Acne Control Cleanser is a chemical exfoliator. It contains 2% salicylic acid, a chemical exfoliant (a beta hydroxy acid [BHA]) that helps reduce acne, blackheads, pores, and remove dead skin cells.
Unlike Cetaphil’s physical exfoliant, this Cerave chemical exfoliant does not feel as rough on the skin as you apply it.
It’s a foaming cleanser. Cerave Acne Control exfoliator applies like a gel and transforms into a light foaming consistency as you lather it on the skin. It helps to smooth, hydrate, and cleanse your skin without stripping the skin of all of its natural oils.
Cerave added its usual 3 essential ceramides to this cleanser to strengthen your skin’s natural protective barrier. The added niacinamide helps regulate excess oil and calms the skin. Plus, the purifying clay also absorbs excess oils to address clogged pores. Great if you want to prevent further break outs on acne prone skin!
Unlike the Cetaphil exfoliant, this Cerave BHA face wash is fragrance free.
Sensitive Skin: Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub
Although it is gentle enough for all skin types, Cetaphil targets this product towards sensitivity and normal skin. The super fine exfoliating granules gently exfoliate dead skin cells while cleansing to promote cell turnover for s healthier look and feel.
The glycerin and combination of Vitamin E and B5 conditions your skin, and helps leave your skin glowing and soft.
Formulated specifically with sensitivity in mind – this gentle physical exfoliant is non-comedogenic, and non-irritating.
Unlike the Cerave chemical exfoliant, this Cetaphil physical exfoliant is not fragrance free.
Both exfoliants have brilliant feedback. Some customers said Cetaphil is almost too gentle on their skin, others said it’s the only exfoliator gentle enough for their skin.
Cerave is also a hit, however, as with other chemical exfoliators, some reviews point out that you have to careful you don’t use it too much. It’s great for blackheads and adult acne.
Which Is Better For Me?
If You Have Sensitive Skin And Do Not Want A Chemical Exfoliator
The vitamin E Cetaphil physical exfoliant is ideal if you have sensitive skin and love gentle exfoliating scrubs to remove dead skin cells. Chemical exfoliators like the Cerave version can be intimidating for newbies, this gentle physical exfoliant is a good option for those who want a softer alternative to the classic exfoliating scrubs like the St Ives Apricot scrub.
If You Have Oily Or Acne Prone Skin And Are Comfortable Trying Chemical Exfoliants
If you have oily and blemished skin, opt for the Cerave chemical exfoliant. The chemical exfoliating ingredient – salicylic acid – is known to work well at fighting acne and clogged pores. Plus, the niacinamide and clay purifying clay help balance oil production on oily skin types.
5) Cerave Vs Cetaphil: Eye Creams
Cerave Eye Repair Cream vs Cetaphil 48Hr Deep Hydration Refreshing Eye Serum
Cerave = 0.5 ounce
Cetaphil = 0.5 ounce
- Both contain hyaluronic acid
- Both fragrance free
- Both ideal for sensitive skin
Cerave Vs Cetaphil: Dark Circles & Under Eye Bags vs Hydration
Best For Dark Circles & Bags: Cerave Eye Repair Cream
Cerave’s Eye Repair cream was specially designed to minimize dark circles and reduces puffiness under the eyes. The marine and botanical complex help repair the skin barrier and results in healthier, less puffy, and more awake-looking eyes.
Niacinamide calms down puffy under eyes, and hyaluronic acid helps the skin retain moisture to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area. Plus, the special Cerave Multivesicular Emulsion (MVE) patented technology releases slowly to make your skin moisturized for hours and hours.
Cerave’s added 3 essential ceramides support the natural moisture barrier of the skin around the eye area.
This eye cream is designed for use at night, and it also works great as makeup prep before your concealer.
Great for sensitive skin types – this eye cream is non comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and free from fragrance.
Best For Hydration: Cetaphil 48Hr Deep Hydration Refreshing Eye Serum
This Cetaphil eye cream is great if you notice dry skin around the eyes. It uses a unique HydroSensitive Complex to hydrate and soothe sensitive skin for 48 hours. Thanks to the combination of botanical blue daisy, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin e and b5, this cream helps hydrate and smooth fine lines all around the eyes.
it targets dark circles and puffy under eyes for a refreshed look.
Non-irritating, fragrance-free, and tested for sensitive skin types.
Both eye creams have great reviews. The Cetaphil cream makes a big difference to eye dryness in the Winter months. However, some customers found the scent too strong.
Most of the Cerave reviews are rave reviews, saying the product is like an expensive luxury eye cream and a miracle worker, but a minority say it didn’t work for them at all
Which Is Better For Me?
If You Have Dark Circles And Puffy Undereyes
It does hydrate like the Cetaphil version, but the Cerave Eye Repair cream is more targeted towards dark circles and puffy under eyes. The special combination of marine and botanical complex, with hydrating and calming ingredients, ease the eye area and result in a reduction of puffiness and darkness over time.
If You Have Dehydrated Skin Around Your Eyes
Cetaphil’s 48 Hr Deep Hydration Refreshing Eye Serum was specially developed for dry and dehydrated skin around your eye area. It also targets circles and puffiness, but the hydrosensitive complex for 48 hours provides more hydration than the Cerave alternative!
6) Cerave Vs Cetaphil: Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Cerave Hyaluronic Acid Serum Vs Cetaphil Deep Hydration 48 Hour Activation Serum
Cerave = 1 ounce
Cetaphil = 1 ounce
- Both for hydration on dry skin
- Both non comedogenic
Cerave vs Cetaphil: Bonus Hydration Period vs No Fragrance
Cerave utilizes its highest concentration of hyaluronic acid in this serum to keep in your skin’s moisture for a more hydrated, smooth appearance and feel.
Although it is targeted towards dry skin, it also works for oily, acne-prone, and sensitive skin too.
The gel consistency of this Cerave serum has a lightweight feel on the skin. Plus the added ingredients are effective at keeping your skin hydrated! 3 Cerave ceramides tackle the natural moisture barrier of the skin while vitamin B5 helps soothe the skin. The slow release technology helps to moisturize the skin gradually over 24 hours for longer lasting effects.
Like the Cetaphil version, it can be used with other products, but allow this serum to dry first.
Cerave’s Hyaluronic Acid serum is non comedogenic, free from parabens, and unlike the Cetaphil, it does not have a fragrance!
Cetaphil’s hyaluronic acid serum was designed for sensitive dry skin. The special hydrosensitive complex deeply hydrates and eases sensitivity, while providing 48 hours’ worth of rehydration!
Great for layering, this Cetaphil serum absorbs quickly and is easy to layer underneath moisturizers and creams.
The combination of hyaluronic acid, sunflower seed oil, and vitamin E and B5 rehydrate dehydrated and dry skin. It ameliorates the quality of sensitive skin types with regular usage over time.
Although it is non comedogenic and does not irritate sensitive skin, it does contain fragrance.
One customer said she was so surprised at the quality of the Cerave serum. Usually, she will only use high end serums, but she found this Cerave serum amazing! However, a couple of customers did not like the gel consistency.
While most reviewers also love Cetaphil, some found the scent way too overpowering.
Which Is Better For Me?
If You Want Hydration For Longer
The cream Cetaphil hyaluronic serum provides longer lasting hydration – 48 hours compared to Cerave’s promised 24 hours! If you need a longer effect, the Cetaphil version is the one for you.
If You Hate Fragrance In Serums
Although the Cetaphil version lasts longer on the skin, it does contain a fragrance. If you hate fragrances in your serums or are sensitive to scents in products, opt for the gel Cerave hyaluronic acid serum.
7) Cerave Vs Cetaphil: Body Cream
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream Vs Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
Cerave = 19 ounce
Cetaphil = 20 ounce
- Both a face, hands, and body moisturizer to tackle dryness
- Both fragrance free, paraben free, and does not clog pores
Cerave Vs Cetaphil: Itchiness With Skin Conditions vs Extremely Dry Skin
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream – Best For Skin Conditions & Itchiness
Cerave Daily Moisturizing lotion is ideal as a body moisturizer to tackle dryness all over – it works well on the face, body, and hands. The formula includes ceramides, slow-release complex formula, and hyaluronic acid for all-day hydration. This combination of ingredients reduces the itchiness and flakiness associated with drier skin.
Great for dryness, the consistency is a rich gel that soaks into the skin quickly and doesn’t feel greasy.
Plus, it also works well for those with acne or skin conditions like eczema. Cerave Daily Moisturizing lotion is approved by the National Eczema Association.
Suffer from sensitivity? This cream is also tested for allergens, fragrance free, paraben free, and does not clog pores.
Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream – Best For Extreme Dryness
This Cetaphil moisturizing cream is suitable for dry and very dry skin for up to 24 hours of moisturization. The combination of vitamin E, B5, and sweet almond oil work to soothe and moisturize the skin. This cream helps restore the skin’s natural moisture barrier in just one week, prevents loss of moisture, and protects your skin from intense dryness.
Suitable for sensitivity, it does not contain any fragrance or parabens, and it’s non comedogenic too.
Unlike the Cerave alternative, this Cetaphil body moisturizer has a creamy consistency. Cetaphil’s moisturizing cream doesn’t feel greasy on your skin. It works all over the body, including your face and the driest spots of your body (elbows, knees, feet, and hands).
Reviews are fantastic for both products. Many reviewers say the Cerave cream is so great for itchy skin, others said they replaced their expensive body lotion with this one. Multiple Cetaphil reviews mentioned that it truly is better for intense dryness compared to the Cerave version.
Which Is Better For Me?
If You Have Itchy Skin Or Dry Skin With Acne Or Skin Conditions
The gel consistency in the Cerave Daily Moisturizing body lotion addresses dry skin while soothing blemish and eczema-prone skin at the same time. Plus, the reviews indicate that it really works to treat itchiness.
If You Have Super Dry Skin
The creamy consistency of the Cetaphil moisturizing cream is great to treat ultra-dry skin types! The moisturizing ingredients (sweet almond oil, vitamin e and b5) make a big difference in just one week. If you want to treat your dryness and sensitivity with not many other skincare concerns, this is the cream for you!