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Cerave Vs Cetaphil: I Tried Them, Here’s The Winner!

Both Cetaphil and Cerave are gentle on skin and contain simple formulas. The problem is that they are kind of similar, which makes us confused. Cerave Vs Cetaphil: Which one is better? What to choose? What’s The winner?

To answer these and other questions, I used the products myself for about 6 months so I would have enough time to try different products and understand how they worked separately. 

cetaphil products and cerave products

Cerave Vs Cetaphil: What’s The Difference?

Theoretically, both Cetaphil and Cerave cleansers are gentle on skin and contain simpler formulas, but the rule of thumb is: 

  • Cetaphil is specialized in sensitive skin
  • Cerave is specialized in dry skin and hydration

This makes sense because Cerave has more hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid and 3 types of ceramides, while Cetaphil’s main actor is Glycerine which is effective on protection, restoration and skin cicatrization.

They are both hydrating and good quality products, but there are differences however on texture, smell, and how I felt while applying these Products, some are more hydrating than others. We’ll take a look at all that.

For example, I noticed that Cerave’s creams were better absorbed by the skin and not sticky, which feels more comfortable than Cetaphil’s cream that are a bit sticky. On the other hand, I loved Cetaphil’s face and body cleanser because of its texture.

Note: Nowadays, both lines expanded and created a series of products for oily skin, sensitive skin, dry skin, etc. 

Cerave and Cetaphil Products

CERAVE Main Features

Three Essential Ceramides

Ceramides work like glue that holds your skin cell together, leaving the skin’s natural protective barrier rebounded, and consequently moisturized and protected. Cerave combines 3 types of essential ceramides (ceramides 1, 3, e 6-II), that are identical to the ones that are in our skin.

Multivesicular Emulsion (MVE) Delivery Technology

All products from the line count with the Multivesicular Emulsion (MVE) technology, that retains and releases ceramides gradually onto the skin, providing a hydrated skin barrier for longer. 


  • I felt my skin got hydrated, smooth and I also noticed improvements in skin texture using the night cream
  • Love the way I can feel safe using these products as it won’t irritate my skin
  • There is a great variety of products that I can choose from
  • For the most of the time, the skin doesn’t feel sticky or greasy, even by using the products with thick consistency.


  • I think they should have a better product distribution as I can see some products that are available on the site that are not available on the store. Also, I can see some products that are available e some countries and not in other places
  • The price tag is a bit high, which may cause the product not to be accessible to some people.
  • Ironically, I don’t think their eye cream worked for me as it left my skin under my eye a bit dry.

CETAPHIL Main Features

Cerave and Cetaphil Reviews

Cetaphil on the other hand started out as a gentle skincare solution for sensitive skin types. (On their website, Cetaphil states they are specialized in sensitive skin).

They have a pH level that regulates skin’s acid-alkaline balance, meaning that if it is too oily or too dry, you will be able to have more balanced skin.

On their website, I didn’t find clear information on their key ingredient as we can find on Cerave’s website.


  • Extremely gentle
  • Spreads really well on the body 
  • My skin feels super soft. I even can’t stop hubbing my legging onto one another, it feels amazing!
  • Just need a little bit of product and it is enough to entire body 
  • My skin was so dry and looked restored after 3 days of use
  • I noticed a visible improvement on my facial skin texture in less than a week of use
  • It reduced two acne spots that were bothering me


  • I need to complain that the prices are high, as the face and body gentle lotion bottle is so small
  • Some of the cream may leave the skin a bit greasy in comparison with cerave’s texture.

The Verdict: Is Cerave Or Cetaphil Better?

Cleansers cerave and cetaphil

Most people prefer Cerave over Cetaphil for products such as moisturizers, lotions and some cleansers, because of its hydration properties. From my research, most people with dry skin reported to prefer Cerave.

For those with sensitive, normal and oily skin, the opinions are divided but you still find most people will prefer Cerave. If you have a tendency to experience dryness of any degree, then I believe Cerave is slightly better, especially for the face.

If you are dealing with redness and irritation, I believe Cetaphil will best calm the skin down. Let’s break it down into product categories so you can have a better idea.

Creams and lotions

Take a look at this comparison table to for main differences in different categories:

Texture and TouchCerave is not as greasy as cetaphil. Also, cerave will absorb more quickly and have a dry touch.
SmellSome products from Cerave may have a strange smell, while cetaphil has no fragrance.
Skin improvementI notice that both brands can offer skin improvements
Skin hydrationCerave is slightly more hydrating than cetaphil
Removing makeupI honestly don’t like using these brands for makeup removal. But cetaphil would work better for that.
Oil controlTo be honest, I don’t think they both will offer great oil control results.
Sensitivity improvementCetaphil worked beautifully when my hand skin was extremely sensitized.


Cerave and Cetaphil cleansers

I tried the Cetaphil facial cleanser and the Cerave cleansing gel, which are very similar in texture, how it feels on the skin, and they both feel almost the same after washing. However, I felt Cerave’s cleanser was more hydrating than Cetaphil’s cleanser.

However, I had the feeling that Cerave’s face and body washer is much lighter (or not so strong) than Cetaphil and didn’t remove my makeup as I wish. 


Cetaphil Products

Eye Moisturizers

In my opinion, after testing these products for three weeks, I think that Cetaphil Eye Cream worked better for me, for the following reasons:

  • More hydrating
  • Didn’t sensitize my skin
  • Easier to apply

Creams and Lotions

Definitely, the winner in the category of moisturizers and lotions is the Cetaphil Face and Body. It is very efficient, hydrating and leaves the skin super soft. My skin got so soft I was amazed.

But it’s not only about softness and smoothness which are great, but I had real hydrating and repairing results.

In addition, It is very handy to have one unique product to be used on the face and the body.

Sunscreens & SPF


Cerave has a little more advantage because they have more options to choose from. All products are very good so there is quality and quantity. 

Taking a look at what most people are talking about, it seems like cerave is winning the run because it contains ceramides, and more hydrating ingredients such as niacinamide.

Cerave’s texture is less sticky so for me – I took how it feels on my skin as a criterion, because they both do a good job in terms of quality. As I don’t like sticky creams on my skin, I chose cerave.


Many users chose cerave’s serums to treat specific conditions such as acne, post acne scars, and acne. However, it is still interesting to try cetaphil if your skin is overly sensitized.

Vitamin C

Vitamine C

Cerave’s vitamin C serum is formulated for all skin types, so if you have any doubts, you can use it knowing it contains more hydrating ingredients. If you have dull and uneven skin, cetaphil’s serum was specifically designed for you, so I think this is worth trying.

Alternatives to Cetaphil and Cerave

1. First Aid Beauty

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream is safe to be used by the entire family, including children. It has no alcohol in its formula, no artificial colorants, free from artificial fragrances, mineral oils, no parabens and it’s dermatologically tested.

I like their Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration Moisturizer for Face and Body Is vegan cruelty free and has great reviews on the internet and I think you might like it as well.

It costs around 30ish Dollars, depending where you are. Not so much on the super cheap price, but not too expensive as well. 

However I know that this price could be far more than some budgets, but in the end, this is a product that can suit you, even if you have many skin restrictions, so go take a look at the composition for more details.

2. Vanicream

The Vanicream Moisturizing Cream is vegan, cruelty free, and very indicated for sensitive skin. This is another champion of good reviews all over the internet and I am pretty sure you will like it if you are looking for a ‘go green’ alternative to CeraVe or Cetaphil.

The Vanicream Moisturizing Cream is fragrance free, does not contain dyes, no masking fragrances are included in its formula. It’s paraben free, which is a great point, as nowadays more and more people prefer paraben free products.

It’s dermatologically tested, non comedogenic, meaning won’t clog your pores. This is another cream that can be used for many purposes, face, hands, body and even for massage, day and night.

If you suffer from eczema, this is also a good cream. In fact it had won an award seal of acceptance from the national eczema association. It’s also good for sensitive skin.

3. Puracy Organic Hand & Body Lotion, Fragrance Free Unscented Natural Moisturizer

The Puracy Organic Hand & Body Lotion, Fragrance Free Unscented Natural Moisturizer is also highly rated on the internet. Even though it’s indicated to all skin types, it has a special touch of care for sensitive skin.

Its formula is very natural and counts with an organic nut-free formula that contains sunflower oil. Its formula can be considered suave and its creamy texture won’t leave your skin greasy. 

It’s vegan, cruelty free, rich in Vitamin E, includes also shea butter that will provide an excellent deep hydration for your skin.

Another good point to make about the Puracy Organic Hand and Body lotion is that it has no harsh chemicals, so it is free from silicone, parabens, fragrance free, no dyes, etc (see composition for more details). Because of all these restrictions, it is perfect for sensitive skin as well.

4. ACURE Everyday Eczema Lotion | 100% Vegan |For Sensitive & Easily Irritated Skin

ACURE Everyday Eczema Lotion is 100% Vegan and highly indicated For Sensitive and easily Irritated Skin. It’s cruelty-free (not tested on animals) and helps prevent dryness and won’t make your skin crack.

It’s paraben free, sulfate free, and also (temporarily) protects your skin from being chafed and chapped. The formula is fragrance free for sensitive and easily irritated skin.

If you have rashes, results can start being seen with only two weeks of use, and people have reported that this lotion penetrates deep on skin, causing it to feel smoother, healed and hydrated.

This is a brilliant product, the reviews about that cream are absolutely stunning. If you have very dry skin and eczema prone skin, you should definitely try this one.

Cetaphil Products

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which One Is Best For Anti-Aging Skincare?

One reason that people tend to prefer CeraVe for anti-aging is that it is very hydrating.

The more you hydrate your skin, the better it is for preventing aging signs. Fact.

CeraVe combines highly hydrating ingredients to develop its own anti-aging line with retinol.

Retinol, in turn, is one of the most powerful ingredients to prevent fine lines.

Cerave’s Renewing line contains 6 skin care products, to assure you are taking care of your skin from washing to applying night cream.

The results are that skin has been on since the first week, but the anti-aging results, you need to stick with a routine for at least 3 weeks.

At the peace that skin ages, it starts to gradually produce fewer ceramides, it is indeed a good idea to have a product that can help you retard this.

Now, to become even more efficient in anti-aging skin care, Cerave has launched a special line that contains retinol and vitamin C.

These are super ingredients widely used in the anti-aging industry all over the world.

2. Which One Is Better For Eczema?

In terms of Eczema, Cerave is the most effective for treating severe more serious eczema. Cetaphil works best for mild eczema cases, and dermatitis prevention.

3. Which One Is Better For Oily Skin And Acne? 

Is part of CeraVe’s acne skincare routine the acne foaming cream cleanser, Cerave AM and PM moisturizing lotion, and the retinol serum.


Cetaphil has an oily and acne prone skin line too, but I saw over the internet, most people tend to prefer cerave or cetaphil.


However the cetaphil line is also very good, and if you want to try and test it out yourself, here’s our step by step guide.


Both CeraVe and Cetaphil are recommended by dermatologists. In this sense, most people relate Cerve is good to dry skin while Cetaphil is good for sensitive skin.

In fact, dermatologists warn that the real good creams for your skin are the creamy rich creams, with no fragrances and cerave and cetaphil are part of these products.

5. Can I use both Cerave and Cetaphil?

Yes, I have tons of cerave and cetaphil products, as I have products from both lines that I like, I tend to mix them and never had any problems. Sometimes I use the cetaphil cleanser and the cerave’s sunscreen, for example.


Cerave vs cetaphil Final Takes

In all those years as skincare editor, I have never seen all this fuss before. I thought to myself – I should try them out, because there might be something special going on here!

As my skin can vary depending on the country and climate situation. It’s sensitive, oily, but sometimes, it can get dry too. I believed that I could really benefit from these products.

 Sometimes it is hard to compare all these products at once. Here in The Makeup this is my commitment to guide and provide the latest information to help my readers save time and money by making conscious decisions!

Here we get to the end and I would like to invite you to continue with me! Don’t go just yet! If you want, take a look at these articles as well:

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