CeraVe vs Cetaphil: Which is Better? (2021 Review)

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CeraVe and Cetaphil are both amazing skincare brands at unbeatable prices. But which one is better? Today, we’re taking a deep dive into CeraVe vs Cetaphil and giving you the full rundown.

Whether you love nothing more than keeping up with your favorite skincare YouTubers, or you’ve recently seen an influx of aesthetic Instagram posts dedicated to these two brands and are wondering what the hype is about, you don’t need to be a skincare fanatic to have heard the glowing reviews of both CeraVe and Cetaphil’s coveted – yet affordable – skincare products.

Amidst the rise in social media and ever-growing rise in the need for quality skincare that’s actually going to make a difference, both CeraVe and Cetaphil are two brands that have seen huge success in recent years. Besides having amassed huge followings online, both brands have a catalog of hero skincare products that have gotten the seal of approval of both celebs and dermatologists, alike.

CeraVe vs Cetaphil - which is better for moisturizers, cleansers, eye creams and other skincare?


That brings us to the question, then, of which one out of the two is best. If you’ve currently got a bit of space on your skincare shelf and are looking to introduce a new brand into the mix, then this article is going to be taking a deep dive look into both CeraVe and Cetaphil, in order to help you decide which one is better for you and your needs. Let’s jump in!

CeraVe Brand Overview


CeraVe was initially founded in 2005 when many skincare experts began to notice that different types of prevalent and hard to treat skin conditions, such as psoriasis, acne, dry skin, and acne all share the exact same issue – a damaged skin barrier.

For this reason and this reason alone, the creators of CeraVe then took it upon themselves to set out and create a skincare brand that would be able to help target this issue with high levels of efficacy. 

To do this, CeraVe set out by initially developing a small skincare collection that was each made up to contain three essential ceramides that will ensure that these types of skin conditions that we mentioned above would be replenished and effectively treated.

Alongside the three essential ceramides, CeraVe also includes a myriad of other skincare “hero” ingredients, including quenching hyaluronic acid for optimum hydration. Let’s take a closer look at CeraVe product features below:

1. Multivesicular Emulsion Delivery Technology


One of the biggest standout features of CeraVe as a brand is the way that they incorporate a variety of patented technologies into their products – and Multivesicular Emulsion Delivery Technology is one of them. To break it down, this innovative technology is able to make the product’s delivery process into the layers of the skin more effectively, while also helping to ensure faster results.

CeraVe achieves this by placing MVE (Multivesicular Emulsion) spheres into the formulas of their skincare products, and these tiny little spheres are suspended within the formulas and contain fatty acids, water-binding agents, and ceramides.

Thanks to the inclusion of these tiny little spheres in CeraVe’s products formulas, it means that, when applied to the skin, these innovative Multivesicular Emulsion Delivery spheres will be able to allow for a multitude of moisture to be released slowly into the skin, while also boosting the overall effectiveness of the product by releasing all of the included fatty acids and ceramides across the surface of the skin, before then proceeding to help the rest of the formula penetrate deeper into the other layers of skin. 

2. Three Essential Ceramides


Ceramides form the basis of pretty much all of CeraVe’s products, and CeraVe’s use of three essential ceramides has been dubbed the “ceramide difference” by dermatologists and fans of the brand, alike.

To break it down, ceramides are essential lipids (i.e. fat-soluble compounds which is something that our bodies already create naturally) that make up around half of the skin’s natural barrier and help to ensure that our skin cells are held together and that the barrier of the skin remains intact, healthy and able to maintain the optimum amount of moisture. 

This means that, unlike other types of skincare products on the market, CeraVe’s products are actually able to help our bodies maintain and regulate our natural skin barrier by increasing the skin’s ability to seal in moisture, as well as the skin’s ability to protect itself against free radicals, impurities, dirt and much more.

At the time of writing, the three essential ceramides that are incorporated into CeraVes products are Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, and Ceramide EOP, which are ceramides that have each been optimized to be suitable for dry, delicate, and sensitive skin.


Ideal for sensitive skin sufferers, or those who suffer from skin conditions such as eczema, all of CeraVe’s skincare products come with the seal of approval of leading dermatologists around the world.

Thanks to this, it means that CervaVe’s skincare products can be used with the peace of mind that its formulas are suitable for treating skin in need of a little extra TLC, and contain no nasty chemicals or ingredients that could potentially make these types of conditions worse. CeraVe’s products are so gentle, that they can even be used on delicate baby skin! 

Cetaphil Brand Overview


When compared to CeraVe, Cetaphil is a considerably older skincare brand as it was first created in 1947. Ever since its first creation way back in the 40s, Cetaphil has seemingly gone from strength to strength and has come a long way since its initial product launch of the Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion (which has since been renamed to the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser) and is now available all over the world, and boasts a large catalog of skincare products.

Similar to CeraVe, a large portion of Cetaphil’s products are specifically designed to tailor to the needs of dry or sensitive skin, including those who suffer from skin conditions such as rosacea, acne, and eczema.

Just like CeraVe, Cetaphil is a brand that is dedicated to all types of skin types that are prone to sensitivity and is a brand that is dedicated to creating effective cleaning products and moisturizers that will soothe skin. To this day, Cetaphil remains one of the most popular choices for dermatologists. Let’s take a closer look at Cetaphil’s product features below:

1. Dermatologist Tested


One of the standout features of Cetaphil as a brand is the way that all of its products are either dermatologist tested, or dermatologist approved – and the case is often both.

When Cetaphil first started out back in 1947, it was initially supposed to be a skincare brand specifically targeted towards supplying dermatologists with products to give to patients, and the brand has never strayed too far from these roots.

2. Caters To All Skin Types


Unlike CeraVe which is specifically catered to helping to nourish and protect skin that has a compromised natural skin barrier, Cetaphil is a brand that is dedicated to providing all types of skin types that are prone to sensitivity gentle and efficacious products – regardless of whether the skin is dry, sensitive, oily or combination.

3. Ceramides


Just like CeraVe, Cetaphil also incorporates a variety of helpful skincare ingredients into its formulations, and ceramides just so happen to be on the top of that list.

To simplify, ceramides are essential lipids, and lipids are something that we naturally create within our bodies to help strengthen our skin’s natural barrier, while also ensuring that our bodies are able to better maintain regular moisture.

So, with that being said, the ceramides that are incorporated into a wide range of Cetaphil’s skincare products will lend gentle skin in need of TLC a barrier-protecting boost, while also making sure that skin is able to retain moisture better.

CeraVe vs Cetaphil – Product Comparisons


To help gain a better understanding of CeraVe and Cetaphil, below we’re going to be talking you through some of each brand’s hero products and then comparing each side by side. After we talk through the differences and similarities between each product, we will then provide you with our opinion on which one is best.

Before we go any further, however, please keep in mind that the ultimate person who will be able to decide which products are best for you is going to be yourself. Nevertheless, we will be providing you with some insights and information on the product ingredients and how they can benefit the skin, so that you will be in a better position to make a judgment call on whether or not the product is right for you. Let’s take a look.

Cleansers: 

1. CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser

CeraVe Vs Cetaphil cleansers
Get it at Ulta


Suitable for everyday use, if you haven’t already heard of the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, where have you been?

This gentle cleansing lotion has been enriched with just about everything your skin could need, including hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and those three essential ceramides we talked about above. 

To use, all you will need to do is apply a few pumps to damp hands and complexion, and then work the lotion-like cleanser into your face. When used, the Hydrating Facial Cleanser will be able to remove excess dirt, debris, and makeup without stripping away any vital moisture to your skin.

One of the main benefits of this cleanser is the way that it feels smooth and nourishing on the skin, even while it cleanses, while the essential ceramides will ensure that your skin’s natural barrier is protected and maintained.

Thanks to this, it’s a fantastic daily cleanser choice for people that suffer from sensitive, dry skin, including those who suffer from psoriasis or eczema. 

2. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
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Endearingly known as Cetaphil’s “hero” skincare product and officially America’s number one best-selling facial cleanser, the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser has remained the same ever since its first formulation creation way back in 1947. 

Suitable for everyday use, the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser can be used to gently clean, soothe and hydrate all types of skin, though it is particularly ideal for those that have sensitive skin. 

When used, this creamy and non-foaming cleanser will be able to offer a gentle yet effective cleansing experience that can be used either at the start of the day as part of your morning routine, or alternatively as part of your evening bedtime routine. 

Unlike other types of facial cleansers, the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser will be able to strip away makeup, dirt, oil, and other surface debris without stripping your skin of its natural moisture.

In addition to that, this cleanser will also be able to deeply fortify your skin’s natural barrier without leaving a residue that could potentially clog your pores and cause your complexion to become congested. 

It’s easy to see why this cleanser is a staple in the homes of bloggers, skincare fanatics and celebrities, alike. 

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser vs Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser Similarities:
  • Both are suitable for all skin types.
  • Non-foaming and lotion-like texture.
  • Non-irritating and free from nasty ingredients that may cause a reaction.
  • Fragrance-free.
  • Non-comedogenic.
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser vs Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser Differences:


Our Verdict: Ultimately, if you’re on the search for a cleanser that can be used to help clean and refresh your complexion without causing any irritation, then we recommend going for the CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser.

Not only will this cleanser prevent your skin from becoming dry or “tight” it will also help to soothe and protect skin prone to eczema and other skin conditions. Alternatively, if you are on the search for a cleanser that will be able to fortify your skin whilst preventing any vital moisture from being stripped – opt for the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. 

 Daily Moisturizers:

1. CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

CeraVe vs Cetaphil moisturizers
Get it at Ulta

Ideal for everyday use, this lusciously lightweight moisturizing lotion features an extremely lightweight texture that will ensure that it is absorbed into your skin quickly and effortlessly, while also ensuring that no greasy residue is left behind.

Offering long-lasting hydration, the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion is enriched with quenching hyaluronic acid and MVE technology, which will ensure that your skin is giving fortifying hydration that will last.

The CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion is also enriched with essential ceramides that will help to restore and maintain the skin’s natural moisture barrier, while its gentle formula has been given the seal of approval by the National Eczema Association and is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic. 

2. Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

Get it at Walmart

Specifically designed for sensitive skin, the Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion is just the ticket for temperamental skin types in need of a little boost of nourishing TLC.

Fast absorbing and guaranteeing a non-greasy film, the lightweight consistency of the Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion will instantly quench thirsty skin in need of hydration, while also ensuring that a greasy, heavy film isn’t left behind. 

As soon as you apply this best-selling moisturizer, the innovative formula of the lotion will instantly work to bind water to the skin, which will not only help to prevent any moisture loss that could potentially cause dryness, but it will also help to make sure that your skin’s natural moisture barrier is maintained, too.

Ideal for use all over the body, with regular use you will begin to notice that your skin is softer and healthier. If you suffer from any skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, you should also notice that any symptoms related to these common skin conditions are significantly reduced, as Cetaphil has included essential ceramides and oils that will work to restore the skin barrier. 

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion vs Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion Similarities:
  • Both are fragrance-free and non-comedogenic. 
  • Lightweight formulas.
  • Dermatologically tested.
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion vs Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion Differences:
  • The Cetaphil lotion has more active ingredients.


Our Verdict: All in all, both of these moisturizers are pretty much on a par with each other. However, we will say that the Cetaphil Body Moisturizing Lotion may be the best choice for those with very sensitive skin, as it is enriched with ceramides and vitamins that will help to restore the skin’s barrier.

Alternatively, if you suffer from eczema, then you might get on better with the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion – as it has the seal of approval of the world’s largest eczema organization.

Eye Creams:

1. CeraVe Eye Repair Cream
CeraVe Vs Cetaphil Eye Cream
Get it at Ulta

Designed to both restore and repair sleepy, tired eyes, the CeraVe Repair Cream will be your new go-to if you’re in need of a soothing eye solution.

As soon as you apply the CeraVe Eye Repair Cream, your delicate under-eye skin will instantly feel soothed and nourished. In addition to that, with regular use, you will also notice that any dark areas and chronic puffiness under the eye will have also been significantly reduced for a more youthful and radiant look.

Not only that, but as we touched upon above, CeraVe incorporates MVE technology in some of its formulas, and the CeraVe Eye Repair Cream is one of them. Once the lightweight formula of this repair cream has been massaged into the delicate under-eye area, the innovative and patented MVE technology will instantly begin to encourage the formula to penetrate deep into the layers of your skin, in order to raise the efficacy and ensure plenty of long-lasting moisture. 

Plus, ensuring that you’ll be able to use this formula with complete peace of mind, the CeraVe Eye Repair Cream has also undergone strict ophthalmologist testing, and in turn, it has been recognized as being completely safe for use around sensitive and delicate skin located on your under-eyes. 

2. Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel Cream

Ceratphil Hydrating Eye Gel Cream
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Enriched with soothing aloe vera, the Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel Cream boasts a lightweight formulation that will instantly hydrate and protect the delicate under-eye area.

Full to the brim with protective allantoin, the Cetaphil Eye Gel Cream will instantly begin to nourish and fortify the delicate skin under and around your eye, while also ensuring that it absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a sticky residue. Thanks to this, it makes it ideal for wearing underneath makeup.

The unique gel-cream texture is soothing and refreshing while calming aloe vera will deliver a powerful shot of quenching hydration for at least 24 hours after it has been applied. If that wasn’t enough, this gel-cream from Cetaphil has also been designed to be suitable for all skin types. It’s a winner!

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream  vs Cetaphil Eye Gel-Cream Similarities:
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic 
  • Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin
CeraVe Eye Repair Cream  vs Cetaphil Eye Gel-Cream Differences:
  • CeraVe Eye Repair Cream is best for targeting dark circles
  • Cetaphil Eye Gel Cream is best for soothing puffy, tired eyes


Our Verdict:  As both eye products are suitable for sensitive skin, you’ll likely find that both will make an excellent addition to your skincare routine.

However, if you are looking for a little bit of extra convenience, we recommend going with the Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel Cream, as it is fast absorbing and makes a lovely base for under-eye makeup – such as concealer.

Night Cream:

1. CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream

Cerave Skin Renewing Night Cream
Get it at Ulta

A bestseller and cult favorite, the CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream will help to reduce the appearance of dullness, fine lines, and wrinkles in the skin, which will allow you to wake up with a refreshed, radiant, and rejuvenated complexion come morning time. 

Designed to help hydrate and smooth the appearance of your complexion, the CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream is enriched with essential ceramides (1, 3, 6-11) that will not only help to add radiance to your complexion but will also work to restore your skin’s natural barrier.

Plus, just like the rest of CeraVe’s products, the Renewing Night Cream is enriched with CeraVe’s patented MVE technology, which will ensure that this nighttime formula is penetrated deep into the skin and that the mini MVE spheres full of active ingredients will smooth and rejuvenate your skin for a beautiful morning glow.

Not only that, but it also features a lightweight yet nourishing formula that’s perfect for bedtime, and will make for a luxurious and indulgent step to your nighttime skincare routine. Many people even like to keep this cream in the fridge for a cooling effect. 

2. Cetaphil Redness Relieving Night Moisturizer 

Cetaphil Redness Relieving Night Moisturizer,
Get it at Walmart

If you’re struggling with rosacea or skin redness and would like some targeted relief, then the Cetaphil Redness Relieving Night Moisturizer is just the ticket for a more even and unified complexion. 

Specifically designed to be able to relieve visible signs of redness across the complexion, the Cetaphil Redness Relieving Night Moisturizer will be able to deliver a quenching shot of hydration deep into the layers of complexion, while also helping to reduce the appearance of redness while you sleep.

Wondering how it does this? Well, for starters, besides being infused with skincare superhero hyaluronic acid, which will be able to hydrate and moisturize your skin, the Cetaphil Redness Relieving Night Moisturizer also contains a unifying blend of caffeine, allantoin, and licorice extract, which will work together to rid your skin of redness. 

Besides helping to reduce any signs of redness across your skin, the Cetaphil Redness Relieving Night Moisturizer will also work to smooth and soften your complexion thanks to its lightweight, non-greasy texture that will absorb right in. Thanks to that, you won’t have to worry about a congested complexion – so it’s perfect for all skin types. 

CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream vs Cetaphil Redness Relieving Night Moisturizer Similarities: 
  • Both are fragrance-free and non-comedogenic.
  • Non-irritating and suitable for all skin types.
  • Each works to soothe and rejuvenate the skin overnight.
CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream vs Cetaphil Redness Relieving Night Moisturizer Differences:
  • The CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream is a great all-rounder and can be used on all skin types.
  • The Cetaphil Redness Relieving Night Moisturizer is specially formulated to help reduce the appearance of redness in the complexion.

Our Verdict: Besides being best-sellers for a reason, both night creams offer slightly different purposes, which means that both are great choices depending on what skincare concern you want to treat.

For a more targeted skincare solution, the Cetaphil Redness Relieving Night Moisturizer is an excellent choice for those who suffer from rosacea or an uneven complexion, as this cream will work to add unity to the skin.

However, if an all-rounder night cream is what you seek, then the CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream is just what you need for a radiant and more youthful complexion, use after use.

Sunscreen:

1. CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF30

CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF30
Get it at Ulta

Perfect for everyday use and all skin types, the CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF30 will be able to offer your complexion protection against UVA/UVB rays, while also ensuring that your skin is given plenty of hydration.

Oil-free and ensuring that you won’t have to worry about a pesky white cast after application, the CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF30 contains a lightweight texture that has been enriched with hyaluronic acid. Thanks to this, you’ll be able to enjoy dual-action moisturization, as this sunscreen will both protect your complexion from UV rays, while also ensuring long-lasting hydration.

Plus, unlike other types of sunscreen, the CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion has been enriched with essential ceramides that will be able to nourish and fortify your skin with all the lipids it needs to maintain its natural skin barrier, while its gentle formulation is suitable to be used on even the most sensitive of complexions!

2. Cetaphil Daily Face Moisturizer SPF35
Get it at Walmart

Ideal for combination and oily skin, the Cetaphil Daily Face Moisturizer will ensure that your skin is kept protected and safe from both UVA and UVB rays without a greasy, congested feel.

This daily moisturizer is enriched with a three-in-one action that will be able to hydrate, nourish and keep your skin protected from harmful UV rays – no matter whether the sun is shining or the clouds are out!

Unlike other types of sunscreen, the Cetaphil Daily Face Moisturizer will feel lightweight when applied to the skin and will absorb into your skin quickly without leaving a dreaded white cast. 

The Cetaphil Daily Face Moisturizer has also been enriched with edelweiss flower, which will be able to ensure that your skin’s barrier is protected and maintained, while also making sure that your complexion is given long-lasting hydration.

CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF30 vs Cetaphil Daily Face Moisturizer SPF35 Similarities:
  • Both leave a lightweight, non-greasy finish with no white cast
  • Suitable for daily wear
  • Both are ideal as a makeup base or used alone
CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF30 vs Cetaphil Daily Face Moisturizer SPF35 Differences:
  • Differences in SPF levels

Our Verdict: Both the CeraVe  Facial Moisturizing Lotion and the Cetaphil Daily Face Moisturizer are great choices to choose from. Despite the slight differences in SPF level (the Cetaphil daily lotion offers the highest SPF out of the two), the Cetaphil Face Moisturizer might be the best choice for those who suffer from combination skin types due to its non-comedogenic and non-greasy feel.

However, if you suffer from sensitive, dry skin, then we recommend using the CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion, as it is enriched with hyaluronic acid. 

CeraVe Vs Cetaphil – Final Thoughts


All in all? It really is hard to say which brand is better, because both CeraVe and Cetaphil are fantastic skincare brands that genuinely care about helping their customers. Despite the fact that Cetaphil is over 30 years older than CeraVe, both skincare brands offer plenty of knowledge and industry know-how that has allowed them to each create their own identities, while also ensuring that the products they create actually work. 

What’s more, it’s also worth noting that Cetaphil and Cerave each create products that are affordable, which means that they can be accessible to a wide range of people.

Ultimately, if you’re currently stuck on the fence about which brand to purchase products from, you will be the best person to make that call, because you know your skin’s needs better than anyone. In addition, you could always make a visit to your local doctor or dermatologist, as they will also be able to help you decide which products you should use for your skincare, as well as products that you should avoid. 

In our opinion, we think that CeraVe is likely the better choice for people who suffer from a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, as CeraVe’s products are specifically formulated to help protect and strengthen the skin of people who have damaged or compromised skin barriers.

On the flip side, if you do not suffer from a specific skin condition and instead find that you suffer from occasional spouts of sensitivity flare-ups, then you might find that you prefer Cetaphil, especially as they offer a wide range of products that are tailored towards a wide variety of skin products, including those tailored towards normal, dry and oily skin types.


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