CeraVe vs. Cetaphil – The Complete Buying Guide

Cetaphil vs. Cerave

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If you are wondering what the difference is between Cerave and Cetaphil skincare products you have come to the right place.

These brands are similar to each other and that is true but they do have VERY different pros and cons.

They seem very similar because they focus on basic skincare needs but there is a vast difference between the skincare remedies and products.

Cetaphil is made in Canada and CeraVe is owned by L’Oreal. Both are very similar and tend to make “skincare for all”. They are all hypoallergenic and both brands are backed by Dermatologists and have been around for years.

With the rise of skincare by Hyram on TikTok, and other dermatologists, Cetaphil and Cerave have become highly recommended in 2021.

If you live in the United States, the best place to buy CeraVe or Cetaphil is Target.

Here is one of the most viral videos of skincare by Hyram explaining why he loves CeraVe so much:

In a nutshell, Cerave focuses on dry to really dry skin while Cetaphil is better for reducing redness. Both are great for acne prone skin but Cerave has a wider range of products containing Benzoyl peroxide to specifically combat breakouts.

Here are the main differences between Cetaphil and Cerave in this chart:

– Basic ingredients + glycerin
– Specializes in reducing redness
– Non irritating and non-comdogenic ingredients which won’t irritate skin
– Great for acne prone skin
– Works well for mild cases of eczema
Moisturizer has a semi-matte tint when it dries down and won’t make you look greasy
– Better for sensitive skin and redness

– Has ceramics and hyaluronic acid = more hydrating ingredients
– Non-comedogenic (won’t clog -pores)
– Best for anti-aging due to a full line of products
– Better for acne – full line dedicated to acne prone skin
– Moisturizer is non-greasy and absorbs easier into the skin
– Better for people with dry skin
– Works for harsh cases of eczema
– Has a dedicated line of products for oily skin
Chart comparing Cetaphil and Cerave

Take Our Skin Type Quiz to Find Out What Your Skin Type IS!

Cetaphil vs. CeraVe Cleansers

Both cleansers are gentle on skin and great for acne prone or sensitive skin. They are non-comedogenic, have simple ingredients and can be found at the drugstore.

If you watch the video by Skincare by Hyram you will see that he finds the CeraVe cleanser very basic. Sometimes when the ingredients are too basic, you don’t get much more than water and soap.

CeraVe Cleansers

There are 4 main CeraVe cleansers. Each one is based on your a specific skin concern that needs to be solved.

Here are the four main cleansers from CeraVe:

  • Hydrating Facial Cleanser – Contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid that helps maintain your skin’s barrier to lock in moisture. This cleanser will not strip your skin and provide a constant stream of moisture with the MVE Technology.
  • Foaming Facial Cleanser – If you wear a lot of makeup this cleanser is perfect because of the foaming power. It contains Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid and Ceramides for a brightening finish. This cleanser is best for those with oily skin.
  • Hydrating Cream to Foam Cleanser – This cleanser is better for those with dry skin because it has extra hydration from ceramides and hyaluronic acid for extra moisture retention.
  • Renewing SA Cleanser – The main ingredient in this cleanser is salicylic acid which removes dead skin and encourages exfoliation without harsh micro beads. If you’re looking for a cleanser for bacne, you can use this all over your body as well.

As you can see the cleansers offered by CeraVe are very simple and have solve specific solutions.

Cetaphil Cleansers

Cetaphil has a few more cleansers to choose from than CeraVe. One of the most popular cleansers is the Gentle Skin Cleanser which is basically the most universal drugstore cleanser.

Final Thoughts on Cetaphil vs. CeraVe Cleansers

I don’t look too much into cleansers to be honest. I think both brands offer a great variety of options per skin type and concern. Where the real magic happens is in your moisturizer and optional serums that have a drastic effect on your skin cell turnover.

Don’t put too much thought into choosing a cleanser. Each brand is perfectly fine and there isn’t a clear winner between each.

Cetaphil vs. CeraVe Moisturizers

Moisturizers are the big differentiator in your skincare routine but let’s examine if Cetaphil vs. CeraVe moisturizers will be instrumental in your skincare routine.

CeraVe Moisturizer Benefits

Cerave’s moisturizers are known for being light-weight and oil free. These moisturizing lotions are easy to use and are multi-purpose so you don’t need too many products in your skincare routine.

Here are the best CeraVe moisturizers and their benefits:

ImageProductBenefits/Skin TypeWhere to Buy
Cerave am facial moisturizing lotionA.M. Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF30– Non-Comedogenic
– Best for normal to oily skin
– Includes broad spectrum of SPF protection
Shoppers Drug Mart

Moisturizing Cream– Dry and very dry skin
– Suitable for Face and Body
– Non greasy, fast absorption
– Fragrance Free, hypoallergenic and perfect for sensitive skin
Shoppers Drug Mart

Moisturizing Lotion– Same as moisturizing cream but in a bigger format and lotion vs. CreamShoppers Drug Mart

P.M. Facial Moisturizing Lotion – Locks in moisture to restore skin’s moisture barrier while you sleep
– Contains Niacinamide and ceramides to rejuvenate
Shoppers Drug Mart

SA Cream for Rough and Bumpy Skin – Smooths out very dry and rough skin
– Salicylic and lactic acid help to exfoliate the skin
-Contains AHAs so be sure to use a sunscreen product over top of these if using in day
Shoppers Drug Mart

Best CeraVe Moisturizer Benefits

Cetaphil Moisturizer Benefits

ImageProductBenefitsWhere to Buy
Cetaphil moisturizer for faceDaily Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 & 30– Oil free moisturizer, non greasy with UVA and UVB protection
– 8 hour hydration
– Fragrance free
– Specifically formulated for face
Shoppers Drug Mart

Moisturizing Lotion– Most common drugstore moisture
– paraben free
– replenishes skin moisture barrier within 1 week.
Shoppers Drug Mart

Daily Advance Lotion– Good for dry skin due to the formulation with Epidermal Replenishing Complex5 to help restore the moisture barrier of the skin.Shoppers Drug Mart

Moisturizing Cream– Good for VERY dry skin with a mix of humectants and emollients (see definition here)
– Replenishes skin’s moisture barrier within 1 week of application
Shoppers Drug Mart

Optimal Hydration Daily Glow Cream– new moisturizer from Cetaphil
– nourishing skin booster for a glow with following ingredients: Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, Sunflower Extract, Vitamins B and E
– Includes hydro sensitive complex to keep moisture flowing and skin glowing!

Optimial Hydration Daily Glow Serum– This serum matching the daily glow cream and enhances the skin even more as the layer before the cream
– Locks skin’s water content in by 50%
– Refines and smoothes fine lines
Shoppers Drug Mart

Cetaphil Moisturizer List

Final Thoughts on Cetaphil vs. CeraVe Moisturizers

If you have dry to very dry skin, you’ll want to try Cetaphil Daily Advance Lotion or the Moisturizing Cream. Cetaphil caters more toward dry skin while CeraVe focuses on oily skin.

Also, there is more innovation coming out of Cetaphil with their Optimial Hydration Daily Glow Cream. Overall, I think that CeraVe has more unique products right now.

Take Our Skin Type Quiz to Find Out What Your Skin Type IS!

Which is better for Acne Prone Skin?

Both CeraVe and Cetaphil are great for acne prone skin because they are both non-comedogenic, fragrance free and formulated with simple ingredients.

Recently, CeraVe came out with a line of Salicylic Acid cleansers and moisturizers which are ideal for acne prone skin.

However, the Cetaphil cleanser is also perfect for acne prone skin because they do not contain any irritants for the skin.

To show you how easy it is to create an acne prone skincare routine with CeraVe and Cetaphil, check out the graphics below to see how you can build your ultimate routine.

Simple Skincare routine for Acne Prone Skin with CeraVe

The CeraVe routine for acne prone skin I put together is really simple. Simple skincare routines are really all you need especially if your skin is irritated and sensitive.

Cerave vs. Cetaphil
CeraVe Acne Prone Skin Routine

Here are the steps in the CeraVe Acne Prone Skincare Routine:


***NOTE*** You may only want to cleanse at night which is fine and recommended if you have sensitive skin. Then you will only need to use a moisturizer during the day for the morning step. THAT’S ONLY ONE STEP!***

Step 1 – Cleanse with either Foaming Facial Cleanser or Salicylic Acid Facial cleanser. Both are gentle but use the Salicylic Acid when you have irritated skin.

Step 2 – Moisturize with the AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF30. ALWAYS use an SPF! This is the most important skin step in your routine is to use a sunscreen.

You can also use a serum before you move on to step 2 but if you have acne sometimes it is best to just cleanse and moisturize.


Step 1 – Cleanse with either Foaming Facial Cleanser or Salicylic Acid Facial cleanser. Both are gentle but use the Salicylic Acid when you have irritated skin.

Step 2 – Apply the CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum to help dead skin cells turn over for brighter skin. Using a Retinol will help refine your skin but not strip it of the moisture barrier.

Step 3 – Apply a night cream with the CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion. A night cream is a more concentrated moisturizer which has ceramides and Niacinamide to help rejuvenate and brighten skin.

This CeraVe skincare regimen is really good for acne and remember that less is more! You do not need a lot of skin care products in your routine in order to calm your skin.

Take Our Skin Type Quiz to Find Out What Your Skin Type IS!

Simple Skincare routine for Acne Prone Skin with Cetaphil

Similar to CeraVe, Cetaphil has very specific products for acne prone skin. Here are my Cetaphil product recommendations for morning and night.

Cetaphil has a “pro” line called the Pro DermaControl Oil which is formulated specifically for acne prone skin.

Overall, I think that CeraVe has more options for acne because the Cetaphil Pro line is only for those with oily skin. Typically if you have acne prone skin you will likely have oily skin but that isn’t always the case.

Nonetheless, here is a great skincare routine using Cetaphil if you have acne prone skin:

Cetaphil Skin Care Routine Acne Prone Skin
Cetaphil Skin Care Routine Acne Prone Skin


Step 1 – Cleanse with Cetaphil Pro DermaControl Oil Control Cleanser

Step 2 – Moisturize with Cetaphil Pro DermaControl Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30


Step 1 – Cleanse with Cetaphil Pro DermaControl Oil Control Cleanser

Step 2 – Mask 2x weekly with the Cetaphil Pro DermaControl Purifying Clay Mask.

Step 3 – Use the Hydrating Night Cream every night to nourish and hydrate the skin when you wake up.

Take Our Skin Type Quiz to Find Out What Your Skin Type IS!

Which is better for Anti-Aging?

CeraVe is better for Anti-Aging skin because their products contain ceramics which help to strengthen the skin barrier to avoid dryness.

CeraVe also has a whole line dedicated to anti-aging because they have designed products that contain retinol and vitamin C with their Skin Renewing line.

CeraVe Anti-Aging Product Line Review

CeraVe has created a technology called: MVE Technology that continues to release moisture throughout the day. The Skin Renewing Gel Oil is the perfect booster to get that extra hydration without having to use another product.

CeraVe can be used for an entire anti-aging skincare routine for a fraction of the cost of skinceuticals for example.

Here are the CeraVe best anti-aging skin products:

ImageProductBenefitsWhere to Buy
Cerave retinol reviewSkin Renewing Retinol Serum– Contains ceramides, hyaluronic acid + niacinamide
– Reduces appearance of fine lines + wrinkles
– Improves skin’s radiance and smooths out imperfections.
Shoppers Drug Mart

Vitamin C cerave reviewSkin Renewing Vitamin C Serum– 10% Vitamin C to brighten complexion
– Vitamin B5 and Ceramides to restore and maintain skin’s texture
– MVE Technology to release moisture for up to 24 hours
– Improves fine lines and skin tone
– Works to prevent future fine lines and wrinkles
Shoppers Drug Mart

Cerave skin renewing day cream reviewSkin Renewing Day Cream (Moisturizer with SPF)– Contains SPF 30 for UVA and UVB rays combined with ceramides for the ultimate day time moisturizer
– Contains retinol to continuously strengthen the skin’s barrier to prevent wrinkles and fine lines

Cerave vs. Cetaphil which is betterSkin Renewing Gel Oil– Provides extra boost of hydration
– Sunflower oil called: Ceraplex for continuous moisture throughout the day

Cerave skin renewing night creamSkin Renewing Night Cream– more concentrated formula containing peptides and ceramides to restore skin’s barrier overnight while you sleep.
– One of the most
Shoppers Drug Mart

CeraVe Anti-Aging Products

Bottom line – if you’re into anti-aging products don’t bother with Cetaphil because they don’t have as big of a presence as CeraVe.

Which is Better for Eczema?

CeraVe and Cetaphil are both good for excema overall but let’s take a look at which products are specific to eczema.

Cetaphil has a specific moisturizer in the Cetaphil Pro line for eczema called: Cetaphil Pro Restoraderm Eczema.

Cetaphil Pro Restoraderm Eczema Soothing Moisturizer

This moisturizer is formulated with a medicinal ingredient of 1% called Colloidal Oatmeal which will help sooth the skin. It also has Allantoin and panthenol to help relieve itchy skin. It is also safe for kids to use if they are experiencing dry, itchy skin.

CeraVe has two products meant specifically for eczema relief.

The Eczema Creamy Oil is the most similar to the Cetaphil Eczema Soothing Moisturizer because it also contains Colloidal Oatmeal. CeraVe is also formulated with ceramides, hyaluronic acid and Niacinamide to help restore and sooth dry itchy skin.

Cerave Eczema relief creamy oil review
CeraVe Eczema Relief Creamy Oil

The other product that CeraVe has for Eczema Relief is the Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream.

CeraVe hydrocortisone anti itch cream review and where to buy

If you are familiar with a Hydrocortisone, is that it is a short term relief for rashes and other skin irritants such as eczema. This cream contains 1% hydrocortisone cream which is the maximum amount available without a prescription.

If you suffer from rashes due to eczema then you’ll want to use this cream because it will reduce itchiness and inflammation of the skin.

CeraVe vs. Cetaphil for Eczema

I would choose to use CeraVe for Eczema if you’re an adult since there are more products to choose from.

If you need to help treat eczema for young kids you should choose the moisturizer by Cetaphil.

CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen vs. Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Sunscreen

If you are looking for the best SPF sunscreen for the summer, CeraVe and Cetaphil both make amazing sunscreens! Here is an in depth look at the difference between CeraVe vs. Cetaphil Sunscreens. You cannot buy the CeraVe or Cetaphil Sunscreens yet in Canada I imagine due to other standards but they should be coming soon.

CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen

Cerave Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen Review

CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen is the newest sunscreen and has an SPF of 30. It has ceramides in it to protect your skin’s moisture barrier as well as hyaluronic acid so it doesn’t dry out your skin. It’s also not greasy and it won’t leave a white cast on your face. It’s lightweight so you don’t have to worry if it will clog your pores. This is the best drugstore sunscreen with SPF 30 for your face that money can buy!

Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Sunscreen

The Cetaphil Sheer Mineral Sunscreen has a 50 SPF vs. The CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen at 30 SPF. The Sheer Mineral Sunscreen protects against UVA/UVB and of course environmental factors. Similar to the Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen by CeraVe, there are also nourishing ingredients such as Vitamin E to maintain skin’s barrier and hydration. This sunscreen is lightweight and water resistant for up to 80 minutes so you don’t need to reapply so often. It’s non greasy and non-comedogenic meaning that it won’t block pores so it’s perfect on the face. You can wear this alone or under makeup as well.

Final Thoughts: CeraVe vs. Cetaphil

This CeraVe vs. Cetaphil buying guide contains a lot of information to help you decide which brand is better.

After doing a lot of research, each brand caters to a different skin concern in their own way.

If you’re looking for innovation, I’d choose to go with CeraVe products as there are more to choose from and the technology appears to be better.

If you are looking for a basic and beginner skincare routine that’s clean and easy then I would choose Cetaphil.

These brands can both be found at your nearest drugstore so they are easily accessible for purchase.

Let me know if you agree with my CeraVe vs. Cetaphil analysis!


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