Friday, September 3, 2010

CeraVe vs. Cetaphil: Comparisons

I currently own 3 products each from CeraVe and Cetaphil: a cleanser, a lotion, and a cream. I used to have a mild form of eczema called Pityriasis Alba which was when I began using CeraVe. I can't vouch for what Cetaphil has done for my eczema because when I had an outbreak of eczema, I strictly used only CeraVe, as prescribed by my dermatologist. I was too afraid to venture away from CeraVe for a few years since it worked (and still does) so well for me. This comparison review will simply compare the two brands against each other for general purposes. You can find my blog post about how CeraVe fared for me and my eczema here.

A brief introduction to the brands before I begin the comparisons:

- Marketed towards those with sensitive, dry, or damaged skin or anyone looking for a gentle cleanser.
- Formulated with ceramides, humectants (hyaluronic acid), and emollients to replenish and retain moisture.
- MVE® delivery technology provides a controlled release of ingredients over time.
- Currently has 6 products in their lineup (2 cleansers, 3 lotions, 1 cream.

The products I'll be reviewing are:
- CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser: "gently hydrates throughout the day"
- CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion: "penetrates to rebuild the skin barrier"
- CeraVe Moisturizing Cream: "penetrates to rebuild the skin barrier"

Where to purchase CeraVe products.
Save $2.00 on any CeraVe product.

- Marketed towards those with sensitive, dry, and/or acne-prone skin.
- Currently has 12 products in their lineup (3 cleansers, 2 cleansing bars, and 7 moisturizers). Here is a comparison chart if you're wondering which product you should start with.
- Apparently you can use it to even treat head lice?? Credit: The New York Times.

The products I'll be reviewing are:
- Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser: "great for daily makeup removal, will not strip the skin of natural protective oils or emollients, or disturb the skin’s natural pH balance"
- Cetaphil DailyAdvance Ultra Hydrating Lotion: "clinically proven to hydrate for 24 hours. The moisturizing formula is fast-acting, long-lasting, and helps moisturize extra dry skin. Non-greasy, non-irritating, non-comedogenic and fragrance-free."
- Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream: "non-greasy cream formula that is excellent for the hands, feet, elbows and knees—anywhere that requires intensive moisturizing. It is also appropriate for facial use and is fragrance-free."

Where to purchase Cetaphil products.
Cetaphil Retail Promotions.

A quick note about my skin:
Sometimes Sensitive and/or Dry. Has been Normal for a little more than half a year now. Sometimes I'll have random outbreaks of dry patches of skin (has not happened recently. Happened more often about a year ago). These dry patches of skin could be found most often on my cheek bones, beneath my eyebrows, or the area surrounding the eye (eyelids or eye bags).

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser vs. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
- Both are very gentle on my sensitive, sometimes dry, sometimes normal skin.
- Cetaphil says it'll remove daily makeup. CeraVe doesn't state that it will remove makeup. I get confused as to why some reviewers give CeraVe bad reviews for not fully removing makeup.
- CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser: slippery consistency, spreads thin easily, leaves a thin film over my skin (protective layer??). At first the thin film was weird to me but I got used to it and now I like it.
- Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser: thicker than CeraVe, almost jelly-like texture, I have to use a little more of this than I would CeraVe. Does not leave skin with a thin film like CeraVe does, which might be more appealing to some.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser photos

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser photos

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion vs. Cetaphil DailyAdvance Ultra Hydrating Lotion
- CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion: thin in consistency, soaks right into my skin. I mainly use this in the summer time and it works well as an all day moisturizer. Lightweight and doesn't leave me oily. I've also used it to thin out my foundation on days I wear foundation. Lovely stuff.
- Cetaphil DailyAdvance Ultra Hydrating Lotion: very greasy/oily feeling surprisingly. I had a hard time holding my pencil to take notes while testing it. At the end of the day, my face is very oily and slick to the touch.

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion photos

Cetaphil DailyAdvance Ultra Hydrating Lotion photos

You can't see it here but my hand was really greasy and shiny.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream vs. Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream
- CeraVe Moisturizing Cream: very thick (always makes my noise perspire), leaves my skin matte (love it!), extremely moisturizing (I will only use this cream when I get eczema breakouts, nothing else).
- Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream: thicker than CeraVe, same results as with the lotion (greasy/oily feeling). I tried using this at night all over my face one night and woke up looking uber shiny.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream photos

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream photos

I forgot to take a picture of my hand after applying the cream but it's just like Cetaphil's lotion.

Overall, I prefer CeraVe over Cetaphil. Both cleansers work well for me but Cetaphil's lotion and cream (at least the versions I own) are just too greasy for my face. I applied Cetaphil's cream earlier today to my entire face and I feel very greasy right now. The weather wasn't warm today so I wouldn't consider that a contributing factor.

I'd recommend either cleanser for:
- those with damaged, irritated, or sensitive skin
- those taking taking/using strong acne medication and need a gentle cleanser


  1. Darn, wish I could help you with the Disqus thing but I don't have it.

    I can't remember if I ever tried Cerave but I do know that Cetaphil didn't do anything for me. =\ I'm currently using Purpose to wash my face which is also really gentle. =)

  2. I got CeraVe for my bf because it seemed gentle and was scentless. He seems to like it so far. Great review, you're very thorough! :)

  3. Great review I have rosacea and just started using this with my Finacea cream med for my face and i love it! I am thinking of getting rid of all my other face washes and sticking with this. Only concern I have is I was thinking of using makeup remover cloths before using the Cerave hydrating face wash...

  4. @Angelica I hope it works out for your bf :)

    @EricaSugar22 That's great! Concerning your makeup remover cloths, are you trying to look for something gentle that won't aggravate your rosacea?

  5. Great blog, and great info on Cerave and Cetaphil. I just noticed that I have Pityriasis Alba, though unlike you I have oily and damaged skin. I was wondering if you used the cerave moisturizer even at night?

  6. Hi Merina,

    Since it's winter right now, I use CeraVe Cream both in the mornings and nights. If it were summer time, I would use CeraVe lotion in the morning and night.

    I have a friend who has extremely oily and damaged skin and she uses a combination of different medications + CeraVe lotion in the morning and evening.

    Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any other questions you may have. :)


  7. Thank you for your comparison. In the past week, I have learned that 2 out of my 3 children have eczema. The dermatoligist recommeded CeraVe but then gave me a few samples of Cetaphil and I have been trying to find out the differances between them ever since. Your blog has helped ease my mind a lot! Thanks again!

  8. Thank you for this! I honestly appreciate people like you who take the time out to share their experience with products as to help others. I've been using Cetaphil for years, along with an acne-medicated cleanser, but still have breakouts and dry skin. I stopped the medicated cleanser, but feel the Cetaphil still drys me out. I'm going to try CeraVe tomorrow. I hope it helps with me dryness and obviously hope it doesn't cause any irritation or breakouts. Thanks again for the info!

  9. Heidi: Hope things clear up for your children! Best of luck! :)

    Anonymous 5/12:
    Thanks for your kind comment. :) Let me know how CeraVe turns out! I hope it works for you as it did for me. :)

  10. Thanks so much for this review, very helpful. I've been using Cetaphil moisturizer for the last few months and had heard Cerave was comparable. I definitely think I'll stick with my Cetaphil. :)

  11. I have mild rosacea on my face, and some days my face burns like its on fire. I use the medicated cream (script) first, then my dermatologist gave me cerave am to mosturize my face as well as sun block it. dermo said that face was alos irratated from heat and sweating. i really like the feel of this product. i have never tried the other stuff you mentioned. thanks to your article, when my samples run out, i will be purchasing the cerave.

    thank you

    connie w

  12. Great post! i get eczema too and cant decide which one to try!! xx

  13. Hi
    may i know where do i get cerave in singapore?


    1. Do you already know where to get cerave?

    2. Hi GuyFawkes,

      I personally emailed Cerave and it doesn't look like they're selling outside of the US and Canada yet. Crossing my fingers it'll be available in Singapore soon!

  14. I was diagnosed with soap irritant skin. I break out in rashes not all over but in fairly large areas. I now have it on may shouler and neck area. One Dermo. gave me Cerave and I used it and it helped. I saw another Dermo. and he gave me Cetaphil. I am supposed to shower with this, No more Soap for me he says. I just started today and I am comparing the two. The CeraVe makes a much better lather and is a better cleanser it is the foaming facial clearner. The Cetaphil is the gentle slin cleaner (my Dr. prescribed) It does not lather good at all. I have a dirty job and my Dr. said for me to no longer use a wash cloth but to use my hands all over. Geez I don't think I have a cance of getting clean with the Cetaphil. But the CeraVe foaming facial cleaner seemed to get me much cleaner showering this difficult way.

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Ah, I'm sorry to hear about your diagnosis with soap irritant skin. That sounds difficult to deal with since soap is commonly used! Hopefully the CeraVe foaming facial cleanser continues to work for you~ Perhaps it does a better job to get your skin clean compared to the regular Cetaphil skin cleaner because it has foam/bubbles which possibly act as a really, really gentle and light scrub (in place of your wash cloth)? I'm no dermatologist :) but I do hope that it continues to help you so that you don't experience any further skin irritation!

    2. Wow this was extremely helpful

  15. I used Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, and noticed it would burn my skin especially near my eyes. My face was also very oily with it. I looked at the ingredients, and the second one was petroleum! Yuck.

    I switched to Cerave, and I LOVE it. My face is so moisturized without looking like an oil slick.

  16. Thank you for such an honest and thorough comparison between brands and not just the brands but product comparison with pictures. So refreshing! I have used the CeraVe Cream and like it for a night cream. It makes my skin smooth and feeling fresh in the morning. My grandmother uses this line and she is 86...her skin looks so soft, smooth, hydrated and healthy. Truly a great brand, although I cannot comment on Cetaphil as I have never used it. Thanks again!

  17. I used Cerave for years, but stopped using it because I found better results with Citrus Clear products. Typically whatever the dermatologist gives me works for a while, but then stops. Now that my acne has become a lot more mild. I've been using Citrus Clear every day and it really helps a lot. I felt like Cerave was only moisturizing and not really cleaning, but I really feel clean and refreshed after using the Citrus Clear Face Wash. I'd recommend it to any teenager who just wants their freaking acne to go away for good.

  18. Please advise..where can i buu cerave here in singapore..thank you.

  19. Thank you for this comparison! I was trying to figure out what the difference between Cerave lotion vs. cream were and this helped. I have been looking for a gentle lotion for my face for a while and I think I'll give Cerave a try.


Constructive criticism is deeply appreciated. ♥