Cerave Vs Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

Cerave and Cetaphil are some of the most popular skincare brands available on the market. The product line for both brands include moisturizers, cleansers, baby products etc. These products have been scientifically tested and approved for various skin conditions and issues.  

However, many people usually have a hard time trying to find out which of the products or brands is better or most suitable for them. If you have ever found yourself in this situation, then you will find this post useful. We have analyzed and reviewed both Cerave and Cetaphil products and presented the information on how they compare with each other. This will help you make the best choice for the product that is most suitable for you.

See the table below for some of the best products from both brands (Cerave and Cetaphil)

You can also look at the reviews of other users to see what their experience has been using these products and that may help you make a good choice too.

Cerave Vs Cetaphil Moisturizers

Both Cerave and Cetaphil have both body and facial moisturizers. These moisturizers are typically preparations that are made to help prevent your skin from getting dry and helping your skin to retain moisture. This helps your skin to look and feel soft, smooth and fresh.

To help you decide which of the moisturizers is best for you, see the description of both brands below-:

 Cerave Moisturizers

It is suitable for use on skin that is dry to very dry skin and it can be a good option for most psoriasis conditions. It is non-greasy and has 3 essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid. Ceramide helps the skin to restore and maintain its protective barrier while hyaluronic acid helps in retaining the skin’s natural moisture. It is fragrance free which makes it very suitable for people with sensitive skin. 

It is presented in a container that has that has a controlled release pump.

Cerave Moisturizer Ingredients -: Purified Water, Glycerin, Ceteareth-20 and Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-II, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol, Petrolatum, Dimethicone, Potassium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Phytosphingosine, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum

 Cetaphil Moisturizers

Cetaphil moisturizing cream contains ingredients that help prevent water loss from the skin. The cream also helps in replenishing and restoring dry skin. The cream is absorbed quickly into the skin and it is non greasy, fragrance free and non-irritating. This is good for sensistive skin types that react easily to additives that are meant to give fragrance.

Cetaphil Moisturizer Ingredients -: Water, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Dicaprylyl Ether, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, PEG-30 Stearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Dimethiconol, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide

Common Ingredients found in both Cerave and Cetaphil include -: Disodium EDTA, Cetyl Alcohol, Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Petrolatum

Important Ingredients in Body Moisturizers

There are four major types of ingredients in moisturizers that are very important in making body moisturizers effective. The main purpose of body moisturizers is maintenance of healthy skin by increasing retention of water by the skin and reducing excessive loss of moisture from the skin which causes dry skin. The major ingredients include -:

  • Humectants -: These agents work by attracting water to the external layer of the skin known as the epidermis. The moisture is absorbed from the inner layer of the skin known as the dermis to the outer layer. Humectants can also absorb water from the atmosphere during humid weather conditions when humidity is over 70 percent. Examples of humectants include -: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, propylene glycerol, ammonium lactate etc.
  • Occlusives -: Occlusives act to prevent easy water loss from the skin especially through evaporation. They work to reduce evaporation through trans-epidermal water loss by forming a protective thin layer over the epidermis. Most occlusive are oil based and may feel greasy when applied. Some of them are petrolatum based and may clog skin pores causing acne.   Examples of occlusive include -: beeswax, cyclomethicone, dimethicone, mineral oil, paraffin oil, lanolin, cocoa butter etc.
  • Emollients -: These ingredients essentially act as lubricants to the skin. They soften the skin without adding moisture. They help in maintaining soft and smooth skin and act to prevent the skin from becoming dry and rough. They also work to enhance easy desquamation or peeling of the skin without causing the skin layer to break or dry. Some emollients can also act as occlusives too and are usually effective in skin conditions that cause dry skin like psoriasis. Examples of emollient ingredients in moisturizers include -: Castor oil, lanolin, ceramides, glyceryl stearates, isopropyl palmitate etc.
  • Miscellaneous -: These are ingredients that are just additives to the preparation that may help in various ways like reducing oxidation processes, enhancing antioxidant effects of some of the ingredients etc.

The table below shows the classification of some of the ingredients in Cerave and Cetaphil 




Hyaluronic Acid, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride

Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer


Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-II, Ceramide 1, Cetyl Alcohol

Cetyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Dimethiconol, Phenoxyethanol


Petrolatum, Dimethicone, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, PEG-30 Stearate, Tocopheryl Acetate

Major Difference Between Cerave Vs Cetaphil

The main difference between Cerave and Cetaphil moisturizers is that Cerave contains Ceramides while Cetaphil does not contain ceramides. Ceramides are naturally occurring skin lipids that help in maintaining the structural integrity of the skin. 

They help the skin to retain moisture effectively and without this important compound, the skin loses moisture and becomes dry, itchy and irritated. Ceramides make up about half of the skin barrier.

How to Choose the Best Moisturizing Cream (Cerave Vs Cetaphil)

While both Cerave and Cetaphil are good choices of body moisturizers, they may not be very effective for everybody. There are individual considerations or peculiarities with the things you are tolerant to and those things which your skin may be sensitive to. This will help you make the right choice between these two moisturizers that is best for your skin. There are a few things you need to know as you consider your choice of the best body moisturizing cream. These include -:

Avoid Fragrance -:  Chemicals used in making fragrances are irritable to most people with sensitive skin. This scientific study described how various cosmetics, fragrances and preservatives can be skin irritants. If you have sensitive skin, ensure that you use fragrance free moisturizing creams. Fortunately, both Cerave and Cetaphil are fragrance free moisturizers.

Polysaturated Oils -: Oils are mostly used in moisturizers as occlusive agents, but polysaturated oils are chemically unstable and can become reactive, a process that results in production of byproducts (oxidants and free radicals) that are irritable to the skin.

It is always better to use moisturizing creams that are made with saturated or monosaturated oils like triglycerides, coconut oil, jojoba oil etc.  

Petroleum Derivative -: Petroleum products that are often used in moisturizers as occlusive agents may also cause undesired skin irritation or acne. This is because the thin film of petroleum on the skin can occlude skin pores causing dead skin cells and bacteria to be trapped in skin pores which may cause acne break outs in some sensitive skin types. Both Cerave and Cetaphil have petroleum ingredients in them.

The most important thing in picking the best moisturizing cream for your skin is to determine any chemical agent that your skin is sensitive to and try to find products that do not have this ingredient or a its alternative that may work well for you.

Which Moisturizing Cream is the Best between Cerave and Cetaphil

Based on user reviews and ingredients analysis, Cerave has more useful ingredients than Cetaphil because of the high quality and types of ceramides that Cerave Moisturizing cream has. However, you need to choose the cream that works best for your skin.

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