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CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion vs Cream: the Best Hydrating Products

CeraVe moisturizing lotion vs moisturizing cream

The easiest way to understand what the deal is with a CeraVe moisturizing lotion vs cream comparison is to read a few reviews for some of the best lotions and creams for face and body from CeraVe. That’s what we’re here to do.

There are plenty face& body hydrating products to choose from and each serves a different need. You’ll find whatever moisturizing product you’re looking for.

The best news? CeraVe is one be one of the most well-known skincare drugstore brands with a plethora of decently priced skincare products.

Their products are well-researched and tested and it totally shows. I would say that we get more than what we pay for.

Why are CeraVe moisturizers and lotions so popular, besides the cheap price?

According to their own statement, first of all their products are developed with dermatologists.

The purpose of these skincare products is to restore and maintain the skin barrier for all users. Their focus on the skin barrier is integral to how good their products are. Basically, a healthy and strong skin barrier can fight anything and it will show in a healthy, glowing, well-rested, refreshed skin.

A large majority of their lotions and creams contain a blend of three essential ceramides (ceramides 1, 3, and 6-II), fatty acids and hyaluronic acid. These essential ingredients restore skin barrier function, and sustain long-term moisturization with just one use.

CeraVe is the No. 1 dermatologist recommended moisturizer brand in the United States and now available in over 40 countries worldwide.

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion vs Cream: Which Should You Use?

The main debate related to CeraVe moisturizing lotion vs cream is that moisturizing creams are usually thicker and more deeply hydrating.

Thus, if you have dry, sensitive skin, your best options for moisturizers would be creams. That goes both for face and body.

In the summer, I much prefer a lotion with SPF because it’s lighter and absorbs very quickly into the skin.

However, during the winter, I go for a deeply moisturizing cream both for day and night. And both for my face and body.

You can alternate between the two based on how dry your skin feels.

However, what I can truly say is that, in general, CeraVe moisturizing lotions and creams are totally awesome. And they are suitable for all skin types because they don’t clog pores.

When comparing CeraVe moisturizing lotion vs cream, I want to review some of the best moisturizers from this drugstore manufacturer that can be used to hydrate our faces or bodies.

Just judging by the name, you can totally expect these CeraVe moisturizing products to have many things in common.

The fact that they contain ingredients that hydrate the skin is what they all share and that’s why they’re under the moisturizers umbrella.

Furthermore, each has a certain different purpose: some are moisturizers with SPF, others targeting fine lines and wrinkles, others target conditions like psoriasis, others work well for crepey skin on arms and legs etc.

If you are interested in another interesting comparison, you can also check out my CeraVe vs Cetaphil article.

Best CeraVe Moisturizing Lotions

There are actually multiple lotions from CeraVe. There’s not only one. However, all share a large number of ingredients, with just a few variations in their formulation.

1. CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion

This lotion is for daily use, by people with normal to dry skin. Those suffering from really dry patches of skin on the body, should check out the SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin, about which I will talk about later.

It has classic but good ingredients: glycerin, 3 ceramides, dimethicone, and hyaluronic acid.

It’s just an affordable lotion, sold in a 12 oz. bottle, that is easily absorbed by the skin and it maintains the skin soft.

It’s nothing extraordinary but exactly what most of us need after a shower.

2. CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF30

The SPF30 is the most clear indication that this lotion is awesome for the day. You can apply this in the morning before leaving the house and your skin will be protected from UV rays throughout the day.

I think you should definitely apply a moisturizer with SPF every day of the year, even if it’s winter or it’s raining or it’s cloudy.

If you’re going to the beach and are exposed to full sun, you absolutely need to use sunscreen, maybe one with SPF50.

However, this AM lotion with SPF30 works very well for our daily routines.

It’s a chemical and mineral sunscreen. The active ingredients are: homosalate (10%), meradimate (5%), octinoxate (5%), octocrylene (2%), zinc oxide (6.3%).

I don’t have a problem with sunscreens that are mostly chemical or a mix of mineral and chemical but I’m aware that some of you are just looking for mineral sunscreens.

Other than the SPF30, this lotion also moisturizes and protects the skin barrier via ingredients like niacinamide, glycerin, dimethicone, 3 ceramides, and hyaluronic acid.

Niacinamide is the ingredient mentioned second, immediately after water. That tells us that this lotion is focused on protecting the skin against environmental factors, which is exactly as it should be during the day.

AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF30 works for all skin types. You get 3 oz. for an affordable price.

3. CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen SPF30

This a chemical-only lotion with sunscreen SPF30. CeraVe also has mineral sunscreens that you can check out but I’, not going to include them in my reviews because they are just sunscreens, no lotion or cream with SPF in their name.

The Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen SPF30 is perfect for normal to oily skin.

Thus, if you have normal, combination or oily skin, this lotion with SPF30 can be what you’re looking for.

The active ingredients to protect out skin from UV rays are: avobenzone 3%, homosalate 10%, octisalate 5%, and octocrylene 2.7%.

The other ingredients, the hydrating ones are: glycerin, 3 ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and cholesterol. It’s a pretty basic lotion, no ingredients present that could clog pores.

4. CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

The 3 oz. for this lotion for the night is not bad at all. And the price is really affordable.

The main purpose of this lotion is to moisturize throughout the night and it helps restore the protective skin barrier.

It has the same classic ingredients like glycerin, 3 ceramides, dimethicone, and hyaluronic acid but there’s another ingredient added to the list: niacinamide.

Niacinamide plays quite the central role in this PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion.

It is an ingredient that has quite a lot of benefits: regulates oil production, tightens pores, anti-aging role, brightens complexion, fights acne, reduces inflammation, fights breakouts. Niacinamide has become a hero of the skincare world due to its many benefits.

The PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion works for all skin types.

5. CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin

This lotion is quite perfect for those suffering from body acne or keratosis pilaris. It’s recommended for legs and upper arms but it can also work for back or chest acne.

It’s mostly an exfoliant for the body that also intensely hydrates it at the same time. So we have a 2 in 1 product. The 19 oz. quantity is fantastic.

The first ingredient that clearly indicate that the SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin is an exfoliant is salicylic acid.

You’ll be familiar with what salicylic acid can do if you’ve suffered from breakouts. It’s highly effective but also very gentle.

It also contains ammonium lactate, which is used to treat dry or scaly skin. It’s another AHA so this is the second ingredient that gently exfoliates dry skin and boosts healthy skin renewal.

We get a BHA and a gentle AHA.

If you have crepey skin, this lotion is a wonderful option.

The very intense moisturizing ingredients are: glycerin, mineral oil, 3 ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and dimethicone.

Best CeraVe Moisturizing Creams

As it was the case with lotions, so it’s the case with CeraVe creams. There are a few to choose from.

1. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream – One of the Best Drugstore Moisturizers

I believe that this is the most popular product from this drugstore manufacturer.

It’s actually a 2-in-1 because people use it both on the face and body. So, it’s one of those few moisturizers who works from heat to toe.

What makes it so popular and a best seller?

The fact that it truly hydrates the skin, it’s cheap, and it comes in a 19 oz. quantity. It’s hard to beat that.

It’s also non-comedogenic so if you suffer from really dry patches of skin in combination with breakouts, you can apply a fine layer of this cream on the face.

The ingredients are basic but they’re awesome: glycerin, petrolatum, the famous 3 ceramides, dimethicone, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E.

These are the kind of ingredients that you want to see if you want to deeply hydrate the skin but you’re also looking for restoring and protecting the skin barrier.

Just from this list of ingredients, you can also tell that it absolutely works for all skin types: dry, sensitive, oily, acne-prone skin. It’s fragrance-free.

2. CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream

Can a very affordable night cream from CeraVe compete with other expensive night creams?

It can if you’re looking to soften and renew the look of tired skin overnight. But it cannot if you’re looking for powerful anti-aging night creams. If you’re targeting wrinkles, you need products with retinol, retin-A, etc.

The CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream is certainly targeting fine lines and wrinkles in a certain measure thanks to its peptide complex.

It contains tripeptide 1 (aids in collagen production, firms the skin, reduces the appearance of fine lines, reduces inflammation) and tetrapeptide 3 (strengthens the skin to address sagging).

Since it’s a moisturizer, it has an array of hydrating ingredients: glycerin, shea butter, dimethicone, soybean sterols (anti-inflammatory, collagen stimulating), allantoin, 3 ceramides, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E.

Thus, CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream is a wonderful choice for mature skin but it can also work nicely for those who are nearing their 30s. When preventing fine lines and wrinkles, it’s always best to start as early as possible and this cheap cream can be a wonderful start.

3. CeraVe Skin Renewing Day Cream SPF 30

If you like the Skin Renewing night cream, you could use its counterpart for the day, which is a moisturizing cream with SPF30.

It’s a combination of chemical and mineral sunscreen. The active ingredients are: octinoxate 7.5% and zinc oxide 10.5%.

What is surprising is that this day cream actually contains retinol. I’m sure that it doesn’t have a high concentration but retinol is usually used in night creams. Still, it’s nice to see it here. I guess this is the main ingredient that contributes to skin renewing.

Retinol is the major ingredient that lets this cream claim that it is used for smoothing fine lines and and for improving the texture of the skin.

4. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream for Psoriasis

This one is recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation.

It contains 2% salicylic acid, 3 essential ceramides, and urea.

Salicylic acid is a wonderful exfoliant for removing dead skin cells. But it’s also gentle and the 2% concentration is very good.

The ceramides are good for reinforcing the skin barrier. A healthy skin barrier can fight a lot of conditions much better.

Urea is a keratolytic agent that reduces dead skin buildup, gets rid of flaking or scaling skin. It has strong exfoliating properties. It also retains moisture and strengthens the skin barrier. Urea is a powerful ingredient and the central one for this cream.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream for Psoriasis can be used as a face cream, hand cream or body cream.

5. CeraVe Eye Repair Cream

I would also like to include this eye cream here because it’s a CeraVe moisturizing cream for the eyes. It’s important to have a properly moisturized eye area if we want to prevent under eye fine lines.

It’s advertised as reducing the look of dark circles and puffiness. Who doesn’t want to look a bit more well-rested even if in reality we barely manage to reach those 7-8 hours of sleep?

I would also say that it can work quite well as one of the best under-eye primers for wrinkles.

The ingredients are a bit different than what we have with the other lotions and creams from CeraVe: niacinamide, glycerin, jojoba esters, dimethicone, seaweed extract (source of antioxidants), 3 ceramides, aloe vera extract, horsetail extract (anti-aging action), hyaluronic acid, sweet almond oil (contains vitamin K for lightening dark circles), vitamin E, chamomile extract.

It’s a potent collection of awesome ingredients, which is impressive for such an affordable drugstore eye cream.

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion vs Cream: What They’re Used for

In skincare, when it comes to hydrating the face, creams are the moisturizers that are best used by those with dry skin because they have a lower water content and a high concentration of different humectants and/or emollients.

However, it usually is the case that they work for all skin types. That’s certainly the case with these products from CeraVe because they’re all non-comedogenic, which means that their ingredients don’t cause clogged pores.

Thus, if you have acne-prone skin but also patches of dry skin, you can use the creams from CeraVe.

Creams create a protective barrier against external factors and lock in moisture.

They’re also preferred by those who want to target specific problems like wrinkles, brightness, etc. That’s why it’s frequent for creams to have more active ingredients that come to our aid and whatever our skin needs.

Lotions are lighter. They have a higher water content, which means that they might be preferred more by those with oily skin.

These thinner formulas are also good at preventing clogged pores and acne breakouts, although creams are also known to do that if they don’t contain comedogenic ingredients.

Now that we have these notions set in place, let’s get back to our subject, comparing CeraVe moisturizing lotion vs cream.

The easiest way is to take a look at the main ingredients. That way we can easily establish what each lotion and cream from CeraVe is best for. That’s how you can easily tell if a skincare product works for your skin or not.

All in all, I definitely prefer creams and that’s what I’m using in my skincare routine, whether I’m using a cream with SPF or an anti-wrinkles cream or simply a cream for deeply hydrating my skin during the colder months.

CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion vs Cream: Common Ingredients

There are a few ingredients that are common in this comparison between lotions and creams from CeraVe. Let’s see what roles they play.


You can’t mention the name CeraVe without thinking of ceramides. It’s why I fell in love with this drugstore brand.

Ceramides are so overlooked in a proper skincare routine. I actually consider them to be essential because their main role is to help us achieve a healthy skin barrier.

They’re lipids (fats) with an essential protective role against environmental factors.

If you don’t have a healthy skin barrier, then you’ll have all sorts of problems. You also won’t be able to use more powerful ingredients, like chemical exfoliants (glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid) or retinol or facial scrubs.

Without a healthy skin barrier, our skin won’t be able to protect itself against environmental factors, pollutants.

Ceramides are also crucial for a smooth, hydrated skin.


I actually got to love glycerin more than hyaluronic acid. I’m not saying that hyaluronic acid is not awesome because it is a powerful humectant.

Even so, I have come to understand that glycerin is so much better at hydrating dry skin.

It’s a humectant that pretty much all skincare products have right at the beginning of the list of ingredients and I’m definitely glad for it.

Glycerin actually has a smaller molecule than hyaluronic acid so it can penetrate deeper into the skin, it’s more easily absorbed. If you want to read more about how glycerin is better than hyaluronic acid, you can do so here.

Hyaluronic acid

CeraVe loves its ceramides but it loves hyaluronic acid just as much. It’s an effective humectant that can lock in moisture, attract moisture from the deeper layers of the skin, and it also attracts it from the air.

It’s effective on all fronts.

Since it plumps up the skin, it can also be considered an anti-aging ingredient. If your skin is dehydrated, it will have more pronounced fine lines and wrinkles. A plump skin will have less of those pesky things.

That’s why we also have fillers with HA as one of the best against wrinkles.


According to CeraVe, dimethicone is the second most common moisturizing ingredient after petrolatum. I would have thought that would be glycerin but it seems that it’s dimethicone.

It’s a silicone-based polymer that is used as a skin protectant. It helps condition the skin, improving softness and flexibility.

It’s gentle and non-comedogenic.

Well, you don’t have to worry about lotions and creams from CeraVe because they’re all non-comedogenic, their ingredients don’t clog pores. That’s why, in general, they work for all skin types.


This is another amazing ingredient, although you won’t hear many talk about it often.

Cholesterol is a natural component of the skin’s barrier, it accounts for 15% of its fatty acid content. Thus, a decrease in cholesterol leads to dry skin.

Just like ceramides, it strengthens the skin barrier and it supports the moisture balance. It’s a wonderful emollient with fantastic hydrating benefits.


It’s important to mention another common ingredient for some of these Cerave moisturizing lotions and CeraVe moisturizing creams.

Niacinamide is a fantastic ingredient in skincare.

It’s sort of a hero because it has so many benefits: regulates oil production, tightens pores, anti-aging role, brightens complexion, fights acne, reduces inflammation, fights breakouts.

It’s the kind of ingredient that works for absolutely all skin types and it can benefit all of them in some way. I love it.

All in all, I guess what stands out from my CeraVe moisturizing lotion vs cream comparison is that there are plenty of products to choose from so I hope I have provided a good guide for you to choose the right moisturizer for your face or body.