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CeraVe vs Cetaphil: Complete Skincare Routine

One of the most amazing things for me, as an absolute lover and researcher of skincare products, is this debate: CeraVe vs Cetaphil.

These are two of the most famous and most adored drugstore brands. They certainly deserve an article dedicated to reviewing CeraVe and Cetaphil products.
Before that, let me tell you about the way I want to conduct this debate. I will review products based on their use.

CeraVe vs Cetaphil

The comparison between these two brands will be divided into:

  • cleansers
  • exfoliators
  • serums
  • eye creams
  • moisturizers
  • sunscreens

Maybe you’ve already noticed what I’m doing by structuring this article this way. I’m actually reviewing their best products in the correct order of skin care products.

Since that’s the order in which we use our products on our face, that’s how we’re going to conduct this debate, too. We’re going to build an entire skincare routine for both day and night just from CeraVe and Cetaphil products.

Your routine will be affordable but also so effective that you won’t feel that there’s anything missing. And you can get it all from the drugstore or online.

One thing that I won’t review from these two are toners. If you’re looking for an awesome pick, check out my article on the best toners for acne.

CeraVe vs Cetaphil Cleansers

 

When it comes to cleansers I would say that we have a draw. I cannot pick a clear winner because both have some awesome options.

For CeraVe, their cleansers are pretty much what made them truly famous when dermatologists and influencers started recommending them.

They contain a wide array of ingredients, a nice combination that leaves the skin deeply cleansed, hydrated, and protected.

However, when it comes to the best cleanser for acne, between these two, Cetaphil is the clear winner. They have a cleanser that should be more popular than it actually is.

Confession time: I was actually a big lover of CeraVe’s cleansers, too. But, in the past year, I switched to La Roche-Posay, which is another drugstore brand but slightly more expensive. The La Roche-Posay cleanser, with a high concentration of salicylic acid, has made wonders for my adult acne. 2% salicylic acid is a winner for me and that’s what I’m looking in a cleanser due to my breakouts.

1. CeraVe Facial Cleanser

There are a few options to choose from: for normal to dry skin or for normal to oily skin or for normal skin.

The CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser, the one for normal skin, actually contains salicylic acid. Even so, this is not an active ingredient, it’s just there mentioned in the list of ingredients. What I’m trying to say is that if you suffer from more than a couple of pimples once a month, I wouldn’t recommend it for handling acne.

For those experiencing breakouts, I would actually recommend the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser, which is for normal to oily skin. It cleanses the skin deeply without disrupting the skin barrier. This balance is its main attribute.

And those suffering from dry skin, should get the Hydrating Facial Cleanser.

All these 3 have in common the 3 essential ceramides. This the ingredient that’s essential for our skin barrier. If we have a healthy skin barrier, we are better prepared to fight everything from breakouts to environmental pollutants.

But it also means that we can use serums & creams that contain retinol or we can chemically exfoliate our face without side-effects.

2. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

If you’re on a strict budget but want something of good quality and that comes in a huge quantity, directly pick the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.

You’ll actually buy 20 oz of cleanser for one of the cheapest prices. You won’t get a better deal.

This one works for all skin types, there’s no worry there. It’s actually used by those with acne-prone skin.

Its action can be described as: hydrates and softens as it gently cleans. That’s why it works for all skin types.

3. Cetaphil Acne Face Wash 2% Salicylic Acid

Remember when I told you that 2% salicylic acid is what I’m looking in a cleanser because of my adult acne?

Well, Cetaphil has managed to create just that. And it’s really cheap. Plus, the 4.2oz quantity is really nice.

Those who have sensitive skin that is acne-prone should absolutely grab one of these.

In order to balance the action of the salicylic acid, in order to protect and sooth the skin, Cetaphil has also included some skin soothing botanicals on their list of ingredients.

It is clinically proven to reduce inflamed acne by 76%.

It will also defend the skin against a weakened skin barrier, irritation, roughness, tightness, and dryness.

It’s definitely my favorite cleanser on the list. I wasn’t aware that it existed before researching products for this article. Maybe I’ll give it a try after finishing my current bottle or La Roche Posay.

CeraVe vs Cetaphil Exfoliators

The winner this time is Cetaphil. First of all, their Cetaphil Acne Face Wash 2% Salicylic Acid can be consider a face wash and a chemical exfoliator in one due to that high concentration of BHA.

But if you want a separate product, you’re not going to believe this but this time, the winner for facial exfoliators is a facial scrub.

I’m not a big fan of facial scrubs because they can be harsh and, if used incorrectly, they can do more harm than good. Which is also the case if you choose the wrong facial cleansing brush but that’s another discussion.

However, Cetaphil is the winner and the exception. They have managed to create one of the best facial scrubs.

Cetaphil Extra Gentle Daily Scrub

I said that scrubs can do more harm than good when they’re used incorrectly. That’s not a concern with this scrub because it can be used daily.

Thus, it can replace your cleanser or you can use it after your cleanser and do a double-cleansing + exfoliation of dead skin cells.

It works for all skin types. Even so, I still think that those who battle acne should focus on 2% salicylic acid or a gentle chemical exfoliant with glycolic acid.

This daily scrub will remove dirt, oil, impurities, and dead skin cells. Exfoliation is an absolute step that shouldn’t be skipped in a routine. I consider it just as important as cleansing and moisturizing and using sunscreen every day.

The exfoliation is done by micro fine granules, which I like. The rest of the ingredients are glycerin, vitamin E and vitamin B5.

Another facial daily scrub to try from a drugstore is the Aveeno Positively Radiant Facial Scrub.

CeraVe vs Cetaphil Serums

I don’t actually believe that CeraVe should mostly be known for their cleansers. They should be known for their serums.

They don’t have many but they have 2 of the most important in any routine: a vitamin C serum and 2 retinol serums. All 3 work for all skin types, including oily, sensitive, and acne-prone.

They also have a hyaluronic acid serum but I don’t think it’s that important in a routine.

1. CeraVe Vitamin C Serum

When it comes to cheap vitamin C serums that are from a brand I truly trust, this is my top choice. The Vitamin C Serum by L’Oreal Paris is a close second but it’s not part of our debate.

The ingredients are simply great: 10% pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), 3 essential ceramides for strong skin barrier, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin B5.

It’s a brightening serum. But it also has the potential to minimize fine lines and wrinkles in time.

This is the perfect serum for the day to protect against sun damage and to protect against environmental factors (pollutants).

You still need to use a sunscreen but for a radiant appearance, this is the perfect ally.

2. CeraVe Retinol Serum

There are actually 2 serums and I recommended them both in my article on the best retinol cream for beginners.

These 2 serum are perfect for everyone because they are so gentle that you can forget about side-effects and either can be used every night right from the start. Just follow it up with a moisturizer.

The first one, the Resurfacing Retinol Serum for post-acne marks, has the following ingredients: encapsulated retinol, 3 ceramides, licorice root extract (evens out skin tone), niacinamide.

The second one is the Skin Renewing Retinol Serum, which is anti-aging. It contains: encapsulated retinol, 3 ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide.

CeraVe vs Cetaphil Eye Creams

This is another area where we have kind of a draw, with maybe CeraVe a bit on top.

Both manufacturers don’t exactly excel in the area of eye creams. But at least they’re cheap and quite effective for hydrating this sensitive area.
If you want more interesting alternatives, check out my picks for the best drugstore eye creams.

1. CeraVe Eye Repair Cream

This is targeted towards those who are concerned about dark circles and puffiness. It’s something that a lot of us struggle with.

Obviously, dark circles can’t simply disappear because we’re using a drugstore eye cream or an expensive one, for that matter.

They will lighten up a bit. It’s impressive that it actually makes a noticeable difference.

The ingredients present a nice combination, even though they might seem simple at first glance: niacinamide (decreases hyperpigmentation), hyaluronic acid, 3 essential ceramides, sweet almond oil, aloe vera, vitamin E.

The sweet almond oil contains vitamin K, which can lighten dark circles.

2. Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel-Cream

Those who suffer from dry skin under the eyes or dry eyelids, should definitely consider using this Hydrating Eye Gel-Cream.

It’s especially nice to have around in the winter. You can use it in your morning routine and use one that contains retinol in the evening, if you’re worried about under eye wrinkles.

It has some nice ingredients: niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, viatmin E, licorice root extract (skin-brightening), rapeseed oil (powerful antioxidants).

Their other option is the Cetaphil Deep Hydration Eye Serum.

CeraVe vs Cetaphil Moisturizers

When it comes to moisturizers, there are plenty of options from both manufacturers. However, Cetaphil is the winner, it has a more diverse offer.

I’m not going to review them all because that would take too much and I would bore you. Let’s just see which are the most interesting drugstore moisturizers from these two brands.

1. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream Body and Face Dry Skin

We can’t talk about moisturizers for dry skin without mentioning this one. It has one of the cheapest prices and it comes in a 16 oz container.

It’s a simple combination of hyaluronic acid and 3 essential ceramides that has people use it constantly.

It moisturizes and helps restore the protective skin barrier. Nothing fancy but exactly what some of us need. I really love this one for my dry sensitive skin.

2. Cetaphil Night Cream Redness Relieving

This is great for nighttime and quite appreciated by those suffering from any conditions that cause redness.

Those who have sensitive skin will really like it.

Moreover, there are quite a few people who are acne-prone who stated that this moisturizer didn’t increase the number and frequency of their breakouts.

It contains glycerin (I like it more than hyaluronic acid), sunflower seed oil (non-comedogenic), dimethicone, shea butter, vitamin E, allantoin, ceramide, panthenol, caffeine, licorice root extract, and niacinamide.

There are a lot of ingredients, I really like this combination.

3. Cetaphil Acne-Prone Skin Moisturizer SPF 30 (Oily Skin)

Unless you’re going to the beach and sitting under a powerful summer sun, you can use just this moisturizer SPF 30 and skip applying a sunscreen. So, for most of the year, you can buy just this one product instead of two.

This is a chemical sunscreen with avobenzone, octisalate, and octocrylene.

It’s also a great drugstore moisturizer for acne-prone skin. Or for oily skin.

The ingredients responsible for hydration are allantoin, dimethicone, glycerin, ceramide, panthenol, and vitamin E.

It has micropearl technology to provide a matte fish. It claims to control oil production and I’m guessing that the micropearl technology is responsible for that.

CeraVe vs Cetaphil Sunscreens

eltaMD is my first option for a very good pretty affordable sunscreen. It’s not perfect but a lot of people absolutely love it.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the sunscreens from our 2 drugstore brands that are debated here.

Their moisturizers with SPF are better than their mineral sunscreens.

La Roche-Posay would be my second option for sunscreens.

CeraVe vs Cetaphil: Amazing Debate in Skincare

This is no ordinary debate. Oh no, this is a debate between two amazing producers of skincare products. Not only that, these two make some of the best drugstore skincare products. When we’re thinking of drugstores, we’re thinking of affordable prices.

The really affordable prices are certainly a powerful incentive for being beyond excited about this CeraVe vs Cetaphil comparison.

But that certainly wouldn’t be enough. I’m excited because the low prices are correlated with fantastic quality.

These 2 shouldn’t be regarded as replacements for expensive skincare products. You’re not settling in your choices.

Both Cetaphil and CeraVe products are used by dermatologists, celebrities, and regular people simply because they work and they deliver what they promise.

That’s because these two manufacturers actually do their research when they want to launch a new product. They test their products and they analyze how a specific combination of ingredients can work together. They utilize powerful ingredients that actually have amazing benefits for our skin and tell us so.

I totally agree that expensive products have their place, whether we’re talking about moisturizers, serums, exfoliators, etc. But there are cheaper drugstore alternatives, too.

If you want to check out other amazing drugstore brands, besides these 2 that we love, you should focus on: Neutrogena, La Roche-Posay, L’Oreal Paris, No7, Olay, Eucerin, Aveeno, Bliss, Pixi, RoC.

Complete Skincare Routine with CeraVe & Cetaphil

The variety between these two famous brands is the cherry on top. If you don’t have too much money to spend, you can still enjoy a full skincare routine for both day and night just by choosing products from CeraVe and Cetaphil.

And I guess that’s what we actually did. By starting a CeraVe vs Cetaphil debate, we actually gathered all the products needed for a complete skincare routine for both the day and the night.

Since we’ve kind of reached the end of this article, let’s see: is there anything missing? Is there an essential product to a beauty routine that we couldn’t find by reviewing just these two adored brands?

Besides toners, there’s actually nothing missing. Both have sunscreens but I’m not exactly completely satisfied with them. Their moisturizers with SPF are good but their mineral sunscreens are not the absolute best.

This CeraVe vs Cetaphil debate has proven that these two are at the top but I feel that Cetaphil is the one that continues to innovate and to bring out new products for many skin concerns.