Cetaphil is the super popular facial cleanser that has a cult following, and almost every Dermatologist seems to recommend it for dry, sensitive, and acne-prone skin. However CeraVe is a newer drugstore gentle cleanser that is quickly gaining in popularity. Cetaphil vs. CeraVe – which one is better?
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser was created by Dermatologists and it’s marketed as a gentle cleanser for normal to dry skin, sensitive skin, and people with acne, rosacea and eczema. According to the Cetaphil website, it’s supposed to be great at removing makeup, and addressing the dryness your skin can face from certain acne medications. It won’t strip your skin of natural protective oils, it’s fragrance free, and it’s touted as non-comedogenic so it’s not supposed to clog pores.
I have tried Cetaphil off and on throughout the years and personally I’ve never liked it. I don’t find it removes eye makeup at all, and I feel like it leaves a film on my skin before it has a chance to actually cleanse my skin thoroughly. I’m not exactly sure how to test if it properly cleanses my skin, so it’s really the coating it leaves behind I don’t like. In part because it does leave behind a moisturizing layer, it’s actually a hydrating, non-drying cleanser, which is nice for dry skin. It’s also a great value because you can get a big bottle of it at your drugstore for a decent price.
I don’t like the fact that it contains the harsh Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) as the fourth ingredient, and even if it’s in a small amount, most cleansers don’t contain SLS and work just fine without it. SLS is also a major pore clogger, which is ironic because this cleanser is specifically designed for acne-prone skin. Although to be fair, I have never broken out from Cetaphil cleanser. Finally, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser contains three types of parabens, which a lot of people try to avoid due to studies that show there might be a link between parabens and cancer. At this point in my skin care research, a product with parabens is not a dealbreaker for me, but I may change my mind in the future. While Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser has some good properties, it’s definitely not the greatest cleanser ever, and it has several major drawbacks.
Ingredients: Water, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben.
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
CeraVe is a newer drugstore cleanser, which is very similar to Cetaphil, but it has different ingredients. I had been reading rave reviews about CeraVe, and I finally tracked it down at Walgreens recently. It’s supposed to also be sold at CVS, but none of the CVS stores near me carry it, and I’ve never seen it anywhere else, except online. Like Cetaphil, CeraVe was developed by Dermatologists to protect and restore your skin barrier, thus making it a hydrating cleanser for people with normal to dry skin. It’s also fragrance free, and non-comedogenic. CeraVe comes in a big bottle also, so I could imagine one $11 bottle lasting at least six months.
Excitedly, I tried CeraVe, but found it to feel and perform exactly like Cetaphil. It also doesn’t remove eye makeup, it’s a hydrating, non-drying cleanser, and it also leaves a soft film on your face. The benefits of CeraVe over Cetaphil is that it doesn’t contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, and it contains some great non-pore clogging moisturizing ingredients - ceramides and hyaluronic acid. For those reasons, if you are interested in trying a gentle cleanser for normal to dry skin, I would definitely recommend trying CeraVe first before Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. CeraVe contains more ingredients than Cetaphil, so while the ingredients are supposed to be good for acne-prone and sensitive skin, there are more ingredients that your skin could potentially react to, if it’s super sensitive. CeraVe also contains parabens.
Ingredients: Water (Purified), Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate/Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6 II, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol, Polyoxyl 40 Stearate, Glyceryl Monostearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cetyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Phytosphingosine, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum
Finally, Cetaphil has a second cleanser called Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser that is for normal to oily skin. I haven’t tried it, but it doesn’t contain SLS, and it’s something I personally would want to try when for when I go to more humid climates. It does contain fragrance, though, which could pose a problem for people with really sensitive skin.
What do you think about Cetaphil and CeraVe?