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Aquaphor vs Cetaphil 2024 (The Definitive Guide)

Aquaphor and Cetaphil are two of the most popular options when it comes to treating skin in need of some TLC. But which one should you choose? This comprehensive comparison guide will help you see the benefits of each to make the best decision for you and your skin.

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Aquaphor Healing Ointment vs Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

To state the obvious: ointments tend to be thicker than creams, but clearly the differences don't end there (otherwise this comparison would be pretty short!) In fact, both products possess some fairly unique qualities, for better or for worse, which could impact your decision.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment is a dermatologist-recommended choice to repair dry and cracked skin. It can also be used for chapped lips, cracked cuticles, plus dry feet and heels. As a clinically proven formula, it is provably effective for restoring compromised skin to a smooth and healthy condition.

The formula features 41% petrolatum, an occlusive ingredient that traps moisture within the skin. Glycerin and panthenol are also included which lend intensive nourishment and moisturization to skin. There’s also bisabolol (an anti-irritant), as well as ceresin, lanolin alcohol, and mineral oil which complement the petrolatum in suppressing trans-epidermal water loss (i.e., supporting your skin's natural ability to retain water).

Sight of "alcohol" in ingredients lists typically should put you on alert, however Lanolin alcohol is not the drying type. Instead, it is a fatty one that can actually help dry skin! However, it’s important that you know it could potentially be irritating to some users, as it is not an entirely uncommon allergy. Mineral oil may be of even greater concern, as it is actually on the EWG’s list of ingredients you should avoid in skincare despite possessing some favorable moisturizing properties.

Aquaphor is free of preservatives and fragrances, and is intended for use on skin that is extremely dry. While it relieves and refreshes dryness, cracking, and chapping, it can also be used as a preventative measure on cold and windy days to protect skin.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is made for dry and very dry skin types. It’s also ideal for those that deal with sensitive skin. While it’s not an ointment, this rich cream has been clinically proven to give skin intense and lasting hydration for up to 48 hours. The brand’s formulation is made with dermatologist-backed ingredients, including niacinamide, petrolatum, panthenol, and glycerin - the latter three you'll be familiar with from Aquaphor's ingredient line-up.

It has a longer ingredient list than Aquaphor, which is usually a bit of a red flag for those with sensitive skin (i.e., as the complexity of an ingredient list increases, the odds that you'll be sensitive to one of the ingredients increases). This suspicion is confirmed via the EWG scores, with Cetaphil receiving a score of 4 (fair), while Aquaphor scores a 2 (low hazard).

Ultimately, your personal skin requirements will dictate which of these products to reach for at the store. If you want a product that has fewer ingredients (for sensitivity concerns) and a thicker texture, choose Aquaphor.

Find the best Aquaphor Healing Ointment prices on Amazon

For those that need more moisturization for particularly dry skin, Cetaphil may suit you better.

Find the best Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream prices on Amazon

Healing Ointment by Aquaphor, skin protectant ointment with Panthenol and Glycerin.

Healing Ointment by Aquaphor

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Skin protectant ointment with Panthenol and Glycerin.

What makes it special? One essential solution for many skincare needs: Aquaphor Healing Ointment is uniquely formulated to restore smooth, healthy skin. Different from a lotion or cream, this multi-purpose ointment protects and soothes extremely dry skin, chapped lips, cracked hands and feet, minor cuts and burns, and many other skin irritations, so you can get on with your day comfortably.

Which skin types? For dry, cracked skin, chapped lips, cracked cuticles and dry feet and heels.

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Moisturizing Cream by Cetaphil, intensively moisturises & rehydrates dry skin.

Moisturizing Cream by Cetaphil

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Intensively moisturises & rehydrates dry skin.

What makes it special? A nourishing blend of moisturisers including Glycerin, Sunflower seed oil, Sweet almond oil and Vitamin E help to replenish & support the skin's natural protective barrier. Leaves skin feeling soft & smooth. Proven, long-lasting moisturisation (up to 24 hours with each application).

Which skin types? All skin types.

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This article was originally published on August 15th 2022, but it has been reviewed and updated with the latest available information on February 12th 2024 by Sara Mckay, MA.

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