We're positive you've seen Aveeno and Cetaphil on the shelves at your local drugstore before. But which one should you choose?
Today, we will be comparing their daily moisturizers and lotions to help you determine which is a better fit for you and your skin!
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Aveeno vs Cetaphil Moisturizer
An excellent moisturizing lotion should feel lightweight and hydrating, leaving behind soft skin that feels subtle and looks radiant. Selecting the correct moisturizer can be complicated depending on your personal skincare needs or the specific skin issue you are treating.
According to dermatologists, moisturizers should contain occlusives, emollients, humectants, and barrier-repair ingredients. These four types of ingredient form a protective layer on the skin, draw in water, minimize roughness and keep skin smooth.
Two of the most affordable and popular brands in skincare are Aveeno and Cetaphil.
Both Aveeno and Cetaphil market their products for sensitive skin and treat common skin issues such as dryness irritation. The key ingredients work to retain moisture. However, there are noticeable differences in the product's ingredients list and overall performance.
Let's find out which one is best suited to your skincare needs with our comprehensive guide below.
Aveeno has been around for over 70 years; founded on research by the Mayo Clinic, the brand uses a combination of science and wellness to formulate products that aim to rebalance the skin.
Aveeno focuses on two key ingredients, oat and soy. The non-GMO oat extract helps soothe the skin. At the same time, soy protein contains lipids and vitamins that are nourishing and moisturizing.
The Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion contains naturally active colloidal oatmeal (oat flour), which claims to offer results in just two weeks.
The formula is designed for dry and sensitive skin and may be used any time of the day. It is recommended to use with the Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash. Ingredients include: Water, Glycerin, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Petrolatum, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium Chloride.
Aveeno does not use harmful ingredients in its skincare line. The range is formulated without triclosan, 1,4-dioxane, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, microbeads, or phthalates. In addition, Aveeno is actively working towards its sustainability goals.
Starting in 2022, the new packaging will use recycled plastic, and by 2023 refillable packaging for lotions and cleaners will be offered. The overall goal is for all Aveeno packaging to be 100% recyclable or compostable by 2025.
More consumers want to know if a product is vegan and cruelty-free when it comes to skincare. Unfortunately, this is never a straightforward answer with large corporations and parent companies. This means that while Aveeno claims not to conduct animal testing on its cosmetic products, the brand is owned by Johnson & Johnson. Furthermore, the product is sold overseas to countries such as China still requires all cosmetics to be tested on animals by law. For this reason, consumers may not consider Aveeno products cruelty-free or vegan depending on one's values.
Cetaphil works to provide skincare solutions. Compared to Aveeno, Cetaphil takes more of a medical approach than Aveeno's holistic approach to skincare. A pharmacist founded Cetaphil, and the gentle skincare range claims to be safe and effective for sensitive skin and skin that is both acne and eczema-prone.
Cetaphil Daily Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion is formulated for combination and sensitive skin. It works to lock in moisture for up to 24 hours.
The formula is designed to fight the five signs of skin sensitivity, including dryness, irritation, roughness, tightness, and a weakened skin barrier. Ingredients include: Water, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Homarine HCI, Sodium PCA, Cetyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Erythritol.
Cetaphil does not use harmful ingredients in its skincare line. In addition, the range is formulated without fragrance parabens.
Galderma, the parent company of Cetaphil, is working closely in collaboration with the IIVS (Institute For In Vitro Sciences) in China to address the critical issue of regulated animal testing on cosmetics. But, again, similar to Aveeno, while Cetaphil does not require animal testing on ingredients, the range is sold overseas, where some health authorities may conduct animal testing for certain cosmetic products before approval for sale on the market.
Both Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion and Cetaphil Daily Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion work to calm and soothe the skin. The differences fall mostly between a natural approach to skincare versus a medical approach to skincare. Both contain active ingredients that are dermatologically tested as suitable for sensitive skin. For a daily moisturizer, Aveeno is a popular choice; however, for creating a protective barrier and locking in hydration, Cetaphil may be what you are looking for.
Daily Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion by Cetaphil
Our rating: ★★★★★
Provides instant hydration to skin and locks in moisture to protect skin from dryness.
What makes it special? This ultra-light, oil-free moisturizer with hyaluronic acid instantly hydrates and locks in moisture for 24 hours to leave skin feeling balanced. It defends against 5 signs of skin sensitivity including dryness, irritation, roughness, tightness and a weakened skin barrier.
Which skin types? For combination, sensitive skin.
Daily Moisturizing Lotion by Aveeno
Our rating: ★★★★★
A popular, nourishing moisturizing lotion.
What makes it special? Formulated with Prebiotic Colloidal Oatmeal, it is clinically proven, fast-absorbing formula locks-in moisture to help protect and nourish normal to dry skin. The formula preserves the skin’s natural microbiome for healthy looking and more resilient skin with improved moisture barrier from the first use.
Which skin types? For normal to dry skin.
Aveeno vs Cetaphil Lotion
Next, we look at two additional moisturizing products from Aveeno and Cetaphil. Both brands have a wide range of skincare and offer creams, lotions, and washes that work to heal skin conditions. On top of the standard daily moisturizers, these following products are specifically designed to relieve irritated or damaged skin.
Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion is suitable for dehydrated, irritable skin. The formula contains a unique prebiotic triple oat complex which includes oat flour, oat oil, and oat extract with shea butter. Together, this formula works to balance the microbiome of the skin, which will assist with hydration and has a calming effect on the skin. Oat oil is rich in lipids, while oat extract contains antioxidant properties. For sufferers of very dry skin, the Aveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion is clinically proven to work for up to 24 hours, bringing much-needed relief.
Furthermore, the Aveeno range is suitable for itchy, eczema-prone skin. The ingredients are: [PR-001331] Aqua, Glycerin, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Petrolatum, Isopropyl Palmitate, Cetyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Avena Sativa Kernel (Oat) Flour, Avena Sativa Kernel (Oat) Oil, Avena Sativa Kernel (Oat) Extract, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Steareth-20, Sodium Chloride, BHT, Potassium Sorbate, Benzyl Alcohol.
Cetaphil Intensive Healing Lotion works to restore the skin's natural moisture barrier. This lotion is ideal for rough, sensitive, and flaky skin for use on elbows, feet, hands, knees, or areas that require protection.
The amino acid complex and ceramides hydrate the skin keeping it soft and smooth for up to 24 hours. In addition to the amino acids, the lotion contains sunflower seed oil Allantoin. Overall, the lotion is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and paraben-free.
The ingredients are: Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Pentylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sorbitol, Behenyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Hydroxypalmitoyl Sphinganine (Ceramide), Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Allantoin, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Arginine, DisodiumEthylene Dicocamide PEG-15 Disulfate, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Sodium PCA, Ceteareth-20, Sodium Polyacrylate, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Dimethiconol, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cetyl Alcohol.
The critical difference between the two lotions is the ingredients. Aveeno uses the calming effect of oat extract and shea butter, and Cetaphil uses amino acids and sunflower seed oil. Both products are suitable for dry, flaky, itchy, and irritated skin and promote 24 hours of moisture and skin barrier protection.
Aveeno and Cetaphil are considered popular skincare brands, especially in the US. They are well recognized when it comes to the treatment of sensitive skin. However, are there any issues worth discussing? Yes - the issue of certain ingredients.
In the Aveeno range, the use of Petrolatum (a mineral oil jelly) and Benzyl Alcohol (a preservative that can irritate the skin) has been noted to cause potential problems for eczema. In the Cetaphil range, the use of Benzyl Alcohol and Citric Acid (a mild acid that may bother sensitive skin) is again a potential problem for eczema-prone skin. The Aveeno range also contains other ingredients of concern, including Butylated Hydroxytoluene and Chlorhexidine Gluconate, which can cause skin irritation. In summary, be sure to check the ingredient list even with skincare products marketed as safe for sensitive skin.
If we had to choose between the two, we would opt for Cetaphil's Intensive Healing Lotion.
Intensive Healing Lotion by Cetaphil
Our rating: ★★★★★
An intense skin solution for rough, flaky, sensitive skin.
What makes it special? This intensive healing solution contains amino acids and ceramides—a lipid naturally found in skin cells and makes up about 50% of the epidermis. The ceramides hydrate the skin to repair its natural moisture barrier while the amino acids absorb moisture to keep the skin supple and soft. The lotion is also gentle on sensitive skin, repairing and reviving without irritation or inflammation. There have been disputes, however, that this lotion doesn’t truly last up to 24 hours or heal cracked skin.
Which skin types? All skin types, especially skin with issues such as irritation, roughness, tightness, dryness, or a weakened skin barrier.
Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion by Aveeno
Our rating: ★★★★★
Helps to heal very dry skin.
What makes it special? Formulated with a Prebiotic triple oat complex (Oat Flour + Oat Extract + Oat Oil) and shea butter. The formula is clinically proven to moisturise, soothe and protect very dry irritable skin. The formula helps to improve the balance of the skin’s natural microbiome. It gives you more resilient and healthy-looking skin from day one.
Which skin types? For very dry, irritable skin.
Aveeno vs Cetaphil for Eczema
So, which is better for eczema - Cetaphil or Aveeno? While all the products we've covered so far are suitable for eczema, both brands actually offer products *specifically* for eczema-prone skin. Let's take a closer look at Aveeno's Eczema Therapy Soothing Cream and Cetaphil's Eczema Restoraderm Soothing Moisturizer.
The first thing you'll notice between the two is the fact that they both boast the National Eczema Association 'Seal of Acceptance', meaning that they are certifiably free from nasties such as fragrance, parabens, and dyes, so you can be confident in whichever you choose. They're both also free from steroids, meaning they're compatible with any eczema-related prescriptions you may be using.
The glaring similarities don't stop there, either. Both lotions contain Colloidal Oatmeal (the primary active which relieves irritation and itching), Ceramides (which support the skin's moisture barrier), Glycerin (a moisturizing agent), and Panthenol (which enhances hydration).
Where they begin to differ is the fact that the Aveeno Eczema Therapy Soothing Cream's formula is *extremely* minimal, with it only additionally including the skin protectants Petrolatum and Dimethicone, as well as a few emulsifiers.
Cetaphil's Eczema Restoraderm Soothing Moisturizer is much less minimal—which isn't typically ideal for products intended for sensitive/eczema-prone skin—but this is forgivable given that the additional ingredients include: moisturizing Sunflower Seed Oil, nourishing Shea Butter, protective Vitamin E, protective Arginine, soothing Niacinamide, soothing Allantoin, moisturizing Sodium PCA, and hydrating Hyaluronic Acid.
Most importantly, it contains AD-RESYL® (Ophiopogon Japonicus Root Extract), specifically developed to prevent the clinical signs of atopic dermatitis—the most common type of eczema. Cetaphil's bonus ingredients come at a cost, though, so you'll find that Aveeno's is slightly cheaper per fluid ounce.
If the NEA seal of acceptance wasn't convincing enough, the near-perfect reviews should be. These formulas are adored worldwide for their symptom-soothing abilities, and it really is just a case of picking one up and giving it a go for yourself.
The Cetaphil Eczema Restoraderm Soothing Moisturizer is justifiably more expensive thanks to its more extensive formula, and you certainly wouldn't regret paying the extra few bucks. But if you're on a tight budget, then Aveeno will still do the trick.
Eczema Restoraderm Soothing Moisturizer by Cetaphil
Our rating: ★★★★★
Protects skin for fewer eczema flare-up symptoms.
What makes it special? This soothing lotion with 1% skin protectant colloidal oatmeal helps relieve minor skin irritation and itching caused by eczema. Patented, naturally derived Ad-Resyl is specially designed to help restore a damaged skin barrier and support a healthy microbiome, while the proprietary filaggrin technology locks in hydration and helps strengthen the skin’s barrier against environmental irritants. Free of parabens, fragrances and steroids, this gentle moisturizing lotion is dermatologist tested and accepted by the National Eczema Association to be suitable for sensitive, eczema prone skin.
Which skin types? For eczema-prone, sensitive skin.
Eczema Therapy Soothing Cream by Aveeno
Our rating: ★★★★★
Relieves eczema-prone skin.
What makes it special? From the #1 dermatologist recommended eczema moisturizer brand, relieve & soothe symptoms of eczema such as dry, itchy skin with this daily moisturizing body cream with colloidal oatmeal and ceramide.
Which skin types? For dry, eczema-prone skin.
Aveeno vs Cetaphil Conclusion
Aveeno and Cetaphil moisturizers are ideal brands for anyone searching for a rich, soothing, hydrating skincare lotion. However, deciding between the two may come down to an individual preference of active ingredients, and more importantly: skin type.
To round off our review, here are our recommendations for the alternative ranges that Aveeno and Cetaphil offer.
Best Aveeno Ranges
Best Cetaphil Ranges
This post was written by guest author, Cherie Julie, and edited by Calum Torrington.
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This article was originally published on 14th February 2022. Last updated 30th March 2023.