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CeraVe and Aveeno are America’s sweethearts of drugstore skincare. They have become so synonymous with affordable skincare for sensitive skin that it can be hard to differentiate the two.

Let’s take a head-to-head look at three of their rival best-seller pairs, and help you to decide which is best for you and your skin!

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CeraVe vs Aveeno Cleanser

When you’re battling sensitive skin, it can be difficult to find a cleanser that hits the perfect balance. You need a cleanser effective enough to wash away dirt and bacteria, yet gentle enough not to strip your skin and leave it feeling tight and dry.

Best overall cleanser

Keep scrolling for a comprehensive comparison of two of the most popular products when it comes to cleansers for sensitive skin: CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser and Aveeno’s Calm+Restore Nourishing Oat Cleanser.

Both CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser and Aveeno’s Calm+Restore Nourishing Oat Cleanser boast a non-comedogenic formula, which means neither of them will clog your pores. CeraVe’s is backed by the National Eczema Association and Aveeno’s is clinically proven to be hypoallergenic, so we’re off to a close start.

CeraVe commonly advertises working with dermatologists to create their formulas and even mine has recommended their products to me. They’re especially proud of their skin-identical ingredients like Ceramides 1, 3 and 6, as well as hyaluronic acid. Since ceramides make up 50% of the material that holds our skin cells together, they’re critical in hydration and a healthy skin barrier.

Let’s take a look at CeraVe’s top four ingredients by volume versus Aveeno’s. CeraVe and Aveeno’s cleansers both use water and glycerin as their top two ingredients. Glycerin is a skin-identical ingredient that acts as a moisturizer and humectant (it attracts water from the air to your skin). It’s been used for more than 50 years and helps keep your skin barrier healthy. We love this ingredient and it’s great for sensitive skin!

After this, the two brands start to differ. CeraVe opts for a behentrimonium methosulfate and cetearyl alcohol combo for their third and fourth ingredients. Combined, these two act as a super stable cleanser and emollient. Aveeno’s next two ingredients of choice are butylene glycol (BG) and avena sativa kernel flour (oat extract). BG helps Aveeno’s nourishing formula absorb faster, spread nicely and it’s also another humectant. It’s a super safe ingredient and even used in foods! Aveeno’s oat extract is their signature that acts as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and an emollient.

At this point, we were still having a hard time choosing a favorite, and you might be too. Don’t worry! We decided to dig a little deeper and look into these products’ Environmental Working Group (EWG) toxicology ratings. EWG is a non-profit, American Activist Group who do extensive research on the safety of our food and products. We’ve utilized their Skin Deep Database to see how these two cleansers stack up:

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most toxic, CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser received a 4, making it a “moderate hazard.” The most alarming ingredient is propylparaben which has been proven to cause endocrine disruption as well as developmental and reproductive toxicity. Aveeno’s Calm+Restore Nourishing Oat Cleanser received a toxicology rating of 2, earning it a “Trusted Choice Skinsafe” rating. This made Aveeno’s Calm+Restore Nourishing Oat Cleanser the obvious choice for best overall cleanser, especially for sensitive skin!

Calm+Restore Nourishing Oat Cleanser by Aveeno, a nourishing cleanser formulated with soothing prebiotic oat and calming feverfew.

Calm+Restore Nourishing Oat Cleanser by Aveeno

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A nourishing cleanser formulated with soothing prebiotic oat and calming feverfew.

What makes it special? Founded in 1945, all of Aveeno’s products were created with the help of the Mayo Clinic Dermatology Center. Their superpower is their use of oat extract which acts as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and an emollient. This makes their cleanser gentle yet effective!

Which skin types? All skin types, even sensitive skin.

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Hydrating Facial Cleanser by CeraVe, hydrating cleanser for normal-to-dry skin.

Hydrating Facial Cleanser by CeraVe

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Hydrating cleanser for normal-to-dry skin.

What makes it special? A cleanser can remove dirt, makeup and other debris, but a hydrating cleanser, like CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, can do all that without disrupting the skin’s natural protective barrier or stripping the skin of its natural moisture. Created with dermatologists, CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser is a gentle face wash with ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid that work to restore the skin’s natural barrier to help the skin lock in moisture.

Which skin types? For normal to dry, sensitive skin.

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CeraVe vs Aveeno Moisturizer

We all know that moisturizing is a critical step in our skincare routines. Proper hydration can strengthen your skin barrier, slow aging, increase efficacy of your other skincare products, and prevent acne and other skin conditions. To put it simply, you need a moisturizer, and you need a good one.

Best overall lotion

Let’s talk about body lotion! I used to hate the feeling of lotion on my body, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want healthy skin with a youthful glow. You want a moisturizer that feels light on your skin, but still provides powerful hydration that your sensitive skin needs to stay healthy. If you’re torn between CeraVe and Aveeno, keep scrolling to find the best moisturizer for you!

CeraVe’s Daily Moisturizing Lotion and Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Lotion are both absolute staples for these brands. Most American households have at least one of these products sitting on their shelves at all times, but which one is the best? Let’s get into their ingredients and feel to determine which moisturizer you should be adding to your cart.

Both lotions are lightweight, non-greasy, and are proven to provide hydration 24 hours after application. They’re also non-comedogenic, oil-free and fragrance-free making them great for sensitive or dry skin. However, their product formulations start to differ when we look at their key ingredients.

CeraVe’s Daily Moisturizing Lotion uses a combination of anti-acne, cell-communicating ingredients (according to incidecoder.com, these tell your skin cells to ‘behave’ better), and essential skin-identical ingredients (these mimic components found in your skin that are essential for a healthy, moisturized skin barrier)—most widely recognized is their use of three types of ceramides.

Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Lotion’s key ingredients serve as antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients and anti-inflammatories—included in these is their flagship, oat extracts. The key ingredients mentioned above make both lotions great for dry, sensitive skin, as well as skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

From an inclusion perspective, Aveeno practices equity awareness with their Skin Health Startup Accelerator which identifies Black female entrepreneurs who are creating skincare and haircare to meet the needs of Black consumers and provides $100,000 in funding as well as ongoing mentorship. Aveeno is also raising awareness of skin conditions in skin of color which can be difficult to diagnose since “less than 5 percent of the images in general medicine textbooks showed conditions on darker skin.”

We can’t make our final decision without checking out EWG’s Skin Deep Database. So what do they have to say about these two fan-favorite lotions? Just like their cleansers, CeraVe has a rating of 4, making it a “moderate hazard,” and Aveeno is rated a 2, making it a “low hazard.” Since we like to err on the side of caution, we are giving Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Lotion our stamp of Best Overall Lotion!

Daily Moisturizing Lotion by Aveeno, a popular, nourishing moisturizing lotion.

Daily Moisturizing Lotion by Aveeno

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

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.

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Daily Moisturizing Lotion by CeraVe, oil-free moisturizer with hyaluronic acid.

Daily Moisturizing Lotion by CeraVe

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Oil-free moisturizer with hyaluronic acid.

What makes it special? CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion is a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer that helps hydrate the skin and restore its natural barrier. Formulated with 3 essential ceramides that work together to lock in skins moisture and help restore your skin’s protective barrier. MVE technology encapsulates ceramides to ensure efficient delivery within the skin’s barrier and slow release over time. It leaves the skin feeling comfortable, and is gentle on the skin as it provides 24-hour hydration.

Which skin types? For normal to dry skin.

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Best overall cream

You may be thinking: “I already have a lotion, why would I need to add a cream to my skincare line up?” Creams are a great addition to your PM skincare routine to lock in moisture and nutrients while your skin works to repair itself overnight. If you suffer from skin conditions like acne, eczema, dry skin or psoriasis you might want to strongly consider adding a cream to your routine. They can also be essential to help keep your skin healthy in cold, dry climates.

We can’t talk about dry, damaged skin without talking about CeraVe and Aveeno’s cream options which offer intense hydration and repair. There are several different types of creams offered by each brand, but we’ve narrowed it down to the top two: CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream and Aveeno’s Skin Relief Moisture Repair Cream. Let’s get into their key similarities and differences and determine which one is worth the shelf space.

When it comes to the basics: non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, steroid-free, paraben and sulfate-free—these creams are both checking all the boxes. They have a rich, luxurious feel but don’t leave behind a greasy residue.

We’re going to switch things up this time and talk about their EWG Skin Deep Database ratings, then get into their ingredients. These two products are tied at a toxicity rating of 3 making them both “moderate hazards.” It is important to note that EWG shares that their referenced data on both products is “limited.”

Let’s take a look at their active ingredients to make our final decision. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream and Aveeno Skin Relief Moisture Repair Cream both have active ingredients that serve as antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-identical ingredients.

However, CeraVe’s cream also has an anti-acne ingredient and packs in seven skin-identical ingredients compared to Aveeno’s two. Of those seven, three are essential ceramides and one is sodium hyaluronate, a cousin to the ever-famous hyaluronic acid. They actually refer to it as hyaluronic acid because once in your skin that’s what it’s converted to.

This superstar ingredient combo has us adding CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream to our cart every time we hit the drugstore!

Moisturizing Cream by CeraVe, barrier-restoring moisturizing cream.

Moisturizing Cream by CeraVe

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Barrier-restoring moisturizing cream.

What makes it special? CeraVe Moisturizing Cream includes 3 essential ceramides that work together to lock in skin's moisture and help restore your skin’s protective barrier. MVE technology encapsulates ceramides to ensure efficient delivery within the skin’s barrier and slow release over time, supporting your protective skin barrier long after you’ve finish applying.

Which skin types? For normal to dry, sensitive skin.

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Skin Relief Moisturizing Cream by Aveeno, a soothing cream to safely nourish and heal delicate skin.

Skin Relief Moisturizing Cream by Aveeno

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A soothing cream to safely nourish and heal delicate skin.

What makes it special? A clinically tested, therapeutic repair cream provides restoration and intense hydration that lasts for a full 24 hours. It’s packed with a prebiotic triple oat complex, ceramide and rich emollients to safely nourish and heal delicate skin.

Which skin types? For very dry, irritable skin.

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