Vanicream vs CeraVe 2022 (The Definitive Guide)

By Calum Torrington

3 February 2022

Vanicream and CeraVe are two brands you’re incredibly likely to see in the beauty section of your local drugstore. But how can you tell which one is best for you?

These two popular brands are known for their consideration for sensitive and easily-irritated skin types. We’ll be comparing them for their moisturizing creams as well as their facial cleansers so you can see which brand would suit your skin needs the best.




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Vanicream vs CeraVe Moisturizer

An amazing moisturizer is one that leaves your skin feeling soft, hydrated, and soothed. If you have sensitive skin or skin that becomes irritated with ease, the Vanicream Moisturizing Cream and the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream are among the best in these arenas. However, there are some differences between them that may make you reach for one cream over the other.


Vanicream is formulated specifically for sensitive skin while CeraVe is formulated to restore dry skin. With Vanicream, the brand puts a focus on its Moisturizing Cream to help soothe away redness, irritation, cracking, or itchy skin. While it does have a focus on dry skin, it targets those with atopic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, and ichthyosis as well as those with dry winter skin.

Vanicream also points out that it doesn’t use botanical extracts or essential oils, it is free of dyes, fragrances, lanolin, parabens, and gluten too. CeraVe also seems to be devoid of the common irritants, though to find that out, you have to read the entire ingredient list. The back of its label also makes some mention of no fragrances, but as for things like lanolin, reading the label was the only way I was able to compare that both of these brands seem to take care in not including common irritants and harmful ingredients.

However, Vanicream is the one that has been awarded the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association. While CeraVe doesn’t have the same accolades, it was developed with dermatologists, so you’ll still have that peace of mind when using it.

Find the best Vanicream moisturizer prices on Amazon

To counter that point though, CeraVe's Moisturizing Cream does offer you something that Vanicream does not include, and that is the addition of ceramides. I mean, it’s the whole basis of the brand name with the “cera” in there. The thing about ceramides is they help restore and support the skin’s natural barrier.

With skin barriers, having them functioning optimally is said to reduce redness, irritation, and other annoying skin troubles. When the skin barrier is compromised, it leads to all sorts of unsightly things from the previously-mentioned skin conditions of eczema, psoriasis, and the like to things like acne as well. Bolstering the health of that outer layer may be what your skin needs to look its best.

CeraVe has three different ceramides in an encapsulated format which are designed to release throughout the day and night to keep your skin healthy, moisturized, and soothed. The ceramides aid in repairing that outer layer with every use.

Find the best CeraVe moisturizer prices on Amazon

Both brands can be used from head to toe for moisturizing dry and sensitive skin that is prone to irritations. With Vanicream though, it is labeled as a kid-friendly product. So if this sensitive skin and skin conditions runs in your family, it’s good to know you can all slather it on safely.

Incidentally, both brands promote a non-greasy texture that absorbs with ease. So if that’s your biggest concern, either one will work great for you. Each brand is big on not clogging pores either. That’s ideal for keeping acne concerns at bay.

Many people are surprised to find that dry skin can be the perfect condition for acne to show up. What they don’t realize is that when skin becomes too dry, it overcompensates with that natural moisturizing oil, sebum, and makes way too much of the stuff. The dry skin flakes off and gets caught up in the oil along with all the other gunk from the day – your makeup, dirt, and pollution – and then it gets stuck in your pores where breakouts brew to the surface.


When it comes down to it, both Vanicream and CeraVe offer excellent moisturizing creams that are versatile enough to use from head to toe. They are both targeted for dry skin with a lean toward those that have skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and others. And they both offer a non-greasy application that is noncomedogenic.

However, since CeraVe offers the addition of ceramides which can help improve your skin’s outer barrier strength, we’re leaning a little harder toward the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. It goes beyond just quenching thirsty skin to delivering that extra something that your skin needs to repair itself and stay healthy. If you simply need some assistance with keeping your skin from going too dry though, Vanicream is a good one for you.

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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Moisturizing Cream by Vanicream, a thick, smooth moisturizing cream.

Moisturizing Cream by Vanicream

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A thick, smooth moisturizing cream.

What makes it special? Helps restore and maintain a normal moisture level. Soothes red, irritated, cracking or itchy skin. Ideal moisturizing formula for dry skin associated with atopic dermatitis (eczema), psoriasis, ichthyosis, and winter itch.

Which skin types? For dry to very dry skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

Vanicream vs CeraVe Cleanser

Cleansing your skin is the most crucial step in your skincare routine. In the morning, it removes all the debris and dead skin cells that your body replenished. And by night, it serves to remove your makeup and whatever else your face picked up from the day. Let’s take a look at Vanicream and CeraVe’s options for facial cleansers.


Both cleansers are popular in beauty stores across the country. They are also designed for a gentle yet effective cleanse. And both are noncomedogenic and can help remove makeup and excess oils without leaving skin with a dried out feeling. So, we’re off to a good start!

With Vanicream's Gentle Facial Cleanser, it’s important to note that the formula is a soap-free creation. The brand claims that even the most delicate and sensitive skin types can use it for it has no harsh cleansing agents and is pH balanced. And that’s a big one, the pH balancing, for that’s what keeps your skin’s barrier layer harmonious and happy. Like the moisturizer I mentioned above, this cleanser also has the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.

Find the best Vanicream cleanser prices on Amazon

So, how does this dermatologist-tested formula stack up against CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser? CeraVe includes hyaluronic acid and those three encapsulated ceramides, just like it does for the moisturizer. This is so it can start the process of repairing your skin’s barrier function from the first step in your skincare regimen. That’s what sets it a step above the Vanicream, in our opinion.

Find the best CeraVe cleanser prices on Amazon

CeraVe is accepted by the National Eczema Association as well. Developed with dermatologists, it’s a gentle yet effective cleanser that infuses skin with just a little bit more than Vanicream’s cleanser. It only makes sense that following it with the moisturizer of the same brand will add more ceramide repairing power to help bolster the skin’s barrier to see better skin over time.


With these two great cleansers, it really is all about what you prefer. Though with the addition of ceramides in CeraVe, you’re getting something that helps your skin repair itself with continued use. Vanicream will certainly help kick off your cleansing routine in the right way without dryness, but there are no ceramides to restore your skin.

However, Vanicream is quite vocal about the things it doesn’t include, and while CeraVe seems to echo that sentiment, only Vanicream has all those things listed with ease. You’ll have to read through CeraVe’s ingredients as I did to confirm there are no known irritants.

Everything said and done, we prefer CeraVe's Hydrating Facial Cleanser.

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

Hydrating Facial Cleanser by CeraVe

SHOP Check price on

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.

Find the best price on Amazon

Gentle Facial Cleanser by Vanicream, a dermatologist-tested, soapless cleanser.

Gentle Facial Cleanser by Vanicream

SHOP Check price on

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A dermatologist-tested, soapless cleanser.

What makes it special? Vanicream's mildest cleanser specifically formulated for daily facial use helps remove makeup and excess skin oils without drying your skin, leaving your skin feeling clean and soft.

Which skin types? Ideal for dry skin.

Find the best price on Amazon

Vanicream vs CeraVe Conclusion

If you are looking to improve skin rather than just soothe skin, CeraVe may just come out on top here. Still, both brands are gentle enough to use on your skin, especially when that dryness is related to a specific skin condition or your skin never fully seems quenched enough.

To round off our review, here are our recommendations for the alternative ranges that CeraVe and Vanicream offer.

Best Vanicream Ranges

For the face:
Try the Facial Moisturizer

For body cleansing:
Try the Gentle Body Wash

For hair:
Try Free & Clear

Best CeraVe Ranges

For a day cream:
Try the AM Moisturizer

For a night cream:
Try the PM Moisturizer

For post-acne marks:
Try the Resurfacing Retinol

Work in progress

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