cetaphil vs vanicream

Cetaphil VS Vanicream: Differences, Similarities & Which One Is Right For You

With so many different skincare brands and products out there, it can be difficult to decide which products are best for you. 

Finding the right products is especially difficult for people with sensitive skin. There are dozens of established, popular, trusted brands that offer similar products marketed towards people with sensitive skin. 

Two such brands are Cetaphil and Vanicream. Both brands are well-known for catering to sensitive skin. So how do you decide which brand is right for you?

In this article, we’ve compiled some of the key similarities and differences between Cetaphil and Vanicream so you’ll be able to decide which one is right for you.

Cetaphil & Vanicream In General

Both Cetaphil and Vanicream are well-established wallet-friendly brands trusted by consumers and dermatologists alike. 

Both brands focus primarily on sensitive skincare, but they have slightly different approaches to skincare. Here is an overview of some of the key differences:


  • Cetaphil products focus on adding soothing and skin-supporting ingredients to their formulations, like niacinamide and vitamin E
  • Their products also provide several benefits for the skin, so you may be able to use fewer products to meet your skin goals
  • Longer ingredients lists and more complex formulations can be problematic for people with extremely sensitive skin or skin conditions like rosacea or eczema
  • Some products contain parabens and fragrances, which many people find to be irritating
  • Offers a wide range of products for various skin concerns


  • Vanicream products contain minimal ingredients, so they’re less likely to be irritating
  • People with multiple skin concerns may need to supplement with additional skincare products, which may lead to a longer skincare routine
  • All Vanicream products are paraben-free and fragrance-free
  • Offers a comparatively small range of products

Cetaphil Vs Vanicream Facial Cleanser

Finding a cleanser that cleans your face without irritating your skin can feel like an uphill battle if you have sensitive skin. 

Both Cetaphil and Vanicream offer award-winning gentle facial cleansers that are lauded as the best of the best when it comes to sensitive skin cleansing.

The Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is a non-foaming hydrating cleanser that many people report is very soothing. It’s fragrance-free, paraben-free, and hypoallergenic. 

Many users report that this is their go-to cleanser for dry skin and conditions like folliculitis and cystic acne. 

One potential drawback of this cleanser is it has a pH of 6.8. Our skin’s pH is typically between 4.8 and 5.5. Using a cleanser that isn’t pH balanced can cause irritation for some people.

The Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser is free of dyes, fragrance, paraben, gluten, and a handful of other common additives that may be of concern for people with sensitive skin. 

This foaming cleanser is lauded as a go-to for those with eczema or rosacea and is highly recommended for people who are using harsh acne treatments. 

It’s also pH-balanced, making it an ideal choice for people with extremely sensitive skin.

Discover the key differences between CeraVe and Cetaphil, two leading skincare giants in “The Ultimate Comparison: CeraVe vs Cetaphil – Unveiling the Best Skincare Choice“.

Cetaphil Vs Vanicream Lotion

Both Cetaphil and Vanicream offer lightweight facial lotions suitable for combination and oily skin. While these products make very similar claims, there are some key differences.

The Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion contains several vitamins, like vitamins B3 and B5 (Niacinamide and panthenol) that reportedly help to make sensitive skin more resilient. 

It contains avocado oil, but won’t clog pores. Despite its lightweight texture, many reviewers report that it works well for dry and oily skin alike.

The Vanicream Moisturizing Lotion (formerly known as the Lite Lotion) has a shorter, simpler ingredient list than the Cetaphil lotion

Where the Cetaphil focuses on increasing skin resiliency, Vanicream’s lotion focuses on reducing immediate redness and irritation. 

It’s received rave reviews from people with psoriasis, eczema, ichthyosis, or otherwise extremely sensitive skin.

Cetaphil Vs Vanicream Cream

Heavier creams are great for dry skin and body skincare. Cetaphil and Vanicream’s cream moisturizers are essentially thicker, more occlusive versions of their lotions. 

Both of these creams are petrolatum-based, but they still have some key differences.

The Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream includes the same vitamin blend as the lotion. It’s a thick, heavy cream, but many reviewers report that it’s non-greasy and absorbs well into the skin. 

It’s a daily-use cream suitable for use on both the face and body.

The Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream is extremely thick. It’s thicker than the Cetaphil cream, meaning average consumers may find it far too thick for use on the face. 

Some reviewers report that this cream leaves a slightly moist residue on the skin, which could become greasy if you don’t have extremely dry skin. 

Most people will find it works best as a body cream, especially at night and in winter. However, people with psoriasis, eczema, or otherwise scaly or flakey skin have reviewed this cream highly for head-to-toe use.

Cetaphil vs Vanicream Ointment

Ointments are rising in popularity in the world of skincare. These products range from very heavy creams to Vaseline-like formulations that are extremely occlusive. 

Meaning, they create a barrier on the skin that prevents water loss, keeping the skin hydrated and moisturized. These sorts of products are best used to spot-treat extremely dry, cracked skin and often make excellent lip balms.

Both the Cetaphil and Vanicream ointments are accepted by the National Eczema Association and are free of fragrances and parabens

Both ointments are also lauded for their non-greasy feeling and excellent moisturization properties. 

The key difference between these products is that the Cetaphil ointment is petrolatum-based, and the Vanicream ointment is primarily composed of hydrogenated polydecene.

Cetaphil’s Healing Ointment is 71.5% petrolatum, which is what Vaseline is made from. As such, this ointment is very occlusive, meaning it creates a layer on top of the skin, which is what you want to treat cracked skin. 

The additional ingredients, like shea butter, help the ointment somewhat absorb into the skin. Some reviewers found this ointment to be non-greasy, but others reported the opposite.

Vanicream’s Moisturizing Ointment is primarily hydrogenated polydecene, an emollient that forms a non-occlusive film on the skin. Where occlusive sit on top of the skin, emollients penetrate the skin. 

As such, many reviews find that this ointment is less greasy than Cetaphil’s ointment. Some people even found it suitable to use as a lotion.

Cetaphil vs Vanicream for Acne

When you have sensitive skin and acne, it can be difficult to find products that can treat your acne without making it worse and damaging your skin. 

Cetaphil and Vanicream are both trusted in sensitive skincare, but what about acne?

Cetaphil doesn’t have any products that are formulated specifically to treat acne, but dermatologists still recommend it as a great brand for acne defense

The cleansers are generally cleansing enough to help keep skin clear of dirt and oil that can cause acne, but gentle enough to keep from further irritating existing acne. 

Additionally, all of their products are non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog your pores. Also, many Cetaphil products contain Niacinamide, an ingredient well known for its oil and acne-controlling properties. 

However, some severe acne sufferers report experiencing bad breakouts while using Cetaphil

Like Cetaphil, Vanicream doesn’t have any products formulated to treat acne. And just like Cetaphil, dermatologists recommend it for use in anti-acne skincare routines. 

Vanicream products are non-comedogenic and gentle enough to be used by people with extremely sensitive or compromised skin. 

Vanicream products are particularly good choices for people who are using harsh acne treatments, as they are extremely unlikely to cause further irritation. 

Cetaphil Vs Vanicream for Babies

While they’re not ‘baby brands,’ both Cetaphil and Vanicream carry products that pediatricians, dermatologists, and parents alike love for babies. 

Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser is an excellent choice for babies. Unlike many cleansing products for babies, Cetaphil’s cleanser is fragrance-free. Additionally, it can be used as a soap and as a shampoo. 

Most doctors recommend that parents don’t put lotions on their babies, as it can cause rashes. 

However, for babies with skin conditions like eczema, dermatologists advise parents to reach for Vanicream’s Moisturizing Skin Cream. 

Its minimal ingredient list is perfect for babies, and it’s effective in treating the dryness, redness, and irritation that comes along with eczema. 


Both Cetaphil and Vanicream carry a myriad of products that offer benefits for people with sensitive skin. However, there are some key advantages and disadvantages of each brand to keep in mind. 

Cetaphil products are typically aimed are making the skin more resilient by adding supportive vitamins and vitamin-rich oils. This allows the products to target multiple concerns at once. 

However, people with extremely sensitive or compromised skin may find Cetaphil’s products to be a little bit irritating, especially if they are used in conjunction with any harsh treatments. 

Vanicream products are aimed at soothing red, irritated skin and prevent additional irritation. 

Their products have short ingredient lists that make them especially popular for people with skin conditions like rosacea or eczema or extremely sensitive skin. 

However, people with multiple skin concerns will likely have to supplement their skincare routine with additional products to get the result they’re looking for. 

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