Cetaphil vs Aveeno: Which is Better? (2022)

Cetaphil and Aveeno are two of the most popular brands in the market when it comes to drugstore skincare products. They are both affordable, readily available, and offer some pretty good cleansers and moisturizers. 

Which one is better for you will depend on your skin type and what products you are looking for.  In this article, I’ll go over each brand and some of the best products that they offer for different skin types.

By the end, you’ll know enough to decide which will work best for you, as well as have some idea of which products you may want to try first.

✅ Skincare Tip: I’m a skincare junkie and have tried hundreds of products over the years. When looking for skincare products I mix and match between brands. There’s no reason to stay with just one brand, find the products that work best for you!

Aveeno vs Cetaphil

Aveeno is known for using natural ingredients like oatmeal, soybean oil, and shea butter in face and body lotions. They are best known for making soothing products for sensitive skin, or for those with skin problems like dryness.

Cetaphil is a well-known skincare brand that has been around for over 70 years. It was created as an alternative to soap and water cleansers, which many people found too drying for their skin. 

Both brands are recommended by dermatologists as being effective and a good value. In general, Cetaphil products are often a little bit less expensive than Aveeno, but they’re usually going to be within a few dollars of each other.

Cetaphil vs Aveeno

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Is Aveeno or Cetaphil Better For Acne?

You can find products from both lines suitable for acne-prone skin. Aveeno calls their acne-focused line “Clear Complexion” and Cetaphil calls their’s “Gentle Clear”.  Both lines feature salicylic acid as the star ingredient.

Aveeno has four products mean for acne, and unfortunately, they all contain fragrances that can cause skin irritation.  I’d recommend avoiding them if you have sensitive skin. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin I still recommend avoiding products with fragrance and/or dyes added. It increases the odds of an allergic reaction and can cause irritation, even if it’s not visible.

Best Aveeno Products for Acne

The Clear Complexion Cream Face Cleanser has 2% salicylic acid and the Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser For Sensitive Skin has .5%.  While .5% is meant for sensitive skin, I think it’s a very low percentage, particularly considering you are only going to leave it on a minute and then rinse it off.  Salicylic acid is not particularly irritating. I don’t think most people, even with sensitive skin, would have any problems with a 2% strength in a cleanser. It will most likely be much more effective with very little irritation.

In addition to the cleanser, Aveeno offers exfoliating pads and a moisturizer. The Clear Complexion Exfoliating Pads for Face have .6% salicylic acid as well as soy for evening out skin tone. The Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer has .5 % salicylic acid plus soy for skin tone and glycerin for moisture.

Best Cetaphil Products for Acne

Cetaphil’s Gentle Clear Clarifying Acne Cream Cleanser has 2% salicylic acid. It also has aloe, which is soothing to your skin, and white tea. White tea is a good antioxidant, but it’s the very last ingredient on the list so I doubt it’s having much impact on this product. It’s fragrance-free. 

Cetaphil’s Gentle Clear Mattifying Acne Moisturizer contains .5% salicylic acid, which, in a leave-on product, is enough to be effective. I was very impressed with this ingredients list! Key ingredients include:

  • Kojic acid, morus alba extract, and licorice root are great for fighting the dark spots that acne leaves behind.
  • Allantoin and bisabolol are very soothing for your skin. 
  • Glycerin and hyaluronic acid (in sodium hyaluronate form) moisturizing 
  • No fragrance

This moisturizer is the clear winner over Aveeno’s and honestly, is a good choice whether you have acne or not.

Overall I think Cetaphil’s acne-focused products are the better choice over Aveeno. Not only because they are fragrance-free but the moisturizer has much more impressive ingredients.

✅ Bonus Tip:  If you have acne you don’t necessarily need a salicylic acid cleanser. It may just dry out your skin. You may have less irritation with one of the cleansers for sensitive skin below.

Ceptahil or Aveeno for Sensitive Skin?

Cetaphil and Aveeno both have a wide variety of products for sensitive skin, way more than I could ever cover here. I’m going to highlight the ones I feel are best and that I’ve had a good experience with. Please keep in mind there are others that I haven’t tried that still may be a great choice.

Best Cetaphil Products for Sensitive Skin

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser is a good choice if you have dry or sensitive skin as it’s fragrance-free.   Glycerin provides moisture and panthenol will soothe skin. This cleanser uses micellar technology to help remove dirt and makeup while still being mild enough for sensitive skin types. This is a better option than the Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser, which has a fragrance that smells like bad perfume and is more likely to cause allergic reactions.

I use this regularly (but it doesn’t beat my all-time favorite CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser).  If you have oily skin or if you wear heavier make-up this cleanser may not be able to remove them, but if you have normal or dry I highly recommend it. 

Cetaphil RestoraDerm Soothing Wash

This product seems to have been specifically designed to compete with Aveeno! Cetaphil says it’s for “stressed” skin, and it doesn’t have any ingredients that are usually irritating.

If your skin is very dry and itchy in the winter or you have a skin condition like eczema then this might be the Cetaphil cleanser for you. This product has colloidal oatmeal, which has anti-itch properties that help calm irritated skin. Essential ceramides are also included to moisturize skin and help maintain your skin barrier.

Cetaphil RestoraDerm Skin Replenishing Moisturizer

Ceramides help the skin retain moisture, which is why they are a must if you have dry skin or are over 40. As we age our skin shows more fine lines and wrinkles, but keeping it hydrating and plump helps reduce wrinkles appearance.

This Cetaphil moisturizer also contains hyaluronic acid, which helps the skin absorb moisture, and colloidal oatmeal to soothe itching. You can use this for both your body and face.

Cetaphil Daily Wash and Moisturizing Lotion

Best Aveeno Products For Sensitive Skin

Many Aveeno products are suitable for sensitive skin as they are formulated without artificial fragrance and dyes. Additionally, Aveeno uses oatmeal in many of its products, which soothes irritated skin. They also use soy for brightening, which is more gentle than exfoliating acids

Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Cleanser For Sensitive Skin

This gentle cleanser contains glycerin and hyaluronic acid to moisturize skin and oat kernel flour to soothe skin. It has no fragrance or dyes to irritate skin and shouldn’t strip skin of its natural oils. A good choice for not only sensitive skin but also dry skin as well. 

Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer For Sensitive Skin

This is a gel moisturizer, it’s great for oily or normal skin, but probably not moisturizing enough for dry skin. In addition to moisturizing, it has centella, which reduces redness among other benefits, as well as feverfew and oat kernel flour to soothe skin.

Cetaphil vs Aveeno for Normal Skin

If you are lucky enough to have normal skin, neither dry nor oily and not too sensitive, you’ll be able to easily find products from both Cetaphil and Aveeno that should suit your skin just fine. I’ve included some of the best choices below.

Best Cetaphil Products For Normal Skin

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleansing Cloths

These are great for travel because they are individually wrapped and can be used both to remove makeup and cleanse your skin. The package is resealable to keep them moist. They contain aloe, chamomile, and cucumber extracts which help calm and soothe the skin while also removing dirt and oil without drying it out.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

This Cetaphil lotion works great for both body and face if you have dry skin. It contains glycerin, niacinamide, panthenol (Vitamin B5) as well as both sunflower seed and avocado oils. This makes it very moisturizing and soothing without clogging pores. It’s a good option that would work well in a basic skin care routine.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Cream on Hand
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Face Cream

Best Aveeno Products for Normal Skin

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Face Cream for Dry Skin

I recently picked this up on a whim and it’s now my favorite Aveeno moisturizer. It’s great for everyday use, although I don’t think it’s moisturizing enough for extremely dry skin despite its name. I prefer this to the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion I use regularly. It sinks into my skin quickly so I can apply my sunscreen over it in the morning and when I use it at night my skin feels plump and hydrated in the morning. 

Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Cleanser

This cleanser won’t strip skin of its natural oils but does a good job removing dirt and sunscreen. Like most cleansers, if you wear heavy makeup, you’ll most likely need to remove that first with a makeup remover or micellar water. (Find out how micellar waters differ from toners in this article).  I’m not sure the soy will really brighten your skin since it’s only going to be on your face for less than a minute, but overall it’s a good choice for a basic cleanser.

Is Aveeno or Cetaphil Better for Dry Skin?

Both Cetaphil and Aveeno have products that work well for dry skin. While Aveeno is known for gentle ingredients like soy and oatmeal, Cetaphil has moisturizers that include ceramides, which are essential building blocks of our natural skin barrier.

Best Cetaphil Products for Dry Skin

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream

If you have eczema or very dry skin, this cream might be the perfect moisturizer for your skincare routine. It is fragrance-free and includes glycerin as well as sunflower seed oil to soothe dry, itchy winter skin. Niacinamide brightens skin and has antioxidant properties and panthenol soothes skin.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser– see more on this cleanser above in the sensitive skin section. I highly recommend it for dry skin as well.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Face Cream for Dry Skin – see above in the sensitive skin section for more information on this moisturizer. Although its name indicates it’s for dry skin, it’s not a very thick moisturizer and I think it would work well for normal skin as well.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Face Cream

Best Aveeno Products for Dry Skin

Aveeno Positively Radiant Intensive Night Cream with Vitamin B3

Soy is the star ingredient in this facial moisturizer, which has been shown to brighten skin and even out skin tone. However, in addition to soy, it has many other beneficial ingredients such as niacinamide, mango butter, and Vitamin E (listed as tocopheryl acetate on the ingredient list). Unfortunately one negative about this cream is that it has added fragrance.

Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Cleanser For Sensitive Skin

See more on this cleanser above in the sensitive skin section. It is a good choice for dry skin as well since it’s so gentle.

Final Thoughts on Cetaphil vs Aveeno

We’ve covered a lot in this article and I hope you’ve found everything you need to pick out which of these popular products are the best option for you. Both Cetaphil and Aveeno’s products use research-backed active ingredients.

I recommend that you mix and match to find the products that work best for your skin. Since they are inexpensive, it’s easy to try different ones and find which works best for you.

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