Aveeno vs Cetaphil: Which Lotion is Better in 2023?

Aveeno and Cetaphil are two of the biggest giants in the Eczema industry, but who has the better moisturizer lotions? With updated formulas and harsh ingredients being removed, which one is better choice?

In this article, we will compare the two products in term of ingredients and my personal experience with them. This is Aveeno vs Cetaphil.

Who are Aveeno and Cetaphil?

Aveeno is a brand of skin care and hair care products founded by Albert and Sidney Musher in 1945. It was purchased by Johnson & Johnson in 1999 with the brand expanding into baby care and body wash in 2001.

Cetaphil was founded and invented way back in 1947 by a pharmacist in Texas. Interestingly, according to their website, the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser still uses the same formula! A major brand in the US that are recognized as the top dermatologist recommended facial skincare brand.

The two brands are considered to be big competitors in the sensitive skin market. Aveeno has managed to attract high profile celebrities to advertise their brand, most notably Jennifer Anniston from friends who has a net worth of $240 million. Cetaphil is highly accessible across the world and is a commonly used product in the sensitive skin community.

Aveeno vs Cetaphil: Product Descriptions

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion Review | Allure
Aveeno vs Cetaphil: Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion

This nourishing lotion is clinically proven to improve the health of dry skin in 1 day with significant improvement in 2 weeks. Formulated with Active Naturals Colloidal Oatmeal and rich emollients, it helps prevent and protect dry skin for a full 24 hours. This lotion leaves your skin feeling soft, smooth and naturally healthy looking and is gentle enough for everyday use. It’s also fragrance free, non-greasy and noncomedogenic.

Reference: Aveeno

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion | Ulta Beauty
Aveeno vs Cetaphil: Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

Delivers everyday moisture care for dry skin. ​Preventing dryness before it starts, this fast-absorbing lotion enhances skin’s natural moisture, leaving skin feeling soft, smooth and replenished. 

Reference: Cetaphil US

Aveeno vs Cetaphil: The Differences in Ingredients

Do note that formulas have changed since the writing of this article. Both Aveeno and Cetaphil have managed to remove some of the concerning ingredients that will be listed. I highly suggest that you read the ingredient label to watch out, as old formulations may be in circulation.

Both products may have a problematic ingredient, Benzyl Alcohol. It is an ingredient used in skin lotions due its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. In the most updated formulated versions of Aveeno and Cetaphil, Benzyl Alcohol is not highlighted. Despite this, Benzyl Alcohol is an ingredient that is commonly found in lotions, so it is worth finding out a bit more about it.

The problem with Benzyl Alcohol is that it has the safety hazard of being harmful in contact with skin. It also has potential health concerns for those with Dermatitis (Eczema). We should approach any products with Benzyl Alcohol with caution. It is an irritant, which can be linked to the burning sensation cases when applying the lotion.

Both have different key ingredients that makes their products unique. To get a better idea of what lotion is for you, you need to better understand what ingredients go into these products that make them stand out.

Aveeno: The Differences

Aveeno uses a key ingredient called Avena Sativa (Oats) which is one of their unique selling points. Petrolatum is another which is an emollient that soften and soothes skin by preventing moisture loss from the skin. Although it sounds like a good function, it does have the possibility of causing skin irritation. It is a prohibited substance in cosmetic products in the European Union.

Cetaphil: The Differences

Cetaphil has a number of ingredients that are not in their competitor, Aveeno. An ingredient that is not regarded as harmful, but should be noted is Citric Acid. It has many functions, notably as an exfoliant that removes dead cells at the surface of the skin and as a skin whitening agent by reducing the melanin content of the skin.

Despite the multiple benefits of using Citric Acid, it has many safety hazards and potential health concerns for Eczema users. It can cause skin irritation and allergic skin reactions.

Panethol can also be found in Cetaphil that is not in Aveeno that is used to hold and attract water. Also known as vitamin B5, it has many studies that have proven to be effective against dermatitis. Although it should also be noted that it can cause serious eye irritation as the only safety hazard.

Aveeno vs Cetaphil: EWG Rating

EWG is a highly reputable site for verifying the safety of ingredients in a product. The lower the rating number, the safer the product is. Both scored a 2 and are considered as generally safe products to use.

By looking at both analytical reports by EWG, they are virtually the same in each area. Allergies are ranked the same due the high amount of ingredients. On the basis of the reports, both are ‘safely’ similar ranked products.

Aveeno vs Cetaphil: Ingredient Comparison

If we look at the ingredients from both products, which one poses more safety hazard risks? Cetaphil has 17 identifiable ingredients whereas Aveeno has 10 identifiable ingredients. On numbers alone, Aveeno has the edge over Cetaphil on the basis there are less and more natural ingredients that are beneficial for Eczema and sensitive users.

In the old formula, Aveeno had two alarming ingredients that posed as a risk, Butylated Hydroxytoluene, an antioxidant, and Chlorhexidine Gluconate, a disinfectant. Be sure to check what version of the product you have.

Both Aveeno and Cetaphil have Benzyl Alcohol which is regarded as a high risk ingredient for sensitive skin users according to 1Source because of the potential health risks. With these three ingredients in mind, which one poses more of a threat to us?

IngredientSafety HazardsPotential Health Concerns
Butylated Hydroxytoluene534
Chlorhexidine Gluconate1113
Benzyl Alcohol55
Information via 1Source

Despite the majority of health concerns coming from the ingredients from Aveeno, Benzyl Alcohol is still considered to be a more harmful ingredient than the other two within reason. Chlorhexidine Gluconate can cause skin irritation (H315) but Benzyl Alcohol can be harmful when in contact with your skin (H312).

To break it down simply, Aveeno has less ingredients in their new formula that can more beneficial for those who don’t have a history of high food allergies.

Aveeno vs Cetaphil: Pricing

If we compare both of the moisturizers mentioned, Cetaphil is the more expensive brand as Aveeno offers better value per ounce. The judgement is based on the prices provided by their official store in Amazon. To do an accurate up to date comparison of both, you can visit both of the links and next to price, they will mention the price per ounce so you can accurately judge which is more cost effective.

As of writing this blog, Cetaphil is around 10% more expensive than Aveeno. It is worth noting that Cetaphil do have smaller packaging than Aveeno.

I am based in Hong Kong and both lotions are widely accessible. There are bundled packages that you can buy and are similarly priced. If you do your research, there is not a huge difference between the two.

Aveeno vs Cetaphil: Product Differences

Both products have different texture and application that is also worth noting. Normally when we put on moisturizer we can make a judgement as to whether to continue using it based on the feel.

Aveeno feels like a thicker cream and is not as lightweight as Cetaphil. If you want a moisturizer that easily spreads on skin, Cetaphil may be a better option for you as it feels more hydrating than Aveeno. Although when I used Cetaphil for my face, it was very greasy.

Personally I felt better using Aveeno as it hydrated my skin quicker because of the texture. This is not saying Cetaphil is not an effective moisturizer, you just need to give it more time on your skin compared to Aveeno.

Now if you are going for smell, both are fragrance-free which is a MUST for Eczema users. They don’t smell the same, with Aveeno to me smelling like a faint glimpse of oats. We don’t judge moisturizers based on smell, it is how effective it is that counts! If do value smell, Aveeno smells more natural? This may because of their key ingredient in oats. However both do not linger!

Aveeno vs Cetaphil: Texture

Aveeno and Cetaphil have different textures. Both have lightweight consistencies but from personal experience, Cetaphil feels thinner in texture. Both can make your skin feel smooth and soft but ultimately they both have their key differences.

When applying Cetaphil, it feels more oily. Aveeno has more body to it than Cetaphil and spreads a lot easier, allowing you to apply the lotion a lot easier. I experimented with both, and I felt that Aveeno moisturized my skin for longer periods of time with a shorter dosage. Cetaphil on the other hand dried up quickly and it just made my skin shine, probably cause of the greasy consistency it has.

Despite their differences, both are effective moisturizers with different key functions. I would use Aveeno if you need to quickly rehydrate your skin because of the consistency alone. Cetaphil I had a bad experience with (skin irritation) but your skin absorbs it quickly which may be beneficial if you have problems with sweat – thicker based lotions are better for cold weather whereas thinner is more beneficial for the heat.

Aveeno vs Cetaphil: Which is Better?

Before using any of these products, consult a dermatologist or doctor to get the best possible advice. You should get an allergy test to check whether you are compatible with the ingredients noted. Aveeno has a high number of common ingredients that may cause serious allergy, such as oats or soy.

Personally I did not have a great reaction with either. Aveeno I used as a child and it definitely moisturized my skin well, but there was no clear progression. My skin was well moisturized but for my heavily infected parts of my skin, I did not see the improvements I would of liked after a number of weeks.

Cetaphil I had a burning sensation and my skin got very irritated. I trialled the cream on my skin for around 2 weeks but was irritated throughout the process. My skin was red and was very uncomfortable because of the burning sensation. I started to apply more which was not an ideal move, as I didn’t feel that my skin was rehydrated enough.

In my personal view, I would trial Aveeno over Cetaphil because of the Citric Acid that Cetaphil contains. Be wary if you are allergic or sensitive to oats, you shouldn’t be using Aveeno as that is one of their key ingredients. Aveeno is more cost effective and has an array of different products for different skin types that absorbs into your skin quickly and effectively without a greasy texture.

From my personal experience, there are better lotions out there, such as CeraVe. To read more about my comparison on CeraVe and Aveeno, you can click the link here.


Gregor Smith

Creator of EczemaFeed. Longtime sufferer who wants to make a change. The purpose is to provide trusted and useful information to those suffering from the dry red patches and itching of eczema, as well as those who care for those suffering from it. It includes the latest treatments, anecdotal user experience, and guidance on how to find products that may help relieve eczema symptoms.

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