Aquaphor vs Cetaphil | Which Face Cream Is Better?

written by: Tom Qiao
last update: January 13, 2024

As a skincare editor who regularly tests moisturizing products, I'm often asked how Aquaphor and Cetaphil compare for dry, irritated skin. While both offer deep hydration, there are some key […]

As a skincare editor who regularly tests moisturizing products, I'm often asked how Aquaphor and Cetaphil compare for dry, irritated skin. While both offer deep hydration, there are some key differences in ingredients and texture that may make one better suited for your needs.

The main similarity is that both Aquaphor and Cetaphil are free of fragrances, dyes and other common irritants, making them suitable for sensitive skin. However, Aquaphor's magic ingredient is petroleum jelly which acts as a protective barrier, while Cetaphil relies on chemical emollients and humectants like glycerin.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment has over 40% petroleum jelly for ultra-rich moisturization. It forms a breathable seal over skin, locking in hydration and preventing moisture loss. Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is lighter, absorbing quickly to restore the skin's natural moisture. So Aquaphor provides longer-lasting relief for severely dry skin but can feel greasy. Cetaphil offers fast hydration in a non-greasy formula.

For extremely dry facial skin, a thin layer of Aquaphor provides intense overnight hydration and combats flaking. For mild dryness, Cetaphil's daily facial moisturizers with SPF refresh skin without clogging pores. On the body, Aquaphor excels at protecting cracked hands and feet and soothing diaper rash when layered over a diaper cream. Cetaphil body lotion absorbs quickly to improve general dryness.

In terms of ingredients, Aquaphor contains just a handful of simple, non-irritating ingredients while Cetaphil relies more on chemical emollients and humectants. For those wanting clean, natural ingredients, Aquaphor may be the better choice. However, Cetaphil's formulas are still very gentle.

When comparing user reviews, most report excellent results with both products. Aquaphor fans rave it heals severely dry, cracked skin better than anything with its protective occlusive barrier. Cetaphil users love the lightweight moisturization that hydrates without feeling greasy or sticky. Negative reviews for Aquaphor occasionally report issues with staining fabrics with thick applications. For Cetaphil, some feel it isn't rich enough for very dry skin.

One big difference between the two is price. Aquaphor costs almost double the price per ounce compared to Cetaphil moisturizers. But a little goes a long way so the tub often lasts for months, making the upfront investment worth it for dedicated Aquaphor users. Overall though, Cetaphil is certainly the more budget-friendly option.

In summary, Aquaphor Healing Ointment is ideal for severely dry skin needing intense, long-lasting hydration thanks to its occlusive protective barrier. Cetaphil offers lighter, fast-absorbing moisturization at a more affordable price point. Those on a budget or wanting easy, daily moisture for mild dryness are better suited to Cetaphil. But Aquaphor provides superior heavy-duty hydration for extremely dry skin when you need it.

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Article written by Tom Qiao
Tom is the founder and editor of TheDermDetective.com where he applies his decades of personal experience with skincare problems like acne and acne scarring to provide readers with practical advice and product recommendations.

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