ceraVe vs Eucerin

CeraVe vs Eucerin: It’s Not Even Close (Especially Cleansers)

I have suffered from eczema and/or rosacea my whole life, so I know the CeraVe vs Eucerin debate well. These, along with Cetaphil, are the brands that always seem to pop up in any list of recommendations for sensitive, reactive skin, even when you’re face-to-face with a doctor (at least in my experience).

Suppose you’re already comparing these two brands. In that case, you’re probably already dealing with skin discomfort of some kind–face or body, or both–. You know how daunting choosing a face wash, moisturizer, or cream can be. Choose the wrong one, and you’ve suddenly made the issue worse.

Been there. I struggled with eczema since I was two years old, and my mom always had a big jar of Eucerin in the house. Fast forward to my early 20s, and I had eczema from head to toe (having it on my face was new), with a side of rosacea that wouldn’t quit, no matter what I did.

I tried all the go-to products for people with dry, sensitive skin, plus dozens of others. Eventually, after much trial, error, and frustration, I found my skincare BFFs.

Bottom Line Up Front: Choose CeraVe (at Least the Cleanser)

For the sake of this article, I tried Eucerin’s Hydrating Cleansing Gel to compare apples to apples and do an overview of each line. Now I’m using CeraVe–my go-to cleanser for the past several years–to fix what Eucerin “broke.” My skin is generally dry and sensitive, but it hasn’t reacted this poorly to a product in years. I didn’t see that coming since I usually trust Eucerin, even though it’s not my top pick.

Both brands are excellent overall, and I’ve gotten relief from both of them. Eucerin’s Eczema Relief line is one of the most calming I’ve found, and I used to rely on their Original Healing Cream to soothe my dry, itchy skin. At one point, their Daily Protection Face Lotion with SPF had a spot in my daily routine, too. However, I have moved on to better products–some of which are from CeraVe’s line.

Main Differences Between CeraVe vs Eucerin

The main differences between CeraVe vs Eucerin are:

  • CeraVe’s moisturizing products sink into the skin, whereas Eucerin’s seem to sit on top longer.
  • CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser is soothing and not too harsh for dry, sensitive skin, whereas Eucerin’s Hydrating Cleansing Gel with Hyaluronic Acid caused an immediate reaction with redness, stinging, and itching while leaving my skin incredibly dry.
  • CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser is hit-or-miss when removing makeup (depending on the makeup formula and how much there is), whereas Eucerin’s Hydrating Cleansing Gel took it all off with no need for a separate makeup-removing product.
  • CeraVe’s prices range from about $10.00 to $25.00+, whereas Eucerin’s prices range from approximately $8.00 to $21.00 (using Target’s website for comparison).
  • CeraVe’s products are ideal for everyday use. I trust them to calm and maintain my skin (especially my face). In contrast, Eucerin is best for tackling specific problems, like extreme dryness, itching, and eczema on the body, based on my experience trying multiple products from each brand.

Key Features of CeraVe

  • CeraVe products focus on hydrating the skin and protecting the skin barrier. To achieve this, CeraVe focuses on three ceramides that match the ones that naturally occur in your skin.
  • Some CeraVe products, like the Hydrating Cleanser I have used for years, contain ingredients that lock in moisture and reduce redness. My cleanser has hyaluronic acid, one of my favorite skincare ingredients for making my skin well-hydrated and more youthful-looking. The Foaming Facial Cleanser contains niacinamide, which is good for reducing redness, reducing the appearance of pores, and hydration.
  • CeraVe offers face and body products for all skin types and various skin concerns. You can get everything from an eye cream that helps reduce fine lines to healing ointment for dry, chafed skin (for you or your baby).
  • Even though CeraVe offers several types of products, if I could summarize the whole line in one word, it’d be “soothing.”
CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser texture
CeraVe’s face wash looks and feels like a lightweight lotion. / Photo by Crystal Schwanke

 

CeraVe cleanser with water
CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser doesn’t foam or suds up (but it still gets your face clean!) / Photo by Crystal Schwanke

Pros 

  • Everything I’ve tried from the line has been gentle and suitable for sensitive skin.
  • The cleanser and daily lotion actively soothed my skin after I had a reaction from the Eucerin cleanser.
  • I’ve found CeraVe’s products suitable for skin prone to eczema and rosacea flare-ups.
  • You can find CeraVe in drugstores, Target, Ulta, Walmart, etc. It’s easy to find and more affordable than some other options (look for store coupons and BOGO sales for an even better deal).
  • Even though I’m not a fan of how any heavy cream feels on my skin, sometimes it’s necessary when your skin is dehydrated. CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream is one of the more comfortable ones to wear; it feels less oily and absorbs more easily.
  • The Daily Lotion is a trustworthy moisturizer to have on hand for when something else causes skin irritation. I have a ton of skin care products and a multi-step routine. Still, after the incident with the Eucerin cleanser incident, I was looking for something simple, calming, and neutralizing. It fit the bill perfectly, and I woke up to calm skin.
cerave cleaner label
Ingredients and details on what makes CeraVe’s cleanser so hydrating / Photo by Crystal Schwanke

Cons 

  • Though it’s more affordable than other options on the market, sometimes I’m surprised by how much it still costs. For example, it’s about $20.00 for a 16 oz. jar of the Moisturizing Cream at Ulta. The 12 oz. jar is only a couple of dollars less.
  • If you wear a lot of makeup (or waterproof makeup), the Hydrating Cleanser might not be enough on its own to take it off. It’s hit-or-miss for me. Sometimes I oil cleanse first, then wash with CeraVe. Sometimes I just use CeraVe but need a separate eye makeup remover. Other times, when I wear powder foundation and lighter eye makeup, I can get away with just the CeraVe. All of this is to say, you might need two products if you buy the cleanser.

Key Features of Eucerin

  • Eucerin products are meant to be gentle, even on very sensitive skin.
  • They’re fragrance-free, dye-free, and, like CeraVe, strengthen the skin’s barrier and lock in moisture.
  • Though there are some daily-use products in the Eucerin line for general use, a lot of what Eucerin offers revolves around repairing, strengthening, and protecting skin issues like eczema, extreme dryness, itchiness, and roughness.
  • Eucerin products take you from shower (with calming body wash) to treatment of skin ailments (mentioned above), and even into the sun (with a line of sun protection products, including mineral sunscreens).
  • The Eucerin Hydrating Cleansing Gel with Hyaluronic Acid suds up when you wash with it, which makes it stand out from a lot of similar options, like CeraVe and Cetaphil. Keep in mind, however, that foam and suds don’t necessarily mean it’s doing a better job at cleansing your skin.
  • The Eucerin Hydrating Cleansing Gel is thicker and less runny than most other options (it is, after all, a gel).
Eucerin Hydrating Cleansing Gel is clear and thick
Eucerin Hydrating Cleansing Gel is clear and not as runny as the CeraVe cleanser. / Photo by Crystal Schwanke

 

Eucerin Hydrating Cleansing Gel suds
You get more suds with Eucerin Hydrating Cleansing Gel. / Photo by Crystal Schwanke

Pros 

  • There are several lines under the Eucerin umbrella, so it’s easier to find products for your skin type or concern. I’m a big fan of the Eczema Relief line.
  • The Hydrating Gel Cleanser did an excellent job removing my makeup, except for the new extensions-style mascara I’m using. Nothing works on that, though. (Keep reading to discover why I still don’t recommend this cleanser.)
  • The Redness Relief Day Lotion with SPF 15 has a light green tint that helps neutralize redness. This was one of my everyday products when I was still figuring out what would calm the rosacea down. When I talk about CeraVe vs. Eucerin cleansers, it makes Eucerin look bad, but there are still some gems in the line. This is one of them.
  • If you have a specific skin issue, like eczema, roughness, or extreme dryness and cracking, Eucerin can address it well. That’s always been my experience with any of their products I’ve used on my body.
  • It’s easy to find (drugstores, Target, Walmart, Amazon, etc.) and relatively inexpensive. The 16 oz. Original Healing Cream is a few dollars cheaper than the comparable CeraVe product.
Eucerin's Hydrating Cleansing Gel label
Eucerin’s Hydrating Cleansing Gel’s label has a shorter list of ingredients and explains the hydrating and cleansing capabilities of the product. / Photo by Crystal Schwanke

Cons 

  • At best, Eucerin has helped keep skin issues from getting worse (but didn’t seem to help heal them); at worst (the facial cleanser I just tried), Eucerin has caused a reaction in my skin that was so sudden and relatively intense, it shocked me.
  • The Hydrating Cleansing Gel felt thick, and almost syrupy (but not sticky). It’s a gel, so I expected a little of that, but this was off-putting. It seemed to leave a film on my face and hands as I washed with it. Leftover residue like this has also been an issue for me with other Eucerin products.
  • The cleanser left my hands and face feeling stripped dry, despite the hyaluronic acid and claim to be hydrating. I wanted to do the 15-minute test to see how my skin would feel after the face wash alone, before putting on moisturizer (if you do this and your skin feels dry and/or tight, the cleanser is too harsh for your skin type), but I couldn’t stand it. Even after I applied argan oil, which usually works fine, my face felt dry–like it could crack–and inflamed. Spoiler: I had to rewash my face–this time, with CeraVe–and use a CeraVe moisturizer to get it to calm back down.
  • You know how fragrance-free products still have a smell? The cleanser had that “fragrance-free” scent, but after a few seconds, there was another layer it, like sulfur.
  • The Original Healing Cream, which feels like it’s always been a part of my life, whether for my skin or my daughter’s, is a good moisturizer and doesn’t aggravate eczema. However, it’s thick, hard to spread, and feels like it just sits on your skin, so it’s not pleasant to use. I’ll probably never completely stop using it. Still, I prefer other options because it’s so uncomfortable to wear, especially under winter clothes, and winter’s when it’s needed the most.

Other Alternatives to Consider

First Aid Beauty

First Aid Beauty

I’m a little lukewarm about this one, but I know it’s good for other people, so I wanted to mention it as an alternative to CeraVe and Eucerin. It didn’t make my skin worse or better, which is sometimes all you can ask for (when I tried it, everything seemed to make it worse).

I used the FAB line for a little while because it’s supposed to be good for eczema and sensitive skin in general, and then I moved on. It’s designed to be safe for sensitive skin, and the ingredients include things like niacinamide for redness, collagen and peptides for more youthful-looking skin, and colloidal oatmeal for soothing dry, irritated skin.

Like CeraVe and Eucerin, First Aid Beauty has face and body products that tackle a range of skin concerns.

Garnier Micellar Water (for Cleansing)

Garnier Micellar Water

This is a very specific product recommendation, as I feel uncomfortable recommending the whole Garnier line for sensitive, rosacea-prone skin (I have used only a few of their other skincare products, so I just don’t have the information I’d need).

However, if you’re looking for a cleanser and makeup remover that won’t irritate your skin, Garnier Micellar Water (with the pink lid) is incredible.

At one point, there was no cleanser I could use that wouldn’t irritate my skin and cause redness–even water seemed to be a problem. Garnier Micellar Water on a simple cotton round was life-changing.

Cetaphil

cetaphil skin cleanser

I kept trying Cetaphil products with mixed success until I found CeraVe and never looked back. Cetaphil’s good, but CeraVe is better.

Cetaphil is the brand my dermatologist told me to use. When my whole body itched, a doctor told me to use the Gentle Skin Cleanser everywhere in the shower, too. Cetaphil’s facial cleanser is as gentle as CeraVe’s, but it always felt like there was a film on my skin when I was done washing with it. It didn’t quite as good of a job at calming the redness and irritation, either.

Where the brand really shines is the Moisturizing Cream–the one in the tub with the green lid. When I want to keep things simple (for example, when I try a new product and have a reaction to it), I’ll use this. There’s glycerin for hydration, niacinamide to combat redness, and panthenol to keep your skin extra-moisturized.

Aquaphor

aquaphor healing ointment

There’s only one thing I can recommend from the Aquaphor line, the Healing Ointment, simply because it’s the only Aquaphor product I remember using. This rivals the Eucerin Original Healing Cream and CeraVe Moisturizing Cream. I’ve used it head to toe when my skin was most irritated, and it gave it a chance to heal.

Like the Eucerin option, Aquaphor is not the most comfortable thing to slather all over your skin, especially if you’re about to put on long sleeves and pants. Still, it does work well when you need to soothe and protect your sensitive, dry skin.

Aveeno

aveeno ultra calming moisturizer

I’ve found Aveeno to be hit-or-miss like Eucerin, but I like most of their products (especially for the body).

Just like CeraVe and Eucerin, Aveeno is designed to nourish and protect sensitive skin. My favorite products within this line are the Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15, the Creamy Oil Body Moisturizer (excellent hydration in a lightweight formula that absorbs quickly), and the Stress-Relief Body Lotion (it works wonders for itchy skin and smells like lavender).

CeraVe vs Eucerin: FAQs

Question: Are CeraVe and Eucerin the same?

Answer: While they have a lot of things in common and are generally good for the same skin types, CeraVe and Eucerin are not the same.

Question: Which is better between Eucerin or CeraVe?

Answer: I can’t speak for everyone here because everyone has different skin concerns. However, as someone with eczema and rosacea (and dry skin in general), it’s an easy choice for me: CeraVe.

Question: What is better than Eucerin?

Answer: CeraVe. If we’re talking about the tubs of cream intended for very dry, eczema-prone skin and not the product line as a whole, I have also had good luck with Aquaphor.

Conclusion: CeraVe Wins

If the CeraVe vs. Eucerin question has you on the fence, do yourself a favor and start with CeraVe unless you’re dealing with something specific, like eczema, on your body.

Though I still like CeraVe’s cream better than most on the market because of the consistency and how it feels on the skin, Eucerin’s Eczema Relief line is still worth recommending. For anything else, I can only recommend CeraVe. And I always recommend the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser over every other option, drugstore or otherwise.

CeraVe has calmed my skin after more than one fiasco and doesn’t aggravate my eczema or rosacea–or cause breakouts. At one point early in my search for the best products for rosacea, everything that calmed the redness and provided much-needed hydration caused acne.

Everything that treated the breakouts made the rosacea worse. CeraVe’s only soothed and hydrated my skin with no adverse side effects.

CeraVe wins, hands-down, as far as I’m concerned, so you can also check if CeraVe is cruelty-free, and all the different hand creams they offer.

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