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CeraVe Healing Ointment vs Aquaphor vs Cetaphil

When you are in need of a skin protectant and healing ointment, you may be wondering which one is best for your skin concerns, as there are more options than ever available at the drugstore.

CeraVe, Aquaphor, and Cetaphil offer gentle and effective products that can help protect the skin. They all boast healing properties, but which one is the best for your skin concerns?

CeraVe Healing Ointment, Cetaphil Healing Ointment and Aquaphor Healing Ointment.

In this post, I’ll compare CeraVe Healing Ointment vs Aquaphor vs Cetaphil to help you decide which one is right for you.

This post contains affiliate links, and any purchases made through these links will result in a commission for me at no extra cost to you. Please read my Disclosure for additional information.

CeraVe Healing Ointment vs Aquaphor vs Cetaphil

To compare these three skin ointments, first, we’ll look at the ingredient lists to determine which active ingredients are included to benefit your skin.

CeraVe Healing Ointment

CeraVe Healing Ointment

CeraVe Healing Ointment is a skin protectant and ointment formulated with three essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and petrolatum.

The ointment helps lock in moisture and protect the skin barrier with its patented MVE delivery technology.

The ointment contains 46.5% petrolatum (also known as petroleum jelly or Vaseline).

Petrolatum is a by-product of the petroleum refining process and is used in skincare products for its occlusive properties.

Occlusive means it helps to seal in moisture and reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL) by forming a barrier on the skin and strengthening the skin barrier.

Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, and Ceramide EOP are CeraVe’s blend of three essential ceramides. Ceramides are lipids naturally found in the stratum corneum, our outermost layer of skin.

Think of ceramides as the glue that helps hold the skin cells together.

When ceramides are reduced or damaged, the skin barrier is weakened and becomes more susceptible to transepidermal water loss (TEWL), sensitization, and inflammation.

The addition of hyaluronic acid helps to attract and retain moisture. Panthenol is also included in the ointment and is a derivative of vitamin B5.

Panthenol helps moisturize, soothe, and calm the skin.

CeraVe Healing Ointment sampled on hand.

Proline is an amino acid that is a building block of collagen, which gives our skin its elasticity and suppleness.

Cholesterol is another lipid found in our skin that helps to maintain the integrity of the skin barrier.

This CeraVe ointment also contains mineral oil, another occlusive ingredient that moisturizes and is a non-irritant, making it a good choice for sensitive skin.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to protect the skin from free radical damage and improve skin resilience.

All of these active ingredients work together to create a CeraVe product that heals and protects the skin. The ointment is perfect for chafed, chapped, cracked, and extremely dry skin.

This CeraVe ointment has a thick, occlusive texture. It is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

It is made without fragrance, dyes, or lanolin to reduce the likelihood of skin irritation or a reaction to ingredients in the formula.

The ointment is accepted by the National Eczema Association, so it won’t irritate your skin if you have eczema.

It’s also noncomedogenic, which means that it will not clog pores. Clogged pores can cause breakouts and blemishes.

CeraVe Healing Ointment can be used on the face and body to help heal dry, cracked, or chafed skin.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Aquaphor Healing Ointment

Aquaphor Healing Ointment is a multi-tasking solution for a variety of skin concerns.

The ointment is ideal for extremely dry skin, chapped lips, cracked dry hands and feet, along with other skin irritations, including minor cuts and burns.

Perfect for protecting skin from the effects of wind and cold weather, Aquaphor ointment is formulated with 41% petrolatum, which forms an occlusive barrier on the skin and helps to lock in moisture.

Glycerin is a humectant and moisturizer that replenishes very dry skin. Mineral oil is another occlusive ingredient that can help to protect your skin, and especially if you have a dry skin type.

Panthenol (pro-vitamin B5) is included to help soothe and calm the skin, while bisabolol is a compound from the chamomile plant that can also help to reduce redness and inflammation.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment Touch Free opened and sampled on sponge applicator.

Aquaphor’s 3 oz. packaging is a bit different from the CeraVe and Cetaphil tubes, as it comes in a Touch-Free tube.

The touch-free applicator has a soft foam tip that allows for a convenient, one-handed, mess-free application.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment sampled on hand.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment is fragrance-free, preservative-free, and non-irritating, making it a good choice for sensitive skin.

You can apply this skin care product to the face and body as often as needed to help heal and protect compromised skin. It’s great for dry, cracked, and irritated skin.

Cetaphil Healing Ointment

Cetaphil Healing Ointment

Cetaphil Healing Ointment for dry, chapped, or irritated skin protects and heals sensitive skin with 71% petrolatum, the highest concentration of petrolatum of all three ointments in this post.

This petrolatum-based ointment is formulated to create a semi-occlusive barrier to support skin healing and moisture retention.

The ointment also contains shea butter, a natural active ingredient derived from the nut of the African shea tree. Shea butter is a rich emollient that helps to soothe and protect dry skin.

Vitamin E supports skin healing helping skin retain moisture and keeping skin hydrated.

Cetaphil Healing Ointment sampled on hand.

This affordable drugstore skin care product from Cetaphil is perfect for rough, dry hands and cuticles, cracked heels and feet, minor cuts and scrapes, minor burns and abrasions, and chapped skin and lips during the winter months.

Cetaphil Healing Ointment has been accepted by the National Eczema Association.

It is fragrance-free and does not contain any ingredients that can irritate your skin, and is safe to use on your face and body.

CeraVe Healing Ointment vs Aquaphor vs Cetaphil

CeraVe Healing Ointment, Cetaphil Healing Ointment and Aquaphor Healing Ointment sampled and palm of hand.

Active Ingredients

All three ointments contain petrolatum that acts as an occlusive to protect the skin and support healing. The petrolatum concentrations vary as noted below:

  • Cetaphil: 71% Petrolatum
  • CeraVe: 46.5% Petrolatum
  • Aquaphor: 41% Petrolatum

Cetaphil’s high petrolatum concentration makes it feel a little more greasy on the skin than CeraVe or Aquaphor.

While CeraVe contains the most active ingredients, Cetaphil contains the fewest. The active ingredient list is where CeraVe shines.

It not only protects your skin and allows for healing but also contains ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides that hydrate and strengthen your skin barrier.


All three ointments have a somewhat greasy texture due to the petrolatum in the formulas.

CeraVe and Aquaphor have a thicker texture, while Cetaphil has the thinnest texture, more reminiscent of Vaseline (thanks to the higher concentration of petrolatum) but also feels lightest on the skin.


All three ointments do an excellent job protecting and healing dry, chapped, or irritated skin. If I had to pick one, it would be CeraVe.

It felt slightly less greasy than the others and more comfortable on my skin. Plus, I preferred the added hydrating and barrier repair ingredients that replenish my dry skin while allowing it to heal.

If you have the skin condition eczema, CeraVe and Cetaphil have been accepted by the National Eczema Association, while Aquaphor has not.

All three products are fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and safe to use on the face.

Size and Price

All three come in smaller 3 oz sizes, so you can give them a try before committing to the larger value-priced tubs, and all three are priced very similarly at affordable drugstore pricing.

Depending on where you purchase it, you may find that CeraVe is slightly more expensive than Aquaphor or Cetaphil.

CeraVe Healing Ointment vs Aquaphor vs Cetaphil: Which Is Best?

The qualities that stood out to me for each ointment are:

  • CeraVe Healing Ointment contains the most active ingredients.
  • Aquaphor Healing Ointment (3 oz) has a touch-free applicator that makes it convenient to use.
  • Cetaphil Healing Ointment contains the highest concentration of petrolatum of the three products.

While it always comes down to personal preference, as I previously noted, CeraVe Healing Ointment performed the best of the three for me.

Aquaphor was a very close second, though, and feels very similar on the skin as CeraVe. The thinner texture of Cetaphil reminded me of the greasier petroleum jelly product Vaseline.

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Final Thoughts on CeraVe Healing Ointment vs Aquaphor vs Cetaphil

All three of these drugstore healing ointments come from respected skincare brands that offer effective and affordable products.

All the ointments are occlusive, meaning they create a barrier on the skin to protect it and support healing, so they work well for treating various skin conditions.

If you are looking for a drugstore healing ointment to help with dry, chapped, or irritated skin, all three of these products are good choices.

The most noticeable differences relate to petrolatum concentration. Choose the ointment that addresses your individual skin issues and concerns. 

Thanks for reading, and until next time, here’s to your good skin health!