Swap It Out: Natural Alternatives to Cetaphil & CeraVe Skincare Products

Swap It Out: Natural Alternatives to Cetaphil & CeraVe Skincare Products

I feel like everyone has used Cetaphil or CeraVe products at least once in their life, amiright? For example, I distinctly remember seeing my dermatologist for acne as a teen and being sent home with a few samples, thinking they were the holy grail goodies that would fix my skin. But…are they all they’re cracked up to be? Let’s dive in and find out!


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About Cetaphil and CeraVe Brands

For the longest time, I didn’t even realize they were two different brands! Perhaps it’s because the names are similar and the branding doesn’t look drastically different. A little bit more about each of them:

Cetaphil was designed by a pharmacist to help patients more effectively treat their sensitive skin. The brand launched in 1947 in Texas but they are currently owned by Galderma Laboratories, a Swiss pharmaceutical company.

CeraVe, on the other hand, is newer to the scene and was founded in 2005. Their products were developed in conjunction with dermatologists to address skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and a compromised skin barrier. They were acquired by L’Oreal in 2017.

I definitely understand the appeal of these products! Many are fragrance-free, affordable, gender-neutral, and relatively easy to find on drugstore shelves.

And while Gen Z raves about the products and they are “dermatologist recommended,” let’s take a look at their ingredients and why these are two brands that I do NOT recommend. And spoiler alert…they did not clear up my acne when I was younger 😆 (womp womp)

Avoid these ingredients found in Cetaphil and CeraVe products:

Here are some common culprits found in these products. This is not an exhaustive list, but some of the main offenders to look out for.

  • Chemical sunscreens (such as avobenzone or octocrylene which are hormone/endocrine disruptors)
  • Acrylates
  • Chlorphenesin (an irritating preservative)
  • Cholecalciferol (this is banned in the EU!)
  • Disodium EDTA
  • Fragrance (even “unscented” products can contain synthetic masking fragrances!)
  • Parabens
  • PEGs (emulsifiers that enhance penetration into skin and may be contaminated with carcinogens)
  • Petrolatum
  • Phenoxyethanol (a preservative that may contain carcinogenic ethylene oxide)
  • Polyquaternium
  • Polysorbates

You may be shocked or confused as to how these brands contain not-so-great ingredients. It’s important to remember that buzzwords like gentle, sensitive skin-friendly, dermatologist recommended, etc. do NOT equal safe or clean ingredients. Unfortunately, greenwashing is rampant in the skincare industry and marketing claims don’t always stack up to what’s actually inside the product.

BTW—I’m not a total Debby Downer hehe. Believe it or not, there is one Cetaphil product that has pretty safe ingredients: the Gentle Skin Cleanser (that’s literally the only one though). If you really can’t part ways with that one, don’t sweat it!

Wanna learn more about harmful ingredients in your personal care products and the WHY behind it all? Download the Ingredients to Avoid Index! It has over 55+ common ingredients to watch out for and a printable pocket guide.

Clean Beauty Ingredient Glossary

Related post: “Unscented vs. Fragrance Free vs. Essential Oil Free Skincare: What’s the Difference?

Non-Toxic Dupes for Popular Cetaphil and CeraVe Products

Now, here are some better low tox alternatives to use instead!

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser ➡️ Mad Hippie Cream Cleanser

CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser ➡️ Mad Hippie Cream Cleanser

What’s in CeraVe’s: Disodium EDTA, PEGs, phenoxyethanol, polysorbates

If you have dry skin, using a creamy cleanser can be extremely beneficial because they cleanse without drying or stripping skin of too much moisture. Mad Hippie’s cream cleanser is non-GMO, cruelty-free, and vegan. The pH level is ideal for keeping skin’s protective oils intact. Bonus: it comes in a glass bottle instead of plastic!

Buy Mad Hippie Cleanser Here

Also available here on Amazon.

Other Natural Alternatives to Check Out:

If you are looking for something more powerful to remove stubborn makeup, give oil cleansing a try. Read more here: “How to Get Started with the Oil Cleansing Method for Clear Skin

CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser ➡️ Three Ships Refresh Salicylic Acid Cleanser

CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser ➡️ Three Ships Refresh Salicylic Acid Cleanser

What’s in CeraVe’s: Cholecalciferol, cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine, disodium EDTA, PEGs, phenoxyethanol

You may have seen this viral cleanser on TikTok. Three Ships makes a similar gel cleanser with a natural source of salicylic acid (aspen bark) for oily or acne-prone skin types. It also has papaya which contains gentle enzymes. Buh bye, breakouts!

Buy Three Ships Cleanser Here

Also available here at Credo.

Other Natural Alternatives to Check Out:

Related post: “13+ Clean & Non-Toxic Swaps for Popular Viral Beauty Products [2023]”

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion & Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion ➡️ Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer

CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion & Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion ➡️ Vanicream Daily Facial Moisturizer

What’s in CeraVe & Cetaphil’s: Ceteareth-20, disodium EDTA, meythlparaben, polysorbate, propylparaben

Vanicream makes a non-comedogenic, lightweight moisturizer that works for all skin types, even sensitive! It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid and ceramides, but none of the junk unlike the other brands (like parabens, c’mon!). It’s also a great price point!

NOTE: Not all Vanicream products are super clean nor would I recommend most of them, but this one is okay!

Buy Vanicream Moisturizer Here

Other Natural Alternatives to Check Out:

Cetaphil Daily Face Scrub ➡️ The Wonder Seed Hemp Facial Scrub

Cetaphil Daily Face Scrub ➡️ The Wonder Seed Hemp Facial Scrub

What’s in Cetaphil’s: Acrylates, cocamidopropyl betaine, masking fragrance, phenoxyethanol, polyquaternium-10

The Wonder Seed products are infused with cold-pressed virgin organic hemp seed oil which has tons of skincare benefits such as anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, balancing, healing, and soothing. The face scrub uses tiny jojoba beads for a mild exfoliation that won’t irritate your skin, and it doubles as a cleanser too! It has a fresh water lotus smell.

You can use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount 🏷️

Buy Wonder Seed Scrub Here

Also available here on Amazon.

Other Natural Alternatives to Check Out:

Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser ➡️ Weleda Gentle Cleansing Face Foam

Cetaphil Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser ➡️ Weleda Gentle Cleansing Face Foam

What’s in Cetaphil’s: Cocamidopropyl betaine, phenoxyethanol, polyquaternium-10, polysorbate 20

Weleda has been in business for over 100 years and is a pioneer in the plant-based beauty movement. They incorporate sustainably sourced ingredients and have accessible prices. This cleansing foam is delicate yet gets the job done (without the chemicals)!

Buy Weleda Cleansing Foam Here

Also available here at Target.

Other Natural Alternatives to Check Out:

Cetaphil SPF15 Daily Facial Moisturizer ➡️ Cocokind Daily SPF32 Lotion

Cetaphil SPF15 Daily Facial Moisturizer ➡️ Cocokind Daily SPF32 Lotion

What’s in Cetaphil’s: Avobenzone, disodium EDTA, octocrylene, PEGs

Cocokind’s sunscreen is made with non-nano mineral zinc oxide, not chemical UV filters! It has nourishing ingredients but doesn’t feel greasy or oily after you apply it. It’s also formulated with blue phytoplankton and microalgae to protect skin against everyday stressors such as UVA/UVB rays and pollution.

You can use code ORGANICALLYBECCA for a discount 🏷️

Buy Cocokind Daily SPF Here

Other Natural Alternatives to Check Out:

More From the Swap It Out Series:

Swap It Out: 5+ Natural Alternatives to Vaseline & Aquaphor


I hope this post gives you a little nudge if you currently use Cetaphil or CeraVe products, because there are plenty of options to use instead that are better and safer. As always, the information is meant to inform and educate you, not to shame you or make you feel bad about your choices. Let me know if you have any questions or comments and thanks for reading! 💚

Becca Signature

 

Studies & Resources:

 

 

Swap It Out: Natural Alternatives to Cetaphil & CeraVe Skincare Products

Written by: Becca

Becca is a blogger, wife, and dog mom living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Having seen firsthand the benefits of switching to a natural lifestyle herself, she's passionate about helping women make the switch to clean beauty products, organic skincare, and a holistic way of life (without the stress of being perfect about it!).

2 comments on “Swap It Out: Natural Alternatives to Cetaphil & CeraVe Skincare Products”

  1. Hey Becca I’m a59 year old woman that has battled acne since 5th grade and was wandering what you would recommend? I tried cytology, MDacne and proactive and nothing seems to work well for me !!! So I’m considering all natural products !!! HELP if you can !!! Also wrinkles !!! LOL Thanks in Advance —-Deborah

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