Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream



In the past, you’ve probably picked out moisturizers based on a specific brand name or the marketing claims made by brands. But did you know that all moisturizers are not created equal? There are actually several different types of moisturizers, with the three most common types being occlusive, humectant, and emollient. In this review, our focus is on a product that contains all three of these moisturizers: the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream.
Related: Best Face Moisturizers

What is it?

Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream contains a blend of extra-strength emollients, humectants, and occlusive moisturizers that are clinically proven to bind water to the skin and prevent moisture loss. With these moisturizing agents working together, you can expect long-lasting relief for even even severely dry skin. The non-greasy formula is ideal for hands, feet, elbows, knees, and any other areas that require intensive moisturization.

Who is it for?

The Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream can be used by all skin types, but is best for those with dry or sensitive skin. While there are many different factors that can lead to dry skin, one of the main causes is transepidermal water loss (TEWL). TEWL is the loss of water from the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of skin). The different types of moisturizers mentioned above each have a specific mechanism to reduce or prevent TEWL. For instance, occlusive moisturizers are heavy in nature and work by coating the skin with an occlusive layer to prevent TEWL. Humectant moisturizers absorb water from the atmosphere and also from the lower layers of the skin in order to keep the stratum corneum hydrated. Emollients fill in any spaces or gaps between skin cells that are missing moisturizing lipids, thus, preventing TEWL. With a combination of all three types of moisturizers, the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is an excellent choice for those suffering from dry skin.

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Formulation insight

There are several moisturizing ingredients in the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, including glycerin, petrolatum, and sweet almond oil.

Glycerin, also referred to as glycerol, is a natural alcohol and humectant moisturizer that’s been used in skin care products for centuries, says Dr. Wendy Bollinger Bollag, cell physiologist. In research published in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, she and co-author Dr. Xiangjian Zheng, demonstrate that glycerin helps skin to look and function better by helping skin cells mature properly. In fact, glycerin is not just a humectant but also an occlusive moisturizer as well. This means that while it pulls water from the environment to hydrate the skin, it also forms a moisturizing layer on the skin to help prevent TEWL.

Pure petrolatum (also known as Vaseline) is a rich emollient moisturizer and FDA-approved skin protectant. According to skin care expert Paula Begoun, it is one of the best ingredients for dry to very dry skin, including around the eyes. Even though petrolatum is derived from crude oil, there’s no risk of exposure to unwanted chemicals since it is highly purified prior to being used in cosmetics. Unfortunately, petrolatum has attained a negative connotation in regard to its use in skin care despite solid research to the contrary. It’s important to keep in mind that this ingredient has been clinically proven safe and highly effective.

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil is an occlusive moisturizer that is rich in vitamin E, vitamin A, monounsaturated fatty acids, protein, potassium, and zinc. According to Dr. Josh Axe, vitamins A and E are both powerful antioxidants that can help to protect the skin against UV radiation damage while keeping skin soft and supple. A 2007 study by the Departments of Pharmaceutics at Hamdard University in India found sweet almond oil to both prevent initial UV damage and slow down the effects of UV damage after it happened. Additionally, the monounsaturated fatty acids in sweet almond oil help your skin retain moisture and can heal chapped and irritated skin.

Another ingredient found in the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream that can have a moisturizing effect is dimethicone. As a silicone based polymer, dimethicone prevents water loss by forming a hydrating barrier on the skin. Additionally, dimethicone provides a significant amount of emollience and coverage to the skin, without adding any heaviness. It is also non-comedogenic, which means that it will not cause your skin to break out.

How to use

The Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream can be applied liberally to the face or anywhere on the body as often as needed.


Out of 54 reviews on the brand’s website, the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream has received an average of 3.8 out of 5 stars. Those that love this product say it is extremely helpful for dry, cracked, and flaking skin. It has a thick, rich texture that helps to heal these dry skin conditions. It was even compared to a “very high-end body butter”. The negative reviews for the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream consistently mention that the current formulation of this product is different and apparently less effective than an older version.

In sum, the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is a combination of occlusive, humectant, and emollient moisturizers that work together to heal dry and irritated skin, as well as provide the skin with long-lasting hydration.

What Are Alternatives to Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream?

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