Cetaphil Sunscreens Comparison

Cetaphil Sunscreens 5

Daily Facial Moisturizer  SPF 50 vs. DermaControl Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30

Cetaphil is a brand trusted by many dermatologists.  Mainly known for their sensitive skin cleansers, they have branched out into other skincare products.  Last summer, I picked up Cetaphil’s new DermaControl Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30 to try out.  It was a winner even though I did not have high hopes because I find that chemical sunscreens can burn me with all of the exfoliating products I use to get rid of acne and dark marks on my face. 

The majority of my sunscreens are mineral sunscreens, and I prefer asian mineral sunscreens, like Shiseido’s.  However, mineral sunscreens have a tendency to leave me with a white cast, which I need to cover up with bronzer or foundation.  This isn’t a problem in the fall or winter, but as it gets warmer and my skin starts producing extreme amounts of oil, it becomes problematic.  I don’t like wearing heavy base products during the summer because it increases the chances of blocked pores, it feels physically uncomfortable, and excess sweat and oil can mess up my coverage.  So I have to be vigilant as to what my face is doing.  Who wants that?  Chemical sunscreens that are truly clear or transparent fix this problem.  It also makes it easier to reapply, after a quick cleansing wipe.

After the success of Cetaphil’s DermaControl sunscreen, I decided to pick up Cetaphil’s Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 50 because it had a higher SPF.  This sunscreen is meant for all skintypes unlike the oily skin version, DermaControl.  So, I was really surprised with two interesting findings: the Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 50 was NOT sheer and it STUNG.


The Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 50, had a slightly creamier feel, but when blended into skin it left me with a slight white cast, which required serious blending and some light powder to cover it.  Not bad, but not exactly sheer either.  This is primarily a chemical sunscreen, but it does have titanium dioxide, a mineral ingredient frequently used in mineral sunscreens, which can leave a white cast.

It also stung on application when I used my retinoids.  I was using much stronger retinoids over the summer AND blitzing my skin with glycolic acids and salicylic acid, when I was regularly using the DermaControl sunscreen, but it NEVER ONCE stung my skin.  The DermaControl sunscreen appeared to some buffers in it to counter any possible irritation.  Not so with the Daily Facial Moisturizer.  However, limiting use of my retinoids and glycolics did prevent the feeling of FIYAAAA on my face.  Basically, it’s not a sunscreen I can use if I am using my regular and extra strength retinoids (Retina-A and Tazorac), but I can use it with Differin.  So, it’s a ‘clear skin’ sunscreen. 

Also, while the DermaControl sunscreen left me with a matte, non-shiny finish on my skin, the Daily Facial Moisturizer left me with a plastic shine.  Not oily shine, plastic shine.  In addition, unlike the DermaControl sunscreen, which did not easily sweat off, the Daily Facial Moisturizer does not stay put when I sweat (spinning, ok?).  This will be a huge issue during the summer.  What’s the point of a higher SPF if it’s melting off?  Plus, I am one of those people whose sunscreen has a tendency to run into my eyes and sting!!!  Yuuuuup…I’ve had to be that person dipping a napkin into a champagne glass of water to dab at my eye at an affinity group event because my eyes started STINGING and I could not escape.  Keepin’ it CLASSY!

I will use up my tube of the Daily Facial Moisturizer.  But it does have the cons I mentioned above.  It’s a solid sunscreen for fall, winter, spring; if you are fairly light and if do not use sensitizing retinoids.   But in warm temperatures, if you have any color to your skin and if you use retinoids, you may want to skip this if you want easy, non-burning and slap and go.  A few extra steps counter this effect: buffering cream and some tinted coverage to remove the whiteness.  So, its not a total loss.

After using up half the tube of the Daily Facial Moisturizer, I picked up another tube of the DermaControl sunscreen for when I run out!  🙂   You can’t go wrong with a chemical sunscreen that is truly sheer, applies matte, does not sting, does not melt off the skin, offers moderate sun protection, and is under twenty bucks from a drugstore. (But remember, you can’t use the DermaControl on extreme high heat, high humidity days as I mentioned in my review of this product last year found here!).

Eventually, I will get around to comparing the DermaControl sunscreen to the other great dry-matte sunscreen from Peter Thomas Roth, which I like, as well, although it is more expensive.


Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer, SPF 50, 1.7 oz for $13.99

Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (7%), Oxybenzone 6%, Titanium Dioxide (5.7%), Water, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Dimethicone, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Cyclohexasiloxane, Stearic Acid, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Dimethiconol, Disodium EDTA, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Cyclopentasiloxane, Triethanolamine, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylparaben, Chlorphenesin, Cetyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C10 30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Methylparaben, Xanthan Gum

Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30, 4.0 oz for $16.99

Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (7%), Water, Isopropyl Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Diisopropyl Sebacate, Silica, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Sucrose Tristearate, Dimethiconol, Pentylene Glycol, Polysorbate 61, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl
Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Panthenol, Triethanolamine, Allantoin, Carbomer, Potassium Sorbate, Zinc Gluconate, Xanthan Gum, Disodium
EDTA, Hydroxypalmitoyl Sphinganine



  1. Ooooh I am SO buying a bottle of that DermaControl sunscreen! I think I tried the other one and it left me SO incredibly shiny that I didn’t give a second glance to any of Cetaphil’s other sunscreens/products for oily skin. I am really excited to try the DermaControl though–I’m always on the lookout for THE perfect sunscreen for my oily skin!! 😀

    • I was surprised it was so good for a drugstore screen. However, I don’t like wearing it when it is super hot and humid because you can feel the sunscreen floating on your skin. However. this is a bargain buy for when you don’t want to spend too much on sunscreens.

      • Do you notice any kind of a weird, rough texture to your skin after applying this? It kinda weirds me out :/ Strangely, after it has had a chance to kinda meld on my skin for a few hours, my skin feels totally fine–smooth, soft, and completely dry/matte. It’s just the first hour or so that my skin feels rough and almost a bit gritty or pill-y, even though it doesn’t really pill on my face. I haven’t tried it under makeup yet though–I’m a bit afraid 😛 The good news is that it really does control oil on my face. I love that! If nothing else, it will be great for no-makeup days! 😀

      • Oh, you are talking about that textured dry-matte feel as you spread it over the skin initially. Man, my skin must be super rough to not recognize it as “rough.” LOL. Yeah, I thought it was weird when I first applied it, but since my skin is super oily, I just thought yes! Less oily feel and look! I got used to it, but in the beginning I did make a point to apply a thin serum before I used this. Then I got lazy and started slapping it on without a moisture buffer and nothing adverse happened. I actually do use this when I do not wear base! For instance, I wouldn’t really wear this with a matte foundation – CLASH! This is my “it’s getting hot out here, I’m taking off my…makeup…” sunscreen.

      • It’s probably the starch and silica that is just sitting on the surface and once it has absorbed a bit of oil, it no longer has that texture to it? Anyway, just wanted to check and see if you experienced the same thing 🙂 thanks again for the recommendation! I can’t wait to see how it handles the hotter summer months

      • Yup. I think so as well. I also think this is the stuff that prevents my skin from feeling chemically burned when I am on retinoids and use a chemical sunscreen. On me it’s a sheer finish which I love, which means I don’t need to use base products, or can just rely on concealer for spots. I am not sure about this sunscreen for SUPER HOT and HUMID temperature. I found that the oil controlling properties eventually fill up with so much oil on SUPER HOT and HUMID days that it feels like its floating on your face, which feels weird and unpleasant for me, so I actually don’t use this on those days. Just normal pleasant hot days without the humidity. 🙂 But if it works for you on those days, then that’s awesome!

      • Aw lol no! Maybe you’re just used to using products that contain those kind of starchy absorbents? I’m so used to trying all the ones that claim to mattify but just contain a lot of alcohol so I just have to get used to the texture of this 😛 The results are definitely worth it though! I definitely won’t be using it under any of my matte foundations but I want to try it under my products that I tend to get oily with while wearing–like the Laura Mercier Oil-Free TM (not too bad but still…). I hate that feeling of having the “floating layer” on your skin though–some foundations make me feel that way–so gross! It like looks pretty matte but it feels so greasy and disgusting! haha

      • The only other product that ever gave me that floating layer of viscose grossness on my face in too steamy weather was Revlon’s Colorstay Foundation. Gross! I feel like it’s worse when it is a foundation because that’s a layer of color moving around you face.

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