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Olay vs CeraVe (The Definitive Guide)

By Calum Torrington

13 January 2023

We're positive you've seen Olay and CeraVe on the shelves at your local beauty store before. But which is best? And which brand should you choose?

Come with us as we compare their best-sellers side-by-side to help you decide which is best for you and your skincare routine.

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Olay vs CeraVe Retinol

The benefits of retinol simply cannot be overstated. It increases skin cell production, exfoliates your skin, and increases collagen production, all helping to vastly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (and prevent new ones from forming). Retinol can even help to reduce acne!

That said, retinol products can be *very* expensive. Fortunately, Olay and CeraVe have each found ways to create retinol serums that are just as good as ones you might find from luxury brands. Let's get into the comparison!

Comparison

While both serums are fundamentally similar—in the sense that they each contain retinol (duh!)—they are actually formulated for entirely different skin concerns. This, of course, is going to heavily influence your decision when it comes to choosing between the two.

Cutting to the chase, the CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum utilizes retinol to reduce the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (also known as acne marks or dark spots). The Olay Retinol 24 Night Serum instead penetrates deep into the skin's surface to thwart wrinkles, fine lines, and other visible signs of aging.

CeraVe's formula includes encapsulated retinol, licorice root extract, ceramides, and niacinamide. The encapsulated retinol is what helps to resurface the skin (consequently fading any unsightly marks or spots). Licorice root extract is known to help brighten the appearance of skin. The ceramides help restore and maintain the skin's natural barrier, and the Niacinamide helps calm and hydrate. CeraVe also utilizes MVE technology. MVE technology is basically a delivery system that continually releases moisturizing ingredients. This will keep your skin hydrated long after you've applied it!

CeraVe prides themselves on working with dermatologists to develop high-quality products. As a result, they are commonly recommended by dermatologists. Unlike some other retinol serums, the serum is lightweight, fast absorbing, and non-drying.

Olay's formula utilizes 3 key ingredients: Retinoid complex, Niacinamide (vitamin B3), and Amino Peptides. As previously mentioned, the retinoid complex in this serum penetrates deep into the skin to banish those fine lines and wrinkles. Niacinamide will hydrate, help with surface skin cell turnover and regeneration, and exfoliate to remove dead skin. Finally, the amino peptides are molecules that help the skin look firmer and smoother.

Olay states that after just one night of use, your skin will appear brighter and smoother. After that, give it just 28 days of consistent use for a total skin transformation!

So, to reiterate: if you're struggling with acne-prone skin, CeraVe's Resurfacing Retinol Serum is for you. If you're seeking an anti-aging solution, then the Olay Retinol 24 Night Serum has your name on it.

Olay vs CeraVe Moisturizing Cream

Both brands also offer rich, indulgent moisturizing creams. Not unlike the previous comparison, though, they are intended for different purposes and skin types. Let's find out more...

Comparison

If you're looking for an affordable anti-aging cream, then Olay will be your best bet. The Olay Regenerist Micro-sculpting cream has been a fan favorite for many years. Its nourishing formula has been proven to diminish fine lines and wrinkles starting from day one, while also promising to instantly hydrate and firm skin while protecting the skin's natural barrier.

It utilizes 3 main ingredients to help firm and hydrate the skin: Niacinamide (vitamin B3), Amino-Peptide, and Hyaluronic Acid. As you might've gathered, niacinamide is one of Olay's favorite ingredients to use, and there's no wonder why. It keeps your skin super hydrated and helps with surface skin cell turnover and regeneration to remove dull skin. The amino peptides help firm the skin, and hyaluronic acid is the moisturizing agent that helps regulate water within the skin cells.

This formula works best for those with normal, oily, or combination skin. However, this will become your *holy grail* if your skin concerns include dryness, fine lines/wrinkles, uneven texture, or sagging skin.

If you are looking for a versatile and thick moisturizer that can be used on the body and face (without a focus on anti-aging concerns), then CeraVe's Moisturizing Cream is for you. It is a non-greasy, fast-absorbing moisturizing cream that, like the retinol serum, also features their patented MVE Delivery Technology to release a steady stream of moisturizing ingredients throughout the day and night.

It utilizes a formula with 3 essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid. Ceramides help prevent moisture loss. Hyaluronic acid helps to increase the skin's water content. These two ingredients combined make for a hydration powerhouse, the perfect antidote for most skin concerns—especially dryness.

While both products can be found for around the same price, you're getting 10 times less product with Olay. This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, though, since Olay's formula obviously contains far more specialized actives to deliver those inimitable anti-aging benefits, whereas CeraVe's formula is more of a run-of-the-mill moisturizer.

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