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Cetraben cream vs. ointment

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 4 minutes read

Cetraben is a line of skincare products specially formulated to treat dry, sensitive, or eczema-prone skin. It offers both a cream and an ointment, each with its own unique characteristics and benefits. We will provide a detailed comparison of their formulations and explain the benefits of each so that you can make an informed decision.

Doctor’s advice

Cetraben cream

Cetraben cream is a moisturizing skincare product that effectively targets dry, sensitive, and eczema-prone skin. It is available in various pack sizes to suit individual needs. Here are the key points about Cetraben cream:


  • Main Ingredients: Cetraben cream contains soft white paraffin and light liquid paraffin as its main ingredients, which are commonly found in many eczema-targeted skin products.
  • Additional Ingredients: It also includes citric acid as a skin exfoliator and antimicrobials to enhance its moisturizing properties. Fragrance-free and Gentle: Cetraben cream is primarily fragrance-free and formulated with minimal ingredients to ensure it is gentle on the skin.


  • Effective Moisturization: With consistent and regular use, Cetraben cream helps repair dry skin, providing long-lasting hydration.
  • Suitable for Various Skin Conditions: It is specifically designed for inflamed, irritated, or dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. However, its effectiveness and gentle nature make it suitable for anyone seeking hydration and relief from dryness. Ideal for the Elderly and Children: As we age, our skin tends to become drier due to the loss of collagen and elastin. Cetraben cream is an excellent choice for the elderly to prevent dry and itchy skin. Additionally, children with sensitive skin or those in need of moisture replenishment from activities like swimming can benefit from this cream.
  • Versatile Application: Cetraben cream can be used as a moisturizer for dry areas and as a soap replacement to hydrate skin that tends to dry out after showering.


  • Spreading Effort: Compared to lotions, Cetraben cream may require more effort to spread evenly on larger areas due to its slightly thicker consistency.

Cetraben ointment

Cetraben ointment is a highly effective moisturizer formulated for dry, scaly, or rough skin. It can be used as a bath additive, skin cleanser, or for long-term moisturization. Here are the key points about Cetraben ointment:


  • Main Ingredients: Like the cream, Cetraben ointment primarily consists of soft white paraffin and light liquid paraffin as its main ingredients.
  • Skin Exfoliation: It also contains citric acid, which acts as a skin exfoliator, helping to remove dead skin cells and promote skin renewal.


  • Intensive Moisturization: Cetraben ointment provides deep and long-lasting moisturization, making it particularly effective for dry skin conditions when used at night.
  • Versatile Application: Apart from being an excellent moisturizer for the skin, it can be used as a bath additive or as a skin cleanser, utilizing its exfoliating properties. Suitable for Various Skin Conditions: Cetraben ointment is recommended for individuals with dry, scaly, or rough skin, providing enhanced skin repair and hydration.


  • Greasy Texture: Ointments, including Cetraben ointment, tend to have a greasy texture that may not be cosmetically suitable for all situations. Additionally, it can transfer onto clothes quickly, requiring caution during application, and is flammable.

Cream vs. ointment

While both Cetraben cream and Cetraben ointment share similar main ingredients and the presence of citric acid as a skin exfoliator, they differ in terms of consistency and application. Here's a brief comparison:

Cetraben Cream:

Consistency: Creamy texture. Benefits: Effective moisturization, suitable for various skin conditions, versatile application. Drawback: May require more effort to spread on larger areas.

Cetraben Ointment:

Consistency: Greasy texture. Benefits: Intensive moisturization, suitable for dry, scaly, or rough skin, versatile application. Drawback: Greasy texture, can transfer onto clothes quickly.

Choosing the right product depends on personal preference, skin condition, and desired application. It is important to try a product and observe how it works for you. If any allergies or sensitivity reactions occur, discontinue use and seek medical advice.

Remember that Cetraben products, including both the cream and ointment, contain highly flammable paraffin. To avoid potential hazards, care should be taken to avoid open flames, and the product should not be applied to fresh burns.

Side effects and cautions

Here are the possible side effects that may occur when using Cetraben cream or Cetraben ointment:

Allergic or Sensitivity Reactions: Some individuals may experience allergic or sensitivity reactions to the ingredients present in Cetraben products. This can manifest as burning, stinging, itchiness, and redness of the application area. If any of these symptoms occur, it is advisable to discontinue use and seek medical advice.

Transference and Flammability: Both Cetraben cream and Cetraben ointment contain highly flammable paraffin. This can potentially transfer onto clothing or bedding, increasing the risk of flammability. Therefore, caution should be exercised to avoid open flames and ignition sources.

If any side effects occur, it is recommended to remove the product from the skin by washing it with water and mild soap or wiping it away with a towel. Seeking medical advice is advisable if necessary.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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