gray background with lotion bottle graphic and title "What Is the Difference Between CeraVe AM and PM?"

What Is The Difference Between CeraVe AM and PM?

With the vast amount of skincare products on the market today, it can be difficult to decide which one is worth buying and what the differences are. CeraVe, an incredible skincare company focused on soothing the skin, carries both AM and PM moisturizers. The difference between CeraVe AM and PM mostly lies in the addition of sunscreen to their AM formulation. There are other minor differences as well between the two.

CeraVe AM – An In Depth Ingredient Analysis

CeraVe has consistently proved to be a company that creates formulations specifically for dry and sensitive skin.

They include ceramides in all of their products, hence the name. These help to repair a damaged skin barrier and soothe flaking and tightness.

In terms of the morning moisturizer, there are quite a few ingredients that make it an optimal choice for all skin types.  


Niacinamide is a type of B vitamin that is often used in skincare formulations.

It has a multitude of beneficial effects when applied to the skin.

Most importantly, it is able to effectively penetrate the skin when applied topically. Once it comes into contact with the skin, niacinamide works in a few different ways.

For one, it reduces redness and inflammation by decreasing the expression of inflammatory factors on the skin.

In addition, niacinamide reduces hyperpigmentation and fine lines. More so, this ingredient helps to repair the skin’s barrier and increase skin elasticity. 


This is a major component of all CeraVe products.

Ceramides are a type of lipid that form part of the skin’s lipid barrier.

How Ceramides Benefit the Skin

Along with other substances like cholesterol, ceramides work to protect the skin from environmental stressors and other bacterial contaminants.

They are present between cells and help to make up the sturdy structure of the skin barrier.

This helps to retain water in the skin by preventing transepidermal water loss.

The permeability barrier is enhanced and the skin is protected and healthy.

There are different types of ceramides that are present in the CeraVe AM Moisturizer.

These different types of ceramides are found naturally in varying levels of concentration on the surface of the skin. For example, ceramide AP is found in higher percentages on the skin in comparison to ceramide EOP. 

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is an incredible humectant.

This ingredient works hard to retain water in the skin and prevent transepidermal water loss.

Not only is it well-tolerated, it has been shown to play a role in improving skin aging and improving the skin barrier.

The addition of hyaluronic acid will work with the ceramides and other barrier-repairing ingredients to heal the skin. 


Glycerin is an incredibly well-tolerated ingredient that penetrates easily into the skin.

It has years of research to support its use as an emollient. Emollients soften skin cells.

Glycerin is a great ingredient to support the skin’s lipid barrier.

It is antimicrobial, protects the skin against environmental stressors, reduces inflammation, soothes dry skin, and much more. 

Sunscreen Filters

The CeraVe AM Moisturizer contains a variety of sunscreen filters. These protect the skin from the harmful rays from the sun.

In particular, this moisturizer contains two types of sunscreen filters – Both mineral and chemical filters. These can work together to provide broad-spectrum protection against the sun’s rays. 

Mineral Filters

Mineral filters are also called physical filters. This includes zinc oxide.

Zinc oxide works to reflect the sun’s UV rays.

It is a broad-spectrum UV filter, protecting the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. It generally leaves a white cast on the skin. 

Chemical Filters

Chemical filters include homosalate, octinoxate, and octocrylene.

These work to absorb the sun’s UV rays and convert them into heat.

This prevents the rays from penetrating deeply into the skin, which ultimately protects the skin from its harmful effects.

Chemical filters may exacerbate inflammation in the skin due to its heating properties. However, they are usually cosmetically elegant and leave little to no white cast. 

CeraVe PM – An In Depth Ingredient Analysis

Like CeraVe AM, the CeraVe PM Moisturizer contains most of the ingredients listed above.

These include niacinamide, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin. All of these ingredients work together to provide the skin with the necessary support and hydration it needs to be healthy. 


This is a newer preservative present in the PM moisturizer to prevent contamination from bacteria and fungi in products.

Studies have shown that this ingredient can be irritating to the skin. Surprisingly, in low concentrations of less than 1%, phenoxyethanol has been shown to cause redness and irritation in individuals who applied this topically.


This ingredient is actually in both the AM and PM moisturizers. I’m including it here because the addition of this ingredient in the nighttime moisturizer works amazingly to repair the skin while you sleep.

Sleep is incredibly important for the health of your skin. As you sleep, the skin increases in hydration and repairs the skin barrier.

The addition of phytosphingosine aids in these processes. Phytosphingosine is a well-tolerated ingredient that has beneficial effects on the skin. It plays a role in hydrating the skin and helps to form the skin’s barrier.

It is an integral part of the “Natural Moisturizing Factors” of the skin, which is made up of a number of substances including amino acids and ceramides.

These work together to build the skin barrier and create a sturdy structure to fight against pollution and other contaminants. 

The Differences Between CeraVe AM and PM Moisturizers


  1. The main difference between the AM and PM moisturizers involves the addition of sunscreen to the AM moisturizer.

Sunscreen should be avoided at nighttime, as there are no UV rays to protect the skin from. In addition, your nighttime routine should be replaced with treatments and richer ingredients to help repair and replenish the skin during sleep, which is a time for rejuvenation.

Ingredient Differences

2. The ceramides that are included in the CeraVe PM moisturizer are higher in the ingredient list, which implies there is a greater concentration of ceramides in the PM moisturizer.

3. The AM moisturizer contains parabens, including methylparaben and propylparaben. These are safe for use in skincare. However, some individuals may experience irritation from these ingredients.

4. Also, the AM moisturizer contains BHT. This is a stabilizer and antioxidant. However, studies have shown that long-term exposure to this ingredient could be toxic. Again, the concentration of BHT in this moisturizer is likely very low. But it is something to keep in mind.

Overall, both moisturizers have great ingredients that nourish the skin. However, the PM moisturizer is a better choice.

To note, the PM moisturizer can also be used in the morning or any time of the day. You simply need to apply a sunscreen overtop when using it in the morning. 


How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients? – PMC (

Glycerol and the skin: holistic approach to its origin and functions – PubMed (

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