Aquaphor vs Vaseline: Which Is Better + What’s the Difference?

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Aquaphor vs Vaseline: is one better than the other? What’s the difference between both? 

You may need help deciding between the two, especially since they look like identical products.

After all, Aquaphor and Vaseline are both petroleum-based products that can be used to address a wide range of skin issues.

But if you look closely, there are key differences that set them apart.

A woman is touching her lips with her finger.

It’s important to get to know these two products, including their key features, pros and cons, and similarities and differences, if you want to know which product to incorporate into your skincare regimen for your specific concerns.

Are you ready to dive in? 

Here is an in-depth review that will settle the Aquaphor vs Vaseline debate once and for all.

What’s the Difference Between Aquaphor and Vaseline?

 Aquaphor Healing OintmentVaseline Healing Jelly Original
Key Benefits
  • Can be used as a facial moisturizer and hydrating mask
  • Allows flow of oxygen to boost the healing process
  • Helps address dryness associated with wind and cold weather
  • Relieves discomfort from diaper rashes
  • Protective barrier supports the healing process
  • Helps address dryness associated with eczema
  • Protects chafed skin
Ingredients41% petroleum Jelly with panthenol, glycerin, lanolin alcohol, ceresin, bisabolol, and mineral oil100% pure, triple purified petroleum jelly with mineral oil, microcrystalline wax, and paraffin
Texture and ConsistencySlightly thinner than VaselineThicker than Aquaphor
FormulaFree of preservatives and fragranceNational Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance
Skin TypeLanolin content might not be suitable for sensitive skinMay be too thick for oily and acne-prone skin

Aquaphor Healing Ointment vs Vaseline Healing Jelly: How Are They Similar?

If you thought that Aquaphor and Vaseline were identical, we don’t blame you! Here’s a breakdown of their many similarities. 

Key Features

Aquaphor and Vaseline are multipurpose ointments that protect and restore the skin from a wide range of concerns.

They both target dry, damaged, cracked, and irritated skin. You can use them for the following:

  • Moisturize dry and flaky skin (also as a sleeping mask)
  • Smoothen chapped lips
  • Soften cuticles
  • Soothe chafing and friction burns
  • Heal dry, cracked, and rough hands or feet
  • Promote healing of minor cuts, wounds, burns, or scars
  • Treat windburn and dryness associated with cold weather 

Texture and Consistency

Both Aquaphor and Vaseline have a petroleum base with little to zero water content. As such, they have a very thick consistency and viscous texture, which is why they feel sticky or greasy when applied to the skin. 


The skin does not absorb Aquaphor and Vaseline quickly since they are occlusive moisturizers. Instead, they form a physical barrier on your skin to help lock in moisture. 


Both Aquaphor and Vaseline have a gentle formula. They are dermatologically tested and non-comedogenic. All skin types, including sensitive skin, can use these products.

Despite these similarities, though, there are key differences. We’ll learn more about them in our in-depth review of each product.

Aquaphor Product Review: Is Aquaphor Better than Vaseline?

A cropped photo of a woman putting lotion on her arm.

Compared to Vaseline, the Aquaphor Healing Ointment is a more versatile moisturizer. This is because Aquaphor has a broader range of ingredients.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment, Advanced Therapy Skin Protectant, Dry Skin Body Moisturizer,...
  • One Essential Solution: Aquaphor is one essential solution for many skin care needs; use on dry, cracked skin, as a lip moisturizer, facial moisturizer, hydrating mask,...
  • For Dry, Compromised Skin: This Aquaphor Healing Ointment is designed specifically for dry, compromised skin and clinically proven to restore smooth, healthy skin
  • Convenient Replacement: Use Aquaphor Healing Ointment as a replacement for a foot cream or hand cream to help heal dry cracked hands, cuticles and feet

Aquaphor only contains 41% petroleum jelly. However, it has additional ingredients that confer skin benefits. This includes the following:

  • Panthenol and glycerin — Superstar ingredients for moisturizing the skin
  • Lanolin alcohol — A fatty alcohol that helps make skin soft, supple, and moisturized
  • Ceresin — Has moisturizing properties, helps control viscosity
  • Bisabolol — A soothing ingredient with anti-aging properties
  • Mineral oil — An emollient that softens and moisturizes the skin

One important note about petroleum is that it only locks in moisture that is already on your skin;  it doesn’t add any. That’s why Aquaphor may be better at moisturizing the skin. It first draws in moisture to the skin, then the petroleum locks everything in.

Aquaphor is a good option if you want a simpler or pared-down skincare routine. It may also work as a night cream.

Aquaphor has a gentle, non-comedogenic, and dermatologically tested formula. It also doesn’t contain any fragrances or preservatives. 

However, it does have lanolin, which may cause allergic reactions. If you have sensitive skin, Aquaphor may not be as ideal. It’s always best to do a patch test first to be sure.

When comparing Aquaphor vs Vaseline, the former may be more suitable for new tattoos. Aquaphor is not a pure occlusive, so oxygen can still pass through, which is essential for tattoo healing.

Ingredients such as glycerin, panthenol, and bisabolol also have anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe newly tattooed skin and promote faster healing.

On the other hand, Aquaphor is not as suitable for wound healing. A pure occlusive would be better for wounds because it prevents germs and bacteria from contaminating the wound.

  • Includes moisturizing ingredients that help soothe the skin
  • Free of preservatives and fragrance
  • May better promote tattoo healing
  • Lanolin content may trigger allergic reactions in those with sensitivities
  • May not be as ideal for wound healing

Vaseline Product Review: Is Vaseline the Same as Aquaphor?

Just like Aquaphor, the Vaseline Healing Jelly Original does an excellent job of protecting and restoring dry and cracked skin.

Vaseline Petroleum Jelly Original 13 oz
  • Sold as 1 Each.
  • Protects and locks in moisture to help dry skin heal.
  • Pure petroleum jelly.

Despite their similarities, though, Vaseline is not the same as Aquaphor. The major difference lies in their ingredients.

The Vaseline Healing Jelly Original contains 100% pure, triple-purified petroleum jelly. The formula has several petroleum by-products, including mineral oil, which serves as an emollient; microcrystalline wax to control viscosity; and paraffin to help lock in moisture.

Compared to Aquaphor, which has moisturizing ingredients, Vaseline is a pure occlusive and will not add moisture to the skin. Rather, Vaseline is a good final step in a complete skincare routine to lock in all the products applied to the skin.

The higher percentage of petroleum jelly in the formula also means that Vaseline has a slightly thicker consistency than Aquaphor. As such, those with acne-prone or oily skin may find the product too thick and greasy.

Some Vaseline variants also include fragrance so that’s something to look out for.

Vaseline is recommended for those with sensitive skin, eczema, and skin allergies. It is dermatologically tested and has a National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.

In one study involving children with mild-to-moderate eczema, Vaseline was found to have the same efficacy as prescription barrier creams. However, it is significantly more cost-effective, making it a fantastic long-term treatment option for those with eczema.

Petroleum jelly is also beneficial for wound healing. It creates a physical barrier between the skin and the environment, preventing bacteria and germs from entering the wound and causing infections.

In comparing Vaseline vs Aquaphor, the former may be ideal for wound healing. A study found that Vaseline had a lower incidence of redness (12%) when applied to surgical wounds. Whereas with Aquaphor, the incidence of redness was at 52%.

However, Vaseline may not be best for tattoo wounds. The occlusive barrier prevents oxygen from coming in, which tattoos need to heal fully. You can still use Vaseline to moisturize the area, but only after the tattoo has completely healed.

A woman's hand with a cream on it.
  • Helps lock in moisture from skincare products in your routine
  • Suitable for those with sensitive, eczema-prone skin
  • May perform better for wound healing
  • Does not add moisture to the skin
  • Some variants may contain fragrance
  • Might be too thick for oily and acne-prone skin
  • Not as ideal for tattoo healing

Aquaphor vs Vaseline: How Do They Compare?

As occlusive moisturizers, Aquaphor and Vaseline are very comparable. These petroleum-based products do a good job of protecting and restoring the skin. 

However, the best choice will depend on your specific skin concerns.

If you have very dry skin, you might benefit from the additional ingredients found in Aquaphor. Since the formula contains 41% petroleum jelly to make way for moisturizing ingredients, it can soothe and moisturize cracked or damaged skin.

However, Aquaphor may not be the best choice if you are allergic to lanolin or have sensitive skin.

Meanwhile, Vaseline may be better for those with sensitive and eczema-prone skin. Since the formula is 100% pure petroleum jelly, there is less chance of irritation or allergic reactions.

However, the thick consistency may be too uncomfortable if you have oily or acne-prone skin. If not washed off properly, it may also cause breakouts. It might be better to choose a moisturizer for oily skin types instead.

On the plus side, Vaseline can help you maximize the beneficial effects of your skincare routine. As a pure occlusive, it ensures that your skin absorbs all the skin-loving ingredients and does not simply evaporate into the air. 

A cropped photo of a woman posing with her hand on her  chin

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is Aquaphor or Vaseline Better for Lips?

On its own, Aquaphor is better because it has additional ingredients that add moisture to your lips. However, Vaseline also offers lip therapy variants with moisturizing ingredients such as shea butter. 

Is Aquaphor the Same as Petroleum Jelly?

Aquaphor is different from a 100% petroleum jelly product like Vaseline. Aquaphor only contains 41% petroleum jelly but does come with additional ingredients that moisturize the skin. 

Where Should You Not Use Aquaphor or Vaseline?

Aquaphor and Vaseline are topical ointments and are only meant to be applied on the surface of your skin. They should not be applied to major cuts, puncture wounds, or serious burns.

Petroleum products are also not meant to be applied on sunburned skin. They will prevent heat from escaping your skin, which can worsen your sunburn. 

Is Aquaphor as Greasy as Vaseline?

As occlusive moisturizers, both Aquaphor and Vaseline have a thick consistency. However, Aquaphor is not pure petroleum jelly, so it is not as thick or greasy as Vaseline.

Will Aquaphor Clog Pores?

Contrary to popular belief, petroleum is non-comedogenic so products like Aquaphor and Vaseline will not clog your pores. They’re also hypoallergenic and gentle on the skin. However, proper cleansing is still recommended especially when using occlusive products. 

Do Dermatologists Recommend Aquaphor?

Aquaphor and Vaseline are endorsed by dermatologists for treating dry and cracked skin without causing irritation. Vaseline also has a seal of approval from the National Eczema Association, which makes it suitable for treating eczema-prone skin.

Should I Put On Aquaphor Before Bed?

Aquaphor and Vaseline are occlusive moisturizers. They are best used as the final product in your skincare routine to lock in all the moisture. 

Aquaphor and Vaseline are ideal products to try out the slugging skincare trend, which is to seal in all your skincare products overnight.

How Do You Wash Aquaphor Off Your Face?

Since petroleum products such as Aquaphor and Vaseline aren’t completely absorbed by the skin, it’s essential to wash your face in the morning. 

You can put a warm damp cloth over your face to loosen up the petroleum on your skin. Another option would be to double cleanse as the first step in your morning skincare routine.

What Does Vaseline Do to Your Eyelashes?

Vaseline won’t make your eyelashes longer or thicker. However, Vaseline can make it look fuller, shinier, and healthier. 

While Vaseline is safe to apply on your eyelashes, avoid contact with your eyes as much as possible, as this could cause irritation.

Aquaphor vs Vaseline: Making The Final Verdict

By now, you have a pretty good idea of where you stand on the Aquaphor vs Vaseline debate.

It’s pretty clear now that Aquaphor and Vaseline are amazing products. As occlusive moisturizers, they do an excellent job of protecting and restoring the skin.

Aquaphor really shines when it comes to the moisturizing component. However, Vaseline may have the edge over Aquaphor for skin healing purposes. Both products also have disadvantages, but this depends on your skin type and concerns.

The good thing is that both Aquaphor and Vaseline are affordable and easily accessible. You can try them out for yourself, and only then will you truly see which is the better product to incorporate into your skincare routine.

Aquaphor and Vaseline are considered safe and gentle on the skin. So whichever side you’re leaning on in the Aquaphor vs Vaseline debate, it’s clear that you won’t go wrong with either choice! 

infographic about the similarities and differences of aquaphor vs vaseline

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  • Ashley Pena

    Ashley Pena brings over 13 years of seasoned writing and editing expertise, fortified by her Bachelor of Science in Management. Esteemed in the beauty domain, her content captivates readers with its depth and authenticity. While she navigates a broad spectrum of beauty trends, Ashley shines particularly as our resident K-beauty guru. Her articles are a harmonious blend of passion and profound knowledge, inspiring readers on their unique beauty journeys.

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