There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding cult US skincare brand CeraVe for years now. Intrigued to find out what all the fuss is about, we put the brand’s hero products to the test.
When you find a skincare product that really works for you, naturally, you have to rave about. So when thousands of people leave stellar reviews online for a single brand, the growing intrigue can catapult a brand to cult-status. CeraVe is one of those brands.
Gentle enough that it works for most skin types and conditions, it’s worth knowing about. And it’s so popular the brand has won 31 awards for their skincare range and boasts a list of critics and beauty experts amongst its fans, including Stylist’s beauty editor, Lucy Partington, who loves the SA Smoothing Cleanser in particular.
I find I can easily get sucked into the vacuum of five star reviews, so I had to look into exactly why these products resonate with so many people.
The Story of CeraVe
Founded in 2005, CeraVe is a dermatologist-developed skin care brand that started off with just three products — a cleanser, a moisturizing lotion, and a moisturizing cream — formulated to repair and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier. A healthy skin barrier is crucial for soft, smooth, healthy skin. Unfortunately, there are many factors in our modern environment that can weaken the skin’s barrier, including pollution, environmental toxins, harsh cleansers, and more. A damaged or weak skin barrier allows things like bacteria, pollutants, or other irritants to pass through the top layers of your skin and cause damage. Plus, a weak barrier also allows moisture to escape from the skin. Ultimately, this leads to common skin concerns such as dryness, acne, rashes, and sensitive skin.
Understanding the importance of the skin barrier, the dermatologists at CeraVe formulated the CeraVe skin care products with specific ingredients that help to repair and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier. Over the years, CeraVe has expanded to offer much more than just those three initial products. Today, the brand has a complete line of moisturizing face and body products that are said to help with many common skin concerns, including dryness, sensitive skin, aging skin, and more. If you’re considering trying this brand, keep reading to learn more about the 12 best CeraVe skin care products.
Top 12 Best CeraVe Skin Care Products?
1. Daily Moisturizing Lotion
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion is a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer that is said to help hydrate the skin and restore its natural barrier thanks to key ingredients such as glycerin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid. The formula is non-comedogenic (it won’t clog pores), which means you can use this CeraVe lotion on both your face and body.
2. Skin Renewing Night Cream
CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream is said to refresh and hydrate tired-looking skin while helping to restore the skin’s natural barrier overnight. It is suitable for all skin types, from oily to dry to combination skin. The formula contains biomimetic peptides that work to stimulate collagen production in order to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
3. Resurfacing Retinol Serum
CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum is a facial serum formulated specifically for those with post-acne marks, uneven skin tone, and visible pores. It is said to help refine, smooth, and improve skin texture without compromising its protective barrier thanks to key ingredients like encapsulated retinol, ceramides, and niacinamide.
4. Moisturizing Cream
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is designed to reinforce the skin barrier by hydrating it with ingredients including hyaluronic acid as well as ceramides. The texture of the cream is formulated to be rich and deeply hydrating without being too greasy – it is also meant to be absorbed quickly. CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is meant for “dry and very dry skin,” and according to the company, the patented delivery system continually releases moisturizing ingredients for 24-hour hydration.
5. Eye Repair Cream
CeraVe Eye Repair Cream is a non-greasy, fast-absorbing, fragrance-free eye cream that is said to reduce the appearance of dark circles and eye puffiness, while also smoothing and brightening the delicate skin around the eyes. It can be used by all skin types, including those with sensitive skin.
6. Foaming Facial Cleanser
CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser is said to remove excess oil, dirt, and makeup without disrupting your skin’s natural protective barrier. This cleanser can be used on normal, oily, and even acne prone skin since this product is non-comedogenic. If you have found that other cleansers are too harsh, this product may be right for you since it has the power to cleanse deeply without disrupting the skin’s barrier.
7. PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is a moisturizing, soothing facial lotion that is said to help calm the skin, increase moisture retention, and restore the skin’s barrier while you sleep. It is recommended for all skin types, including acne-prone skin since it is non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores or cause acne flare-ups).
8. AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is a daily face moisturizer that provides broad spectrum SPF 30 protection due to a combination of chemical sunscreen ingredients (homosalate, meradimate, octinoxate, and octocrylene) with the mineral sunscreen zinc oxide. In addition to protecting the skin from the sun’s UV rays, this CeraVe lotion is said to strengthen the skin’s barrier while increasing hydration thanks to supporting key ingredients like niacinamide, ceramides, and sodium hyaluronate.
9. Renewing SA Cleanser
The “SA” in the name of the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser stands for salicylic acid, a type of beta hydroxy acid (BHA). This gentle cleanser can help exfoliate and smooth your skin while also effectively removing oil and dirt, sweeping away dead cells, and softening rough skin—without leaving skin feeling dry. Salicylic acid provides these benefits because it has the ability to dissolve keratin, the protein that acts as a “glue” to keep dead skin cells together in the stratum corneum. This is effective because dead skin cells can build up on the surface of your skin, leaving it looking dull and feeling rough.
10. Ultra Light Lotion
The CeraVe Ultra Light Lotion is a lightweight facial moisturizer that provides broad spectrum SPF 30 protection due to a combination of four chemical sunscreen ingredients. This non-comedogenic oil-free lotion is ideal for those with normal to oily skin, and is said to help the skin retain its natural moisture while reinforcing the skin’s barrier thanks to ceramides and hyaluronic acid.
11. Hydrating Cleanser
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is claimed to do all of the things a normal cleanser would do — remove dirt, makeup, and other debris — but without disrupting the skin’s natural protective barrier or stripping the skin of its natural moisture. It is a non-comedogenic face wash that works well on all skin types, even those with acne-prone or sensitive skin.
12. Healing Ointment
CeraVe Healing Ointment is a balm that is said to help hydrate and soothe cracked, chafed, extremely dry skin. It is non-comedogenic, suitable for all skin types, and free of fragrance, dyes and lanolin to minimize the risk of irritation from these ingredients. The key ingredients in this ointment — petrolatum, mineral oil, paraffin, and ceramides — work together to provide hydration while restoring the skin’s barrier.
What Are The Key Ingredients in CeraVe Skin Care Products?
All CeraVe skin care products contain three essential ceramides to help restore the skin’s natural barrier with continuous release technology for all-day hydration. But what exactly are ceramides and how do they benefit your skin? Read on to learn the science behind the use of ceramides in CeraVe skin care products.
Ceramides are a family of waxy lipid molecules that are naturally produced by the skin. According to The American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, they are vital in supporting the stratum corneum. The stratum corneum can be thought of as a “brick and mortar” system. The bricks are the corneocytes (dead skin cells) and the intercellular lipids (ceramides) represent the mortar. Without ceramides, the skin barrier is weakened, just like without mortar a brick wall would be weak and unstable. The result is skin that can easily become dry, itchy, or irritated.
In order to strengthen the skin barrier, CeraVe includes ceramides in all of their products. This helps to maintain epidermal hydration and serves as a barrier that responds to environmental stressors, infections, irritants, and allergens. The result is skin that is smooth, moisturized, and healthy.
In order to facilitate the delivery of these essential ceramides to your skin, CeraVe has developed something called MVE Delivery Technology. MVE stands for multivesicular emulsion and it represents a way of delivering ceramides to the skin in a time-release manner for a continuous rather than burst effect. In order to accomplish this, the MVE Delivery Technology contains layers of oil-in-water emulsions. A 2016 article published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology Compares this technology to “nesting dolls” as one vesicle is contained within another inside the MVE. After applying CeraVe skin care products, there is a sequential opening of each vesicle, with a gradual release of ceramides and other ingredient contents, rather than the burst of immediate release with some other products.
Besides ceramides, the CeraVe skin care products contain pretty common ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, niacinamide, vitamin C, retinol, and more. All CeraVe skin care products are fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and many of them are approved by the National Eczema Association.
Where Are CeraVe Skin Care Products Sold?
CeraVe skin care products are not sold on the brand’s website. You must buy CeraVe skin care products on third party ecommerce websites such as Amazon, eBay, Ulta, and more. CeraVe skin care products are also sold in physical retail locations throughout the United States, such as Walmart, Target, Walgreens, etc. CeraVe has a store locator on their website so you can find a location near you.
What is The CeraVe Return Policy?
CeraVe does not have a return policy on their website since they do not sell products on their website and, therefore, don’t accept returns.
Is CeraVe Cruelty Free?
CeraVe is not cruelty free. CeraVe is owned by L’Oréal, a company that tests on animals. L’Oréal does not conduct animal testing on their products or ingredients, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except when required by law. Since L’Oréal products are sold in China, they must test their products on animals by law. The good news is that L’Oreal has invested more than $1 billion over the last 25 years to develop innovative, alternative methods to animal testing, particularly in the area of reconstructed tissue development. L’Oreal and CeraVe are committed to a future without tests on animals.
Upon first inspection, it looks like CeraVe’s popularity all comes down to one word: ceramides. They’re naturally-occurring oils found in our skin. When our ceramide levels are low, our skin barrier can become weakened, often leading to dry, itchy and irritated skin.
CeraVe’s skincare range is crafted by dermatologists and contains a blend of three different ceramides to help maintain and strengthen our skin barrier’s moisture levels. Think of it like cement helping to strengthen a brick wall.
The more I looked into the reviews, the more I noticed those with skin conditions such as eczema and flaky skin found CeraVe’s skincare to really help. That’s most likely down to the fact that the whole range is fragrance-free, paraben-free, allergy-tested and non-comedogenic (ie it doesn’t block pores).
As someone with oily, acne-prone skin I had to put these products generally regarded as safe bets to the test. Could they maintain my moisture levels without leaving my skin feeling and looking greasy, and work with my spot-prone skin?
Ranked in accordance to how well they worked for my skin, this is my A-team line up of CeraVe skincare.
The daily use cleanser for oily skin: CeraVe Foaming Cleanser
Cleansers can be tricky ground to cover. When I’m wearing make-up, I need a cleanser that can take it off effectively, but still nourish and not aggravate my skin. It’s actually quite a big ask.
But, this foaming cleanser does it all. As long as I wet my skin beforehand, the gloopy gel transforms into a lightweight foam that lifts make-up (including foundation, mascara and eyebrow wax) with ease.
Working it into my skin for a few minutes, I was so impressed with how well it took off my make-up and any redness was pretty minimal due to the use of redness-reducing ingredient, niacinamide in the foam.
Foaming cleansers can leave skin feeling stripped of its moisture, but this foaming cleanser is different. My skin didn’t feel tight or dry, it felt clean and free from excess oil.
Using this cleanser in the morning works just as well to remove the skincare I had applied the night before.
Redness is minimised, oil-levels are stable and my skin looks and feels cleaner.
The eye cream: CeraVe Reparative Eye Cream
If you’re using potent ingredients such as retinol or salicylic acid your under-eyes may bear the brunt of these activities. The skin under our eyes is thinner, and therefore more sensitive, so it requires specific attention to nourish this area.
I deal with particularly sensitive skin at the corner of my eyes from years of eyeshadow and eyeliner staining my eye area, and so need a cream that really doesn’t aggravate this area.
The first thing I noticed was its thin and efficient applicator head. You get a small string of the lightweight cream so it’s easy enough to manage how much you’re applying – and you don’t need a lot.
Applying three small dots under my eyes, it took a minute to tap the cream into my skin and let it absorb, but afterwards, my under-eyes looked instantly hydrated. What the cream does really well at is hydrating skin and protecting the skin barrier.
It’s a no-frills cream that really works to maintain moisture levels.
The morning hydrating cleanser: CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
Having blemish-prone skin means that a cleanser is a great way to control excess oils, and the CeraVe Foaming Cleanser is the perfect solution for that. But, when my skin needs a detox, or a cleanse that’s free from foam and something a little more gentle, I leant on this hydrating cleanser.
A thicker, gel formula, it works to really nourish skin. I found that massaging the gel in provided a really gentle cleanse.
Working better on make-up free skin in the morning, it has a really cooling effect on skin. Especially if you’ve been trying stronger skin care regimes with acids and actives.
It’s a reliable, dependable and gentle cleanser that works well a few days a week when my skin needs a break from foam.
The moisturiser: CeraVe Moisturising Lotion
If there are active ingredients in your skincare, including treatments such as tranexamic acid or salicylic acid, it’s important to keep the rest of your routine pretty simple. And that includes arguably one of the most important staples in any routine, your moisturiser.
Night moisturisers are particularly important in our skincare routines, as the skin goes into reparative mode while we sleep. The creams are often thicker, too.
This moisturiser, while advertised for use on the body and face, makes for a really great hydrating night moisturiser. It’s pretty thick, but absorbs easier than most night creams into the skin.
Every time I used this at night, I woke up with hydrated, plump skin (thank you, hyaluronic acid and ceramides).
It’s a go-to barrier moisturiser.
CeraVe Skin Care Alternatives Products?
Overall, we think that CeraVe skin care products could be a good option if you’re dealing with dry or sensitive skin. The ceramides used as key ingredients in CeraVe skin care products are beneficial ingredients that can help strengthen the skin’s barrier function. However, when it comes to the brand’s anti-aging products, we noticed that some of the formulas are less than ideal. One example is the CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum, which contains a high concentration of denatured alcohol that can lead to skin dryness and even damage. That’s why we’d like to recommend a couple alternatives if you’re looking for anti-aging skin care products.
THE BEST SKIN CARE LINES 2021
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3. Ageloc Boost
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