CeraVe is a dermatologist-developed skin care brand that’s loved not only by those with dry skin, but also beauty editors, skin care influencers, and even celebrities like Gabrielle Union and Olivia Wilde.
What’s so great about the CeraVe products? That’s exactly what we’ll cover in this review. We’ll give you the details on the 10 best CeraVe lotion products, including the key ingredients and the research that supports (or doesn’t support) their use in skincare. Lastly, we’ll share some CeraVe reviews so that you can get an idea of what customers really think of these products.
What Are The Top 10 Best CeraVe Lotion Products?
The CeraVe skin care collection consists of everything from cleansers to serums to creams and more. But this review is dedicated to the brand’s lotions, so here’s a breakdown of the top 10 best CeraVe lotion products.
CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
By far the most popular lotion by this brand is the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion, a lightweight oil-free moisturizer that hydrates without feeling heavy or greasy. It’s non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores, so this CeraVe lotion is safe to use on both your face and your body.
Like all CeraVe skin care products, this lotion contains ceramides as key ingredients, as well as quite a few different emollients and silicones. The brand also claims that hyaluronic acid is a key ingredient, but there’s actually a very low concentration of hyaluronic acid in this formula.
Botto Line: A lightweight lotion for your face and body that includes ceramides, emollients, and silicones to moisturize skin, but keep in mind the formula includes parabens.
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
The CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is a daily face moisturizer that provides broad spectrum SPF 30 protection thanks to a combination of chemical sunscreen ingredients (homosalate, meradimate, octinoxate, and octocrylene) with the mineral sunscreen zinc oxide.
We love that the formula also contains a decent amount of niacinamide, which is one of the best skincare ingredients, in our opinion. And there’s research to back it up. For example, a publication in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, states that niacinamide can repair the skin barrier and improve skin moisture, as well as reduce inflammation, blotchiness, hyperpigmentation, acne, and wrinkling. Pretty impressive, right?
Unfortunately, this is another CeraVe lotion that contains parabens as the preservatives.
Bottom Line: A daytime facial lotion that combines both chemical and mineral sunscreen ingredients to provide broad spectrum SPF 30 protection.
CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion
This oil-free nighttime moisturizer is ideal for those with normal to oily skin who want a moisturizer that hydrates without clogging pores. The formula is non-comedogenic and has a very lightweight texture. And it’s one of the few CeraVe lotion products that’s paraben-free!
Similar to the AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, this nighttime lotion contains niacinamide and ceramides as key ingredients. While these are beneficial ingredients, we typically recommend using a retinol product at night if you really want to tackle signs of aging. You could try CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum or take a look at our top picks for the best retinol serums.
Bottom Line: A nighttime facial lotion for normal to oily skin that will help to moisturize and strengthen the skin barrier.
CeraVe SA Lotion
CeraVe SA Lotion is meant to restore skin smoothness by exfoliating and softening dry skin on the legs and other problem spots like the elbows and knees.
The “SA” in the name of this product stands for salicylic acid, a type of beta hydroxy acid (BHA). Salicylic acid helps to restore skin smoothness 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.
The lotion itself has a silky texture that spreads onto the skin easily without feeling greasy. Plus, there’s plenty of emollients to help soften the skin and ceramides to strengthen the skin barrier.
Note: This is another CeraVe lotion that contains parabens.
Bottom Line: The CeraVe SA Lotion is a lightweight, silky product that we would recommend for those with rough, bumpy skin — but the inclusion of parabens in this formula prevents us from recommending this product.
CeraVe Ultra Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
Finding a sunscreen that protects your skin without leaving a white cast or turning your face into a greasy mess can be challenging. This CeraVe lotion may be the answer given its “ultra light” oil-free formula that absorbs quickly without feeling greasy.
You don’t have to worry about this sunscreen leaving white cast because the formula includes four chemical sunscreen ingredients that provide broad spectrum SPF 30 protection.
One drawback of chemical sunscreens is that research has shown they do absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream. It’s still unclear if these chemicals are linked to health conditions, but it’s known that they do enter the body.
This CeraVe lotion also includes humectants to draw moisture into the skin, and ceramides to strengthen the skin barrier.
And the good news: this CeraVe lotion is paraben-free!
Bottom Line: CeraVe Ultra Light Moisturizing Lotion combines four chemical sunscreen ingredients to provide broad spectrum SPF 30 protection while also moisturizing skin.
CeraVe Itch Relief Moisturizing Lotion
Itch associated with dry skin, minor skin irritations, insect bites, and sunburn can all benefit from the CeraVe Itch Relief Moisturizing Lotion.
The active ingredient in this lotion is pramoxine hydrochloride, a local anesthetic that works by numbing the skin where it’s applied to help minimize the sensation of itching and pain.
Clinical studies have shown that pramoxine hydrochloride begins working in as little as two minutes, and its effects last for up to eight hours.
Keep in mind that pramoxine hydrochloride is only a short-term solution for itchy skin. Fortunately, this CeraVe lotion includes ingredients that help reduce itchy skin in the long term by strengthening the skin barrier. These ingredients include ceramides, niacinamide, sodium PCA, and cholesterol.
Bottom Line: This CeraVe lotion helps to reduce itching quickly with pramoxine hydrochloride, but also helps to prevent itchy skin in the future with ingredients that help strengthen the skin barrier.
CeraVe Baby Lotion
A fragrance-free, paraben-free baby lotion that spreads easily on delicate skin in order to deliver soothing and moisturizing benefits. Like all of the CeraVe skin care products, the formula contains ceramides to help maintain the skin barrier as it develops.
The formula also includes key ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E. These are all excellent ingredients that work in unique ways to hydrate and protect skin.
Applying the CeraVe Baby Lotion after bath time and before bedtime can help hydrate your baby’s skin while maintaining its thinner, delicate skin barrier.
Bottom Line: CeraVe Baby Lotion is a clean formula that helps hydrate and support your baby’s skin.
CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Body Lotion
If you’re looking for a 100% mineral body sunscreen, this CeraVe lotion could be a good option. It provides broad spectrum SPF 30 protection thanks to the combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
It has a silky, lightweight texture that spreads onto skin easily without feeling greasy thanks to a combination of emollients and silicones. You also get the added benefits of ceramides to help strengthen the skin barrier.
This CeraVe lotion has been awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance and the Skin Cancer Foundation Daily Use Seal of Approval.
Bottom Line: A 100% mineral body sunscreen that feels lightweight and silky, making this a good option for those with sensitive skin.
CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 Face Lotion
This product is very similar to the product we described above, but it’s meant for your face, not your body. It provides broad spectrum SPF 30 protection thanks to the combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
The main differences between this CeraVe face lotion and the body lotion are that this formula includes niacinamide and it comes in a smaller size (2.5 fl oz).
So if you want to save money, you could purchase the CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen Body Lotion and use it for both your body and face since the formulations are so similar.
Bottom Line: This CeraVe face lotion is almost identical to the CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen Body Lotion, except this formula contains niacinamide and it comes in a smaller size.
The CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen Lotion is a 100% mineral sunscreen that provides broad spectrum SPF 30 protection while also creating a healthy glow thanks to a universal tint.
There are two mineral sunscreen ingredients in CeraVe Tinted Sunscreen: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Also known as physical sunscreens, these ingredients protect your skin by using physical UV filters to block or deflect UV light.
Physical sunscreens tend to be better tolerated by most skin types because they are not absorbed into the skin. However, physical sunscreens are thicker than chemical sunscreens and can often leave a white cast after application. That’s the reason CeraVe added a tint to this product; the tint allows the formula to seamlessly blend into most skin tones to offset any whitening effect of the mineral sunscreen ingredients.
Based on the reviews for this product, the “universal” tint does not work well for everyone. For example, one review says, ““This would be a great sunscreen IF it was suitable for pale/light skin. Even blended out, it’s a full 4 to 5 shades too dark for me, and I’m not even that pale.”
Bottom Line: This CeraVe lotion provides broad spectrum SPF 30 protection thanks to mineral sunscreen ingredients, but the tint may not work for all skin tones.
Is CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion Right For You?
Out of all the products we described above, the CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion is by far the most popular. But is it right for you? Here’s a summary of the most important factors to consider before purchasing this product:
- Key ingredients? Ceramides, emollients, silicones
- Skin type? Normal to dry skin
- Texture? Lightweight and silky
- Fragrance? No
- Parabens? Yes
- Cruelty free? No
- Cost? Depends on where you purchase this product; $11.62 USD for a 12 ounce bottle on Amazon
- EWG Rating? 4
What Are The Key Ingredients in CeraVe Lotion Products?
All CeraVe skin care products, including the 10 best CeraVe lotion products we introduced in the last section, contain ceramides as key ingredients.
But what exactly are ceramides? And is there any research to support their use? Let’s answer these questions and more about these key ingredients in the CeraVe lotion products.
Ceramides are a family of waxy lipid molecules that are naturally found in the stratum corneum (the upper layer of skin that is referred to as the skin barrier).
According to a publication in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, ceramides are important for skin barrier function, and exogenously applying ceramides may help to improve skin barrier function.
The skin barrier 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. A properly functioning stratum corneum is essential for healthy skin as it maintains epidermal hydration and serves as a barrier that responds to environmental stressors, infections, irritants, and allergens.
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. Topical application of ceramides can help to replenish ceramide levels, thus restoring the skin’s natural barrier.
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 lotion, 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.
In addition to ceramides, the CeraVe lotion products contain many more beneficial key ingredients, such as niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, vitamin E, glycerin, and emollients, just to name a few.
Despite all of these beneficial ingredients found in the CeraVe lotions, we want to remind you that most CeraVe lotion products include parabens in their formulations.
Parabens are preservatives used to extend the shelf life of a product by preventing microbial contamination. But the use of parabens in cosmetics and skin care products is controversial because there is conflicting research on the potential health consequences of long term exposure to parabens.
According to the EWG, parabens can act like the hormone estrogen in the body and disrupt the normal function of hormone systems affecting male and female reproductive system functioning, reproductive development, fertility, and birth outcomes. Parabens are easily absorbed into the skin, which means that continuously using products that contain parabens could lead to elevated estrogen levels.
How Much Do CeraVe Lotion Products Cost?
The price of the CeraVe lotion products will depend on the retailer where you purchase the product. Generally speaking, CeraVe products are in line with other drugstore moisturizers, such as Cetaphil and AmLactin. For example, the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion costs $11.62 for a 12 ounce bottle on Amazon.
Where to Buy CeraVe Lotion Products?
CeraVe lotion and other CeraVe skin care products are not sold on the brand’s website. You must buy CeraVe skin care products from third party online retailers, 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 Lotion 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 Lotion 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.
Is CeraVe Lotion Vegan?
Some CeraVe products may be suitable for vegans, but this is not a 100% vegan brand.
CeraVe Lotion Reviews
CeraVe lotion reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive. The product with the most reviews is the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion, which has earned an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars after more than 4,000 customer reviews.
The positive reviews for CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion mention how gentle and effective it is for moisturizing skin without feeling greasy, oily, or heavy.
For example, one review says, “This is my daily go-to moisturizer. I love how it hydrates my skin without being oily. It hardly has any scent to it, which I prefer in a face lotion. It’s surprisingly great quality for the price, and I will be using it for the foreseeable future. I would highly recommend it.”
And another 5-star review says, “Cerave is a must in this house. Most of us have super dry and sensitive skin so we have to have a super quality product to address that. The face and body products are amazing. Leaves my body feeling soft and I feel good about it as it does not aggravate my skin.”
However, there are a handful of negative reviews for the CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion from customers who actually found the opposite to be true; this lotion felt greasy and made their skin oily.
For example, one review says, “I personally don’t like the texture of this lotion, it leaves a greasy residue on my skin and doesn’t feel like it soaks in. Also, my skin gets very oily after I use this product.”
Then, there are other CeraVe reviews for the Daily Moisturizing Lotion from customers who didn’t think this lotion moisturized well at all.
For example, one review says, “Every time I put it on my skin it evaporates almost instantly and after five minutes my skin is even drier than before I put it on. I have normal skin during the summer and drier during the winter. I would not recommend this for any skin types as it does nothing to moisturize.”
Overall, we think that some CeraVe lotion products are better than others, and we would recommend avoiding the products that contain parabens.
- Formulations contain beneficial key ingredients like ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid
- All CeraVe products are fragrance free
- Many positive CeraVe lotion reviews
- Many CeraVe products contain parabens
- CeraVe is not cruelty free
What Are Some Alternatives to CeraVe Lotion Products?
If you’re looking for skincare products to address the signs of aging, one brand we recommend is Formulyst. Formulyst maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in clinically advanced skin care solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin.
For example, their Pro-Collagen Serum is specifically formulated for aging skin that has experienced a loss of collagen. The formula contains a highly concentrated mix of peptides and proteins, derived from seaweed, wheat, and soy, to help tackle signs of aging.
Another brand that balances the power of plants with cutting edge science is Carrot & Stick. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals commonly found in skin care products.
J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 Feb; 3(2): 22–41
Journal of Drugs in Dermatology : JDD, 01 Mar 2017, 16(3):243-247
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, July 2014, pages 177-184
The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 30 Nov 2016, 9(12):26-32