Just like clockwork, every year publications come out with their “best drugstore buys” articles. And with equally precise timing, there’s a very good chance that CeraVe moisturizing cream is on that list. But what’s the story behind this drugstore (and dermatologist) favorite? Here’s a closer look at CeraVe cream, what’s in it, and is it worth a try?
What Is CeraVe?
CeraVe launched in 2006 with three products, the Moisturizing Cream, Moisturizing Lotion and Hydrating Cleanser. Developed by dermatologists, the name is derived from key ingredients in the cream, namely ceramides, as well as its delivery system, known as MultiVesicular Emulsion Technology, or MVE. Today the brand offers more than 70 products, including body washes and a healing ointment. L’Oréal, which also owns Lancôme, Kiehl’s and IT Cosmetics, purchased CeraVe in 2017.
What is the CeraVe Philosophy?
CeraVe products are known for being hydrating as well as gentle on the skin. The design of the products is more clinical than glamorous, and in keeping with the no-nonsense ethos, CeraVe products are affordable and sold primarily in drugstores and large retailers such as Target. According to the company, CeraVe creams and lotions penetrate the skin’s surface, infuse it with moisture and lock it in for long-lasting results. CeraVe products are known for being ideal for those with sensitive skin, and are meant to help ease the symptoms of psoriasis, extremely dry skin and eczema. According to the company, CeraVe has received more Seal of Acceptance awards from the National Eczema Association than any other brand.
What is CeraVe Moisturizing Cream?
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream can be used on the face and the body. The moisturizer 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. The cream is non-comedogenic, oil-free, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and suitable for sensitive skin. It is meant to be non-drying and non-irritating.
How Much Does CeraVe Cream Cost?
Prices vary slightly according to the retailer but a 12 ounce tub of CeraVe sells for around $15, while the 16 ounce tub is about $18.99.
Is CeraVe Cruelty Free?
CeraVe states that its products are not tested on animals.
What Ingredients Are in CeraVe Moisturizing Cream?
The key ingredient in CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is also its namesake- ceramides. Ceramides are lipids (fats) that make up about 50% of the skin’s barrier, and help retain moisture and keep skin feeling soft. They are part of the skin’s barrier which keep it supple while also protecting it from environmental aggressors. Every CeraVe product contains ceramides to help restore and maintain the skin’s barrier, and the Moisturizing Cream contains three- ceramides 1, 3, 6-II.
Why are ceramides so important? Dermatologist Joshua Zeichner explained it this way to Allure magazine: “Ceramides are like grout that seals in the cracks between skin cell tiles. We know that ceramides are deficient in the skin in a variety of conditions ranging from eczema to acne, so applying ceramide-based skin-care products can help repair a damaged barrier, enhance hydration, and allow optimal skin functioning.”
Other key ingredients include caprylic/capric triglyceride (usually made from a combination of coconut oil and glycerin); hyaluronic acid, which acts like a moisture magnet and can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water; glycerin, a humectant (which means it attracts water); petrolatum (mineral oil jelly) and dimethicone, a silicone.
Where Can I Buy CeraVe Moisturizing Cream?
CeraVe products are sold in drugstores including CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens, in large retailers including Target, and online at Amazon and Ulta.
Does CeraVe Moisturizing Cream Work?
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream has been a cult favorite drugstore buy for years and is often recommended by dermatologists. The cream has also received plenty of editorial awards and write-ups. Allure named it one of the “Best Drugstore Moisturizers Under $20” in 2018, and the cream also nabbed a Best of Beauty Award the same year. In 2019 Allure readers named it a Readers’ Choice Award Winner. An Allure writer described why the cream was her hero product: “Here’s the deal. When you have skin as perennially dry, parched, and prone to rough patches as mine is, a lightweight lotion or body oil simply won’t cut it… Truth be told, I can’t find fault with this body moisturizer. It feels almost like a weighted blanket — but for the skin — cocooning my chronically dry limbs and soothing it on days when it’s especially sensitive and inflamed.”
Self magazine named it one of the “The Best Drugstore Moisturizers for Every Skin Type” in 2017. Vogue has also named the Moisturizing Cream a hero product, including it in a story on “The Cold War: A Head-to-Toe Plan for Soothing Winter Skin” as well as a 2019 piece called “The Definitive Guide to Preventing Dry Skin—From a Top Dermatologist.”
But what do real people think of CeraVe Moisturizing Cream? On Ulta.com, the cream gets a 4.7 out of 5 star rating based on more than 400 reviews. Fans praise the cream for being moisturizing, non-greasy, gentle and say that it helps improve skin texture. It also received plenty of accolades from those with eczema. Denise called it the “Best Moisturizer EVER! It’s thick and heavy but does not leave my skin greasy at all. Within 4 days of first using it, my eczema patches are smoothed over and continue to be kept at bay. The redness has also gone away and my skin is starting to look healthy again.” Cel’s take on the cream was that it’s the “Best lotion ever…I use this product religiously. I have bad eczema and it really helps!” Customers who gave the cream a one star rating generally had a bad reaction to it, such as a burning feeling or breakouts, while others found the texture to be tacky. As Emily wrote, “I have dry patches all over my cheeks that burn even just when wind hits them. I got bumps all over my face which I’ve never had happen and I just couldn’t continue to use it.”
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is also the subject of many impassioned discussions on Reddit. The feedback was mixed. Some users swore it by for their dry skin or said it was a miracle worker during pregnancy, while others thought it caused ingrown hairs. A Reddit user named CurlyWurlie was a fan, writing “I live in a dry climate, and both my kids have dry skin so we go through a lot of this stuff. It helped my daughter’s super dry skin like nothing else.” Reddit users who lived in hot, humid climates like Ahnahnah, found the cream was too much for them. “I bought it first to try on my face, yeah right! That made me feel so suffocated it was awful. My skin isn’t dehydrated or particularly oily so I can see how it wouldn’t work out. I switched to using it on my body instead. Living in the hot and humid Florida, it was really difficult to use this every day. The silicone is like putting on a latex suit. And if you get wet at all you become a slip and slide.”
Ninety-six percent of Target.com customers who tried CeraVe Moisturizing Cream would recommend it. They gave the product a 4.7 out of 5 star rating, based on more than 400 reviews. Many customers praised its moisturizing capabilities, like a user named Christy. “I’ve tried so many creams and I’ve even tried coconut oil and Vaseline but those types of products leave my hands feeling so greasy and my hands just absorb the coconut oil and then become DRY again after 10mins or so… until I tried this product (CeraVe) It works amazing!!” The majority of the customers who gave it one or two stars complained about the scent or said it didn’t do anything for them, like Sally W. “Made my skin oily. Did not soften at all. Not recommended for severely dry skin.”
What Are Some Alternatives to CeraVe Moisturizing Cream?
Although CeraVe’s Moisturizing Cream is a cult favorite drugstore buy, it may not work for everyone. Perhaps it did nothing for your skin or you’re looking for products that can do more than just moisturize. There are a few other brands to consider.
Formulyst’s philosophy is long-term and effective skincare. The brand wants to help its customers achieve their best looking skin. For hydrated and dewy looking skin, try Formulyst Super Hyaluronic Water Moisturizer. Hyaluronic acid helps keep skin plumped, hydrated and dewy looking. This oil free formula is packed with multiple types of hyaluronic acid and it works as a moisture magnet by drawing water to the skin.
Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Night Cream helps hydrate and soothe mature skin while you sleep so you can wake up to your best skin. This nourishing cream is crafted with a nutrient-rich blend of plant oils, essential fatty acids and omega oils, including macadamia integrifolia seed oil, to hydrate the skin. But hydrating isn’t the only thing it does. The Anti-Aging Cream does a little bit of everything. It gently exfoliates the skin to reveal a fresher, smoother looking complexion, while soothing the skin. It is gentle enough to be used every night, and also helps to visibly brighten dark spots and soften fine lines. Skin looks softer, smoother and radiantly revived when you wake up.
Fans of skincare kits, which take all the guesswork out of creating your own regimen, should try Advanced Dermatology. This no nonsense brand offers a pared down approach to skincare. The packaging is simple and streamlined, and the products bring skincare back to the basics. The kit contains just six essential items including a daily cleanser; serum; anti-wrinkle firming treatment; night cream; day cream and an eye cream. In other words, everything you need to achieve your best possible looking skin.