Cerave Resurfacing Retinol Serum Review - The Dermatology Review

Cerave Resurfacing Retinol Serum Review



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. The CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol face serum is non-comedogenic, paraben-free, and fragrance-free. In this review, we’ll discuss the key ingredients, how to use this serum, CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum reviews from real customers, and more.

What are the Best Skin Care Products of 2021?

Cerave Resurfacing Retinol Serum product reviews

What Are The Key Cerave Resurfacing Retinol Serum Ingredients? – Biochemist’s perspective.

You can probably guess from the name that retinol is the key ingredient in CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum. But there are quite a few additional ingredients in this serum that can help improve the appearance of skin, including niacinamide, ceramides, and dipotassium glycyrrhizate.

Elle our in house biochemist and skincare specialist will cover each of these ingredients in this section so you’ll know exactly how they affect your skin and the science behind the benefits.



The CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol face serum includes encapsulated retinol, which is simply retinol that has been housed in a delivery system to protect its integrity and improve its ability to penetrate into the skin effectively.

This is important because retinol can be extremely sensitive to light and air. When applied to the skin, retinol is clinically proven to provide numerous benefits to the skin.

According to a publication in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging, retinol can minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve uneven skin tone, restore skin firmness, and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores.

Retinol provides all of these benefits by first being converted to retinoic acid (its active form) after being absorbed into the skin. Retinoic acid works deep within the skin where it helps to support collagen synthesis, increases elasticity, and repair connective tissue. It also may help increase cellular turnover, which helps to prevent clogged pores and also promotes smoother, healthier skin.



The next key ingredient in CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum is niacinamide, the amide form of vitamin B3 or niacin. Niacinamide provides many benefits to the skin.

For instance, a publication in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, states that niacinamide may repair the skin barrier and improve skin moisture. Niacinamide may also help to reduce inflammation, blotchiness, hyperpigmentation, acne, and wrinkles.

Niacinamide is a true multi-tasker that provides many benefits, and it’s great that the CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol face serum contains a decent amount of this ingredient.



All CeraVe products, including CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum, include ceramides as key ingredients.

Ceramides are a family of waxy lipid molecules or fats that are naturally produced by the skin and are vital in supporting the skin’s natural barrier.

The stratum corneum is the outer layer of skin, which 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.

A properly functioning skin barrier is essential for healthy skin as it maintains epidermal hydration and it protects the skin from environmental stressors, infections, irritants, and allergens. Topical application of ceramides may help to replenish ceramide levels, helping to restore the skin’s natural barrier.


Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate

The final key ingredient in CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol face serum is dipotassium glycyrrhizate, a derivative of licorice root extract that functions as a skin-conditioning agent with skin-soothing and brightening properties.

This ingredient may also have the ability to improve the appearance of dry or damaged skin by reducing flaking and restoring suppleness.

facial serum

How Should You Use CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum?

Apply CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum to clean skin daily at night, avoiding contact with eyes and lips.

If discomfort occurs during the first application, the brand recommends spacing out applications until skin adjusts.

Additionally, if you apply this serum during the day, it’s important to follow with a broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours or as much as your lifestyle allows.

Woman Putting Serum

Where Is CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum Sold?

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum and other CeraVe skin care products are not sold on the brand’s website.

You must buy CeraVe skin care products on 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 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. So, check with the retailer’s return policy.

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.

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum Reviews

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum reviews on Ulta.com are mostly positive, with the product receiving an average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars after more than 100 customer reviews.

Positive CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum reviews mention that the serum really does help to improve the appearance of scarring and dark spots. For example, one reviewer shares, “I’ve been using this product everyday for 3 weeks and I have noticed a visible difference in the appearance of my acne marks. Some have completely disappeared from my face and others have lightened significantly. I have noticed my face has been drier than usual so I definitely recommend using a moisturizer in conjunction with this product.”

There aren’t many negative CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum reviews, but those that we found are from customers who did not see the results they were hoping for after using this product. For example, one review says, “Another disappointing cream for me. I purchased this for the purpose of reducing the look of acne scars and as I saw it was good for sensitive skin and included retinol, I was excited to try this. I have had severe acne in the past that has left me with large acne scars, and thought I’d give this a try. It has little to no smell, doesn’t leave a sticky residue, does not stain your bed sheets which I appreciate, however after 1 month of regular nightly use, I saw no difference in my skin whatsoever.”

What Are Some Alternatives To CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum?

Overall, we like that the CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum combines retinol with brightening ingredients (niacinamide and dipotassium glycyrrhizate) and ceramides to support a strong, healthy skin barrier.

With that being said, we’d like to point out that one of the best ways to improve your skin texture is with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). One AHA product that we recommend is Formulyst’s Clarifying AHA Cleanser, a facial cleanser that is formulated to gently exfoliate the skin while removing dirt and makeup.

It contains glycolic acid to help refine pores, control excess oil, and smooth away any surface-level roughness. The formula also contains ingredients to moisturize and soothe the skin, such as rosehip seed oil, sunflower seed oil, and chamomile flower oil.

Overall, Formulyst’s Clarifying AHA Cleanser can help your skin to feel clean, clear, and beautifully refreshed.

After cleansing with the Clarifying AHA Cleanser, complete your routine with Formulyst’s Retexturing and Perfecting Serum.

This lightweight serum also provides your skin with glycolic acid so you can continue to gently exfoliate your skin to reveal the brighter, healthier skin beneath.

Formulyst Retexturing and Perfecting Serum not only helps to improve the texture of your skin, but also reduces the appearance of uneven skin tone, leaving you with a smoother, healthier-looking complexion that appears to radiantly glow.

There’s no need to compromise when it comes to finding skincare that is effective and safe. Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare, perfectly balancing the power of plants with cutting edge science. 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.

1. Clin Interv Aging. 2006 Dec; 1(4): 327–348.
2. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 Feb; 3(2): 22–41



Carrot & Stick

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The philosophy of Formulyst is long-term and effective skincare, rather than covering up any imperfections. The comprehensive line of products tackles everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin. While some brands rely on unnecessary fillers and scents, Formulyst focuses on ingredients that help create results, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.Read More


Maystorm’s philosophy is “We help beauty blossom, naturally.” This new skincare brand does this by harnessing the power of plants and tapping into the inherent wisdom in nature. As a mighty storm rains down nutrients and vitality upon a forest, encouraging new growth, Maystorm infuses skin at the cellular level with replenishing ingredients. Think of it as the calm after a storm, when the earth is left refreshed and renewed.Read More

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