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.


1Carrot & Stick Review
-Cerave Resurfacing Retinol Serum


What’s Inside Cerave Resurfacing Retinol Serum?

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. We’ll cover each of these ingredients in this section so you’ll know exactly how they affect your skin.

Recommended by dermatologists and skin experts, retinol is considered the gold standard in skin care. 

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 is 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 shrink 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 boosts collagen synthesis, increases elasticity, and repairs connective tissue. It also increases cellular turnover, which helps to prevent clogged pores and also promotes smoother, healthier skin. 

While retinol provides many benefits to the skin, it’s also known to cause side effects like skin dryness and irritation. 

Use retinoids at night. We recommend this retinoid oil serum. It contains Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, an ingredient that provides similar benefits with less irritation.

Everything Else

Niacinamide is the amide form of vitamin B3 (niacin) that provides many benefits to the skin. For instance, 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.

All CeraVe products, including CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum, include ceramides as key ingredients. Ceramides are a family of waxy lipid molecules that are naturally produced by the skin and are vital in supporting the stratum corneum.

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 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. Topical application of ceramides can help to replenish ceramide levels, thus restoring 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 anti-inflammatory, skin-soothing, and brightening properties. This ingredient also has the ability to improve the appearance of dry or damaged skin by reducing flaking and restoring suppleness.

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.

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.

Related: Best Retinol Creams

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum Reviews

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum reviews on 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?

If you’re looking for skincare products to address the signs of aging, we recommend Carrot & Stick. Carrot & Stick maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in advanced skincare solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin. We recommend The Repair Serum.


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



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