CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum Review



The Story Behind 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.

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CeraVe skin care products are formulated with specific ingredients that help to repair and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier. CeraVe has expanded over the years and now offers a full line of products, including anti-aging products like the Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum. In this review, we’ll discuss the CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum including the key ingredients, reviews from real customers, an alternative for you to consider, and more.

What is CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum?

CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum is a lightweight facial serum that is said to visibly brighten your complexion, promote a more even skin tone, improve texture, restore the skin’s protective barrier, and enhance hydration for soft, healthy-looking skin. It is claimed to be suitable for all skin types, including those with sensitive skin.

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What Are The Key Ingredients in CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum?

Before we get into the key ingredients in CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum, we have to point out one problem with this product formulation, and that is the high concentration of denatured alcohol. Unfortunately, denatured alcohol is the sixth highest concentration ingredient in this serum. The problem with this type of alcohol is that, at first, it seems like it’s benefitting the skin. Initially, alcohol gives products a quick-drying finish, immediately degreases the skin, and imparts a weightless feel. However, these effects are temporary and will disappear once you wash off the product.

The major problem with using high concentrations of denatured alcohol is that this ingredient is well known to cause skin dryness, irritation, and even disruption of the skin barrier. In fact, alcohol can dry out the skin so much that the skin will produce more oil over time to compensate for the dryness. This can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. We will still discuss the key ingredients in CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum below, but keep in mind that the benefits of these ingredients may not outweigh the risks of this high amount of denatured alcohol.

The form of vitamin C used in CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum is ascorbic acid, the active form of vitamin C. Ascorbic acid is a potent antioxidant, which means it helps to protect the skin against free radical damage. This is important because the harmful effects of free radicals occur as direct chemical alterations of the cellular DNA, the cell membrane, and cellular proteins, including collagen. Damaged collagen manifests as signs of premature skin aging, including wrinkles, lines, and sagging skin. Ascorbic acid not only protects collagen from free radical damage, but also stimulates the synthesis of new collagen in the skin. By increasing the amount of collagen in the skin, signs of aging will be diminished and the skin will appear more firm.

Ascorbic acid also has the ability to reduce the appearance of dark spots and improve uneven skin tone. This is accomplished through inhibition of melanin synthesis. Melanin is a pigment that gives our skin color, but too much of this pigment can lead to undesirable dark spots called hyperpigmentation. Ascorbic acid decreases melanin formation by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme that is required for melanin synthesis. Therefore, using products that contain ascorbic acid — such as CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum — can help to improve skin brightness while reducing dark spots.

The final key ingredients that you’ll find in CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum are ceramide NP, ceramide AP, and ceramide EOP. 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. 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. Using products that contain ceramides — such as CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum — can help to replenish ceramide levels, thus restoring the skin’s natural barrier.

How to Use CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum

Apply CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum evenly to face and neck daily. Avoid eye area. If contact with eyes occurs, rinse thoroughly with water. Store in a cool, dark place.

Where is CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum Sold?

CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C 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 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.

CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum Reviews

CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum reviews on the brand’s website are a mix of positive and negative. The product has earned an average rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars after about 40 customer reviews.

The positive reviews for CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum mention that this product absorbs well and helps the skin to look smooth, bright, and clear. For example, one review says, “This is the best Vitamin C Serum I’ve used, and I’ve tried a few of them. I love the texture and how it absorbs into my skin easily. My skin also looks brighter and clearer. The only con is the packaging. The lid gets a little messy. I wish it was more of a pump bottle.”

All of the negative reviews for CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum are from customers who were disappointed to find denatured alcohol on the ingredient list of this product. For example, one review says, “I am surprised to see denatured alcohol on the ingredients list of this serum since cerave seems to cater to people with sensitive skin. This type of alcohol can be very irritating and drying to people with sensitive skin like mine. I’ve noticed this ingredient in many of cereve’s new products. I’m sad I won’t be able to use them.”

What Are Some Alternatives to CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum?

Overall, we don’t recommend CeraVe Skin Renewing Vitamin C Serum, primarily because of the use of denatured alcohol in this product. There are plenty of other vitamin C serums out there that do not contain denatured alcohol. One of our favorite serums that combines vitamin C with many other beneficial ingredients is Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Concentrate.

The Anti-Aging Concentrate is a fragrance-free, highly concentrated serum that contains vitamins C and E, which work together to provide powerful antioxidant activity, protecting the skin against environmental free radicals that are known to degrade collagen. The formula also includes Matrixyl 3000, a peptide complex composed of the matrikines palmitoyl tripeptide-1 and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7. These two peptides work synergistically to restore and maintain the skin’s youthful appearance by signaling to cells to produce more collagen. Overall, Formulyst Anti-Aging Concentrate is a multi-tasking serum that is formulated to help promote the five signs of youth – radiance, elasticity, firmness, skin tone and smoothness.

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.

Am J Clin Dermatol 2003;4(2):107-29.



Carrot & Stick

Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare. What does this mean? It perfectly balances the power of plants with innovative science, offering the best of both worlds. Read More


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

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