Cerave reviews | Is this budget skincare really good for skin?
How does a skincare brand break the internet? you could ask the ordinary, about which everyone seems to have an opinion. or you can look at the likes of brighter skin and fenty, who have hooked their cult following through relatable marketing and hyper-sought design.
recently, the internet has been awash with discussions about a low-cost, aesthetically insignificant brand of skin care products: cerave. dermatologists relentlessly recommend it, influencers show off the primary color bottles in posts, and skincare fanatics dedicate lengthy twitter threads to it.
Reading: Cerave skin care products reviews
In the US in particular, cerave is having a moment. Gen Z shoppers are clearing the shelves, buoyed by a slew of endorsements from high-profile tiktok influencers. Demand is so rampant that there are now shortages in some states, prompting parent company L’Oreal to ramp up production. In the UK, sales of Cerave were up 596% over Feelunique between February and March 2021, and the brand is now as well known as traditional staples.
But it’s not all evangelical praise for this affordable skincare line. Go into the murky depths of Reddit, for example, and you’ll find people with a lot of not-so-good feelings about the arguably reductive formulas. for every person who claims the brand transformed her skin, it seems there’s another who wasn’t impressed. (A common thread is the inclusion of paraben preservatives in many of the formulas, which some believe cause health problems. The vast majority of studies suggest otherwise.)
So is cerave really a skincare hero or one to be overlooked? and why do people have such strong feelings about this brand?
Internet hype and endorsement deals aside, the real appeal of cerave lies in its simplicity. The brand is best known for its facial cleansers (there are now several foaming, creamy, and clarifying iterations) and its easy face and body moisturizers. the unifying concept is to strengthen the skin barrier; While these products won’t brighten, resurface, or plump like an active-packed regimen, they will keep the skin’s surface protected, which in turn prevents a host of skin issues (such as moisture loss and irritation).
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cerave’s star ingredient is ceramides: lipids or fats found in the top layer of the skin. as a doctor and beautician dr. Kemi Fabusiwa explains: “Ceramides prevent transepidermal water loss, hydrate the skin and maintain its barrier, and a strengthened barrier helps protect the skin from microorganisms, pollution and other external aggressors.”
Take a closer look at ingredient lists and you’ll find other beneficial ingredients playing supporting roles. Where sodium lauryl sulfate surfactant and artificial fragrances often feature in products at this price point, you won’t find any of that in a bottle of Cerave. instead, moisturizing hyaluronic acid and glycerin are combined with mild coconut-derived foaming agents and brightening niacinamide.
The brand recently expanded its core offering with the addition of a hydrating foaming oil cleanser designed for the entire body, including the face. “the head and neck make up 9% of our skin surface, the rest is on the body,” says dr. alexis granite, cerave consultant dermatologist. “Protecting the skin of our body is vital to prevent dryness.” Packed with ceramides, squalene and glycerin, this oil-to-foam formula (costing just £12.50) is bound to become another smash hit.
returning to the skin category, cerave has entered the serum market with the hyaluronic acid moisturizing serum. Light and creamy, it combines the beauty world’s favorite moisturizer with softening emollients, meaning it’s capable of delivering great moisture without feeling heavy or sticky. at less than £20 a bottle, and with an ingredient list that stands up to scrutiny, it’s going to become another whole sale.
now, the brand is taking its tried-and-tested basics up a notch with a line designed specifically for acne-prone skin. the immediate-use cleanser and gel contain a dose of salicylic acid to help clear congestion from pores, while the star of the show is sure to be the retinol serum, which is boosted with licorice extract and niacinamide to help fade persistent acne scars.
“cerave is a brand created and recommended by dermatologists,” says dr. fabusiwa. “The premise behind this is affordable products with ingredients that actually work and have a strong evidence base. it’s a shining example of what a skincare brand should look like in 2022: low cost but high value that pares skincare down to the ingredients it really needs.”
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cosmetic doctor dr. Amiee Vyas, another cerave endorser, attributes the brand’s popularity to the fact that we’re all “skin intellectuals” now. “Recently there has been a greater emphasis on skin education and people wanting to understand the ingredients their skin needs to function at its best. I have seen this on social media and magazines, as well as in my clinic: before, a patient’s eyes would glaze over when he explained the ingredients, expecting me to deliver the product, but now they want to know more.”
In other words, consumers are now more willing to bypass the sex appeal of skincare and go straight for ingredients and formulas that they know work, including ceramides. “While there are more sophisticated medical grade products out there, cerave has made ceramides affordable and tailored their formulations for different skin concerns with packaging that is easy to understand – does what it says on the box!” says vyas.
“This is a no-fragrance, no-frills brand, just skincare that delivers,” agrees dr. fabusiwa. “We are in an age of misinformation, constantly being sold on the idea that high cost equals high value, with consumers opting for great smells and pretty packaging over efficacy.” she herself uses cerave moisturizing lotion daily.
So something so simple can actually be good for your skin? cerave may be missing the powerful actives and targeted ingredients of our favorite premium brands, but according to experts, it’s exactly what many of us really need.
“We are now understanding the value of stripping down and going back to basics when it comes to skin care,” says dr. fabusiwa. “10-step routines that include multiple acids, serums, and creams may actually be doing more harm than good in terms of sensitizing the skin and irritating the moisture barrier.”
dr. vyas agrees, adding that cerave’s short ingredient list makes it especially beneficial for skin types that are dry and prone to irritation. “cerave gives you ceramides, fatty acids, lipids, and hyaluronic acid that deliver instant moisture and then long-lasting effect through a smart delivery system. some of their products also contain ahas, active bhas and antioxidants which are a good springboard before moving on to more intense active potencies.” What’s more, those with darker skin may find a large dose of ceramides especially beneficial; Generally speaking, there is naturally a lower level of ceramides present in black skin.
So, it seems the cerave hype may well be justified, to some extent. While these easy formulas won’t deliver the targeted results of a multi-active or vitamin c brightening serum, they will certainly hydrate and balance just as well as anything in a golden jar.
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