With its accessible price point and efficacious formulas, CeraVe is one of the most popular drugstore skincare brands. But you might be surprised by how much there truly is to know about the brand—or why its products are highly recommended by both dermatologists and influencers alike.
Founded: In 2005
Based In: New York City
Best Known For: Affordable skincare products with highly effective formulas that feature a unique combination of three ceramides
Most Popular Products: Moisturizing Cream and Hydrating Facial Cleanser
Fun Fact: CeraVe's name is a nod to the three ceramides that are found in every single one of its products.
Other Brands You'll Love: Aveeno, Cetaphil, and Lubriderm
Before becoming the household name that it is today, CeraVe began with a mission to provide therapeutic skincare for all. "Through our early research with dermatologists, we learned that key components of the skin barrier—ceramides—were deficient in skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin, which led to a compromised skin barrier," says Tom Allison, senior vice president and global head of professional marketing at CeraVe. As a result of this, the brand made it its mission to partner with leading dermatologists to create a skincare line—specifically for those suffering from chronic skincare conditions—around the purpose of restoring the skin barrier. And that's precisely what they did.
"CeraVe began as part of a pharmaceutical company that focused on dermatology. Since our debut, the brand has continued to stick to a formula-first philosophy—prioritizing a valuable product at an affordable price over costly, luxury packaging," explains Allison. Each product is carefully formulated with a base of three essential ceramides—along with patented MVE technology—to ensure the skin's barrier is rehabilitated from any and all damage it has endured, which is why it's become a favorite of many.
Ahead, every CeraVe product you'll want to add to your repertoire.
Meet the Expert
- Jeannette Graf, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
- Corey L. Hartman, MD, is the founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, AL.
- Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, is a board-certified cosmetic and medical dermatologist in NYC and the Hamptons, specializing in non-invasive skin rejuvenation and facial and body contouring.
CeraVe's Moisturizing Cream was one of the brand's first products—and it remains a cult-favorite today. "I like this moisturizing cream because it helps restore the skin barrier," says Jeannette Graf, MD. She further explains that when the skin barrier gets compromised, it becomes vulnerable to environmental stressors and can't function at its highest capability. "This moisturizer helps penetrate the skin, hydrating it at a cellular level to protect from drying skin, cracks, itchiness, etc."
"The rich, non-greasy fragrance-free formula is packed with ceramides and hyaluronic acid to help seal moisture in and keep irritants," says Allison. "It features patented MVE Delivery Technology to release a steady stream of moisturizing ingredients throughout the day and night."
Hydrating Facial Cleanser
The Hydrating Facial Cleanser is great for people with normal to dry skin—and another of CeraVe's best-selling products. "This cleanser protects the skin's barrier but hydrates while cleansing, helping the skin lock in moisture after use, especially when followed with a hydrating moisturizer," says Graf. "It's non-irritating and clears the skin of any oil and dirt leftover from the day. " Plus, it won't leave the skin feeling dry or tight at all.
Hydrating Micellar Water
According to Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, a board-certified cosmetic and medical dermatologist in NYC and the Hamptons, CeraVe's Hydrating Micellar Water is a good choice for a morning cleanse or as the first step of a double cleanse at the end of the day.
Since it's gentle on the skin, it's a great alternative to removing makeup—instead of using harsh makeup-removing wipes. Not to mention, there is no rinsing necessary. "CeraVe’s micellar water is formulated to not disrupt the skin's protective barrier, so it will remove excess oil and dirt without stripping your skin of the natural oils it needs, explains Graf. "It’s also safe for sensitive eyes, which helps to safely remove eye makeup."
Foaming Facial Cleanser
Corey L. Hartman, MD, founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, AL, advises patients with acne and oily skin—and, normal skin— to use this cleanser. "It gives a rich lather and and thorough cleaning without the worry of bleaching washcloths or overly drying the skin." The cleanser is also gentle enough to ensure there isn't any damage to the skin barrier. And it's packed with ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid.
SA Body Wash
"CeraVe SA Body Wash cleanses skin gently while smoothing and softening at the same time," explains Murphy-Rose. "This wash is great for dry but acne-prone skin and for those with dry, bumpy skin." Formulated with a mix of ceramides and other skin-replenishing ingredients like glycerin, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, it'll keep dryness and irritation from making an appearance. Plus, it's also hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, so it's excellent for sensitive skin types, too.
Resurfacing Retinol Serum
Although this Resurfacing Retinol Serum is one of the brand's newer innovations, it's quickly rising in the ranks as a fan favorite, explains Allison. While protecting the skin's barrier, this serum works to reduce the appearance of acne scars, hyperpigmentation, and skin texture, thanks to encapsulated retinol, licorice root extract, ceramides, and niacinamide. Couple that with its lightweight, absorbent formula, and you got yourself a new favorite skincare product.
Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser
The Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser has quickly become a favorite due to its MVP ingredient—4% benzoyl peroxide—which expertly treats acne. Its formula also contains three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid to ensure your skin doesn't dry out and to keep the skin barrier in tip-top shape at all times. Start by using a dime-size amount to wash your face once a day, and then increase to two if drying doesn't occur.
SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin
While all CeraVe moisturizers are great, Hartman particularly loves the SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin. "It's a great option if the skin is rough and bumpy, because it contains salicylic acid," he says. "This beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) promotes effective exfoliation in a gentle, hydrating cream that gives an elegant finish and no residue."