Even though I was in a monogamous relationship with the CeraVe Healing Ointment back in high school (I used to carry a full tub in my dance bag and a mini in my pencil bag—remember those?!), I had fallen off the CeraVe wagon sometime in college when I became more and more interested in skincare and makeup with, I might add, an ever-increasing taste in products boasting ridiculously high price points. (And, yes, my wallet still has some PTSD from that time period).
It wasn't that the ointment didn't continue to deliver its miracle-working majesty, I just became obsessed with the idea of trying every new product I could get my hands on (not so surprising that I became a beauty editor, right?). My one mistake: I was intent on the off-base assumption that expense directly correlates to quality. (A fallacy through and through with this story serving as proof.) Anyway, over the years, I had quite simply forgotten about my beloved CeraVe until I attended the The American Association of Dermatology (AAD) annual meeting handily held in San Diego. Surrounded by the country's best and brightest dermatologists, brands, and products, I had a quick meeting with a few lovely members of the CeraVe team who very generously sent me home with a slew of O.G. brand favorites, including the CeraVe Healing Ointment. Read on to find out all about my experience rediscovering one of my all-time fave beauty products.
Pros + Cons
- Won't clog pores
- Non-greasy texture
- Has the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance
- Fragrance free
- Doesn't absorb quickly
- Can be difficult to squeeze out of its tube
- Contains mineral oil and petroleum jelly
The Bottom Line
If you're looking for an affordable way to heal your dry, cracked lips, hands, or feet, you truly need to look no further. The CeraVe Healing Ointment does exactly what it promises to do, making it a staple in my skincare routine.
CeraVe Healing Ointment
Best for: Dry, cracked, and chafed skin
Uses: Strengthens moisture barrier, hydrates and protects dry skin
Star rating: 5/5
Potential allergens: Mineral oil
Active ingredients: Ceramides, hyaluronic acid
Clean?: No, contains mineral oil
About the brand: CeraVe launched in 2006 after a team of dermatologists wanted to formulate skincare products enhanced with the power of ceramides. Now, they boast over 70 different products designed to heal, soothe, and nourish your skin.
About My Skin
My skin loves California weather and has acclimated seamlessly to the not-too-dry, not-too-humid forecast here in Los Angeles. In fact, my skin's newfound moisture barrier has made itself so at home that it decides to throw a tantrum with the potential to intimidate even the feistiest of 3-year-olds the second I step outside city lines. Case in point: When I go home to Minnesota during the winter (and to below 20-degree temperatures), my previously resilient skin (internally callused and seasoned from 22 years of experience with frigid weather) becomes chapped in roughly two minutes. Unsettling to say the least.
On the other end of the spectrum, whenever I go south to my family's part-time place in Tucson, Arizona (aka the *apparently* habitable desert), my skin becomes so dry, flaky, and itchy that I sometimes struggle to even fall asleep. Thus, I had two options: I could vow to never leave Los Angeles again or I could forage for life- and skin-changing products to cover and heal each and every woe.
If you're acne-prone and sensitive to greasy textures (I cringe), this ointment still has your back, as it's free of lanolin; it's lightweight in texture, and it's even accepted by the National Eczema Association as a savvy option for sensitive skin. If I had to compare the texture to something, I'd say it's like Vaseline's more lightweight, non-greasy sister. Although, I do have to say that it's not a fast absorbing product, so if you're using it on your hands or feet, they might feel a bit slippery for a minute or two.
Approved by dermatologists and boasting an expertly formulated melding of such thirst-quenching things as petrolatum, mineral oil, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and water, it's really no surprise that CeraVe is such a heavy hitter when it comes to hydration.
- Ceramides: One of the main skin-loving ingredients in this ointment is ceramides. Ceramides are naturally found on the outermost layer of our skin and are responsible for protecting it from damage and are essential for your skin's moisture and hydration levels.
- Hyaluronic acid: I like to think of hyaluronic acid like a sponge for your skin. It soaks up the hydration and prevents moisture loss, so your skin looks and feels plump and hydrated.
- Petroleum jelly (aka Petrolatum): Yes, the main ingredient in this ointment is a whopping 46.5 percent petroleum jelly, otherwise known as petrolatum. While petroleum jelly has a somewhat fraught relationship in the skincare world (its manufacturing process has been linked to a potential risk in breast cancer), most dermatologists say it's safe to use on your skin. It's main function is to create a protective barrier over your skin to help heal wounds faster and keep your skin nice and hydrated.
Surrounded by the country's best and brightest dermatologists, brands, and products, I had a quick meeting with a few lovely members of the CeraVe team, who very generously sent me home with a slew of OG brand favorites. And, considering I had somehow managed to leave my go-to lip balm at home in L.A., I quickly layered on a healthy heaping of the Healing Ointment—a natural and nostalgic gravitation. And sure enough, within seconds (and even hours later), my lips felt calm, plump, and soft. Not only did this ointment save my parched lips during the duration of my time in San Diego, but it has since secured a spot in my daily rotation since arriving back in L.A. (no easy feat).
I quickly layered on a healthy heaping of the Healing Ointment—a natural and nostalgic gravitation. And sure enough, within seconds (and even hours later), my lips felt calm, plump, and soft.
Oh, and when I discussed my rediscovery with other beauty editors on the trip and a few of my fellow team members here at Byrdie, my verdict was only echoed. In other words, apparently, I'm not the only professional beauty junkie with a tube—or full-size tub—of the stuff within arm's reach on my nightstand. And last, but certainly, not least, it makes for an ingenious alternative to lip gloss—simultaneously delivering shine and nourishment. (Take it from a skeptic.) It's safe to say that I plan on slathering myself with the stuff until death do us part.
Listen, this ointment is 100 percent a no-brainer buy. Despite the fact that CeraVe seems to make every "Best-of" drugstore roundup (from Byrdie and beyond), I just can't believe the likes of something as budget-friendly as $10 could challenge and even prove to be far superior to the lip balms and treatments I have tried at five times the investment. Plus, when you consider its proficiency for multitasking (you can put it on sand-papery elbows, irritated cuticles, or even the ends of dehydrated strands) at less than $15 for a three-ounce tube, this one goes above and beyond "bang for your buck" value.
Similar Products: You have options
EltaMD Laser Balm Post-Procedure Healing Ointment: This specially-formulated ointment ($26) is designed to be used to heal your skin after laser procedures or any type of surgical wound.
Aquaphor Healing Ointment: Aquaphor has been considered a direct dupe of the CeraVe ointment, and at almost half the price ($6), but instead of ceramides and hyaluronic acid, it uses panthenol and glyercin to heal and nourish dry and cracked skin.
The CeraVe Healing Ointment is beloved by many, and for a good reason. It does exactly as it claims—moisturizing and soothing dry, irritated skin, while healing it from the inside out. We have no choice but to give it two thumbs up.