I Tried CeraVe's Renewing SA Cleanser for Clearer Skin and My Breakouts Are Gone

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CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

Byrdie / Leigh Weingus

What We Like
  • Cleanses and exfoliates

  • Non-comedogenic

  • Made with salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, and more beneficial ingredients

  • Affordable

What We Don’t Like
  • Uses plastic

  • Goes on a little heavy

CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser is an affordable option for anyone who wants to cleanse with high-quality ingredients without worrying about—and maybe even improving—breakouts.


CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

Byrdie / Leigh Weingus

We put the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review. 

When I was 27, I went to see a dermatologist. Even though I was approaching 30, I told her, I still couldn’t seem to get rid of those pesky breakouts, which popped up every month. She prescribed me a sulfur-based cleanser that smelled horrible, but I decided to give it a shot. Miracle of miracles, within a few months my face had stopped breaking out entirely.

Then pregnancy—more accurately, postpartum—hit, and suddenly I was dealing with monthly breakouts again, mostly along my jawline. When I went to a dermatologist, she told me that my skin had likely stopped responding to the sulfur-based cleanser and that in addition to a few topical creams she prescribed me, I should get back to cleanser basics with a brand like Cetaphil or CeraVe. 

When I got the opportunity to try the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser, I was excited. I’d used CeraVe bar soap and been happy with the results, and this one has salicylic acid in it, a famous acne-fighting ingredient.

Keep reading for my honest thoughts.

CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

Best for: Anyone with normal to acne-prone skin

Uses: Face and body wash

Potential allergens: None

Active ingredients: Salicylic acid

Byrdie Clean?: Yes 

Cruelty-Free?: No

Price: Around $10

About the brand: CeraVe is a top dermatologist-recommended skincare brand, famous for helping to hydrate and restore the skin’s natural barrier.

About My Skin: Normal texture and a bit acne-prone

The texture and oil content of my skin is pretty normal. It tends to get more oily leading up to my period, which is also when my breakouts happen (if they happen). I dealt with quite a bit of hormonal acne up until the past six months or so, but it’s gotten better recently (I still get a pimple now and then, but it’s not nearly as frequent).

My dermatologist has been recommending CeraVe products for a while now as a great, back-to-basics way to cleanse my skin, which is why I was more than happy to test out the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

The Feel: On the heavier side

I’m used to lighter-feeling face washes, so I was surprised to find that this face wash comes out a little bit heavy. I quickly realized that a little bit goes a long way, which I never mind, so I now use less of it than I did at the very beginning. I will say that I like the overall texture and feel of another CeraVe product I’ve tried and loved—the CeraVe Hydrating Cleansing Bar—a bit better, but with similar results, I can’t complain. 

The Smell: Virtually scent-less

The CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser doesn’t have a smell, and I’m completely OK with that. After years of using a stinky sulfur-based cleanser that always made me self-conscious—I was single when I first started using it and was constantly worried that people I went on dates with could smell it—I’m more than happy to be using a face wash that smells like nothing at all. 

Ingredients: Filled with acne-fighting, hydrating, and cleansing ingredients

First off, the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores. This is the first thing I look for in any cleanser I use these days, so I was happy to see that. But it has other acne-fighting (and generally great for your skin) ingredients, too, including salicylic acid and ceramides like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.

The Results: Clear, exfoliated, moisturized skin

I’ve been using the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser for about a month now, and I’ve been very happy with it.

I haven’t dealt with a single breakout, and my skin feels well-exfoliated and moisturized.

I don’t get that tight skin feeling I’ve gotten after using other acne products with salicylic acid as the active ingredient. 

While this isn’t the fault of the product, I don’t love using a plastic bottle to dispense my face wash, especially after realizing how easy and even enjoyable using bar soap is. 

CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

Byrdie / Leigh Weingus

The Value: Affordable

At around $10-15 for 8 ounces, this is an affordable face wash, especially because the small amount needed to effectively cleanse means I won’t run out of it anytime soon. When I think about the sulfur-based cleanser I used, which cost $50 after insurance coverage, I can’t help thinking that the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser is a steal. 

Similar Products: Depending on your priorities, this is a good pick

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar ($10): I had never even considered using bar soap on my face until I tried the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar. Once I did, I was happy with the results: My skin was clear, it was affordable, and maybe most importantly, it was eco-friendly.

The CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser delivers similar results to the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser Bar, and it’s around the same price when you take the ounces in each product into account. If your issue is acne, though, you’re probably better off using the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser: With ingredients like salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid, you can more easily combat breakouts while keeping skin smooth and moisturized. 

Final Verdict

The CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser is a great option for anyone who wants to keep breakouts at bay while keeping skin cleansed, exfoliated, and moisturized. 


  • Product Name Renewing SA Cleanser
  • Product Brand CeraVe
  • Price $10.00
  • Weight 8 oz.
  • Ingredients Aqua/water/eau, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Niacinamide, Gluconolactone, Peg-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Zea Mays Oil/corn Oil, Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eop, Carbomer, Calcium Gluconate, Sodium Chloride, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cholecalciferol, Cholesterol, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium Edta, Tetrasodium Edta, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin

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