CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser with salicylic acid and ceramides

October 13, 2015
CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser ($11.99 for 8 oz.)
CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser ($11.99 for 8 oz.)

I’ve been struggling with hormonal acne but also have increasingly sensitive skin that’s easily dried out, so when I spotted this gel cleanser from CeraVe that includes both exfoliating salicylic acid and restorative ceramides, I had to try it out. The CeraVe Rewnewing SA Cleanser is pretty affordable at $11.99 for 8 oz. and is easy to find in drugstores, and I had high hopes for it.

I will admit that in my head it’s was tempting to compare it to Melaleuca’s Sei Bella Refining Facial Cleanser, which I had recently used up and really enjoyed. That one is also a gel cleanser with salicylic acid, and made my skin feel clean but soft and nourished, too.

Ok so the CeraVe cleanser isn’t terrible, but the texture isn’t as satisfying and it definitely dries my skin out a little. That’s a disappointment because it includes ceramides and hyaluronic acid, plus it’s SLS-free, so theoretically it should be quite gentle. The texture is a bit gloopy and I’d prefer it to have a somewhat thinner and slipperier consistency, but that’s a minor complaint and doesn’t seem to interfere with its overall effectiveness.

On the plus side, it’s dye-free, fragrance-free, cruelty-free, microbead-free … basically nonsense-free. The pump bottle is nice, too. If your skin is less sensitive and dry than mine, this might be a good choice. I’m just a bit let down because it’s not a great match for me. The brand’s Hydrating Cleanser also wasn’t enjoyable for me as it didn’t feel like it cleansed my skin well. The Renewing Cleanser does definitely cleanse my skin! I’ve taken to using it once a day in the a.m. and then reaching for something gentler in the evening when my skincare routine is a little more involved (usually including double cleansing and possibly a scrub).

Ingredients: Purified Water, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Niacinamide, Gluconolactone, Sodium Methylcocoyl Taurate, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Salicylic Acid, Ceramide 6-II, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol, Sodium Benzoate, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cholecalciferol, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide

The CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser costs around $11.99 depending on where you get it, and is widely available at drugstores and at

Have you tried it? Do you like it? What’s your favorite drugstore cleanser?

  1. The SA cleanser is always on my list to try and so is the SA moisturizer stuff. I have seborrheic dermetitis on my face so I need something that exfoliates but not too much and also isn’t too drying or irritating. In the past I have used the cerave regular cleanser and moisturizer which was fine (didn’t make things worse) and now I’m using the foaming cleanser. I also just bought the face serum which I really like so far- it seems to really help.

    1. Hey, Alison! The moisturizers would definitely be interesting to try, and I’m glad to hear the cleansers and serum have been working well for you!

  2. Hey Erin, I actually also found the SA Cleanser to be too drying on its own, but what I do is mix it 50/50 with the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. It cleans more thoroughly than the Hydrating Cleanser without stripping my skin. Also, I recently started using John Masters Organics Rose Foaming Face Wash. Have you tried it? It’s lightweight and looks a bit like a clear gel cleanser, but it doesn’t leave my skin dry.

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