Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum
CeraVe has grown far beyond standard facial and body moisturizers, now offering a fairly broad selection of other skin care products designed to treat signs of aging and skin disorders. Their fragrance-free Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum contains some great ingredients for all skin types, but there’s also some less desirable ingredients, plus an esthetic issue that makes this serum so-so.
This water-based serum’s lightweight, easily-layered texture is packaged in a round, opaque bottle topped with a pump dispenser. Skin is treated to hydrating workhorses glycerin and dimethicone (a proven silicone) plus CeraVe’s usual mix of ceramides and hydrating panthenol.
Sadly, this serum contains more denatured alcohol than sodium hyaluronate (the salt form of hyaluronic acid). The amount of alcohol is on the moderate side (we couldn’t detect its scent) but given its risks to skin—see More Info—and the number of ingredients that can easily replace it, we’re disappointed CeraVe didn’t take a different approach.
Even if you’re willing to overlook the inclusion of denatured alcohol, once this serum absorbs it tends to ball up and roll on skin when you apply other products over it. Even if you apply this on its own, touching your skin can reveal the finish turns somewhat grainy, which isn’t how a serum should leave skin feeling.
There’s some good stuff in here, but for the most part, you can find far better formulas, (including others from CeraVe) on our best serum list.
- Lightweight, easily layered texture.
- Good mix of ceramides and hydrating ingredients.
- Fragrance free.
- Contains more denatured alcohol than hyaluronic acid.
- Tends to ball up and roll on skin then turns grainy.
Alcohol-Based Skincare Products: Research makes it clear that alcohol, when it’s among the main ingredients in a leave-on skincare product, especially one you use frequently and repeatedly, is a problem.
When we express concern about the presence of alcohol in skincare or makeup products, we’re referring to denatured ethanol, which most often is listed as SD alcohol, alcohol denat., denatured alcohol, or (less often) isopropyl alcohol.
When you see these types of alcohol listed among the first six ingredients on an ingredient label, without question the product will irritate and cause other problems for skin. There’s no way around it—these volatile alcohols are simply bad for all skin types.
The reason they’re included in products is because they provide a quick-drying finish, immediately degrease skin, and feel weightless, so it’s easy to see their appeal, especially for those with oily skin. If only those short-term benefits didn’t lead to negative long-term outcomes!
Using products that contain these alcohols will cause dryness, erosion of skin’s protective barrier, and a strain on how skin replenishes, renews, and rejuvenates itself. Alcohol just weakens everything about skin. The irony of using alcohol-based products to control oily skin is that the damage from the alcohol can actually lead to an increase in breakouts and enlarged pores. As we said, the alcohol does have an immediate de-greasing effect on skin, but it causes irritation, which eventually will counteract the de-greasing effect and make your oily skin look even more shiny.There are people who challenge us on the information we’ve presented about alcohol’s effects. They often base their argument on a study in the British Journal of Dermatology (July 2007, pages 74–81) that concluded “alcohol-based hand rubs cause less irritation than hand washing….” But, the only thing this study showed was that alcohol was not as irritating as an even more irritating hand wash, which contained sodium lauryl sulfate. So, the study is actually just telling you that one irritant, sodium lauryl sulfate, is worse than another irritant, alcohol. Not all alcohols are bad. For example, there are fatty alcohols, which are absolutely non-irritating and can be beneficial for skin. Examples that you’ll see on ingredient labels include cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol, all of which are good ingredients for skin. It’s important to differentiate between these skin-friendly alcohols and the problematic alcohols.
References for this information:
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, November 2008, pages 1–16
Dermato-Endocrinology, January 2011, pages 41–49
Experimental Dermatology, June 2008, pages 542–551
Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366
Alcohol Journal, April 2002, pages 179–190
CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum is formulated with boosted levels of Hyaluronic Acid, a powerful hydrating ingredient naturally found in the skin, and vitamin B5 binds water on the skin's surface to help intensely moisturize dull, dehydrated skin. This lightweight, fast absorbing formula, with ceramides 1, 3, and 6-II, helps simultaneously restore and reinforce the skin's natural barrier. Patented MVE Technology provides controlled release for all day hydration. Skin is left feeling hydrated and comfortable, with a healthy appearance.
This expanding collection of skincare products keeps things gentle and effective with fragrance-free formulas, many of which are more state-of-the-art than any other product in its price range or pricier versions at the drugstore. In short, this line is a real find!
CeraVe uses a delivery system the company refers to as Multivesicular Emulsion Technology, which releases key ingredients such as ceramides and hyaluronic acid over a period of several hours. Although this technology is undoubtedly helpful, such time-delayed delivery systems aren't unique to CeraVe, and the fact remains that most of the ingredients they use are very helpful on their own, no matter what delivery system you use.
The important point is that ongoing, consistent use of this kind of moisturizer designed to repair the skin's barrier function will result in smoother, softer, healthier skin.
It is for these reasons that most CeraVe products are definitely worth considering, especially at this price. You'll find a options for moisturizing, cleansing, broad spectrum sun protection, and baby care.
For more information about CeraVe, purchased by L'Oreal in 2017, visit www.cerave.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.