Skin Renewing Cream Serum

1.00 fl. oz. for $ 17.99
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Press releases for this cream serum (which has more of a lotion texture and isn’t creamy or serum-like at all…confusing, no?) mentioned that it contained a whopping 1% of pure retinol. However, we suspect that was a bit of unchecked ballyhoo, because the actual product packaging makes no mention of this percentage, instead describing an “encapsulated retinol and ceramide complex,” rather than a 1% concentration of straight retinol.

Upon looking at the product in detail, we suspected this didn’t contain 1% retinol not only because of the price (higher amounts of retinol are expensive) but also because of where the retinol falls on the ingredient list. For example, many of the ingredients that precede the retinol (such as triethanolamine, lecithin and phenoxyethanol) are typically used in amounts less than 1%. If this contained at least 1% retinol, it would ideally be listed before, not after, those other ingredients.

Media hype aside, the lower amount of retinol is just fine and worth considering. Overall, this is a very good, fragrance-free serum (again, it feels more like a lotion) for normal to dry or combination skin. Although the majority of the formula consists of moisturizing ingredients, this contains a good mix of repairing and lesser-known antioxidant ingredients, adding up to a good, affordable retinol option. The lotion texture works to moisturize skin and you most likely won’t need another moisturizer unless skin is very dry.

Last, CeraVe apparently uses a controlled delivery system to ensure a slower penetration of retionl into the skin. Doing so reduces retinol’s potential to cause some initial signs of irritation like flaking or redness. We’re not doubting the employment of a delivery system (which appears to be based around slow-release ceramides and palm-based fatty acids) but do want to point out that many modern-day retinol products use some type of controlled or sustained-release delivey system to reduce the risk of irritation.


  • Fragrance-free.
  • Lightweight moisturizing texture works well on its own or with moisturizer.
  • Good combination of repairing and cell-communicating ingredients, including retinol.


  • Doubtful that this contains 1% retinol; more likely contains a 1% blend of ceramides + antioxidants, of which one is retinol.
  • All of the most intriguing ingredients are listed after the preservative.
Jar Packaging: No

CeraVe Skin Renewing Cream Serum contains an encapsulated 1% retinol and ceramide complex, which stabilizes and delivers the retinol into the skin gradually over time so it won't cause harsh irritation like many retinols. The nongreasy and fast-absorbing formula also contains vederine, a vitamin D analog known to provide epidermal and skin barrier support.

Purified Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Polysorbate 20, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, PEG-40 Stearate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyldimethicone Crosspolymer, Triethanolamine, Cetearyl Alcohol, Pentylene Glycol, Lecithin, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxyacetophenone, Phenoxyethanol, Citric Acid, Behentrimonium Methosulphate, Cichorium Intybus (Chicory) Root Extract, Tocopherol, Niacinamide, Alcohol, Retinol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Silica, Potassium Phosphate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-II, Phytosophingosine, Cholesterol, Carbomer, Ceramide 1.

CeraVe At-A-Glance

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.

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