CeraVeRenewing SA Cream
12 fl. oz. for $21.99
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Brand Overview
Expert Reviews

Renewing SA Cream (the "SA" stands for salicylic acid) is a thicker, richer version of CeraVe's Renewing SA Lotion. Both fragrance-free products claim to repair dry, bumpy skin and both contain salicylic acid and the AHA derivative ammonium lactate. We suspect the concentration of both is within the range needed for effectiveness, and, unlike Renewing SA Lotion, the Cream version's pH of 3.8 allows these ingredients to exfoliate, smoothing bumpy skin in the process.

The main downside is the jar packaging, as Renewing SA Cream contains a handful of ingredients that can break down and become less effective with daily exposure to light, air, and/or bacteria. See More Info for specifics on the other issues jar packaging presents. The packaging is the sole reason this product missed our top rating.

Despite the packaging disappointment, the overall formula contains many good ingredients (including niacinamide) that will remain effective in any type of packaging. On balance, this fragrance-free BHA (salicylic acid) body lotion deserves a recommendation. It has a beautifully rich yet non-greasy texture that smoothes easily and leaves dry skin feeling protected and noticeably softened, yet non-greasy. It is suitable for all skin types struggling with problem dryness accompanied by bumpy skin—and is also an option for those struggling with keratosis pilaris, also known as "chicken skin".

  • Rich yet non-greasy texture capable of improving dry, rough skin.
  • Fragrance-free.
  • Contains cell-communicating niacinamide plus some notable skin-repairing ingredients.
  • Should reduce and may eliminate keratosis pilaris.
  • Jar packaging will likely hinder the effectiveness of the sensitive ingredients.
More Info:

The fact that this product is packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and most other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also present a hygiene issue because even if you wash your hands or use a spatula to remove the product, you're introducing bacteria that causes further breakdown of key ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818-829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271-288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314-321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197-203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1-32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).

Last Updated:08.26.2015
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:No
Community Reviews

Developed with Dermatologists, CeraVe® SA Renewing Cream helps restore and repair extremely dry, rough skin. Its patented Multivesicular Emulsion (MVE®) provides controlled release over time with ceramides that moisturize and soften skin. CeraVe® SA also uses salicylic acid to help slough off dry, rough, bumpy skin.


Purified Water, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol, Mineral Oil, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Ammonium Lactate, Salicylic Acid, Triethanolamine, Cetyl Alcohol, Niacinamide, PEG-100 Stearate, Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3 in Corn Oil), Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-II, Ceramide 1, Cholesterol, Phytosphingosine, Hyaluronic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone, Methylparaben, Edetate Disodium, Propylparaben, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum

Brand Overview

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

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