CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser Review

CeraVe Renewing Cleanser


CeraVe is one of my favorite skincare lines. In fact, it may be my favorite skincare line. Most of the products are gentle and the line is affordable. I’ve also had numerous dermatologists recommend that I use CeraVe products for every skin problem that I’ve ever had (dryness, eczema, acne). Since these products come recommended to me by people with much more skincare education than me AND that these products work for me when I use them, I trust this brand. Whenever they launch a new product, I’m eager to try it.

This spring, CeraVe has launched a new cleanser, Renewing SA Cleanser. (SA stands for salicylic acid). This is an extension to their popular SA line (that includes cream, lotion, serum).

The claims: CeraVe® Renewing SA Cleanser exfoliates and detoxifies to remove dirt and oil while softening and smoothing skin.  Unlike some exfoliating cleansers, CeraVe® Renewing SA Cleanser contains no harsh beads or grains and is gentle on skin.  It better prepares skin for essential hydration by helping to slough off dead skin cells while cleansing.  And, like all CeraVe® Products, it hydrates and helps restore skin’s protective barrier. Helps detoxify and exfoliate to remove dirt and oil.  Salicylic acid helps soften and smooth skin.  3 essential ceramides help repair the skin barrier.  Enriched with antioxidant vitamin D.  Gentle and non-drying.  Non-comedogenic and non-irritating.  Fragrance free.”

So, it’s a cleanser that claims to gently chemically exfoliate skin while removing dirt and oil. The company recommends this product for those with normal skin types.

The look, the fragrance, etc.: It’s a clear gel without any fragrance. It comes in an convenient pump bottle.

Quick reminder of my skin type: Well, it used to be dry but it’s been crazy the past few months. I’m now dry with some acne.Ugh, FML.

My experience: Let me start by saying that the other CeraVe cleansers haven’t really done much for me. They’re simple and gentle, but I haven’t repurchased them. I wasn’t “wowed” by them. I didn’t know if I would like this one or not since I usually prefer cream cleansers.

This gel foams slightly and to my surprise, it easily removes makeup (including thick, stubborn Korean BB creams). My daily makeup washed off so easily. The formula is easy to rinse off. My skin isn’t left feeling moisturizing (I mean, it’s not a moisturizing cleanser) but it isn’t left feeling tight either. My skin is left feeling soft and smooth just like the packaging promised! It makes my skin the perfect base for all of my other products.

As far as exfoliating goes, you’re still going to want a BHA, AHA or retinol cream/lotion/gel for that. None of these exfoliating cleansers will ever replace those. Now saying that, in comparison to those physical exfoliating cleansers or scrubs, this cleanser does just as good of a job WITHOUT any stupid microbeads or irritating walnut shells or shards of glass or whatever it is that those scrubs use.

Overall, I think I love this stuff. This is the CeraVe cleanser for me. I know this line isn’t exciting. The packaging is plain. It’s fragrance-free and available at drugstores. But, it works for me so well. My skin loves this line and this cleanser has been a great addition to my usual routine. I mean, all I want my cleanser to do is cleanse my skin without irritating it or making it worse than it already is. And this product does that…and also makes it feel smooth.

Who may like this? Anyone with normal or normal to oily/combo skin wanting a gentle cleanser. I also think it would be good for sensitive skin types because it’s fragrance free. This is good too if you want an exfoliator that cleanses and doesn’t have microbeads or ouchy scrubbers.

Who may not? Anyone with really oily skin or really dry skin. CeraVe offers other cleansers for those types. The salicylic acid is really mild in this (you wash it off) but if you are sensitive to it, don’t use this. I also think if you wear a lot of makeup and want to use this as a makeup remover, that it won’t work. It removed my usual makeup but if you wear a lot, you’re going to need to double cleanse or use an oil-based cleanser (yet, it would still be great for morning use). And you may not like this if you want something that seems “fancy” – like smells like jasmine or costs as much as a monthly student loan payment (this is a really “simple” cleanser).

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.

CeraVe does not test on animals.

The 8 oz bottle retails for $12.99 at drugstores and

Also, if you aren’t using it already, let me suggest the original CeraVe Cream. It helps to make your fragrance last longer too!

Want more reviews? Try…

Thirteen Thoughts – Great summary of the ingredients.

Beautypedia – Associated with Paula’s Choice.

Chain Drug Review – More info on the new products.

 *Disclaimer – Product provided by PR for review. I am not financially compensated for my reviews. My opinions are my own.  Post contains an affiliate link. Thanks! Product pic is mine.


18 thoughts on “CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser Review

  1. I’m definitely going to try this!

    I’ve been using Vanicream when I get out of the shower and for whatever reason it *really* makes my perfumes last a long time, like 24 hrs plus.

    1. Vanicream is awesome too. I should probably pick up one of the tubes for my eczema.

      I actually try not to wear Vanicream or CeraVe on the days I’m testing perfume (or layer the perfume over it) because it really does “mess” with longevity!

  2. I need to try this new cleanser. I like the other cleansers they offer to clean my skin in the morning. I love the giant tub of moisturizer. In my esthetics practice, I recommend it to everyone. It has the same Ceramides as some of the expensive skincare brands for a quarter of the cost. Just say no to shards of glass.

    1. I didn’t dislike the other cleansers but didn’t love them enough to repurchase. This one I see myself repurchasing (especially for use in the warmer months).

      That tub is awesome for my skin. Nice to know that you also recommend it 🙂 I’m having an eczema flare-up right now (stress?) and it’s the only stuff that I’m using right now (and the shower gel). It’s boring but I got to do what I got to do.

      Haha, well shards of glass should be a given. Like many people I started out with ouchy walnut shells and then all the aluminum oxide crystal scrubs came in vogue (“microdermabrasion”). And then one day I wised up and realized that you can exfoliate your skin without having physical pain.

  3. I’m glad to learn about this (and wouldn’t have, probably, without your pointer). I use the CeraVe Foaming Cleanser every day; it does leave my dry skin tight but the hydrating cleanser doesn’t seem to take off makeup residue. I will enjoy giving this one a try!
    (I’ve been using Paula’s Choice cream cleanser a lot lately too, so maybe I don’t need as much cleaning as I think I do.)
    I feel ya on the skin giving you crap. Apparently what was just itchy skin, then was hives (I had a couple of cases of diagnosed hives), is now eczema. It’s all bullshit and I hate it but I cannot go without moisturizing my body any more, not one day, not after the gym or anything. So I’m happy to learn more about less expensive options (and may give Vanicream a try, though for the most part I’m using mostly shea butter products in the winter and oils in the summer. I don’t know why, it doesn’t work the other way around.)

  4. Victoria you make me want to try this! I love the Foaming Facial Cleanser and use the pm Facial Moisturizer because they don’t irritate my sensitive skin. Can’t tolerate any shards of glass or microbeads!

    1. Haha, well I hope that many of us can’t tolerate shards of glass. I know I can’t!

      It’s worth trying. The CeraVe stuff has been great for my grumpy skin. I try to buy them when they’re on sale or when they offer a coupon because I know I’m going to use it, may as well save a few bucks 🙂

  5. I love CeraVe. I mostly use Paula’s Choice products, but whenever people ask for skincare recommendations I recommend CeraVe. (Except for daytime moisturizers when I recommend Alba Botanica, Jason, or Kiss My Face.)

    1. These sound so much like my recs 😉 I love CeraVe and Paula’s Choice. I’m also a big fan of Alba, Jason and KmF because they are so gentle. I get distracted by new brands but I find myself always going back to these.

  6. Hey everyone,
    I was wondering how well this product would work with hyperpigmentation. I have a lot of that on my face and I was wondering if this product will exfoliate my skin well enough to remove those annoying red and dark brown dots on my face.
    Rocky 🙂

    1. My readers seem to be really up on their skincare knowledge so maybe they can help too 🙂

      Since this washes off, I doubt if you use this alone that you’ll see much a difference. I have the exact same issues that you do and use products with AHA, BHA or retinol that sit on my skin (like a lotion or serum). I do think using a variety of products that tackle this issue is the best. So like a cleanser like this, a toner and a cream/serum will give you the best results.

      Overall, I like how this product makes my skin feel. I do notice that my skin seems “duller” when I switch over to a product without any exfoliating properties.

      1. Thanks for the reply!
        I actually used to use products like Tazorac and retin a micro, but with little results. I applied it on my face religiously, but to no avail:( I used it for months and suffered the side effects like redness, but had little change. Now I use just the cereave renewing SA cleanser with moisturizer and my skin tone has finally calmed down. It is only a little red around the cheeks, but there has defintely been some improvement. Hopefully, it will be gone within the year.
        Thanks again for the reply.

        1. I’m so sorry. Having irritated/inflamed skin is worse than the reasons that we start using that stuff. For me, I’ve had good experiences with Retin A but I really babied my skin and slowly introduced it into my routine. Even now, if I don’t do my “tried and true” routine and just put that cream on, I will wake up so flaky and red and wondering why I bother doing any of this stuff.

          These days, I’m more about “boring” skincare because it keeps my skin from being reactive. I think if you keep using the gentle stuff, your skin will calm down. During my bad times, I switch to CeraVe everything (or add a few argan oil drops in the winter) and my skin eventually clears up.

          Ugh, skincare woes!

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