Do Cerave Moisturizers Cause Acne?

CeraVe is a global skincare brand created and recommended by dermatologists. Their moisturizing cream does not cause acne and can actually help to prevent breakouts and other skin problems. This non-greasy cream is touted by skin professionals for its unique ability to mimic the oils and natural composition of your skin. This patented formula was designed by dermatologists and made with natural ingredients. Additionally, Cerave is the only skincare line to offer ingredients containing all three ceramides, which help hold skin cells together. Ceramides have powerful moisturizing properties and help to increase skin hydration. 

 Do Cerave Moisturizing Creams Clog Pores?

Clogged pores are one of the most common causes of skin problems. Keeping our pores open and clean helps to prevent acne, uneven tones, scarring and other skin texture issues. Dermatologists always recommend looking for a product that is “non-comedogenic”, meaning it is clinically known not to clog pores. This is especially important for oily skin. Cerave moisturizing cream is one of the best ways to keep your face hydrated, while still fighting breakouts and other skin difficulties such as psoriasis. 

About Cerave 

Founded in 2005 by a group of dermatologists, Cerave is a timeless brand in the skincare world. It addresses the problem that many skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and acne have in common: an out-of-balance skin barrier. Cerave uses skin ceramides that work like our natural facial oils by using Multivesicular Emulsion Technology. This patented MET method allows ceramides to be released into the skin over an extended period of time, providing the most extended moisture coverage. Cerave is the number one recommended skincare brand by professionals and best-selling moisturizing cream on Amazon. One of the best parts of Cerave is how affordable it is for everyone; With a majority of their products being under $15-20. 

Cerave offers tons of products specially formulated for various skin conditions. All of Cerave’s moisturizers have all their key ingredients listed online, where users can read in-depth about each formula. Find various washes, lotions, cleansers, and serums. They have lines treating all kinds of conditions including eczema, acne, psoriasis, chafing skin, diabetic skin, and more.  Their extremely sensitive formulas have even been recommended for use even on babies by pediatricians. Find their patented fragrance-free moisturizing cream in a 12 or 16 oz bottle. 

What Are Cerave Moisturizing Creams Used For?

Moisturizing creams provide hydration to heal the skin barrier that causes unwanted problems. Cerave provides skin care for all types. Their classic daily moisturizing cream helps with various ailments and specialty creams designed for Psoriasis and Cerave with SPF. For extra moisture, they also offer an overnight cream with niacinamide. 

Protection From Breakouts

While many people worry that putting cream on their face will cause more acne, keeping your face hydrated actually helps to prevent breakouts. When our skin is dry and out of balance,  it will increase its oil production. This causes sebum which fills and clogs pores, leading to whiteheads, blackheads, and other acne. It may take up to 4-8  weeks for breakouts to go away and see results. Dermatologists recommend for best practice to wash your face with a sensitive cleanser and apply cream immediately after washing. This will help retain water. 

Treating Eczema 

Eczema is a skin condition that usually develops in early childhood. This causes redness, itchiness, and flaking of the skin. As anyone with eczema knows, the chronic condition causes flare-ups that increase these symptoms when the skin gets too dry. The ceramides in Cerave’s formula provide extra moisture and hydration as well as cortisone–a corticosteroid. This helps prevent redness and itching. Using Cerave will reduce inflammation in the epidermal layer and help speed up the healing process.  CeraVe makes its own special moisturizing cream for eczema, and a face and body wash.  

Helping symptoms of psoriasis 

Psoriasis is another chronic skin condition that gives people itchy and scaly skin. CeraVe has developed a special moisturizing cream dedicated to psoriasis. It contains natural and potent ingredients, including salicylic acid and beta hydroxy acid. It is crucial to have a safe amount of concentrated salicylic acid in your product when treating psoriasis. Dermatologists have made sure this formula is potent enough to reduce swelling while still sensitive to the affected areas. This specialized formula also has lactic acid and cooling niacinamide. 

Reducing rough skin texture 

Rough skin texture, also known as “chicken skin,” can come from the conditions above: acne scarring, blocked hair follicles, diabetes, a buildup of dead skin cells, or even something as simple as dryness from the cold weather. Again, your texture will be smooth and glowing by retaining moisture in the skin. CeraVe creams contain salicylic and lactic acid, which help to visibly smooth skin texture. For best results, dermatologists recommend building a regimen by combining this with face & body wash. 

Cerave Moisturizer Ingredients 

Cerave contains all-natural ingredients to help mimic your skin composition while leaving out unnecessary ingredients that could further cause breakouts. Hyaluronic acid is one of the most powerful features for fighting acne in this cream. A natural acid to help prevent inflammation and clogged pores. 


CeraVe prides itself on containing ceramide 1, 3, and 6-II. These natural ceramides help the body create and retain water. The long-chain linked fatty acids create a barrier, which helps to lock moisture in on the skin.  Ceramides also promote healthy cellular function, essential for healthy skin and all body parts. 

Hyaluronic Acid 

This naturally occurring acid is a sugar produced by the body. It is also known as a humectant, allowing substances to retain water.  It decreases as we get older and keeps the skin incredibly hydrated by binding our water molecules to collagen. This non-comedogenic provides volume and glow to our skin. 


Glycerin is a common ingredient found in many skincare products and, when combined with other good ingredients, can work wonders. Glycerin attracts water to the skin and, like ceramides, helps to retain the most hydration. We tend to lose water from our skin as we age, from cold weather, dry heaters, and tiny cuts in the skin. Glycerin can help prevent and reduce this. It is also known for its antimicrobial properties and in CeraVe cleansers. 


Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, was founded in 1976 and is extremely popular throughout skincare. It has great protective benefits from environmental damages, including dehydration from the sun.  

Lactic Acid 

Lactic Acid is a compound that dates back to ancient times as a skincare regimen for the elite of Egypt and the Middle East. Lactic acid is made by fermenting or plants or dairy and helps speed up the exfoliation process. It can also help reduce dark spots, wrinkles, and fine lines. 

Salicylic Acid 

Salicylic Acid is a highly potent skincare ingredient found in tons of products and formulas. It is known as a salicylate, which sheds dead skin cells. Most S-acid concentrations come between 2-10%. Moisturizing cream only contains a small amount of Salicylic acid, and for more immediate problems such as acne, you may need a higher concentration.

Cerave Alternatives

Cerave works for most people who try it and consumers love the sensitive formulas. Some Cerave products simply don’t work for everyone as everyone’s skin is different. Another barrier to some CeraVe creams is that they are not cruelty-free. Cerave alternatives that mimic the skin’s natural oils while offering a decent price point and cruelty-free formulas can be found below.  

Natural Alternatives To Cerave

If you are looking for a completely natural alternative to Cerave I suggest looking at pure jasmine oil. Jasmine oil has many anti-inflammatory properties and is ideal for sensitive, oily skin. My wife uses jasmine oil religiously, and it has lots of anti-aging properties in addition to helping clear skin impurities.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for CeraVe to clear acne?

There is no guarantee that Cerave products will clear acne breakouts. While Cerave products will not cause acne and can be used as part of a healthy skincare routine, clearing acne breakouts requires you to prevent inflammation in your skin which could be caused by your diet, other skin care products, or other external factors.

Does CeraVe cause purging?

CeraVe products with active ingredients, such as retinol, can experience temporary purging. However, if you are using a CeraVe product targeted towards sensitive skin the chances of purging are extremely low.

Originally Published: December 21, 2021

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sam wood is GoodGlow's Chief Editor
Analyzed by Sam Wood
Hi I’m Sam Wood. I’m the chief editor, lead acne expert, and health coach behind GoodGlow. I’m also an author of one of the top selling acne books on Amazon, a husband, father of two, and a pretty good cook!

I’m so glad you found GoodGlow and hope the information I have spent the last 10 years cultivating will help you clear your skin and improve your overall health.

I began experiencing acne breakotus as a sophomore in high school, but unlike most of my friends, my acne actually got worse as I got into my 20s. I exercised regularly, ate healthy (or so I thought) and spent hundreds of dollars a month on high end skincare products and supplements to help clear my skin. Despite these measures my acne breakouts and scarring only got worse as the years wore on.

This greatly wore on my self confidence and mental health. Simple things like taking pictures or going out with a large group made me feel self conscious. So I avoided these situations whenever I could help it.

As a last ditch effort I decided to try an extremely restrictive diet recommended by a close friend with an autoimmune disease. After following this diet for about two months my skin started to clear for the first time in over 8 years. The good news is that this restrictive diet is not actually necessary for 99% of people to permanently clear their skin, and over the course of a few months I was able to add back about 90% of my “normal diet”.

After clearing my skin I spent the next 4 years self experimenting on myself with different diets, supplements, skincare products to try and find a pattern for what was triggering my acne breakouts. I even tried different meditation, ice baths, and accupuncture to try and isolate the root cause of the breakouts.

In the end I realized that an extremely restrictive diet was not necessary for clear skin. The most important thing to do is to avoid inflammatory foods in your diet. Some common examples of this are fried foods, alcohol, sugar, and dairy.

Most impoirtantly I stopped reading trendy websites for skincare advice and began reading medical journals authored by dermatologists and nutritionists. Although the information in the articles was great the information was not easily understandable to most readers (including me). I spent hours dissecting individual posts and looking up terms I did not understand. Over the next 6 months I gradually began to understand these journals and started self experiemting some of the research on myself.

After experiencing quite a bit of success personally, I started sharing my research on forums and with close friends struggling with acne. When I shared the research it was in easy to understand, plain English. Everyone I talked to loved what I had to say and kept asking more and more questions. So I decided to start a blog so I could just send someone a link when they asked a question instead of rewriting something I had sent 100 times before 😅

While the same directional principles apply to everyone, acne is very personal and should be treated on an individual basis. That’s ultimately why I created GoodGlow. To help everyone reverse engineer the root cause of their acne and clear their skin permanently.

To date I’ve helped over 2,500 people clear their skin using a natural, holistic approach. If you are unable to find an answer to your question in any of the articles my team has written please reach out and I will do my best to guide you to the proper information and resources so you can make a thoughtful, informed decision. Read more of Sam's articles.

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