CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

So it was only a few days ago when I told you guys all about my favorite gentle cleansers for acne-prone skin. Last week I picked up a new product by CeraVe: Renewing SA Cleanser and just couldn’t help it, had to write about it.\

I really didn’t need a new cleanser (I rotate between a few that are still pretty full at the moment) but when I browsed the skincare aisle at my local CVS and saw this new cleanser by CeraVe, I had to grab it. It was also the very last bottle on the shelf so I thought of it as a “sign”… yeah. I do that a lot (lol).

This cleanser is said to be for normal skin and it claims to gently exfoliate and cleanse while softening and smoothing skin. It’s supposed to be non-comedogenic, non-drying and non-irritating. As I mentioned before (probably countless times) I’m not a huge fan of mechanical exfoliation. This means I don’t like to use too many scrubs and exfoliants of similar nature and like to stick to chemical exfoliation (using acids). CeraVe’s Renewing Salicylic Acid Cleanser is supposed to act as the latter. As I mentioned in my post about best gentle cleansers, I love Salicylic Acid products, but I’m not sure about their effectiveness in cleansers. I do have to say though, that just after the first use I was able to notice a difference in my skin’s texture. It was definitely smoother, extremely soft to touch and looked much brighter.

CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser review

The formula is very gentle, I did not experience any irritation or weird reaction. I do have to say, however, that my skin does feel a bit dry after using this. Of course, it’s nothing that some good lotion/oil/serum can’t fix, but I found it surprising since it claims to be a non-drying cleanser. Other than that, I really like this product and intend on keeping it in my routine.

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. Here’s a little breakdown:

Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine–  surfactant derived from fatty acids of coconut oil. Cleanses and conditions the skin.

Glycerin– I’m pretty sure you are all familiar with this ingredient. It softens, moisturizes and decreases dry and itchy skin.

Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate– mild yet effective cleanser and foam booster.

Niacinamide– vitamin B3, increases ceramide levels and helps prevent the skin from losing water.

Gluconolactone– derived from gluconic acid acts a skin conditioning ingredient, it hydrates and enhances levels of moisture in skin.

Sodium Methylcocoyl Taurate– extremely mild, coconut-oil based cleansing agent. It helps to create the foam and remove dirt and oil from the skin.

PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate– counter-irritant and thickener.

Salicylic Acid– I’m pretty sure you are all familiar with this BHA. Acts as an exfoliant, anti-bacterial and anti-irritant.

Ceramide 6 II, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 1– Natural occurring lipids that act as glue that holds skin cells together.

Hyaluronic Acid– I wrote about Hyaluronic Acid a few years ago right here. It improves skin’s texture, makes it appear plumper and smoother.

Cholesterol– in skincare, it acts as a stabilizer and water-binding agent.

 Sodium Benzoate– commonly used as a preservative in skincare (as well as in food and pharmaceuticals).

Zea Mays (Corn) Oil– provides high levels of vitamin E and acts as an antioxidant.

Disodium EDTA– allows for better foaming and prevents deterioration of the product.

Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate– an emulsifier and mild skin-conditioning agent.

Cholecalciferol– Vitamin D; has anti-inflammatory and possibly some antioxidant properties for the skin.

Phytosphingosine– a water-binding agent, reduces symptoms of inflamed skin.

Xantham Gum– stabilizes and thickens the formula.

Carbomer– another thickener that helps to create a gel-like formula.

Sodium hydroxide– used in cosmetics to regulate the pH of the product. When found in high concentrations it can act as an irritant, thankfully, it’s listed as last on the ingredient list and they’re usually listed in the order of higher to lower concentrations.

I really like this cleanser, love the way it makes my skin feel (except for already mentioned dryness) but I definitely don’t see myself using this every day, it would be way too drying. I’ll probably use it once or twice a week to exfoliate my skin. I also tried to find other reviews of this product to see if anyone else had the problem with this drying their skin, but I couldn’t find it. It seems that this product isn’t sold online just yet and I’m guessing I was just lucky to find it so soon.


  • Reply
    January 8, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Oh I love CeraVe and I haven’t tried this! I’m going to have to try it out! Nice review

    • Reply
      January 10, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      I love their products too. Thanks Mel!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Thanks for writing this review. Your awesome

    • Reply
      January 31, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Aww you’re so welcome! ;)

  • Reply
    February 13, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    I also had the same issue with dry skin with this cleanser. I’m 30 and have dry-ish skin at times along with acne and some cysts along my jaw line when I get stressed out. I also get these tiny little bumps under my chin on my neck area that sometimes turn into acne That I am pretty sure are caused by the hair products I use. I had been using Philosophy one-step facial cleanser, and that worked great for awhile, but now I’m back to breaking out again. I’ve tried every product I can think of to get my skin under control. Anything that clears the acne leaves my face dry and peeling in some areas while moisturizers to fix it make me break out again. This cleanser seems to be helping me clear up and is exfoliating a lot of the dull sallow skin that’s built up from so many products. I ordered the sa lotion but haven’t gotten it yet. I’m hoping that the combination will get my skin back to normal again. Last night I used the cleanser and after noticing some very dry patches on my cheeks, I decided to try some tarte maracuja oil, since I saw that it can really help adult acne. Surprisingly by morning the dry patches were gone and the blemishes I have were less red and irritated. My skin looks better than it has in awhile. I’m going to try your idea of just using the cleanser every few days instead of every day. Do you have any suggestions for a good one to use in between?

    • Reply
      February 13, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      Hey Lindsey,

      One of my favorite cleansers is cleanser. That’s what I use between the SA cleanser. All the acne cleansers are drying on me too, except for the one. It lasts a long time and it’s really delicate and helps heal my breakouts. I wrote about my favorite acne-prone skin cleansers right here: There are a few to chose from. Oils have also helped me deal with the dry patches, my favorite is Jose Maran’s Argan Oil. How do you like the Maracuja Oil from Tarte? I have a sample and haven’t gotten around to trying it out yet.

  • Reply
    February 15, 2015 at 3:11 am

    I love the maracuja oil for the most part, but it doesn’t seem to be quite moisturizing enough around my eye area. Over the past month all of a sudden my cheeks and eye area have become very dry and flaky while the rest of my face has been breaking out like crazy. The maracuja oil is very gentle and hasn’t irritated my skin. In fact, it’s been looking a lot less red in the mornings and my pores are looking smaller. I’ve only been using it about a week, but so far so good. I did order some Argan oil hoping that it will be a better alternative for my hair and under eye area. I’ve been using biosilk and chi for awhile, but everywhere my hair touches my skin seems to be breaking out, so I’m pretty sure that’s what’s causing it. I just got in the cerave renewing sa lotion today, and just used it along with the sa cleanser. It burned like crazy for a few minutes, but now it feels fine and very soft. I skipped my eye area with both products and am going to try my Estee Lauder night repair sample to see if that helps. Thanks for the great link and info!

    • Reply
      February 16, 2015 at 7:49 am

      The Maracuja oil sounds pretty nice! I wanted to try the SA lotion too, but my skin doesn’t seem to like CeraVe in a tub (for some reason Cetaphil in the tub works a lot better for me, CeraVe seems to break me out) so I’m afraid that it might cause some acne for me, even though it has SA in it. I actually use Estee Lauder’s night repair eye cream at night, and while it feels nice on the skin, I don’t think it’s moisturizing enough. Right now I’m trying out Bobbi Brown’s Hydrating Eye Cream and that seems to work a lot better.

  • Reply
    Traci Kile
    May 31, 2015 at 1:18 am

    I’ve ben using the SA cleanser for about a month and love it! BUT only if I use the Cera Ve renewing night cream. In a reply to a comment you mentioned that you don’t like the SA lotion in a tub as it breaks you out. Were you referring to the Renewing night cream in the purple tub or the regular SA hydrating cream? I am not a fan of the Cera Ve AM Moisturizer. The texture is just weird and I feel like it leaves oil sitting on the surface of my skin. Do you have another affordable option to suggest. I am 32 with very sensitive skin that seems to be in some weird transition right now. I am also an esthetician and have tried almost everything out there haha I really love the Cera Ve line and I like that I find ingredients in their products that are in higher end lines, I just wish they had a couple more options for a daytime moisturizer with SPF.

    • Reply
      June 1, 2015 at 8:09 am

      Hi Traci, I wasn’t talking about the SA in a tub but regular CeraVe in a tub. One of my favorites is Cetaphil in the tub because it doesn’t irritate me or break me out. I only use cleansers from CeraVe, because for some reason I just don’t get along with their moisturizers. I like Cetaphil much better. I also like moisturizer because it’s great for sensitive and is very gentle.

  • Reply
    August 24, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Does anybody know how much salicylic acid is in this cleanser? I am also using benzoyl peroxide and want to make sure I’m not overdoing.

    • Reply
      October 9, 2019 at 11:20 am

      Its less than 0.5 %. If its over that then they are required to list it as an active/medicated ingredient.

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