CeraVe Moisturizing Cream Review (REVISITED): Sexy Little Thang

by | Jun 10, 2017 | Reviews | 25 comments

WADDUP PERSON READING THIS? Sorry to shout at you, but I recently made some life-changing discoveries about CeraVe Cream (a.k.a. CeraVe in a tub) and I CANNOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT about it. :p

Some quick background information for everyone. I originally wrote this review on September 30th, 2016. It is now June of 2017 (holy sh*t time flies) and my opinion has changed considerably since then.

What can I say? I’ve changed….

~*cue dramatic quotes*~

Wait…. what the hell am I talking about?!? This is a skincare blog! No, but seriously, someone actually sent me an email about this recently. :'(

Like damn, who knew writing about skincare could get so emotional, you know? Lol

I digress….

So yeah, my opinion about CeraVe Cream has changed for the better. Enough to bring it into holy grail territory, which is why I’ve decided to spruce up this original review. I will leave a lot of the original commentary as is, but add a few additional comments as we go.

Without further ado, let’s discuss!

cerave cream

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Ingredients And Benefits of CeraVe Cream.

Here’s the full ingredient list.

cerave cream ingredients

Purified Water, Glycerin, Ceteareth-20 And Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Behentrimonium Methosulfate And Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-II, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol, Petrolatum, Dimethicone, Potassium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Lauryl Lactylate, Disodium Edta, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Phytosphingosine, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum.

Right off the bat we see something particularly outstanding about this moisturizer that doesn’t apply to ~95% of all the skincare products in the world (literally). What is that you ask?

It’s 100% safe for malassezia-sensitive skin. In other words, there is nothing in the ingredient list that is food grade for yeast. This is FANTASTIC news if you suffer from any of the following skin conditions:

  • Adult acne (people in their 20s and 30s have an abundance of malassezia vs. other age groups)
  • Atopic dermatitis a.ka. eczema (associated with M. globosaM. furfur, M. sympodialis, and M. restricta). [12345]
  • Dandruff (probably caused my M. globosa). [6]
  • Malassezia folliculitis a.k.a. fungal acne  (most commonly caused by M. globosa and M. furfur). [78, 9, 10]
  • Psoriasis (associated with M. furfur, M.restricta, and M. globosa). [1112, 13]
  • Seborrheic dermatitis (most commonly caused by M. furfur, M. globosaM. restricta, though M. sympodialis, M. obtuse, M. slooffiae, and M. yamatoensis have been implicated). [1415, 16]
  • Tinea versicolor a.k.a. pityriasis versicolor (caused by M. globosa, M. sympodialis, and M. furfur). [1718]

Notice how the the pathology of all the skin conditions above have one thing in common — a yeast called Malassezia. If you have any of these diseases, that would be the cause of your symptoms.

What makes having these skin conditions especially frustrating is that malassezia feeds on fatty acids and oils, which automatically rules out the majority of skincare products because most will include these in the form of emulsifiers and thickeners.

It’s why you may have found that literally EVERY. STINKING. PRODUCT. out there causes your skin to act up. Whether that’s through an eczema flare or new set of pimples.

I have spent a long time looking for moisturizers that work for malassezia sensitivities, and I’m happy to report that CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is one of those because it’s mostly a mixture of fatty alcohols, MCT oil (caprylic/capric triglycerides), and ceramides. None of which feed malassezia.

Others moisturizers that are okay include Sebamed Face Gel, CeraVe Lotion, and Cerave PM.

UPDATE 6/1/17: This is false. I have since learned that this stupid ass yeast also feeds on esters and polysorbates. This rules out CeraVe PM and Lotion.

For anyone wondering — CeraVe Moisturizing Cream, CeraVe Healing Ointment, and CeraVe AM are the only compatible products for malassezia out of the entire CeraVe line. Everything else including their cleansers, serums, lotions etc. might give you trouble since they have ingredients that are food grade for the yeast.

For more information about treating fungal acne, or skin conditions where malassezia is the culprit, check out this sexy link. 

Now back to discussing the beneficial ingredients of Cerave Cream….

  • Glycerin

A humectant that moisturizes the skin by drawing water from the environment and dermis (deeper layer of skin). Considering how high up in the ingredient list this is, we can expect it makes up at least 5% of this formula.

This would normally make our skincare products quite sticky, but the inclusion of fatty alcohols like ceteareth-20, cetearyl alcohol, and cetyl alcohol work as detackifiers to make the moisturizer velvety smooth.

  • Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides

Also known as medium chain triglyceride oil (MCT oil). This is essentially coconut oil without the lauric fatty acid component.

Why is this beneficial?

For one, it allows it to stay liquid at room temperature which makes it a more favorable ingredient to formulate into cosmetics. Could you imagine trying to pump out solid coconut oil from a moisturizer bottle?

But more importantly, removing the lauric fatty acid component makes this oil more tolerable across many skin types — especially for those with malassezia induced sensitivities (i.e. adult acne, atopic dermatitis/eczema, dandruff, malassezia folliculitis/fungal acne, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, tinea versicolor/pityriasis versicolor).

Recall from the information above how malassezia feeds on oils. That’s because most oils have fatty acids in the form of triglycerides that malassezia can hydrolyze.

English = the stupid yeast that causes all those skin problems I listed above can break down specific parts of oils, which it then uses to grow and make your skin problems worse. Woohoo! (Sarcasm)

The only exception to this rule is MCT oil a.k.a caprylic/capric triglycerides because it’s a mixture of saturated fatty acids that have carbon chain lengths of 8 and 10 (respectively), meaning they are “too short” for malassezia to utilize.

Side note: mineral oil and squalane are okay too.

What’s even cooler about the fatty acids that make up MCT oil (i.e. caprylic and capric) is that they directly inhibit malassezia in vitro. (19) In other words, they work like natural anti-fungals.

The Takeway.

The absence of any fatty acids, esters, polysorbates, and oils except caprylic/capric triglycerides make CeraVe Cream a unique product that won’t aggravate skin conditions like eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, pityrosporum folliculitis, psoriasis etc. Something that can’t be said about 90% of the moisturizers out there.

  • Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-II, and Ceramide 1

Ceramides are the most abundant part of the lamellar sheets present in the intercellular spaces of the stratum corneum. (20)

English = they are main part of the protective barrier of skin.

The outer layer of skin is composed of approximately 50% ceramides, 25% cholesterol, and 15% free fatty acids. (212223) All these play a crucial role in hydrating and maintaining healthy skin.

Ceramides, specifically, help regulate cells, repair damaged skin, and prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL). (20) They also make your skin super soft and smooth! 😀

Have you ever wondered why baby skin is the most beautiful thing on planet earth? That would be the ceramides! Here’s a quote from the TheBeautyBrains:

“Newborn infants, especially premature ones, are born with a waxy or cheese-like coating on their skin that prevents them from losing too much moisture. That coating is called the vernix caseosa and it is composed, primarily, of ceramides.” (24)

Interestingly enough, ceramides get depleted from our skin as we age making us more susceptible to aging and general unsexiness.

Luckily for us, CeraVe Moisturizing Cream comes with 3 different types of ceramides so we don’t have to worry about that! :p These function like the ones naturally present on our skin and help repair barrier damage / prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL). (25)

  • Hyaluronic Acid

Another naturally occurring substance in our skin, and potent humectant capable of holding 1000 times it’s water weight! (2627)

It’s extremely effective at hydrating skin by drawing moisture from the environment, and gives a “plumping” effect that reduces fine lines and wrinkles. It also promotes and significantly speeds up wound healing. (28293031)

For more information about hyaluronic acid, check out this recent article. 

  • Cholesterol

Yet another skin identical ingredient that helps repair barrier function and maintain healthy skin. (32)

  • Petrolatum

Also known as petroleum jelly (vaseline). Contrary to popular belief this isn’t comedogenic at all. In fact, the molecules that make up petrolatum are too big to clog pores. They simply sit on top of the skin and form a barrier.

It’s the most powerful occlusive on planet earth, capable of preventing up to 98% of transepidermal water loss (TEWL).

Like Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides (MCT oil), it is also suitable for malassezia related skin conditions because it’s carbon chain length is 25 and above (malassezia needs 11-24). It’s one of the best tolerated cosmetic ingredients to date, and will go a very long way in keeping skin hydrated. All the more reason to be about that slug life!

How I look after I apply vaseline to my face

As an aside, CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is one of the only moisturizer in the CeraVe line that includes petrolatum. This makes it a bit richer and more hydrating that the rest.

  • Dimethicone

A silicone-based polymer that acts as an emollient and occlusive. It prevents transepidermal water loss (TEWL), smooths the skin’s surface, improves the moisture barrier, and protects your skin from the environment (e.g. pollution). (333435)

It’s pretty much just a kick ass moisturizing agent and a very common ingredient in lotions because of how well tolerated it is across many skin types including those that are acne-prone. (36) Wow, that was a run on sentence…..

  • Cetearyl Alcohol and Cetyl Alcohol

These two register as potentially pore-clogging ingredients on COSDNA. However, take the comedogenic scale with a huge grain of salt. It is an inherently flawed concept that relies on data obtained from rabbit ears.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here, but… I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be reading this if you were a bunny. Could be wrong though.

If you suspect you have sensitivities to fatty alcohols (like Cetearyl Alcohol and Cetyl Alcohol) the best thing to do is patch test. While this moisturizer may work brilliantly for many people including myself, there’s no real way of guaranteeing it will for you. Skincare is a very individual thing.

But I’m like…. 95% positive dis sh*t will work amazingly for you… Just saying. :^)

UPDATE 5/1/2017: I’ve also gotten my younger sister to use this moisturizer with a lot of success. She similarly has incredibly finicky malassezia-sensitive skin, and absolutely hated CeraVe PM (my old moisturizer of choice) because it caused her to break out.

Don’t tell her I posted this unflattering photo of her because she will kill me, but here’s a pic she sent me this morning because she was having a “good skin day.” I blame the CeraVe Cream. :p

Her skin has definitely made noticeable improvements since dropping all the “food grade” ingredients for yeast, something I go over in my fungal acne guide.

Application, Feel, and Scent.

As you can see this lotion is pretty freaking thick!

what cerave cream feel likecerave cream spread testcerave cream dried on skin

As soon as this stuff goes on, your skin instantly feels the richness of it. It surprisingly has a very mattefying effect on the skin though. Shocking, right?

But seriously, it dries matte. Despite being super rich and moisturizing, it doesn’t look or feel like anything is on the skin, except for the noticeable softness it leaves behind. Which reminds me….

I don’t know what the hell it is about this moisturizer, maybe the ceramides, maybe the cetyl alcohol, BUT IT MAKES MY SKIN INCREDIBLY SOFT.

Try it out and you’ll see what I mean. At first, it almost feels kind of drying, but give it 20 minutes and… BOOM. Smooth city. You’ll be touching your skin the rest of the day, perplexed by how such a simple formula has turned you into a baby’s ass.

According to CeraVe this happens because of some crazy “MVE® Delivery Technology” which slowly releases the ingredients over a 24 hour period. I don’t know about all that, but it sure makes my skin feel nice.

UPDATE 6/1/2017: there’s actually some truth to this. Here’s quote from a research paper about this #NewTechnology.

“This novel technology involves the creation of a 2-phase, oil-in-water emulsion system that produces concentric multilamellar spheres of oil and water. Active ingredients can be released from their respective layers upon application to the skin. In addition to a controlled-release of active agents, the multivesicular emulsion base improves the biophysical properties of the skin by reducing transepidermal water loss and enhancing skin hydration.” (37)

In other words, it will slowly release those sweet sweet ceramides into your skin throughout the day for lasting hydration. You know how sometimes you apply moisturizers and your skin feels drier than the Mohave Desert a couple hours later?

Yeah, that’s not a problem with this moisturizer. I’ve yet to ever get the “tight” feeling from using this.

I also find that this moisturizer is incredibly good for oil control. I can only speculate as to why. I imagine it’s the high concentration of fatty alcohols that absorb your oils throughout the day.

As far as scents go, CeraVe Moisturzing Cream smells very similar to CeraVe Baby (i.e. fluffy vanilla cake), but to a lesser extent with a hint of rubbery lotion thrown into the mix.

How to Use.

Very straight forward. 🙂 Simply apply it as the last step in your routine before occlusives like vaseline, aquaphor, or cerave healing ointment (if you use them). It can be used twice daily.

The Takeaway.

  • Ingredients: 5/5

A great mix of moisturizing and skin identical ingredients like ceramides, cholesterol, hyaluronic acid, dimethicone, and petrolatum.

  • Benefits: 5/5

Soothes and repairs damaged skin. Strengthens the moisture barrier, and helps maintain healthy skin.

  • Application: 5/5

Fantastic application. It’s super moisturizer but goes on matte, provides lasting hydration throughout the day, and is good for oil control.

  • Packaging: 4/5

I was going to give it a 3 star here because jar packaging is unsanitary. However, CeraVe recently began including pump dispensers with this moisture. If you do get one without a pump, just make sure to use a q-tip or little spoon to scoop out the product.

Pro-Tip: you can steal little spoons from baskin robbins or similar ice cream parlors.

  • Value: 5/5

Phenomenally priced for the impressive formula and amount of product you receive. This tub will easily last you several months to a year.

Overall: 4.8/5 (Highly Recommend!) — UPDATE 6/1/16: I’m just gonna go ahead and bump this up to 5/5 because what we discussed earlier, i.e. it’s the only CeraVe Moisturizer that’s 100% safe for malassezia. Holy grail status unlocked!

cerave cream

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CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is a great alternative to CeraVe PM if you’re on a budgetUPDATE 6/1/17: not an alternative if you have malassezia sensitive skin. CeraVe PM has esters which could give you trouble.

It will last a looooong time and is completely suitable for those suffering from eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, malassezia (pityrosporum) folliculitia a.k.a. fungal acne, psoriasis, and tinea versicolor. This moisturizer is ideal for all skin types, and is particularly useful for those with damaged moisture barriers who need serious hydration.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this review!

Tell your friends about CeraVe Cream’s creamy goodness!