Skin Care

Which CeraVe Cleanser is Best for Acne Treatment?



by Lydia


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Everyone needs a solid skincare routine to keep their skin in good shape, but those fighting acne know pretty well the importance of using effective skincare products. Finding quality products that offer the expected results is usually a challenge. But the good news is, many people with acne-prone skin have found favorable outcomes using CeraVe. This brings us here, to help you find out which CeraVe cleanser is best for acne removal to get your healthy skin and glow back. 


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 What's the best CeraVe cleanser for acne?


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What is CeraVe?

CeraVe started in 2006 when dermatologists came together to develop unique products containing three essential ceramides (1,3 and 6-II) for optimal skincare. The blend was then packaged with fatty acids to strengthen and nourish the skin's protective barrier. The initial launch had products had three core products: Moisturizing Lotion, Moisturizing Cream and Hydrating Cleanser.

Fast forward to the present day, CeraVe currently offers more than 70 unique products for universal care for all skin types in several drugstores, beauty depots and e-commerce platforms. Its range of high-quality formulas is designed to treat common skin issues, such as psoriasis, eczema, itchy skin, acne and plenty more. The brand prides itself as being an accessible, affordable and effective skincare solution; in other words, CeraVe offers advanced skincare without a prescription.

Why Use a CeraVe Facial Cleanser?

Face cleansers help prevent breakouts and regulate the skin. They keep skin pores clean from debris, such as dead skin cells, dirt, makeup and more. CeraVe has a line of skincare products specifically meant to target breakouts. The brand also offers blog posts and helpful information for people who are struggling with acne. This includes the necessary ingredients for acne-prone skin, how to handle dry skin and more, etc., ensuring that people affected by acne have a wealth of dermatological knowledge to guide them through their treatment journey.

Most acne-prone people will find that CeraVe's acne treatments do exactly what it says on the tin; they really work. The formulas include combative ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, benzoyl peroxide and niacinamide to retain moisture and promote healing. At that, the brand emphasizes the importance of sticking to a constant skincare routine to fight breakouts.

CeraVe acne treatments are developed by dermatologists and backed by scientific and dermatological research. They are safe and effective.

Which Cerave Cleanser is Best for Acne?

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Skin-Types: Acne-Prone Skin

Best for: Daily cleansing, up to twice a day

How to Use: First, wet your skin using lukewarm water. Next, massage the cleanser gently into the skin. After a thorough massage, rinse it off with lukewarm water.

The key ingredient in this cleanser is benzoyl peroxide, which works to clear current breakouts and prevent new acne and blackheads from forming. It achieves this by killing the acne-causing bacteria on your face. Furthermore, it also eliminates excess dirt and sebum from the skin.

The cleanser is also formulated with additional ingredients that calm and soothe irritated skin. It also contains ceramides, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients help the skin's natural protective barrier to retain its moisture as well as soothe it. These effects may also help neutralize the potential or irritating effects of benzoyl peroxide.


  • Effective concentration of benzoyl peroxide
  • Extra ingredients that calm and soothe the skin
  • Non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores)


  • Benzoyl peroxide can be drying and irritating

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Skin Types: Acne-Prone, Normal and Oily Skin

Best for: Daily Cleansing, up to twice a day

How to Use: First, wet your skin with lukewarm water. Next, massage the cleanser gently into the skin. After a thorough massage, rinse it off with lukewarm water.

The CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser contains hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and three vital ceramides. These active ingredients help ensure that the product doesn’t strip the skin of its natural moisture. More so, they also help have calming and soothing benefits for the skin.

This cleanser is remarkably gentle and non-irritating on the skin's surface. That being said, it still does a great job of removing dirt, debris, and excess oil on the face without stripping the skin.


  • Gentle on different skin types
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-irritating
  • Fragrance-free


  • Lacks active acne-fighting ingredients

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Skin Types: Acne-Prone and Oily Skin

Best for: Preventing breakouts and minimizing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

How to Use: First, cleanse your skin for prep. Then, apply a fair pump of the serum on your entire face, neck and chest. Do it once every day.

The CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum is an excellent choice for treating acne and blackheads. It helps prevent breakouts as well as treat pesky post-acne marks (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation). Altogether, it helps in nourishing promotes a smooth, even and clear complexion.

On the one hand, retinol helps resurface your skin. On the other, ceramides and niacinamide combine to calm and restore the skin while still maintaining its natural barrier. In addition, this formula also contains licorice root extract, thus giving it an extra brightening boost.


  • Paraben-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic


  • Retinol may cause drying and irritation for some

Skin Types: Acne-Prone, Normal Skin and Oily Skin

Best for: Moisturizing at night

How to Use: First, cleanse your face and apply any acne treatments. Then, apply one or two pumps of the moisturizer on your face, neck and chest.

The CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion contains hydrating hyaluronic acid and ceramides. It also has niacinamide for calming the skin. While this product is generally marketed for nighttime use, it is pretty lightweight, so you can easily use it in the morning, as well. However, if you opt to wear it during the day, it would be best to also apply sunscreen.

This gentle cleanser also has a blend of hydrating and calming active ingredients. Since it is lightweight, as we mentioned earlier, it's still able to moisturize effectively and leave your skin feeling fresh and well-nourished.


  • Oil-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Fragrance-free


  • Moisturizing effects may not be enough for cold/dry weather

Skin Types: Acne-Prone, Normal and Oily Skin

Best for: Daytime moisturizing, SPF protection

How to Use: First, cleanse your face and apply any acne treatments. Then, apply one or two pumps of the moisturizer on your face, neck and chest.

The CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen is arguably one of the best CeraVe products for acne sufferers, especially for those who want both a moisturizer and SPF.

Like its counterpart, the PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, this one also contains hydrating hyaluronic acid and ceramides, and calming niacinamide. In addition, it's also non-comedogenic, making it suitable even for people with acne-prone skin.


  • UVA and UVB protection
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Fragrance-free
  • Suitable for combination skin


  • Contains chemical sunscreen, which might irritate more sensitive skin types

What to Look for in a CeraVe Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin

1. Form

Form generally comes down to personal preference. All types of cleansers- foaming, non-foaming, bar or liquid- work equally well. That means you get to choose what you're most comfortable using.

Generally, cleansing lotions or non-foaming cleansers are less drying than a foaming gel cleanser. That makes them an excellent choice if your skin lies more on the dry side, or if it's drying out from using acne treatments. It's worth mentioning that many people tend to avoid using bar cleansers on the face but it's pretty safe if you use the right bar.

2. Active Ingredients

It's also critical to check the product label for the main active ingredients, like benzoyl peroxide, hyaluronic acid and salicylic acid. This helps you to determine if the product is going to address your skincare needs. Furthermore, it helps you stay away from products that may have ingredients that might cause you more harm than good, especially if you have sensitive skin.

You can also look out for other ingredients such as oils, which can help to keep your skin moisturized. It's also important for people with acne-prone skin to ensure that the product is non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn't clog pores.

The best thing about CeraVe is the science and research that goes into their products. For as long as you know your skin needs, regardless of the skin type, the brand is well-trusted to help you overcome your challenges. A quick glance into their website provides a whole breadth of knowledge into what makes a good product for your skin.

3. Medicated vs. Non-Medicated

Using medicated cleansers regularly helps reduce pore blockages and breakouts. CeraVe facial cleansers for acne contain the necessary active ingredients to help with this specifically. Benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, etc. are essential in treating breakouts and promoting healing.

If you're on other acne treatments, a medicated cleanser will likely leave your skin dry and uncomfortable. In that case, it's always better to opt for a non-medicated cleanser instead, say a product meant for sensitive skin.

4. Formulated for Face

Some people might be tempted to use their super-smelling, ultra cleansing body wash for their faces. However, the skin on your face, neck and chest area is usually thin and delicate, so such a cleanser isn't a good choice at all for your face. This is even more critical for people with sensitive and combination skin types.

If a cleanser is meant for the body, it should only be used for the body. Always ensure that the cleanser you use for acne is specifically designed for the face to minimize the risk of further irritation.

5. Feel

It's also important to focus on how the cleanser feels on your skin. Does your skin feel dry, tight or itchy after you use the cleanser? Then it's probably not the right choice. Try something else that's more suited to your skin type, especially if you have sensitive skin.

6. Recommendations

If you're still overwhelmed deciding on which CeraVe cleanser is best for acne for you, you can always consult the experts. In fact, if you're already seeing a dermatologist, it would be best to ask them first. Not only will they point you towards the ideal cleansers for you, but since they also know which acne medications you're using, they'll give you personalized recommendations. You can also reach out to an esthetician for suggestions since that is part of their line of work.

Fortunately, CeraVe is an equally trusted source in the field of dermatology. You can search for their products by skin type and skin concern, including acne-prone, oily skin, bumpy skin and anti-aging, for example. This makes it easy for the average user to choose the right product based on their skincare needs.

What to Avoid

  • Fragrances - Added fragrances, including botanical and plant-based ones, can irritate skin that's already irritated with acne and possibly medication.
  • Soap - Washing your face using a regular bar of soap tends to disrupt the skin barrier, leading to irritation from acne treatments.
  • Using too many products - If you're already on acne medication, either prescribed or over-the-counter, you may want to keep away from acne wash. The combination might be too much for your skin and often dries it out.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on CeraVe Face Cleansers

1. Is the CeraVe lotion ideal for acne?

The CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion contains hyaluronic acid and ceramides that hydrate and nourish the skin. However, it may not be particularly ideal for acne-prone skin since it also contains a few ingredients known for clogging pores, like Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol and Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate. Alternatively, we recommend trying the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream for Rough & Bumpy Skin.

2. Is CeraVe moisturizing cream good for acne?

The CeraVe Sa Moisturizing Cream for Rough & Bumpy Skin contains acne-fighting ingredients, such as Salicylic Acid and Niacinamide, that help clarify skin. That makes it the best CeraVe cream for people with acne-prone skin. 


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