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CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser Ingredients Explained

4.2   from 10 ratings
83
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82
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Updated on September 19, 2023

There is an older formulation of this product:

Overview

What it is

Face cleanser with 28 ingredients that contains AHA, benzoyl peroxide, ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide

Cool Features

It is fungal acne (malassezia) safe and reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, anti aging, dry skin, brightening skin, sensitive skin, oily skin, reducing pores, scar healing, dark spots and better texture

Free From

It doesn't contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, fragrances, oils, parabens, silicones or sulfates

Fun facts

CeraVe is from Canada. This product is used in 750 routines created by our community.

We independently verify ingredients and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Does this product need an update? Let us know.

You should know

Here's our breakdown of the notable ingredients, benefits, and concerns we determined from the ingredients in this product. Click any item to learn more.

Notable Ingredients

AHA
Niacinamide
Benzoyl Peroxide
Ceramides (3)
Hyaluronic Acid

Benefits

Hydrating (5)
Good For Oily Skin (2)
Redness Reducing (5)
Reduces Irritation (3)
Skin Texture
Reduces Large Pores (2)
Anti-Aging (4)
Dark Spots (2)
Scar Healing
Acne Fighting (2)
Brightening (3)

Concerns

Drying (2)
Acne Trigger
Irritating (3)
Rosacea (3)
Eczema (3)

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and view relevant ingredients.
alcohol-free
silicon-free
fragrance-free
sulfate-free
paraben-free
oil-free
fungal-acne safe
reef-safe
eu-allergen-free
vegan
cruelty-free

Ingredients Overview

Here's our quick-to-read summary of the ingredients in this product. Keep scrolling if you'd like to learn more about what each ingredient does!
Ingredient
Features
1
Benzoyl Peroxide IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation IconHelps fight Acne IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
2
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
3
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
0 / 0
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
4
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
0 / 0
May worsen Eczema Icon
5
Cleansing, Skin Conditioning
6
Cleansing, Foaming
May cause irritation Icon
7
Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming, Skin Conditioning
8
Buffering
9
Skin Conditioning
Ceramide IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconHelps with Anti-Aging Icon
10
Skin Conditioning
Ceramide IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconHelps with Anti-Aging Icon
11
Skin Conditioning
Ceramide IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconHelps with Anti-Aging Icon
12
Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
1 / 0
13
Smoothing
Niacinamide IconGood for Oily Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Dark Spots IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin Icon
14
Buffering
AHA IconGood for Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
15
Masking
Can worsen Dry Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
16
Buffering, Masking
17
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
Hyaluronic Acid Icon
18
Emulsifying
19
Buffering
20
Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning, Stabilising
0 / 0
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness Icon
21
Preservative
Preservative Icon
22
Solvent
23
Buffering, Masking
AHA IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
24
25
Cleansing, Emulsifying
26
Skin Conditioning
27
Skin Conditioning
28
Masking, Preservative
Preservative IconMay worsen Eczema Icon

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 28 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
1
What it does:
Community Rating: Disliked

Benzoyl Peroxide is famous for fighting acne. This is because it does a variety of tasks on the skin: it helps reduce excess oil, kill bacteria, and clear out dead skin cells. In other words, it is effective at unclogging pores.

These properties make it great at fighting different types of acne, including cystic and inflammatory types of acne.

When targeting the bacteria in your pores, Benzoyl Peroxide has been shown to kill the bacteria without causing sensitivity. It also helps keep your skin's natural bacteria and biome balanced. Having a healthy biome protects your skin from external harmful factors.

Once Benzoyl Peroxide is absorbed into the skin, our bodies turn it into benzoic acid and quickly exits in urine.

When using Benzoyl Peroxide, it may be irritating for some people due to a variety of reasons, such as a broken skin barrier or just an allergic reaction. We recommend speaking with a professional about using this ingredient if you have concerns.

Learn more about Benzoyl Peroxide
2
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. Talk about multi-purpose! If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
3
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
Community Rating: Loved

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

A study from 2016 found glycerin to be more effective as a humectant than AHAs and hyaluronic acid.

As a humectant, it helps the skin stay hydrated by pulling moisture to your skin. The low molecular weight of glycerin allows it to pull moisture into the deeper layers of your skin.

Hydrated skin improves your skin barrier; Your skin barrier helps protect against irritants and bacteria.

Glycerin has also been found to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Due to these properties, glycerin is often used in wound and burn treatments.

In cosmetics, glycerin is usually derived from plants such as soybean or palm. However, it can also be sourced from animals, such as tallow or animal fat.

This ingredient is organic, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic.

Glycerin is the name for this ingredient in American English. British English uses Glycerol/Glycerine.

Learn more about Glycerin
4
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Propylene Glycol is an odorless, colorless liquid. As a humectant, it helps skin retain moisture. It also aids in delivering active ingredients.

Another role of this ingredient is preventing a product from melting or freezing. Propylene glycol also adds antimicrobrial properties to a product, elongating product lifespan.

This ingredient is considered an organic alcohol and commonly added into both cosmetics and foods.

Those with sensitive skin or conditions may deliver a rash when using this ingredient.

Learn more about Propylene Glycol
5
What it does: Cleansing, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Disliked

Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine is a synthetic cleansing agent, though it is derived from coconut oil.

It is used to enhance the texture of products by boosting lather and thickening the texture. As a cleanser, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine is mild.

6
What it does: Cleansing, Foaming
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate is a cleansing agent made from a mixture of long chain sulfonate salts. It can also help produce foam.

This ingredient may be drying. We recommend speaking with a professional if you have concerns.

7
What it does: Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Disliked

Xanthan gum is used as a stabilizer and thickener within cosmetic products. It helps give products a sticky, thick feeling - preventing them from being too runny.

On the technical side of things, xanthan gum is a polysaccharide - a combination consisting of multiple sugar molecules bonded together.

Xanthan gum is a pretty common and great ingredient. It is a natural, non-toxic, non-irritating ingredient that is also commonly used in food products.

Learn more about Xanthan Gum
8
What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Potassium hydroxide is commonly known as caustic potash. It is used to fix the pH of a product or as a cleaning agent in soap. In cleansers, it is used for the saponification of oils.

Sapnification is the process of creating fatty acid metal salts from triglycerides and a strong base. During this process, Potassium Hydroxide is used up and is not present in the final product.

Using high concentrations of Potassium Hydroxide have shown to irritate the skin.

Learn more about Potassium Hydroxide
9
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Ceramide NP is a type of ceramide.

Ceramides are intercellular lipids naturally found in our skin that bonds dead skin cells together to create a barrier. They are known for their ability to hold water and thus are a great ingredient for dry skin.

Ceramides are an important building block for our skin barrier. A stronger barrier helps the skin look more firm and hydrated. By bolstering the skin ceramides act as a barrier against irritating ingredients. This can help with inflammation as well.

If you would like to eat ceramides, sweet potatoes contain a small amount.

Read more about other common types of ceramides here: Ceramide AP Ceramide EOP

Learn more about Ceramide NP
10
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Ceramide AP is a type of Ceramide.

Ceramides are intercellular lipids naturally found in our skin that bonds dead skin cells together to create a barrier. Having a strong skin barrier leads to more firm and hydrated skin.

They are known for their ability to hold water and thus are a great ingredient for dry skin. By bolstering the skin ceramides act as a barrier against irritating ingredients. This can help with inflammation as well.

If you would like to eat ceramides, sweet potatoes contain a small amount.

Read more about other common types of ceramides here: Ceramide NP Ceramide EOP

Learn more about Ceramide AP
11
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Ceramide EOP is a type of Ceramide. EOP stands for a linked Ester fatty acid, a linked Omega hydroxy fatty acid, and the Phytosphingosine base.

Ceramides are intercellular lipids naturally found in our skin that bonds dead skin cells together to create a barrier. They are known for their ability to hold water and thus are a great ingredient for dry skin.

Ceramides are an important building block for our skin barrier. A stronger barrier helps the skin look more firm and hydrated. By bolstering the skin ceramides act as a barrier against irritating ingredients. This can help with inflammation as well.

If you would like to eat ceramides, sweet potatoes contain a small amount.

Read more about other common types of ceramides here: Ceramide AP Ceramide NP

Learn more about Ceramide EOP
12
What it does: Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
Community Rating: Disliked

Carbomer is a polymer of acrylic acid. Its main role is to create gel consistency within products.

Carbomer is commonly found in many types of cosmetics products. It is found to be safe in concentrations up to 15%. However, a high amount of carbomer can cause pilling or balling up of products. Most products contain 1% of less of carbomer.

13
What it does: Smoothing
Community Rating: Loved

Niacinamide has emerged as an all-star ingredient due to its many benefits.

It is known to treat acne by reducing inflammation. It also helps fade dark-spots and strengthen the skin by promoting the growth of the ceramide barrier.

Other benefits include smoothing wrinkles and minimizing redness.

The cherry on top? Niacinamide can also help build keratin, a protein that keeps skin firm.

When incorporating niacinamide into your routine, look out for concentration amounts. Typically, 5% niacinamide provides benefits such as fading dark spots. However, if you have sensitive skin, it is better to begin with a smaller concentration.

Niacinamide can be mixed with other ingredients to boost benefits. For instance, it has shown to be effective when used with copper, folic acid, and zinc to treat acne.

Learn more about Niacinamide
14
What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: Loved

Glycolic Acid is arguably the most famous AHA with research to back up its benefits. Its main role is to peel the top layer of skin cells from the newer layer of skin underneath. This helps skin to remove dark spots and look more even.

Glycolic Acid has shown to boost collage production, a protein that helps skin stay firm. Overall, Glycolic Acid helps with improving uneven tone, rough patches of skin, fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage. It also increases skin hydration by playing a role in creating molecules that create hyaluronic acid naturally.

When applying Glycolic Acid, it is normal to feel slight stinging. The pH value and concentration of glycolic acid play a role in the effectiveness of the product.

Recent studies have shown Glycolic Acid may protect the skin against UV damage. However, you should always wear SPF, especially when using exfoliants.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Glycolic Acid
15
What it does: Masking
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Chances are, you eat sodium chloride every day. Sodium Chloride is also known as table salt.

This ingredient has many purposes in skincare: thickener, emulsifier, and exfoliator.

You'll most likely find this ingredient in cleansers where it is used to create a gel-like texture. As an emulsifier, it also prevents ingredients from separating.

There is much debate on whether this ingredient is comedogenic. The short answer - comedogenic ratings don't tell the whole story. Learn more about comegodenic ratings here.

The concensus about this ingredient causing acne seems to be divided. Research is needed to understand if this ingredient does cause acne.

Scrubs may use salt as the primary exfoliating ingredient.

Learn more about Sodium Chloride
16
What it does: Buffering, Masking
Community Rating: Mixed

Sodium Citrate is the sodium salts of citric acid. In skincare, it is used to alter pH levels and acts as a preservative.

Sodium Citrate helps maintain the pH of a product. Normal pH level of skin is slightly acidic (~4.75-5.5). The acidity of our skin is maintained by our glands and skin biome. Being slightly acidic allows our skin to create an "acid mantle". This acid mantle is a thin barrier that protects our skin from bacteria and contaminants.

Sodium Citrate is a chelating agent. It neutralizes metal ions from water and prevents them from binding to other ingredients. This ensures the other ingredients will not be altered.

Learn more about Sodium Citrate
17
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Sodium Hyaluronate is hyaluronic acid's salt form. It is commonly derived from the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid.

Like hyaluronic acid, it is great at holding water and acts as a humectant. This makes it a great skin hydrating ingredient.

Sodium Hyaluronate is naturally occurring in our bodies and is mostly found in eye fluid and joints.

These are some other common types of Hyaluronic Acid:

Learn more about Sodium Hyaluronate
18
What it does: Emulsifying
Community Rating: Liked

Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate is the lauric acid sodium salt of lactyl lactate.

Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate is an emulsifier and surfactant.

Emulsifiers help stabilize a product. They do this by preventing ingredients from separating, such as oils and water which do not mix naturally. Surfactants reduce surface tension, making it easier to rinse pollutants off skin.

Due to its relation to lauric acid, it may provide antimicrobial benefits.

Learn more about Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate
19
What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: Mixed

Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. It is used to adjust the pH of products; many ingredients require a specific pH to be effective.

In small amounts, sodium hydroxide is considered safe to use. However, large amounts may cause chemical burns due to its high alkaline.

Your skin has a natural pH and acid mantle. This acid mantle helps prevent harmful bacteria from breaking through. The acid mantle also helps keep your skin hydrated.

"Alkaline" refers to a high pH level. A low pH level would be considered acidic.

Learn more about Sodium Hydroxide
20
What it does: Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning, Stabilising
Community Rating: Liked

Cholesterol is a class of organic molecules called lipids. It helps hydrate your skin and is essential to having a healthy skin barrier.

Our skin naturally contains cholesterol in the outermost layer. Besides cholesterol, it also contains ceramides and fatty acids. Cholesterol makes up about 1/4 of your skin's outer layer and barrier. Your skin barrier is responsible for keeping allergens and microbes out. Having a healthy skin barrier is also responsible for keeping your skin firm and plump.

Our bodies use cholestrol to create vitamin D, steroid hormones, and more.

Learn more about Cholesterol
21
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent germ and microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

It's often used in formulations along with Caprylyl Glycol to preserve the shelf life of products.

22
What it does: Solvent
Community Rating: Liked

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Propanediol is not likely to cause sensitivity and considered safe to use.

It is derived from corn or petroleum with a clear color and no scent.

Learn more about Propanediol
23
What it does: Buffering, Masking
Community Rating: Disliked

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

If you spot Citric Acid near the end of an ingredient list, it's likely there as a pH adjuster rather than an active ingredient.

As an AHA, Citric Acid removes the top layer of skin cells from the newer layer of skin underneath. This helps skin to remove dark spots and look more even.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Citric Acid
24
What it does:
Community Rating: Disliked

Tetrasodium EDTA is the salt formed from neutralizing ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid with sodium hydroxide. It is a chelating agent and used to prevent metal ions from binding to other ingredients. This helps keep the product and ingredients stable.

Tetrasodium EDTA comes as a white solid and is soluble in water.

25
What it does: Cleansing, Emulsifying

We don't have a description for Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate.

26
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Phytosphingosine is a phospholipid naturally found in our skin. It helps moisturize, soothe, and protect skin.

Phytosphingosine is already present in our skin. On our skin, it is a building block for ceramides.

Phytosphingosine tells our skin to increase its natural moisturizing factor (NMF). The NMF is responsible for hydration, a strong barrier, and plasticity. Our NMF decreases with age. Increasing NMF leads to more healthy and hydrated skin.

Studies show products formulated with NMF ingredients help strengthen our skin's barrier. Having a healthy skin barrier reduces irritation and increases hydration. Our skin barrier is responsible for having plump and firm skin. It also helps protect our skin against infection, allergies, and inflammation.

Phytosphingosine is also abundant in plants and fungi.

More ingredients that help boost collagen in skin:

Learn more about Phytosphingosine
27
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

Ethylhexylglycerin (we can't pronounce this either) is commonly used as a preservative and skin softener. It is derived from glyceryl.

You might see Ethylhexylglycerin often paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol. Ethylhexylglycerin has been found to increase the effectiveness of these other preservatives.

28
What it does: Masking, Preservative
Community Rating: Disliked

Benzoic Acid is used to preserve and adjust the pH of products.

The antimicrobial property of Benzoic Acid helps elongate a product's shelf life. Its main role is to reduce fungi growth and is not found to be effective at fighting bacteria. Therefore Benzoic Acid is always added along with other preservatives.

In its pure form, Benzoic Acid looks like a white crystalline solid. It has slight solubility in water.

The name of Benzoic Acid comes from gum benzoin, which used to be the sole source of deriving this ingredient. Benzoic Acid is the most simple aromatic carboxylic acid.

Benzoic Acid is naturally occuring in strawberries, mustard, cinnamon, and cloves. It has a slight scent but is not considered to be a fragrance.

Learn more about Benzoic Acid
Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 28 ingredients in this product ✨

43% are loved or liked
11% have mixed ratings
43% are disliked or very disliked
4% have no rating yet

When to use

We've created a guide with info on when you should use CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser. We've also included some recommended products to use it with, as well as some routine inspiration!

Read our guide on when to use Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser ->
Verified by SkinSort

We're dedicated to providing you with the most up-to-date and science-backed ingredient info out there.

The data we've presented on this page has been verified by a member of the SkinSort Team.

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Reviews

See all 10
4.2 /5
from 10 ratings
AbigailSteuer_348's avatar

AbigailSteuer_348

9 months ago Β· Oily Skin
Review

Benzoyl Peroxide for my acne

margaretjk's avatar

margaretjk

6 months ago Β· Combination Skin
Review

Doesn’t irritate and actually helps my acne without drying me out.