So, you've decided you want to try one of CeraVe's cult-favorite, best-selling cleansers, but you can't quite figure out what the differences are? We've all been there, don't worry!
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CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser vs CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser
With both cleansers appearing practically identical on the shelf with their signature blue/green CeraVe branding, we're going to have to dive straight into their formulas to find any differences of note.
Though both cleansers boast the same nourishing base of essential ceramides, pore-minimizing & sebum-regulating niacinamide, and intensely hydrating hyaluronic acid, the Renewing SA Cleanser also contains:
- Salicylic Acid: exfoliates dead skin, keeps pores clean and unclogged, reduces sebum production, and its anti-inflammatory properties make it a prime ingredient for those with acne.
- Polyhydroxy Acid: works by exfoliating dead skin cells on the surface, resulting in a more even skin tone and texture, and also help skin-care ingredients penetrate deeper into the layers of your skin, thus boosting their efficacy.
This forms the basis of the biggest difference between the two: the Renewing SA Cleanser is an exfoliating cleanser - perfect for those with concerns regarding skin texture (such as rough/bumpy skin) - whereas the Foaming Facial Cleanser is a regular daily cleanser, primarily targeted at those with oilier skin types.
Clearly there is some overlap, and it has to be said that they're both good for fighting acne, regulating oily skin, and minimizing the appearance of pores.
Even though sometimes it might feel like you need to pick one or the other, our recommendation (especially for those that suffer from breakouts) would be to get both.
Use the Foaming Facial Cleanser as your regular AM/PM cleanser, and then use the Renewing SA Cleanser every other day or every few days. You don’t even necessarily have to have super acne-prone or bumpy skin to use a salicylic acid product. Salicylic acid helps in the prevention of future breakouts and will address enlarged/clogged pores and blackheads/whiteheads far more effectively than almost any other active.
Looking for a daily cleanser for oily/acne-prone skin?
Try the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser
Looking for a cleanser to treat rough/bumpy/acne-prone skin?
Try the CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser
Other points of note include: price, in which they are practically the same per fluid ounce; texture, with the Renewing SA Cleanser being a gel and the Foaming Facial Cleanser also being a gel; and both are indeed free from fragrance and nasties.
Foaming Facial Cleanser by CeraVe
Our rating: ★★★★★
Foaming gel cleanser for normal-to-oily skin.
What makes it special? CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser was developed with dermatologists to deeply cleanse, remove excess oil and refresh the skin without over-stripping it or leaving it feeling tight and dry. Featuring three essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, this gel-based foaming cleanser is an effective yet non-irritating way to cleanse and care for your normal to oily skin.
Which skin types? For normal-to-oily skin
Renewing SA Cleanser by CeraVe
Our rating: ★★★★★
Salicylic acid foaming gel cleanser for smooth skin.
What makes it special? CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser provides gentle, non-irritating exfoliation without harsh microbeads that can scratch your skin. Suitable for use on your face and body as well as acne-prone skin. It not only exfoliates the skin, but with three essential ceramides, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, it also helps soften and smooth the skin without disrupting its protective barrier. This formula is also non-comedogenic, fragrance-free and enriched with antioxidant vitamin D.
Which skin types? For normal skin types; suitable for oily/acne-prone skin.
This article was originally published on April 28th 2022, but it has been reviewed and updated with the latest available information on February 5th 2024 by Sara Mckay, MA.
Calum Torrington is the founder of FemmeNordic. He has worked as a beauty editor since 2020 and employs his analytical background in mathematics to thoroughly scrutinize complex INCI lists. Now, he helps over 1 million people per year to find the best beauty products.