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 Renewing SA Cleanser vs CeraVe Acne Control Cleanser
With both cleansers appearing practically identical on the shelf with their signature blue 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 and hyaluronic acid, as well as salicylic acid (keeps pores unclogged, reduces sebum production, and wards off zits) and niacinamide (helps visibly improve uneven skin tone), the Renewing SA Cleanser also contains:
- 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.
Whereas the Acne Control Cleanser contains:
- A higher concentration of Salicylic Acid: concentrations up to 2%* of SA are considered to be the optimal amount for everyday use as it won’t cause irritation or unwanted side effects.
- Hectorite Clay: a mineral-rich ingredient that absorbs oil, helping to mattify your complexion.
This lends some clarity regarding the names given to the products. The Acne Control Cleanser is clearly formulated for, well, acne (and otherwise just generally treating oily skin). The Renewing SA Cleanser on the other hand renews the skin through gentle exfoliation, yielding smoother, less bumpy/rough, more even-toned skin with every wash.
Looking for a cleanser for acne-prone skin?
Try the CeraVe Acne Control Cleanser
Looking for a cleanser for rough/bumpy 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 both the Renewing SA Cleanser and the Acne Control Cleanser being a gel; and both are indeed free from fragrance and nasties.
Acne Control Cleanser by CeraVe
Our rating: ★★★★★
2% salicylic acid acne treatment.
What makes it special? CeraVe is the #1 dermatologist-recommended moisturizer brand for acne*, and their new Acne Control Cleanser with 2% salicylic acid is formulated to clear acne, reduce blackheads and improve the appearance of pores, while purifying clay helps absorb excess oil. Featuring Oil-Absorbing Technology to minimize visible shine, this refreshing, gel-to-foam salicylic acid cleanser effectively removes dirt and excess oil, gently exfoliates and penetrates clogged pores to help prevent new acne breakouts.
Which skin types? For acne-prone 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.
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.