Exfoliating your skin is a vital step in maintaining a healthy glow. By removing dead cells from the skin’s surface and promoting cell turnover, smoother and brighter skin is revealed. And yet, some people don’t make it a part of their skincare routine because it scares them. If you feel that your skin is dull, rough, and congested but you’re worried that exfoliation might be too harsh, fret no more. CeraVe has the solution to your problem.

CeraVe products are known for being gentle on the skin. Exfoliating ingredients are carefully blended within their cleansers and moisturizers for minimum irritation. Even if you have sensitive skin, you can use their products every day.

The Best CeraVe Exfoliating Products

All CeraVe products begin with moisturization as their foundation. Each of them features three essential ceramides (ceramides 1, 3, and 6-II) to restore the skin’s moisture barrier. These lipids help the skin retain moisture and protect it from environmental damage. Since ceramides are found naturally in skin, they are compatible with any skin type.

On top of the ceramides, CeraVe’s SA product line contains a special ingredient: salicylic acid. Originally derived from willow and meadowsweet bark, it has a long history of treating various skin ailments. (Nowadays, salicylic acid is produced in a lab.) SA is a beta hydroxy acid that helps to gently exfoliate the skin; therefore, it’s an effective treatment for dry, rough, and bumpy skin.

In addition, salicylic acid goes into the skin’s pores to clear out dirt and sebum. This can significantly decrease breakouts, making it a popular component of anti-acne medications. Its drying and peeling effects could cause tingling or itching when you first use it, however. To lessen irritation, CeraVe incorporates a lot of hydrating and soothing ingredients.

The CeraVe SA line is the only one that has exfoliators. Here are the most sought-after items among them.

  Product Key Ingredients Available Size Price  
CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser Glycerin, Niacinamide, Vitamin D 8 fl oz $49.99 Buy on Amazon
CeraVe SA Body Wash for Rough & Bumpy Skin Glycerin, Niacinamide, Phytosphingosine 10 fl oz $13.99 Buy on Amazon
CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin Glycerin, Vitamin D, Lactic Acid 8 fl oz $15.48 Buy on Amazon

1. CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser

CeraVe collaborated with dermatologists to develop their Renewing SA Cleanser for gentle exfoliation. This facial wash completely removes dirt and oil while it softens and smooths the skin. It works like a scrub to get rid of dead skin cells but without any abrasion. Unlike other exfoliating cleansers, it doesn’t have any microbeads that can irritate the skin or harm the environment.

This product nourishes your skin as you wash. Glycerin adds moisture while hyaluronic acid locks it in. Niacinamide strengthens the moisture barrier by increasing ceramide synthesis. The antioxidant Vitamin D is added to prevent further skin damage. At the same time, it also calms irritation. The result is clean, well-balanced skin after every wash.

Salicylic Acid

Helps exfoliate and soften – essential in smoothing rough skin.

No Microbeads

No harsh microbeads that can irritate skin

Gentle on Skin

Non-drying and non-irritating.

2. CeraVe SA Body Wash for Rough & Bumpy Skin

Inflammation can occur on any part of the body, not just the face. CeraVe’s SA Body Wash for Rough & Bumpy Skin lessens the incidence of breakouts while it cleanses. It also gently exfoliates to improve skin texture. With its fragrance-free and paraben-free formulation, it’s a favorite for people who have sensitive skin.

To prevent dryness, CeraVe uses their patented MVE Delivery Technology to continuously diffuse moisturizing nutrients into the skin. This time-release system consists of tiny spheres that slowly melt on the skin’s surface, dispensing layer upon layer of hydrating elements. With regular use, you’ll be on your way to smooth, bump-free skin all over.

3 Essential Ceramides

All CeraVe products contain the vital ceramides skin needs to help restore and maintain its natural protective barrier.

MVE Delivery Technology

Controlled release for 24 hour hydration.

Salicylic Acid

Helps exfoliate and soften – essential in smoothing rough skin.

3. CeraVe SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin

CeraVe produces two types of skin moisturizers for their SA line: a lotion and a cream. The cream is ideal for extremely dry spots, but for everyday use, we prefer the lightweight feel of the SA Lotion for Rough & Bumpy Skin.

Besides salicylic acid, this lotion contains lactic acid, a mild alpha hydroxy acid. Lactic acid is also an exfoliator but it’s specifically used to lighten blemishes and age spots. By speeding up cell turnover and stimulating renewal, it brings out a brighter complexion. Furthermore, it can improve the appearance of fines line and wrinkles.

How Exfoliators Work Their Magic

Your skin has a protective barrier to keep itself supple and resilient against damage from the sun or other environmental factors. It naturally sheds dead cells and dirt to reveal healthy new skin underneath. Sometimes, though, it needs a bit of help. To prevent the buildup of substances that can make you look ashen or dull, an exfoliator should be an integral part of your skincare routine.

Which Is Better:

A Physical or Chemical Exfoliator?

There are two methods of exfoliation. The first is by using a physical exfoliant. These are materials that remove dead skin cells through friction. If you use a washcloth or loofah, then you know what this means. Some skincare products also physically exfoliate via their ingredients. Examples are facial scrubs or body washes with beads or crushed shells.

The second type is the chemical exfoliant. These are acids that are usually derived from plants or sometimes dairy products. Two families of acids—alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) and beta hydroxy acids (BHA)—both act the same way. They melt the bonds that hold dry, dull cells on the skin’s surface, although there are some differences in their applications. Although the words “chemical” and “acid” seem scary, chemical exfoliation is actually the safer way to go. Reputable skincare companies have perfected the level of acid in their exfoliating products to minimize irritation and dryness. Whereas physical exfoliators, if not used properly, can cause inflammation. You could literally rub your skin raw.

Should You Choose AHA or BHA?

Many skincare products incorporate both AHAs and BHAs because each has separate benefits. One isn’t necessarily better than the other.

AHAs are water-soluble compounds that help peel away the topmost layer of the skin to expose smoother, brighter-looking skin underneath. They’re an effective treatment for lightening sun spots and blurring wrinkles. BHAs, on the other hand, work deeper inside the pores to dissolve dead skin cells and dirt, and control excess sebum.

Moreover, having both acid-based exfoliators in your product can boost moisturization and soothe the skin. Lactic acid, for example, is an AHA that also acts as a humectant—pulling moisture to the skin and trapping it. Salicylic acid, a BHA, fights acne while it calms irritation and redness. These two potent chemical exfoliants are the main ingredients in CeraVe’s SA product line.

Exfoliate Your Skin Gently with CeraVe

Now that you know about the gentle yet effective formulations behind CeraVe’s exfoliators, you can rest assured that they won’t harm your skin. Make them a part of your skincare regimen for smooth, velvety skin that’s radiant with health.