I’ve been meaning to write a Cerave Skin Renewing Gel Oil review for a few months now, but my mind is like a sieve
sometimes a lot of the time. ADHD: the gift that keeps on giving.
Luckily I came across the main pic on my phone and immediately jumped on to Instagram to do a quick review. I figured I should probably blog about it when that quick review turned into 5 paragraphs and counting.
I decided to try the Skin Renewing Gel Oil as soon as I came across a write up about it in a magazine. A gel that’s also an oil? I needed that in my life immediately! When I ran on over to my nearest Walgreens, they had this serum priced at $24.99 for one full ounce. You can imagine my surprise when I saw that dollar amount for a Cerave item. Talk about sticker shock. I mean, I have no problem spending $25 or more on effective skincare, but on drugstore products? No, thank you.
I went for it, of course. It sounded interesting and I do enjoy the Cerave products that I currently own. “This damned stuff had better cure my everything”, I thought to myself as I spent way too much money on random things I don’t really need.
The Cerave Skin Renewing Gel Oil is touted as a ceramide booster, (whatever that’s supposed to mean) but does it really do what it claims? Read on to see.
Cerave Skin Renewing Gel Oil ingredients:
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Propylheptyl Caprylate, Water, Sucrose Laurate, Sucrose Stearate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Rosmarinus Offcinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Ceramide 6-II, Ceramide 1, Ceramide 2, Ceramide 3, Caprooyl Phytosphingosine, Caprooyl Sphingosine, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Sucrose Palmitate, Tocopherol, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone, Cetyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-25, Pentylene Glycol, Behenic Acid, Cholesterol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol
- Restores radiant, glowing skin
- Intense hydration plumps skin with moisture
- Helps repair and restore skin’s natural protective barrier
- Provides a concentrated “boost” of ceramides to skin
- Formulated especially for delicate facial skin
- For normal to dry skin
The ingredients in skincare are listed in descending order of concentration to 1% as directed by the FDA, with the first 5 being the ones that you want to pay attention to. Any ingredient under 1% can be listed in any order. There are, of course, exceptions to that rule, since some ingredients are most effective in smaller amounts.
The first five ingredients in this serum are:
- Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride– A skin replenishing ingredient derived from glycerin and coconut oil.
- C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate– A texture enhancing emollient that is lightly conditioning.
- Ethylhexyl Palmitate– A palm oil derivative often used as an organic silicone replacement.
- Glycerin– A natural or synthetically derived humectant that draws moisture to the skin from the air, and performs a protective layer.
- Propylheptyl Caprylate– Another emollient with a nice skin feel that was developed as an alternative to silicones.
I assume that these first 5 ingredients are the main ones that give this serum the skin feel that it has, which I discuss further below.
The manufacturer also touts sunflower extract as a selling point. The most common types of Sunflower oil are rich in fatty acids such as linoleic or high oleic acid. Studies suggest that it has anti-inflammatory properties and helps maintain the skin barrier, amongst other benefits. It is commonly categorized as an occlusive.
Another great ingredient that’s even further down on the list is ascorbyl palmitate, which is a stable and nonacidic form of vitamin c.
I do own and use other Cerave products that list niacinamide and ceramides higher in their order of ingredients so, for a “ceramide booster” this ingredients list seemed a bit lacking for me.
NT = No Thanks | PM = Possibly Maybe | RP = Repurchase | HG = Holy Grail
This high-for-drugstore priced serum was a strong no for me. I only used it off and on for a few weeks because I thoroughly hated the feel of it on my face. If you’ve read about how I felt about the Hada Labo Premium on here, you know my skin type does not like greasy feeling products. The Cerave Gel Oil isn’t just greasy, it’s greazy. When they say gel + oil, they mean “gel that quickly turns into an oil, but in a way that grosses Erika out”.
This transparent serum pumps out in a thin stream and has a dry, silicone-ish feel to it at first. Once you rub it in, it quickly turns oily and feels too thick to use as one of your first, or even intermediate, steps. I would characterize it as having the properties of an occlusive (sat on top of my skin, didn’t sink in), which meant I could only use it at night. By the time I got to the point in my routine where I could employ this serum, my skin felt like I had just applied some Vaseline or the lighter Aquafor.
Don’t get me wrong, I have used, and had no problems with, both of those as a last step because I knew what to expect. However, I wasn’t expecting that sort of skin feel from a product that touted itself as a booster serum. I know, I know. It’s called a gel oil for a reason, but I was hoping to get the oil benefits with a gel feel.
Before anyone tries to come at me with the fact that this serum is specifically for normal to dry skin types, so OF COURSE it wouldn’t work for my oily skin type:
I’ll have you know that, because of my tretinoin (and other acids) usage, I now use quite a bit of skincare that is marketed towards normal to dry skin. So there.
Besides the greasy feel, my main issue with this serum is that I broke out in a few spots on my chin and cheek after a few weeks of intermittent use. One of the benefits of my Curology prescription is that I’m not as prone to acne these days. At this point in time I have 3 different Cerave products in my arsenal that have never broken me out. Since I used it in conjunction with my usual routine, I had to assume that this product was the culprit.
Cosdna lists one of the top 5 ingredients, ethylhexyl palmitate, as having a high comedogenicity rating of 4 (4-5 being the most comedogenic). A few other ingredients lower down on the list have ratings of 2. That doesn’t necessarily mean that this product won’t work for you. Everyone’s skin is different, so please take that rating with a grain of salt.
I ended up returning this product to Walgreens with a quickness because there’s no way I was keeping a $25 skincare “booster” that only boosted my acne production. I would normally recommend it to my counterpart, Lori, since her dry skin revels in that shudder inducing greasy feel. She’s also acne prone, though, so probably not.