Woooof. Cerave in a tub was the holy grail of all holy grails on r/skincareaddiction at one point. I used this cream a lot when my acne was bad, because I convinced myself that my breakouts were because of a weakened moisture barrier. Even those four or five years ago, I never thought the cream was phenomenal. Even though I was only using it at night, I had major issues with the product pilling on application, faint burning, and being too chalky when I woke up the next morning, so it was difficult to wash off.
But the brand Cerave, at the time, was a huge step up in my skincare game compared to my former late-teens mainstay Clean and Clear. Just push through it! I told myself. Spoiler alert: my skin condition did not improve.
Cerave’s been doing a huge advertising push lately, and I’ve seen good ol’ “Cerave in a Tub” being advertised just about everywhere. It seems like the emphasis is more on it being a body cream, but it can still be used on your face. The advertising won me over to try it again in 2020. Whoops.
I washed my face before bed with water. I didn’t use exfoliants, in order to get the “full” Cerave in a tub experience. This thick white cream is pretty difficult to spread around and does not absorb well into the skin. Fair enough, it is a cream, and not a gel, after all. I had a fair bit of whitecast left over even a good amount of time getting it to sink in — not that it matters when all you’re doing is heading to bed, but still!
Five minutes pass. The faint, familiar burning returns. This persists for another twenty minutes until I decide to partake in the difficult task of rinsing it off. In the spirit of “maybe I’m just not used to it yet!”, I tried this two more nights during the week, but to no avail: I had the same results. Worst yet, I woke up the next morning with a few spots.
There are a few morals to this story. First of all, if it’s a moisturizer, I am fairly certain there should be no, or a very short, break-in period where your skin is getting used to it. Also, a moisturizer shouldn’t burn! Even if you think the ingredient listing is tame, if your skin starts burning, just stop using it! And last, apparently a tiger never changes its stripes. Or, well, in the case of Cerave PM moisturizer, it occasionally does change it’s stripes (ingredients), but then the product ends up worse for wear.
I tried putting this cream on my knees and elbows since it’s being touted as a body cream too — it was still a little bit too heavy and chalky to feel hydrating. If you still want to try it out, $15 for a pretty substantial tub of product will go a long way and keep you covered for a few months — but only if your skin can tolerate it! ~A
Perceived efficacy: 0/5 (ouch!)
How much I actually like this product: 0/5 (ouch again!)
Recommended for sensitive skin: NO!