Review: Cerave Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser

Developed with dermatologists, this 4% benzoyl peroxide cleanser clears acne breakouts and helps prevent new blemishes from forming. Gentle on the skin, CeraVe Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser helps maintain the skin’s barrier with three essential ceramides, leaves skin feeling soft and comfortable, and reduces acne without dryness or flaking.


I was developing a skincare routine for my mom, who’s struggling with acne, and decided to give the tried and true Cerave Acne Foaming Cream Cleanser a shot to see if it would be a good fit for her. The product’s simple, reliable ingredient list carried no worrisome notes and I hoped it could be a reliable drugstore product that those looking for a simple routine could depend on. The cleanser itself is a smooth, goopy, white liquid that must be applied quickly on the face (or else it will slide straight off). Unfortunately, the cleanser doesn’t foam as it claims to in the title, and I found that consistent use dried out my skin.

Ingredient Pros and Cons

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Benzoyl Peroxide 4%, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Hydroxide, Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eop, Carbomer, Niacinamide, Glycolic Acid, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Sodium Hydroxide, Cholesterol, Phenoxyethanol, Propanediol, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium Edta, Diethylhexyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate, Phytosphingosine, Ethylhexylglycerin, Benzoic Acid

Significant Pros

  • Glycerin, Propylene Glycol (moisturizing)
  • Benzoyl Peroxide 4% (acne-fighting)
  • Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eop (moisturizing)
  • Cholesterol (moisturizing)
  • Niacinamide (addresses hyper-pigmentation)
  • Glycolic Acid (gentle exfoliant)

Significant Cons

  • Nothing of significant note

The Takeaway

Though this cleanser contains some powerful acne-fighting ingredients, it does so at a cost. Even for my oily skin, this was too much, and while I don’t regret this purchase, I can’t recommend this product (though you are certainly welcome to try it if you wish, considering its affordable price and the fact that its impact on me was not drastically unpleasant). Instead, I would highly recommend Thank You Farmer’s Icelandic Cleansing Foam, an affordable, acne-fighting face wash which replaces the Benzoyl Peroxide with a small dilution of Tea Tree Oil, surrounded by moisturizing and calming botanical ingredients. If you find the ingredient list agreeable to your skin conditions/allergies, I would definitely insist on trying that in Cerave’s place (also, it’s only $13).

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