Cerave Skin Renewing Retinol Serum Review: Is This The Best Retinol Serum? Read Our Honest Review Before Purchasing


Retinol is the one magical ingredient everyone needs in their skincare regime. Especially after your mid-20's, it's time to incorporate retinol in your skincare regime if you want to look ageless when you're 40. During my teen years, I did try prescription retinol, and honestly, it was a tad too strong for me.

I wanted to try something that wasn’t harsh yet effective-basically, something available over the counter.  Cerave is a very well-trusted brand, and consumers and dermatologists alike highly recommend it. I already tried their cleansers and moisturizers before, and they were delightful, so I decided to give the Cerave Skin Renewing Retinol Serum a try. Is it the best retinol cream? Keep on reading to find out.

What Does Retinol Do?

Retinol is a type of Vitamin A and is milder than retinoids. When it's topically applied to your skin, it gets converted to retinoic acid. Retinol has been clinically proven to minimize signs of aging. It breaks up the top dead layer of your skin and enhances cell turnover revealing younger, smoother, and brighter skin.

However, depending on your skin type, it can take anywhere between 1-2 months for your skin to adapt to retinol. At the beginning of your treatment, you might experience mild irritation such as dryness and flaking. When you’re just starting off, it’s highly recommended that you use retinol alternatively to build your tolerance level and to moisturize regularly. If you want to know more about retinol, you can check our detailed retinol article.

Cerave Skin Renewing Retinol Serum Overview

The key ingredients are niacinamide and retinol. What makes this product different is that it features an encapsulated formula along with a wide array of moisturizing ingredients that make it effective yet gentle on your skin. The Cerave Skin Renewing Retinol Serum claims to:

  • Improve skin radiance and texture
  • Minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • It’s non-comedogenic and is targeted towards all skin types

The Review

The pump tube is easy to use and hygienic 

First of all, I love the packaging. The Cerave Skin Renewing Retinol Serum comes in a 30ml pump tube with a minimalistic design. The pump tube makes it hygienic to use and ensures that you get out the right amount every time. There is no mention as to the percentage of retinol, but some sources stated that it’s 0.3%.

The consistency is neither too thick nor runny

The consistency is similar to most retinol serums-neither too runny nor too thick, and it also gives off a distinct retinol smell that you'll instantly recognize if you've used retinol before. Once applied, the serum gets absorbed quickly, and it isn’t oily; you won’t have any issues layering products on top of it. If you’re going to apply additional skincare products on top of it, and we highly recommend that you use a moisturizer-give the serum 10 minutes to get completely absorbed. One pump should be enough to cover the entire face.

Coming to the effects, as soon as you apply it, there is a mild stinging sensation, but it goes away within a few minutes. I did experience a little bit of irritation for the first two weeks, but nothing that a moisturizer couldn't suffice. Thankfully, there was no peeling. After three weeks, I did see a noticeable difference. Skin appears more radiant, younger, and my pigmentation from my acne years started to fade gradually. However, for fine lines and wrinkles, you'll need to use it for a longer period. 

Keeping in mind the affordable price tag, I consider the Cerave Skin Renewing Retinol Serum a complete value for money. On the downside, it doesn't mention the percentage of retinol, and it might be too gentle for people who have already used stronger percentages of retinol before.

Who Is It For?

The Cerave Skin Renewing Retinol Serum is perfect for beginners that want to incorporate retinol into their skincare regime. The affordable price tag also makes it accessible to many. Additionally, it's gentle on the skin, unlike other retinol serums, and best of all, it actually works. Overall, if you're on the hunt for the best retinol serum, the Cerave Skin Renewing Retinol Serum is an excellent choice.


·       Well-known brand

·       Non-comedogenic

·       Hygienic packaging

·       Gentle on the skin

·       It contains niacinamide and other moisturizing ingredients

·       Works well on pigmentation

·       Value for money


·       No mention of the retinol percentage

·       It might be too gentle for some users

Have you tried the Cerave Skin Renewing Retinol Serum? Let us know in the comments if it worked for you or not. 

Candid Skincare

I suffered from acne for a long time and that's how I got interested in skincare. I believe that skincare is essential and doesn't have to be expensive. Through this blog, I want to present to you skincare tips and affordable products that actually work.

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