CeraVe Renewing Cream Serum review: Best anti-aging retinol serum

Anti-Aging Medicine
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Anti-Aging Medicine
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asian woman with long black hair wearing white bath robe and face retinol anti-aging cream looking in mirror

Amazon shoppers call this anti-aging retinol serum their ‘holy grail’ product — so I decided to try it (Photo via Getty)

I’ve always tried to manage my expectations when it comes to skincare and skincare products. I’ve been drawn to expensive moisturizers and serums, toners and exfoliators that made promises they couldn’t keep to turn back the hands of time and transform my skin. After spending hundreds (maybe even thousands) on skincare products that did little to change the look and feel of my skin, I decided enough was enough, and have since taken to using affordable and dermatologist-approved products from drugstore brands.

One of my favourite products that has completely changed the look of my skin is CeraVe’s Skin Renewing Cream Serum with retinol.

While this serum normally retails for $27, right now you can snag it and more CeraVe skincare products on sale at Amazon Canada.


CeraVe Skin Renewing Cream Serum with retinol, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid & ceramides.

$18 at Amazon

The details

CeraVe’s Skin Renewing Cream Serum helps reduce and prevent visible signs of aging using super-ingredients like retinol, niacinamide, ceramides and hyaluronic acid. The gentle serum can be applied once or twice daily, and worn under makeup to help improve your skin’s moisture barrier, resulting in more youthful, firmer looking skin.

Retinol is a pretty powerful skincare ingredient that can negatively impact your skin if used the wrong way. Too much retinol too soon can cause your skin to dry out and peel — which can be painful and embarrassing.

Products with retinol can help revitalize dull looking skin, prevent our pores from clogging to prevent and treat breakouts, reduce the appearance of dark spots, and of course, minimize and prevent fine lines and wrinkles.

First impressions

I bought the CeraVe Skin Renewing Cream Serum as a way to kick my skincare routine up a notch ahead of my wedding last year. Although I do visit a dermatologist regularly for injectables, there are still fine lines around my eyes that bother me, along with some discolouration that make me feel insecure whenever I go makeup-free.

Adopting the motto “low and slow,” I decided to use incorporate the serum into my nightly skincare routine every two days. Although I’ve dabbled in the world of retinol before, I was weary to repeat my same experience of drying out my skin by using the retinol cream daily.

After two weeks, I began noticing that my skin tone was looking a bit more even and wasn’t experiencing any dryness. I now use the serum every other day after cleansing my skin with CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser (no, they aren’t sponsoring me – I just love their stuff!) by dabbing little dots on my problem areas and then gently smoothing the serum into my skin until it had absorbed. After the retinol serum, I apply an Honest Beauty moisturizer and finish with a little bit of Neutrogena Hydro Boost eye cream.


Deep Hydration Face Cream infused with moisture-rich seed oils to soften and condition the skin.

$30 at Honest


Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Eye Cream with Hyaluronic Acid.

$18 at Amazon

It’s now been over a year of using the CeraVe serum and I’ve noticed a major improvement in the texture and overall appearance of my skin. It’s much smoother and looks brighter when I’m not wearing makeup. I’m not going completely makeup-free yet, but I don’t feel as self conscious with the discolouration as I used to.

‘Lives up to the hype!’

Amazon shoppers have given CeraVe’s Skin Renewing Cream Serum a 4.5-star rating based on more than 2,000 customer reviews. I found these reviews incredibly helpful before I decided to order the serum for myself, and followed shoppers advice by switching from a daily SPF 30 to a daily SPF 50 since retinol makes your skin extra sensitive to sunlight.

CeraVe’s retinol is “amazing,” according to one Amazon reviewer. It “lives up to the hype!”

The shopper, who says they “struggle” with “larger pores, acne scarring, and some redness,” writes they now wake up to “nice soft, supple skin,” thanks to the retinol serum.

They admitted to seeing improvements in the “general texture and look of my skin,” they write. It’s “been wonderful!”

‘Saw results within a week’

Another user “saw results within a week” of incorporating the affordable anti-aging serum. It “smoothed out my discolouration a lot,” they say. Adding it has “noticeably changed” the look and texture of their skin.

This serum is “my holy grail,” lauds a third reviewer. It’s the “best product for anti-aging” and for treating “fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots,” they write. However, “make sure you wear sunscreen!”

While the serum has hundreds of five-star reviews singing its praises, some shoppers say it irritated their skin.

It “made my skin irritated, tight, and dry,” according to one user. It “did not work for me.”


I can’t say (or write) enough good things about my experience with CeraVe’s Skin Renewing Cream Serum. It’s been a welcomed addition to my skincare routine, but I will eventually go back to using the serum only twice a week, since it’s very easy to over-do it with retinol products.

If you’re looking to dip your toe into the wold of retinol serums, this is a great way to start. If you have very sensitive skin, I would definitely recommend visiting a dermatologist to find a skincare routine that works best for you to prevent breakouts or peeling.

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

Let us know what you think by commenting below and tweeting @YahooStyleCA! Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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