Is CeraVe a Clean & Sustainable Brand? We Investigate

3 min reading time

CeraVe is popular brand owned by the L’Oreal corporation. In recent years, the brand has grown even more popular thanks to the internet and social media. This also has a lot to do with their image of being dermatologist-recommended.

CeraVe makes no claims about being clean or sustainable, but they do claim to be the #1 skincare brand recommended by dermatologists. The brand is commonly seen as being good for sensitive skin, effective, as well as being budget-friendly and available at drugstores.

We took at close look at the brand and the three pillars of what we believe makes a conscious brand: the ingredients used, the sustainability of the packaging, and their stance on animal welfare.

Ingredients (Rating: Bad)

CeraVe doesn’t prioritize clean ingredients in their lineup of products, which are full of questionable ingredients we don’t recommend.

Examples include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Parabens (propylparaben, methylparaben) – Found in many products.
  • Silicones – Found in many products.
  • Petrolatum – Found in many products.
  • Chemical sunscreens (homosalate, octinoxate, octocrylene) – Found in their Skin Renewing Day Cream, Ulta-Light Moisturizing Loption, and AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen)
  • Ceteareth-20 & Polysorbate-20 (found in many products).

While we believe that preservatives are a crucial part of skincare products, parabens are are particularly concerning example and there are many safer alternatives that the brand could use.

Petrolatum is a product of petroleum production, which is a damaging practice for the planet, and chemical sunscreens are contributing to the destruction of our coral reefs.

Overall, the ingredients used in CeraVe products are far from clean and natural, and we hope that the brand will improve on this in the future.

Sustainability (Rating: Bad)

CeraVe does a poor job in terms of sustainability. All of their products come in disposable plastic packaging that cannot be recycled.

Animal Welfare (Rating: Iffy)


CeraVe is not a cruelty-free brand. Their official animal testing policy is confusing, but ultimately, the brand is sold in China, where animal testing is still required by law as of 2021. In their policy, CeraVe claims: “Certain health authorities may nevertheless decide to conduct animal tests themselves for certain cosmetic products, as it is still the case in China.”


While CeraVe does have some vegan products, the brand itself is not a vegan brand. Examples of non-vegan ingredients include beeswax in their Mineral Sunscreen stick, and cholesterol and glycerin in several CeraVe products.

The brand has made claims that they aim to have their entire product line be 90% vegan by 2021, although as of the current time of writing (April 2021) this doesn’t yet appear to be true.

Brand Ratings

Our rating scale ranges from “Best” (for having the best practices) to “Bad” (for having unacceptable practices). We rated CeraVe as follows.

IngredientsBad – CeraVe’s products don’t claim to be clean, and for good reason: you’ll find parabens, chemical sunscreens, and other ingredients of concern.
SustainabilityBad – Plastic packaging is used for all products, with no chance of recycling.
Animal WelfareIffy – The brand is neither cruelty-free nor vegan, although they claim to be going 90% vegan by 2021.

Overall Rating: Avoid

While we make no claims about the effectiveness of CeraVe’s products, they fall far short of our standards in terms of ingredients, sustainability and animal welfare.

Several CeraVe products contain potentially-harmful ingredients like parabens and chemical sunscreens, although the brand makes no claims about being clean.

In terms of animal welfare, the brand is not cruelty-free, only offers some vegan products, and single-use plastic packaging is used for all products.

Download our free swap guide.
A cheatsheet of 50+ clean alternatives for your whole house. 
Thank you for subscribing!


  • Avatar photo
    Linda Sinrod

    Not all Cerave products contain parabens, at least not their moisturizing cream nor their hydrating body wash which I use. They are critical for helping to restore the skin barrier for those whose eczema has gotten bad.

  • Avatar photo

    I have never seen Parabens In any CeraVe product.

    • Avatar photo

      CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion has PROPYLPARABEN and METHYLPARABEN in the ingredient list.

  • Avatar photo
    Lorraine Cartledge

    Shame on you L’Oréal for using any chemicals etc at all! Just come clean and tell the truth about the chemicals you are using, I use pure jojoba oil with esters to restore my skin barrier. As usual the big companies put profit before safety!!!!!!

    • Avatar photo

      The 8oz CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion for Normal to Dry Skin has both methylparaben and propylparaben as well as several other questionable ingredients.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *