CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 Review

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We’re big fans of multi-tasking skincare products that offer sun protection along with skin-loving ingredients that provide additional benefits. CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion is one of those 2-in-1 products; it contains SPF 30 along with ceramides and a few other beneficial ingredients to hydrate and brighten skin. 

What are the Best Skin Care Products of 2021?

But is CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion right for you? To help you decide, we’ll give you all the details on the key ingredients in this formula, as well as the research that supports (or doesn’t support) their use in skin care.

We’ll also share some CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion reviews so that you can get an idea of what customers really think of this product.

Is CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion  Right For You?

Before we get into the details, here’s the TL;DR if you just want to know whether or not CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion is right for you.

  • Key ingredients? Chemical Sunscreens, Zinc Oxide, Niacinamide, Ceramides
  • Skin type? All
  • Texture? Lightweight lotion
  • Fragrance? No
  • Parabens? Yes
  • Cruelty free? 
  • Cost? $13.49 USD on Target.com, $18.99 USD on Ulta.com

What Are The Key Ingredients in CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion ?

In order to determine how well CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion performs, we’ll have to evaluate the key ingredients in this formula. Let’s get started.

Chemical + Physical Sunscreen Ingredients
CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion combines four chemical sunscreen ingredients — homosalate, meradimate, octinoxate, and octocrylene — with zinc oxide, a mineral sunscreen. Together, these ingredients provide broad spectrum SPF 30 protection. 

Chemical sunscreens protect the skin by first absorbing UV light, then transforming that light energy into some other form of energy, such as heat. Research has shown chemical sunscreens do absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream.

In contrast, physical (also called mineral) sunscreens protect your skin by using physical UV filters to block or deflect UV light. They are not absorbed into the skin. 

We’re concerned about the use of octinoxate in CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion. According to the EWG, octinoxate is a hormone disruptor and can also cause allergic reactions after exposure to ultraviolet light.

We love that CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion contains a decent amount of niacinamide, which is one of our favorite skincare ingredients. Here’s why: 

Niacinamide is the amide form of vitamin B3 (niacin) that functions as an antioxidant and offers many benefits to the skin. For example, a publication in the

Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology</a>, states that niacinamide can repair the skin barrier and improve skin moisture, as well as reduce inflammation, blotchiness, hyperpigmentation, acne, and wrinkling.

All CeraVe products, including CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, include ceramides as key ingredients.

Ceramides are a family of waxy lipid molecules that are naturally produced by the skin and are vital in supporting the stratum corneum.

The stratum corneum is the outer layer of skin, which can be thought of as a “brick and mortar” system. The bricks are the corneocytes (dead skin cells) and the intercellular lipids (ceramides) represent the mortar.

Without ceramides, the skin barrier is weakened, just like without mortar a brick wall would be weak and unstable.

The result is skin that can easily become dry, itchy, or irritated. A properly functioning stratum corneum is essential for healthy skin as it maintains epidermal hydration and serves as a barrier that responds to environmental stressors, infections, irritants, and allergens. 

Topical application of ceramides can help to replenish ceramide levels, thus restoring the skin’s natural barrier. 

Unfortunately, we noticed that the brand chose to use parabens as the preservatives in CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion.

The use of parabens in cosmetics and skin care products is controversial because there is conflicting research on the potential health consequences of long term exposure to parabens.

According to the EWG, parabens can act like the hormone estrogen in the body and disrupt the normal function of hormone systems affecting male and female reproductive system functioning, reproductive development, fertility, and birth outcomes.

How to Use CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion ?

Apply a dime-sized amount of lotion to face, neck, and check about 15 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply at least every 2 hours. 

Where to Buy CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion ?

CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion and other CeraVe skin care products are not sold on the brand’s website. You must buy CeraVe skin care products on third party online retailers, such as Amazon, eBay, Ulta, and more.

CeraVe skin care products are also sold in physical retail locations throughout the United States, such as Walmart, Target, Walgreens, etc. CeraVe has a store locator on their website so you can find a location near you. 

How Much is CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion ?

The cost of CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion will depend on where you purchase the product. For example, the lotion costs $13.49 USD on Target.com for 3 oz, while it costs $18.99 USD on Ulta.com for the same size. 

What is The CeraVe Return Policy?

CeraVe does not have a return policy on their website since they do not sell products on their website and, therefore, don’t accept returns. 

Is CeraVe Cruelty Free?

CeraVe is not cruelty free. CeraVe is owned by L’Oréal, a company that tests on animals. L’Oréal does not conduct animal testing on their products or ingredients, nor ask others to test on our behalf, except when required by law. Since L’Oréal products are sold in China, they must test their products on animals by law.

CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion Reviews

CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion reviews on the brand’s website are mostly positive, with the product receiving an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars after more than 3,500 reviews. 

There are many 5-star reviews for CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion from customers who love that it feels lightweight and doesn’t leave the skin with a white cast or looking greasy. 

For example, one review says, “I love how light this moisturizer feels even with SPF. It leaves absolutely no white-cast or greasiness. My skin is sensitive to breakouts with SPF moisturizers but this keeps my skin protected and does not create any blemishes or irritation. No stinging either!”

And another 5-star review says, “I have been using this lotion for quite a few months now and I would say it’s great. It is really good for dry to combination skin type. It worked perfect as I have a sensitive skin. I use it every morning as my SPF protection. It is absolutely worth a try.”

However, there are a handful of negative reviews for the CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion, which are mostly from customers who commented that it doesn’t blend and absorb into the skin. 

For example, one review says, “This ones a no for me. I wish I hadn’t purchased it. The price point felt good when I bought it and it was recommended in some articles I read. But it just doesn’t rub in well. It’s gets splotchy and nearly impossible to rub into my skin. I like being gentle when applying products to my skin and I noticed redness after using due to how much I had to rub.”

Others comment that this CeraVe sunscreen leaves a white cast, as another 1-star review says, “I did not like this product. It doesn’t blend easily and it leaves a terrible white cast. If there’s makeup on top, it creates a weird texture on top of the skin. CeraVe has better sunscreen than this one.”

Our Verdict

Overall, we don’t recommend CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion due to the use of octinoxate and parabens in this formula. 


  • Provides broad spectrum SPF 30 protection
  • Beneficial supporting ingredients (niacinamide, ceramides, 
  • Formula is fragrance-free
  • Many positive CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion reviews


  • CeraVe is not cruelty free
  • Octinoxate is considered to be a hormone disruptor and can also cause allergic reactions after exposure to UV light
  • Formula contains two parabens 
  • Some CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion reviews mention that it doesn’t absorb well, while others mention it leaves a white cast

What Are Some Alternatives to CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion ?

If you’re looking for skin care products to address the signs of aging, one brand we recommend is Formulyst. Formulyst maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in clinically advanced skin care solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin.

For example, Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Concentrate can help to address multiple signs of aging at once. This serum contains natural ingredients like squalane, green tea, vitamin C, and vitamin E, which provide powerful antioxidant activity to protect the skin against environmental free radicals that are known to degrade collagen. In addition, this serum contains Matrixyl 3000, a peptide complex that works to restore and maintain the skin’s youthful appearance by signaling to cells to produce more collagen.

Another brand that balances the power of plants with cutting edge science is Carrot & Stick. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals commonly found in skincare products.


J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2010 Feb; 3(2): 22–41

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