Why Does CeraVe Burn Your Skin? 6 Possible Reasons

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is cerave supposed to sting

CeraVe products have become a drugstore staple that’s recommended by skincare enthusiasts and dermatologists alike. The products are well-formulated and affordable and the brand has a wide range of products to target specific skin types and skin concerns. While most users don’t have any issues, some report burning, stinging and irritation when using CeraVe products. In this post, we’ll answer the question why does CeraVe burn or sting your skin and what to do about it to nurse your skin back to health.

About CeraVe

CeraVe is a drugstore skincare brand that is known for its well-formulated products with ingredients that are backed by science – meaning effective formulas at a low cost. The brand is most often recommended by dermatologists, especially for those with dry skin. 

CeraVe has since expanded their lines and now offer products for baby, acne, eczema and more. 

What Does It Mean When CeraVe Burns?

If you experience a burning sensation when using a CeraVe product, it is likely due to an allergic reaction or sensitivity to one of the ingredients in the product. It is recommended that you discontinue use of the product and consult a dermatologist if the burning persists.

Is CeraVe Supposed To Sting or Burn?

No, CeraVe products should never burn, even if the product has exfoliating ingredients. It’s a common myth that if it tingles or burns, that means the product is working, but that’s actually not true and you could be damaging your skin.

If your cleanser, treatment or moisturizer is burning your skin, your skin is trying to tell you something is wrong.

Why Does CeraVe Burn My Face?

why is cerave stinging my face

Have you ever applied your favorite moisturizer or cleanser only to have it immediately start burning or stinging? If so, you were probably left wondering why does my face sting after using CeraVe? No, it is not normal for your face to burn after using any kind of skincare product. If this happens, it could be due to an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in the moisturizer. It is best to stop using the product right away. It’s a frustrating experience, to say the least. There are several reasons why your CeraVe product is causing a burning sensation when applying. Let’s dive in to all the possibilities.

Related post: Why Does Moisturizer Burn?

Why Does CeraVe Burn Or Sting Your Skin

There are many reasons why CeraVe products may burn, sting or tingle. There are several products that people claim burn their skin such as the CeraVe AM Moisturizer, CeraVe PM Moisturizer, CeraVe Moisturizing Cream and the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. Of course, any of the products could end up giving you an unpleasant burning sensation.

Your Skin Barrier Is Compromised

The first reason why CeraVe products might be burning is that your skin barrier is compromised. Your skin barrier is the outermost layer of your skin and its main job is to protect your skin from environmental aggressors like pollution, UV rays, and bacteria.

When your skin barrier is damaged, it can no longer do its job properly and this can lead to all sorts of skin problems like dryness, redness, and sensitivity.

One of the biggest symptoms of a compromised skin barrier is a burning sensation when you apply skincare products. If you notice any kind of stinging or burning when you apply any kind of product (cleanser, toner, serum, etc). its likely your skin barrier is damaged.

If you’re wondering why does cerave moisturizer burn my face, a compromised skin barrier is the most likely culprit. But this can happen with any kind of product – cleanser, eye cream, serum, sunscreen, etc.

why does cerave cleanser burn

Irritated Or Dry Skin

Another reason why your skin might be burning after applying CeraVe products is that your skin is either irritated or dry. If you have irritated skin, it means that your skin is inflamed and this can happen for a variety of reasons like using harsh skincare products or using products that are not formulated for your skin type.

For example, if you have dry, sensitive skin and you’re using a moisturizer formulated for oily skin that’s designed to balance oil production, your skin will not be happy! The moisturizer will only make the dryness worse and lead to irritation and a burning sensation when applying moisturizer.

Sensitive Skin

If your face stings when applying CeraVe moisturizer or other products, another reason could be sensitive or reactive skin.

If you have sensitive skin, you’re more likely to experience a burning sensation when applying moisturizer (or any other skincare product for that matter). This is because your skin is already inflamed and any type of product (even the most gentle ones) can irritate your skin and cause a burning sensation.

Sensitive skin is more likely to experience a reaction like burning or stinging from skincare products. This can happen with a particular product or even a particular ingredient.

If you have sensitive skin, it’s extremely important to pick products that are formulated for sensitive skin. This way you can avoid harsh ingredients and potential irritants in your products and prevent your skincare products from burning in the first place.

Additionally, certain skin conditions like rosacea or eczema can make skin more sensitive and more susceptible to reactions like burning or stinging.


Another reason your products might be burning your face is that you’re having a reaction to a product or ingredient. This is most likely to happen if you have sensitive skin, but it’s possible for anyone to have a reaction to a particular product or ingredient.

A reaction can be an allergic reaction or just a reaction to the product or ingredient that just didn’t agree with your skin. This can happen suddenly, even if you’ve been using that particular product for a while.

If you think you’re having a reaction to a product, it’s important to stop using the product immediately.

why does cerave face wash burn

Bad Ingredients

If your face stings when applying certain products, you may want to take a look at the ingredients in the product you are using.

There are a lot of skincare products on the market that contain harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances. These ingredients can irritate your skin and cause a burning sensation when you apply the product, even if you don’t have sensitive skin.

If you want to avoid this, it’s important to pick a well-formulated moisturizer with no harsh ingredients.

Common ingredients to avoid are:

  • Alcohols
  • Fragrance
  • Essential oils

Certain ingredients like preservatives or parabens can also cause a burning sensation. Although preservatives are necessary to keep bacteria from growing in your product, they can cause issues for certain people.

Luckily, CeraVe products are well-formulated and don’t contain harsh or irritating ingredients like sulfates, fragrance or essential oils.


If you’ve been exfoliating your skin a lot lately (either with physical exfoliants or chemical exfoliants), it’s possible that you’ve overexfoliated your skin. This means you’ve removed too many dead skin cells from the surface of your skin and this can lead to all sorts of problems like dryness, redness, a damaged skin barrier and more.

One of the symptoms of overexfoliation is a burning sensation when you apply skincare products. If you think you’ve overexfoliated your skin, it’s important to take a break from exfoliating and give your skin time to recover.

What To Do If CeraVe Burns Your Skin

Should I stop using CeraVe if it burns my face

If you’ve been using the same products for a while and find they suddenly starts to burn when you apply it, there are several reasons that could be causing the burning or stinging sensation. Here’s what to do if CeraVe products are burning your skin.

Stop Using The Product

If your products are burning your skin, the first thing you should do is stop using the product immediately.

This is especially important if you think you’re having a reaction to a product or ingredient.

It’s important to wash off the product as soon as you experience any burning sensation. Washing the product off quickly will avoid further irritation and damage. Be sure to use a gentle cleanser, lukewarm water and gently pat skin dry.

Soothe Skin

The next step is to use soothing ingredients, but keep your products minimal. Meaning, don’t go using 10 different serums and 3 moisturizers.

When skin is sensitive or irritated, less is more.

The goal is to soothe and calm the skin, not irritate it further.

Some soothing ingredients you can try are:

  • aloe
  • honey
  • colloidal oatmeal
  • centella asiatica
  • snail

Avoid Harsh Ingredients

As we mentioned before, one of the reasons your products might be burning is because it contains harsh ingredients. If this is the case, you should avoid any products with these kinds of ingredients:

  • alcohol
  • fragrance
  • essential oils
  • sulfates

Instead, look for products that are specifically formulated for sensitive skin and free from potential irritants.

Give Your Skin A Break

If you regularly use chemical or physical exfoliants, it’s a good idea to skip those products for the time being while you work on healing your skin. This is especially important if you have a damaged skin barrier or have over-exfoliated your skin.

Continuing to use exfoliants can only cause more damage. When you skin barrier is damaged enough, it may be months or even years before you can safely introduce exfoliants into your routine again.

Try skipping the exfoliation for a few nights and see how your skin reacts. You may need to take a longer break, depending on how irritated or damaged your skin is.

Why Does CeraVe Burn FAQ’s

Should I stop using moisturizer if it burns?

Yes. If your moisturizer is burning your skin, you should stop using it immediately and wash it off with a gentle cleanser.

Why does cerave cleanser burn my face?

Many people have a reaction to CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser and while it’s hard to say which ingredient is causing the burning or stinging, fatty alcohols have been shown to cause acne and reactions, especially in those with sensitive skin.

One study tested 147 patients and 23% had a reaction to fatty alcohols. It’s been shown in many studies that reactions to these fatty alcohols are fairly common, especially among those with sensitive skin. While most of the time a contact dermatitis reaction is caused by fatty alcohols, many people on Reddit boards have claimed that the fatty alcohols actually caused breakouts, clogged pores and acne.

Why does cerave burn my eyes?

It is possible that the burning sensation you feel when using CeraVe products around your eyes is caused by one of its ingredients, such as the fatty alcohols. However, the skin around your eyes is delicate and very sensitive, so using products that are not formulated for the eye area can certainly lead to burning and stinging around your eyes.

Additionally if the CeraVe cleansers are burning your eyes, be sure you are not getting them in your eyes when you’re cleansing your face. This is easy to do and these cleansers are not specifically made for the eyes, so burning or stinging can occur.

Why does cerave make my face red?

CeraVe can cause redness on the skin due to its ingredients. If you’re experiencing redness after using a CeraVe product, it’s likely caused by an ingredient that is too harsh for your skin type. Some of these harsh ingredients such as fatty alcohols can cause irritation and dermatitis. Some CeraVe products also contain Niacinamide, which can cause what’s called a niacin flush (flushing/redness of the face) when combined with certain ingredients like vitamin c, salicylic acid or glycolic acid.

Why Does CeraVe Burn My Skin Wrap Up

Although CeraVe is a popular and well-loved brand of skincare, there’s always a risk of a product not agreeing with your skin. There are many reasons why CeraVe may sting or burn, so you’ll have to take a look at the ingredients in your CeraVe product to determine why it’s causing a reaction. It could be the ingredients in the product are irritating to your skin, your skin barrier is compromised or you have an allergy to one of the ingredients. If you’re experiencing burning or stinging from using CeraVe, it’s important to stop using the product right away and use gentle, basic products for a few days until your skin calms down.

If you’re wondering what to use if you’re allergic or have a reaction to CeraVe products, Cetaphil & La Roche Posay are both great drugstore brands to check out.

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