Cerave Healing Ointment: A Detailed Guide

Cerave healing ointment
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Cerave is a hero skincare company and the healing ointment is another skincare product from the brand that was a smash hit among the masses. But, how effective is the Cerave healing ointment? And why is it so well loved by dermatologists and regular customers alike?

Let’s find out in this article.

What Is The Skin Barrier

Skin barrier on the hands
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The skin barrier or moisture barrier is the outer-most layer of the skin. This layer, scientifically called the Epidermis, is basically for your skin what a locker or safe is for your jewellery and other valuables.

Just like the locker keeps your valuables in and doesn’t let any thieves inside or any jewellery out, in the same way, the skin’s natural barrier keeps in the moisture, ceramides, lipids and fatty acids, all the building blocks that form and protect your face, and it doesn’t let any harmful elements like UV rays, dirt, pollution penetrate the skin.

A Damaged Barrier

face with a broken barrier
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Suppose the skin’s natural barrier is damaged due to any number of reasons, such as lack of sleep, overuse of exfoliating acids, stress, a light-nutrition diet, etc. In that case, the skin gets affected terribly.

A broken barrier is unable to hold the water into the skin, and trans-epidermal water loss leads to dry skin, which feels dehydrated and stretchy. Once the moisture is out, the building blocks that make up the skin start crumbling and it becomes easier for external factors to attack the skin.

Reasons For An Impaired Barrier

cold and wind
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Usually, in the cold winter months, the skin starts to get dry which in turn impairs the protective skin barrier. Once the barrier is compromised, it is easy for trans-epidermal water loss to occur and once that happens, you start experiencing very dry skin.

Due to the wind and cold weather, chafed skin and wind burns are common. So if your skin’s surface is getting chafed easily, you have an impaired barrier.

The skin’s natural moisture barrier gets damaged when we use harsh soaps on our skin, or use hot water to wash our skin too. So, you should avoid over-bathing if that is something you tend to do. Taking baths and keeping yourself clean is always a great habit to have, but bathing multiple times a day will only damage your skin.

Always make sure to read the ingredient list on the products you put inside your body and also on top of your skin. Make sure you don’t use facial cleansers or body cleansers that use very harsh cleaning agents because those will strip the skin of its natural lipids and lead to excessive water loss from the skin.

Over-exfoliating is another big culprit in impairing the moisture barrier.

Recognizing The Problem

If you have a damaged protective natural moisture barrier, you might note that you have a lot of redness on your skin. This happens because the skin is often very irritated. People also experience itchy skin and discomfort. The skin starts to peel in areas where there is extreme dryness.

Even people who don’t have sensitive skin, start to experience sensitivity. Applying skin care products sometimes burns the skin and causes discomfort because the barrier is impaired. Wrinkles appear more visible because of very dry skin that doesn’t have much water to retain the look of a plump and smooth face.

If you suffer from skin conditions like Rosacea or eczema, a broken barrier can certainly flare them up.

When the protective barrier of the skin is impaired, there are a lot of chances of infections. The most recent example of this was ‘maskne’, a chique term used to refer to acne flare ups due to wearing masks for long periods.

Fixing The Problem

  1. The first step to take on the road to start healing the broken moisture barrier is following a simple skincare routine. When the natural moisture barrier function is not performed well, the skin gets very sensitive and there are various products and ingredients the skin is not able to handle. That is why one should follow a very simple skincare routine while repairing the moisture barrier.
  2. You should start by using a gentle facial wash, making sure it does not have any chemicals or exfoliants. Any physical or chemical exfoliators should not be used at this stage because the skin is not strong enough to tolerate them.
  3. Once the face is clean, it is now time to put on an occlusive, which is a moisturizing cream that acts as a protective layer on top of the skin. Its main function is to lock the moisture into the skin and prevent it from evaporating off of it. A moisturizing cream also helps soothe and relieve extremely dry, chapped skin by keeping it moisturized and preventing you from picking at your skin.

Cerave Healing Ointment

The Cerave healing ointment is an occlusive balm that claims to heal chafed skin, cracked skin, and skin that has been peeling because of extreme dryness. It claims to help restore and maintain the skin’s natural moisture by providing a protective layer of moisture on the skin.

What It Does

woman holding a cream
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Cerave claims that the healing ointment will temporarily protect, soothe and relieve extremely dry cracked and chafed skin by preventing the skin from getting in direct contact with the harsher external agents like wind, cold and wetness.

This product is meant to be used on your face, cracked hands, knuckles, elbows, knees, chapped lips and anywhere you are experiencing damaged skin symptoms.

Along with having a bunch of great ingredients, the Cerave healing ointment also has a silky balm texture which glides on the skin like butter and doesn’t feel too thick and heavy. Unlike other occlusive like Vaseline and Aquaphor which are thick and sticky in consistency and take a lot of work to spread, the Cerave healing ointment spreads on the skin a lot easier, giving it a non greasy feel.

The healing ointment makes the dry skin, cracked and chafed skin soft and calms down the irritation on the face. This product not only soothes the skin after damage, but also speeds up the healing process of any wounds, acne, and other skin problems.

Key Ingredients

The Cerave healing ointment combines several ingredients that are fantastic for the skin and they make it so that all skin types can use it. Some of the star ingredients in this product and their functions are explained a little further for you, down below.

Petrolatum Based Occlusive Balm

Petrolatum is a kind of mineral oil that is derived from petroleum jelly. This is the main ingredient in the Cerave healing ointment. Its function is that it protects skin from the external factors that can cause harm to the skin, namely, wind, cold, and humidity. It does this by preventing these external factors from getting in contact with the skin.

It seals any area that it is applied to, which helps retain skin’s natural moisture and maintains prime conditions for the skin to heal fast.

Petrolatum is found in the petroleum jelly from Vaseline too but that one does not have this next star ingredient which makes the Cerave healing ointment better than the former.

Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid

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Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient that is loved by a lot of people, especially people with dry skin. When applied to the skin, hyaluronic acid attracts moisture from the environment and adds it to the skin. It also prevents water from leaving the skin. This ingredient singlehandedly maintains hydration levels in your skin and ensures intense long lasting moisturization.

Hydrolyzed form of hyaluronic acid is hyaluronic acid whose molecules have been broken down small enough to penetrate the skin.

This kind of Hyaluronic acid is not usually moisturizing enough for people with very dry skin if used on its own, but since this form of hyaluronic acid is added to an already thick moisturizing base petrolatum, the Cerave healing ointment is one of the best thicker moisturizers in the market.


The Cerave healing ointment combines three essential ceramides, ceramide Np, Ap and Eop.

Ceramides are lipids and fats which occur naturally in the skin. Our skin consists of 50% ceramides. If the skin cells are the bricks to the skin, ceramides are mortar. Without essential ceramides, the skin starts to lose its youthful bounce and gets dry and rough.

Although the skin produces ceramides on its own, it is great to have them in your skincare because, after a certain age, the production of ceramides decreases. Especially when the moisture barrier is damaged, the skin is unable to produce enough ceramides.

The healing balm carries three types of these amazing ceramides.

Non Comedogenic Ointment

cream on acne prone skin
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The Cerave healing ointment claims to be non comedogenic, which means it is formulated without any ingredients that can clog pores. Many other healing ointments in the market can’t make the same claims.

If the pores on your face are clogged, the skin is unable to breathe and the strains of this problem show on the face in the form of acne breakouts and blackheads and white heads. Since Cerave healing ointment is non comedogenic, you can try it out without the fear of making your skin problems worse instead of better.

Lanolin Free

Lanolin is an ingredient that is proven to help restore and maintain the skin’s natural moisture level by preventing trans-epidermal water loss and it is a great ingredient to use in lip balm and other lip treatments. It is especially great to heal chapped lips, but it is not the best to use all over the face because it has the tendency to clog pores.

Clogged pores lead to acne breakouts. Therefore, the Cerave healing ointment is lanolin free and people with acne prone skin can also give it a try.

Fragrance Free

Fragrance oil
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Another factor that makes the Cerave healing ointment great for almost all skin types is that it is fragrance free.

Fragrance does not enhance the performance of skin care products, it is simply added to these products with the view to enhance the experience of the customer using them. Sometimes, the fragrance also helps mask the unpleasant smell of chemicals and other ingredients added to the product.

But, while not everyone may have a problem with fragrance in their skincare, people with sensitive skin certainly can not tolerate fragrance. It can break them out, cause irritation and redness and it may even cause infections. For someone who has a compromised barrier, the fragrance is an absolute no-no!

That’s why it is so good that this healing ointment does not have any fragrance to it.

NEA Seal Of Acceptance

The National eczema association is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating, informing, and helping raise awareness about Eczema around the world. This organization also supports research to know more about the reason for the disease, the cause and effect that it has on the affected individuals, and the ways to cure eczema.

The Cerave healing ointment is approved by the national eczema association to be used by individuals who have eczema. People who have skin conditions like Eczema need to be very careful about what they put on their face, lest it makes the problem worse for them.

The fact that this healing ointment is safe for eczema patients to use, further proves that it is an effective product and it does what it claims to do, namely, temporarily protect soothe and relieve the skin, help heal cracked hands and heels and enhance skin’s natural moisture.

Compared With Vaseline and Aquaphor

Vaseline and Aquaphor are mainly petroleum jelly whereas the healing ointment has petroleum jelly along with hyaluronic acid, ceramides and various other great ingredients. The balm is lighter in texture, it has a non greasy feel and it is non comedogenic because of being lanolin free. All these things make it better than its counterparts.

Dermatologist Recommended

Cerave healing ointment was developed with dermatologists which is why it is such a stellar product and many dermatologists recommend the cerave healing ointment.

Public’s Stamp Of Approval

This product has all 5 stars when it comes to public reviews. People on Reddit’s thread, R/skincare never fail to rave about this. It is Tiktok’s favourite occlusive product and dermatologists and non-dermats alike recommend this product on Youtube.

Final Note

Cerave Healing ointment is one of the best, if not the best healing ointment for you. What’s better, it is extremely affordable and has great ingredients that you would find in high-end skincare products. It is suitable for sensitive skin, is fragrance free, non-comedogenic and heals a whole host of skin problems. This little miracle jar should have a place on everyone’s vanity.


While at times contributed by guest authors, our content is medically reviewed periodically by professionals for accuracy and relevance. We pride ourselves on our high-quality content and strive towards offering expertise while being authoritative. Our reviewers include doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, and even medical students. 

Do note that any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.


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