Skin & Fragrance Blog by Thom Watson

Cerave, Hands & Handcare

My Eczema Cured: Incredible Cerave SA Smoothing Cream & Cleanser

Three weeks using this duo has almost 100% banished my eczema after years of fighting

Cerave SA Smoothing Review 5

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I never thought I would find the cure for my eczema, but Cerave SA Smoothing Cream and Smoothing Cleanser duo has done just that! For years, I have been struggling with this skin condition that caused me a lot of discomfort and embarrassment, especially as someone who works in skincare and beauty – it has extra layers of shame because there’s a perception that “I should know better”.

But now, after using these two cheap (in the grand scheme of things, around £22 for both) products for only a few weeks, my eczema is pretty much gone! The final layers of bad skin are shedding off and revealing thinner (which if you know eczema is a great thing) and softer skin.

I feel my nerve endings coming back or at least they’re the same but more able to feel things because there isn’t an inch thick surface to sense through – seriously, imaging your finger ends are like a permanent glove; if you deal with this personally, you know.

So, before I go into depth, the TL;DR is if you’re looking for an effective solution to your eczema woes, then look no further than Cerave’s SA Smoothing Cream and SA Smoothing Cleanser. It’s inexpensive and the best thing I’ve encountered in 10 years. It has worked wonders for me and I’m already stockpiling it for the end of the earth. So see my Cerave SA smoothing cleanser and Cerave SA smoothing cream before and after photos below, taken literally 3 weeks apart:

cerave before 1
Before: eczema on my hands before using Cerave SA Smoothing. This is mild in comparison to what it can get like.
cerave after 2
After: three weeks of using both the SA Smoothing Cream and Cleanser. My skin has transformed. Also realised my left thumb was cropped out my results photo so snapped it whilst I was writing this for transparency.

How do the Cerave SA Smoothing Products work?

The range works with a clever mix of Urea, Salicylic Acid, LHA, and Hyaluronic Acid. On top of that, three essential ceramides are designed to protect the skin’s natural barrier. In short, they work by exfoliating the dead skin and immediately hydrating the new skin underneath, and keeping it protected.

With eczema, skin cell turnover goes from 28 days, to anywhere as low as 5-7. This means as skin sheds, the new skin underneath immediately dries out and the process becomes a vicious cycle. The skin also becomes thicker as a result. So Cerave SA Smoothing products, over time, help reduce the thickness and keep the fresher cells fresh. You’re also less likely to pick at it and because bacteria don’t have lots of dry flakes to hide in and cause irritation, you’re not scratching and poking either. Overall this calms the skin and things very quickly start to change – it will take some willpower at the very beginning to just let the shedding happen.

Cerave SA Smoothing Cleanser in detail

This is a foaming cleanser but it manages this in a more gentle way than most. Yes, most Dermatologists when dealing with severe eczema would suggest those awful cleansing creams and various aqueous bases. But they’re just so unpleasant. They smear around, never really lift dirt or dislodge grime and loose dead skin cells and you never feel clean.

71YSPe83ngL. AC SL1500
I’ve bought the cleanser cheapest for £9.38 on Amazon vs £12.50 RRP

On the other hand, foaming products tend to leave you drier and uncomfortable, making eczema worse. Well not with the SA Smoothing Cleanser. Not for me.

After using this in the shower or after washing my hands, just use it like a normal shower gel or hand wash, whilst yes, I want to put some moisturiser on within a few minutes afterwards, I’m not crying out for it and running around like a man-possessed as you feel your hands turn into claws as the skin contracts.

Whilst the salicylic acid removes all the dead skin cells gently, leaving the new cells untouched, the hyaluronic acid and lipid complex does help effectively balance your fresh skin and leave it more comfortable before moisturising.

Cerave SA Smoothing collection on the bed with my moisture gloves

Cerave SA Smoothing Cleanser Full Ingredients

Aqua / Water, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Gluconolactone, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate, Peg-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eop, Carbomer, Calcium Gluconate, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cholesterol, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium Edta, Tetrasodium Edta, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin

Cerave SA Smoothing Cream in detail

Firstly, there is no difference between what’s in the tub and what’s in the tube; it’s just a preference. The tubes are easier for hands but the tub is really great if you’re covering larger body parts and just want to slap it on. To make it more convenient for on-the-go use, I bought these vacuum pump tubes from Amazon because they don’t get clogged, and found them much, much easier to use; they’re also refillable so no waste!

cerave smoothing cream
I can usually get this cheapest around £14.25 on Amazon vs £19 RRP

The SA smoothing cream uses the same blend of gentle chemical exfoliants: salicylic acid (the SA in the name) and lactic acid. These gently break down the bonds of surface dead skin cells whilst not touching the new, fresh cells hiding underneath. However, revealing these cells causes them to immediately start to dry out. With eczema-prone skin, this happens almost immediately.

That’s why urea and hyaluronic acid then spring into action and forcibly bond water to these cells whilst a lipid complex keeps the moisture barrier intact to prevent moisture escaping over time. It does this well, without feeling like your hands are lubed up but whilst leaving your skin feeling thirst-quenched and satisfied.

Cerave SA Smoothing Cream & Cleanser. The tube laid on top of moisture gloves

Cerave SA Smoothing Cream Full Ingredients

Aqua / Water, Urea, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate Se, Cetearyl, Alcohol, Niacinamide, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter / Shea Butter, C12-13 Alkyl Lactate, Peg-100 Stearate, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Dimethicone, Triacetin, Ceramide Np, Ceramide Ap, Ceramide Eop, Carbomer, Sodium Lactate, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Cholesterol, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium Edta, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Hydroxyacetophenone, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin

Are the Cerave CA Smoothing products easy to use?

Yes, both the Cerave SA Smoothing Cream and SA Smoothing Cleanser are very easy to use. So many prescription treatments for eczema need leaving on; steps to take; only applying at certain times; having to use them whilst standing on your head with a teaspoon up your nose etc. So I totally appreciate how some products sometimes feel they’re not worth the hassle. But with Cerave SA Smoothing, there is zero hassle.

I use the CA smoothing cleanser in two ways: in the shower on my whole body, which has made every inch of my skin so much smoother and the skin barrier more balanced due to its lipid restoring properties; and then as a hand soap in the bathroom sink for any time I need to wash my hands.

The smoothing cream is a little bit more annoying, not because of the cream itself, but because of the containers. There’s the choice of a massive tub or the massive tubes, so using it as hand cream throughout the day is a pain. I mentioned above already but I bought these vacuum pump tubes from Amazon because they don’t get clogged, and found them much, much easier to use; they’re also refillable so no waste!

The Cerave SA lotion/cream also has a perfect texture, it’s rich but even on thicker eczema skin, sinks in easily. It’s the perfect balance of comforting, protecting/long-lasting, and non-greasy. I also use it on my elbows and feet.

You don’t feel like you have cooking oil smeared all over your hands and can go about your life and use your computer without creating a sticky, oily disaster at the keyboard.

For an extra boost, I use cotton gloves overnight or whilst driving to really enhance the product and stop of evaporating. I found these amazing moisture gloves on Amazon that have pads on them so you can use touchscreens (phone, iPad etc).

Back of the hand swatch of the Cerave SA Smoothing Cream


I found that using both of these products together gave me the best results. Within a few days of using them, my eczema was noticeably better. And after a few weeks, it was completely gone!

I am so grateful to Cerave for creating such an effective solution to eczema. If you are struggling with this condition, I urge you to give their CA Smoothing Cream and CA Smoothing Cleanser a try. It just might be the answer to your prayers and anyone who has read Manface over the years knows I don’t talk in hyperbole. I have to say, with a tear in my eye as I type, thank you, Cerave! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Where best to buy Cerave SA Smoothing Cream & Cleanser

I don’t love recommending Amazon for all the obvious reasons… but Amazon. They’re often significantly cheaper than in the shops by £2/3 less each. If you’re looking to buy, here’s a link to the Cerave SA Smoothing search results page and by using my link and purchasing, Amazon will give me a few pence for everyone who does, but it won’t cost you a penny and you still get the best deal.

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