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The 17 Very Best Skin-Care Products for Redness and Rosacea

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Dealing with red, reactive skin and rosacea — a chronic condition in which skin is overly sensitive, often with visible blood vessels and raised bumps on the face — usually means tiptoeing around anything that could trigger a flare-up. The problem is that virtually “anything that makes the face flush can cause a rosacea flare,” says dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Common triggers include stress, extreme temperatures, spicy foods, fragrance, alcohol in skin care, and alcoholic drinks (especially wine), says dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman, an assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine. Even hot showers and skin-care acids can worsen symptoms. Constant rubbing and friction (like from frequent mask wearing) can also cause a flare-up, says Skin Wellness Dermatology founder and dermatologist Dr. Corey L. Hartman, who has noticed an uptick in flare-ups since the beginning of the pandemic. And while over-the counter-products “cannot claim to treat rosacea, they can help, and this fact shouldn’t be overlooked,” says Dr. Shereene Idriss, a.k.a. the PillowtalkDerm, a board-certified dermatologist. So, to find products to tame outbreaks and lessen their effects, we asked dermatologists and aesthetician for their advice. Below are some specific products — from creams and cleansers to tinted primers and sunscreen — that might calm and camouflage inflamed skin.

What we’re looking for

Active ingredients

Having rosacea classifies you as a sensitive-skin type, so we’re looking for soothing, calming ingredients that won’t inflame your skin. The key word here is gentle. That means avoiding products with fragrances or alcohols and being careful with potential irritants such as acids and physical exfoliants. Instead, stock up on skin care that contains hyaluronic acid, azelaic acid, and niacinamide, which hydrate and brighten skin without making matters worse.

Price point

Skin care is available at a range of price points, so we noted how much you get with each bottle, jar, and tube as well as how much it costs per ounce.

Best cleansers for redness and rosacea

Active ingredients: Glycolic and salicylic acid | Price point: 6 ounces ($7.5 / ounce)

It’s common for people with rosacea to also deal with acne, but it can be difficult to find a cleanser that’ll clear out pores without further irritating or drying out the skin. If you’re hoping to deal with both simultaneously, look for something that gently exfoliates like this cleanser, which comes recommended by aesthetician Candace Marino. “This cleanser does an excellent deep clean without foaming up and drying out the skin,” she says. It uses botanical-derived lactic, glycolic, and salicylic acid, which work together to gently exfoliate without further irritating the skin. “It’s so gentle it’s recommended for clients post-laser or peel,” she says.

Best less-expensive cleanser for redness and rosacea

Active ingredients: Feverfew | Price point: 6 ounces ($1.33 / ounce)

This foaming cleanser from Aveeno comes recommended by Zeichner because it contains feverfew, a calming ingredient associated with chamomile, which has been clinically proven to reduce redness and irritation. Other perks: It’s free of fragrances and hypoallergenic.

Best soap for redness and rosacea

Active ingredients: Glycerin | Price point: 6 bars ($1.25/bar)

​​Certain ingredients found in cleansers (specifically menthol or eucalyptol) can throw off the skin’s pH level, says Zeichner, making rosacea worse. His go-to recommendation is Dove’s Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar. It’s also a favorite of dermatologist Dr. Hadley King. It’s a simple, skin-barrier-supporting, ultra-affordable option you can use to cleanse both your face and body. “It uses a gentle cleansing agent and is particularly moisturizing,” Zeichner says.

Best toner for redness and rosacea

Active ingredients: Sodium hyaluronate | Price point: 6 ounces ($6.60 / ounce)

SkinSpirit aesthetic nurse practitioner Shawna Jones likes this pH-balanced toner from Zo Skin Health, which she says will help soothe the skin and support the skin-barrier function. The formula has allantoin, which Dr. Farhaad Riyaz, a board-certified dermatologist and Docent’s medical adviser, says is an “anti-inflammatory that soothes, calms, heals, and reduces the irritation, redness, and sensitivity seen with rosacea.” It also has sodium hyaluronate to improve hydration, which is key for people with rosacea as they tend to have a dehydrated, compromised skin barrier.

Best serums for redness and rosacea

Jan Marini Rosalieve
$76
$76

Active ingredients: Azelaic acid, tea extracts | Price point: 1 ounce ($95 / ounce)

“This is by far the most compelling rosacea product I have ever worked with,” says Marino of this serum, a favorite of her clients with rosacea. The anti-redness treatment uses ingredients such as azelaic acid and white- and red-tea extracts, which calm and soothe skin while also helping to improve rosacea symptoms over time.

Best less-expensive serum for redness and rosacea

Active ingredients: Ambophenol | Price point: 1.35 ounces ($30.71 / ounce)

For some additional soothing after you tone, Jaliman suggests this serum specifically formulated for rosacea-prone skin from La Roche-Posay. “This visible redness-reducing serum does what it says. What’s nice about it is that it’s free of parabens, it’s oil-free and fragrance-free, so it’s really good for sensitive skin. It’s made with an ingredient called ambophenol, which soothes skin.”

Best nighttime serum for redness and rosacea

Active ingredients: Centella asiatica | Price point: 1.69 ounces ($20.07 / ounce)

Marino recommends this skin treatment from No7, which has a similar consistency to a mask. “This is the 911 product that every rosacea client should have on hand at all times, especially during the winter months,” says Marino. This overnight treatment should be the last step in your nighttime skin-care routine and uses ingredients such as centella asiatica (known for its calming properties) and ophiopogon japonicus, which helps to reinforce and maintain the skin’s barrier. Be aware, too, that this product is currently low in stock.

Best serum for acne if you have redness and rosacea

Active ingredients: Azelaic acid | Price point: 1 ounce ($10 / ounce)

If you’re dealing with other skin issues like hyperpigmentation and acne, Hartman recommends this serum from the Ordinary that will address those issues and reduce redness too. “It helps to improve brightness and reduce the appearance of blemishes and also acts as an antioxidant,” he says.

Best retinol alternative for redness and rosacea

Active ingredients: Bakuchiol | Price point: 1 ounce ($156.75 / ounce)

Retinols can be tricky if you have rosacea because it tends to exacerbate irritation and redness, which is why Hartman recommends bakuchiol instead. Dubbed “nature’s retinol,” bakuchiol offers the same benefits (increased cell turnover, helps with fine lines and wrinkles) without the negative side effects. “Isdin Melatonik is my go-to bakuchiol product,” he says. “It contains vitamin E, a direct antioxidant, and melatonin, an indirect antioxidant — includes two of my holy-trinity skin-care basics. It repairs oxidative damage at night and, as a bonus, reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Best moisturizers for redness and rosacea

Active ingredients: Spring water, peptides | Price point: 1.6 ounces ($20.81 / ounce)

For chronic redness, a more concentrated moisturizer can also be helpful. “Thermal spring water and calming peptides help reduce facial redness,” says Zeichner of this mask from Avène’s Antirougeurs (or anti-redness) line.

Best less-expensive moisturizer for redness and rosacea

Active ingredients: Hyaluronic acid | Price point: 1.7 ounces ($11.52 / ounce)

For a less pricey option, Dr. David Lortscher, a board-certified dermatologist and the CEO of Curology, suggests this gel cream from Neutrogena: It’s hydrating (boosted with hyaluronic acid) yet fragrance free and noncomedogenic.

Best sunscreens for redness and rosacea

Active ingredients: Niacinamide | Price point: 1 ounce ($145 / ounce)

Jones recommends ditching chemical-based sunscreens for physical ones as they could trigger a rosacea flare-up. This is her favorite. “It neutralizes the appearance of redness while providing sun protection,” she says. Of the ones recommended on this list, it has the highest SPF count, a green tint to neutralize redness, and niacinamide, which not only helps with inflammation but “also helps restore the skin barrier, which helps protect the skin from temperature changes and free radicals — both big rosacea triggers,” says Riyaz.

Best less-expensive sunscreen for redness and rosacea

Active ingredients: Niacinamide | Price point: 1.7 ounces ($21.79 / ounce)

“Even on a cloudy day, UVA rays penetrate the clouds and can trigger rosacea flares,” says Jaliman, which is why she suggests wearing sunscreen every day if you have rosacea or sensitive skin. “I always recommend a physical sunscreen with a high concentration of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. It’s what’s used for diaper rash.”

Here’s one that Jaliman and other derms have recommended to us in the past, containing anti-inflammatory niacinamide.

Best primers for redness and rosacea

Active ingredients: Niacinamide, tiger-grass | Price point: 0.5 ounces ($40/ounce)

Idriss recommends the color-correcting power of this cream from Dr. Jart for fairer skin tones. “What’s especially nice is its green tint, which helps mask and neutralize skin redness.” Along with soothing the skin visually, the cream also does good: It contains healing centella asiatica, a herb that “calms inflamed skin.”

Best less-expensive primer for redness and rosacea

Active ingredients: Hyaluronic acid | Price point: 0.47 ounces ($12.17 / ounce)

“Green tint bases can help mask the pink color of irritated or flushed skin,” says Lortscher, which is why he recommends using primers or color-correcting fluids with a green tint. He suggests this one from E.l.f., which is mineral-based and inexpensive.

Best cooling spray for redness and rosacea

$13

Active ingredients Spring water | Price point 10 ounces ($1.90 / ounce)

If working out tends to trigger a flare-up, Idriss recommends slipping a bottle of Avène’s mist into your gym bag for some quick “post-workout relief.” The spray has both “calming and anti-irritation” properties and can soothe itchiness, redness, and other forms of skin discomfort (including eczema).

Best skin-care device for redness and rosacea

Research also shows that red LED light therapy can be beneficial for reducing inflammation. This handheld device from Quasar is FDA-approved and two-sided, so you can target acne one day (the blue side) and redness another (the red side).

Our experts

• Dr. Joshua Zeichner, dermatologist
• Dr. Corey L. Hartman, dermatologist
• Dr. Debra Jaliman, dermatologist
• Dr. David Lortscher, a board-certified dermatologist and CEO of Curology
• Dr. Hadley King, dermatologist
• Candace Marino, aesthetician
• Dr. Farhaad Riyaz, dermatologist and Docent medical adviser
Shawna Jones, SkinSpirit aesthetic nurse practitioner
• Dr. Roberta Del Campo, dermatologist at the Del Campo Dermatology and Laser Institute
Dr. Shereene Idriss, board-certified dermatologist

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The 17 Very Best Skin-Care Products for Redness and Rosacea