THERE'S NO REAL CURE FOR ROSACEA, BUT THERE ARE WAYS TO TAME FLARE UPS

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Facial redness, irritation and small bumps can all be telltale signs of rosacea, a common skin condition. Rosacea affects more than 14 million people in the U.S., most aged 30 to 50, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. And because there’s no cure for rosacea, treating and taming flare-ups can be difficult.

I have written about expert-backed solutions to common skin care concerns for over three years and suffer from moderate rosacea myself. I spoke to dermatologists about common triggers of rosacea flare-ups and how to avoid them, plus the best skin care ingredients to help tame redness and inflammation. I also compiled our experts’ recommendations for the best cleanserssunscreensmoisturizers and more to consider for rosacea, as well as NBC Select staff favorites.

SKIP AHEAD How I picked the best products for rosacea | Best cleansers for rosacea | Best moisturizers for rosacea | Best serums and treatments for rosacea | Best sunscreens for rosacea

How I picked the best products for rosacea and redness

When shopping for rosacea treatments, our experts recommend considering the following key factors:

  • Gentle ingredients: Look for products that are fragrance-free and have gentle, hydrating ingredients to soothe irritated skin, including niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, ceramides and aloe. Azelaic acid is also a gentle acne-fighting ingredient that can help prevent and reduce bumps caused by rosacea, experts say. 
  • Sun protection: Experts emphasize the importance of wearing sunscreen with broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher to avoid further redness and irritation. Consider mineral-based sunscreens, which contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide rather than chemical filters, and are often less irritating for those with sensitive, rosacea-prone skin.
  • Product type: When dealing with rosacea, experts recommend a “less is more” approach in your routine — focus on using moisturizers, facial cleansers, serums and sunscreens that are specifically formulated for sensitive skin, and avoid any harsh exfoliants, scrubs, witch hazel and other alcohol-based toners. Be cautious when using acne treatments or retinol, which can often be too harsh on sensitive, rosacea-prone skin, according to our dermatologists.

The best products for rosacea in 2024

Below, I compiled expert-recommended moisturizers, facial cleansers, serums, sunscreens and more to help tame redness and irritation from rosacea.

Best moisturizers for rosacea

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

La Roche Posay Toleraine Double Repair Face Moisturizer

  • La Roche Posay Toleraine Double Repair Face Moisturizer $ at Amazon
  • La Roche Posay Toleraine Double Repair Face Moisturizer $ at Target
  • La Roche Posay Toleraine Double Repair Face Moisturizer $ at Ulta

Our experts recommend La Roche-Posay for people dealing with rosacea or acne-prone skin (or both). I use this moisturizer from the brand nearly every day and night since it’s both gentle on my rosacea and hydrating enough to keep my flaky, dry skin at bay. The moisturizer contains ceramides and niacinamide, both of which can help soothe and calm rosacea flare-ups, says Dr. Erum Ilyas, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology. I pair this moisturizer with the brand’s Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser, which is a gel face wash that maintains my skin’s moisture and doesn’t irritate it (unlike most other cleansers).

Eucerin Redness Relief Night Creme

Eucerin Redness Relief Night Creme

  • Eucerin Redness Relief Night Creme $ at Amazon
  • Eucerin Redness Relief Night Creme $ at Target
  • Eucerin Redness Relief Night Creme $ at Walgreens

I started incorporating this lightweight cream to my nightly skin care routine and I find that it reduces any redness and irritation I have from the day. I also notice my skin is significantly softer and brighter in the morning after using this cream. It has natural licochalcone, which is licorice root extract that helps soothe the skin, according to the brand. It’s also fragrance-free and noncomedogenic, so it won’t clog pores.

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

  • CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion $ at Amazon
  • CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion $ at Target
  • CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion $ at Ulta

One of our favorite moisturizers for acne-prone skin, this nighttime lotion from CeraVe has ceramides that “can help restore the skin barrier to soothe rosacea-prone skin,” says Ilyas. You can also purchase the brand’s AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion for the daytime, which has a gentle formula and offers SPF 30 protection (the minimum amount recommended by our experts).

Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream

Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream

  • Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream $ at Amazon
  • Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream $ at Clinique
  • Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream $ at Target

Clinique’s Redness Solutions product line offers cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreens and more that can be beneficial for those with redness and rosacea. Though the products typically look green when applied, experts told us the green hue goes away when it’s properly blended into the skin — they work to mask or camouflage the red color. The Clinique Daily Relief Cream is a great option for those with a lot of redness: The cream not only reduces the appearance of redness, but also works to gently calm irritated skin, according to the brand.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion

  • Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion $ at Amazon
  • Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion $ at Target
  • Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion $ at Ulta

Much like Cetaphil’s gentle skin cleanser, the brand’s moisturizing lotion can be a great option for those with very sensitive skin. The NBC Select staff-favorite moisturizer has a non-greasy formula with no added fragrance to avoid irritation, according to the brand. It can also provide up to 24 hours of hydration, according to the brand. If you’re looking for a daytime moisturizer option, Cetaphil’s Redness Relieving Daily Facial Moisturizer has SPF 20 and a tinted formula to reduce the appearance of redness.

Best cleansers for rosacea

Aveeno Calm + Restore Redness Foaming Cleanser

Aveeno Calm + Restore Redness Foaming Cleanser

  • Aveeno Calm + Restore Redness Foaming Cleanser $ at Amazon
  • Aveeno Calm + Restore Redness Foaming Cleanser $ at Target
  • Aveeno Calm + Restore Redness Foaming Cleanser $ at Ulta

Foaming cleansers can often be too harsh on rosacea-prone skin because they contain foaming agents that remove most of the oil on the face, which can lead to even more dryness and flaking. Though our experts recommend avoiding most foaming cleansers on the market if you have sensitive skin, there are a few that can be safe for the rosacea community, like this one from Aveeno. “It recognizes that, by adding calming and hydrating ingredients to balance the foam of the cleanser, those that need their soap to foam to feel clean can enjoy the overall experience while limiting the risk of excess dryness,” says Ilyas.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser $ at Amazon
  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser $ at Walmart
  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser $ at Ulta

Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser is recommended by dermatologists thanks to its gentle, non-foaming formula that hydrates and soothes rosacea-prone skin. NBC Select managing editor Leah Ginsberg says she’s used this cleanser since she was 16 years old and loves that it’s both affordable and gentle on her skin. “It’s also great for travel because you don’t have to rinse it off with water — you can massage it in and then (gently) wipe it off,” she says.

Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser

Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser

  • Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser $ at Target
  • Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser $ at Walgreens
  • Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser $ at Walmart

For people with very sensitive skin that might feel burning or stinging when trying new products, our experts recommend Vanicream’s product line. This cleanser boasts the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance — the program evaluates products based on the NEA’s criteria of ingredients and contents to ensure they’re beneficial for people with sensitive skin. The dermatologists I spoke to also recommend the brand’s moisturizing cream for very dry, sensitive skin, which is also one of our favorite moisturizers for dry skin.

Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar

Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar

  • Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar $ at Amazon
  • Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar $ at Walmart
  • Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar $ at Target

Dove's Beauty Bar is an easy-to-use cleanser that’s also budget friendly, says Dr. Apple Bodemer, a board-certified dermatologist and associate professor of dermatology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. The hypoallergenic formula is safe to use as both a facial cleanser and body soap, and it contains mild and moisturizing ingredients like glycerin that can help maintain the skin’s natural moisture barrier, according to the brand.

Best serums and treatments for rosacea

The Inkey List Azelaic Acid Serum

The Inkey List Azelaic Acid Serum

  • The Inkey List Azelaic Acid Serum $ at Amazon
  • The Inkey List Azelaic Acid Serum $ at Sephora
  • The Inkey List Azelaic Acid Serum $ at The Inkey List

The Inkey List’s Azelaic Acid Serum, recommended by Ilyas, is similar to The Ordinary’s serum — both formulas contain 10% azelaic acid and can be applied twice a day, according to both brands. If redness is a major concern, The Inkey List’s serum contains micro-fine green-colored particles that can help mask redness, as well as 0.3% allantoin, which is a chemical compound that can help soothe the skin, according to the brand.

Differin Gel

Differin Acne Treatment Gel

  • Differin Acne Treatment Gel $ at Amazon
  • Differin Acne Treatment Gel $ at Target
  • Differin Acne Treatment Gel $ at CVS Pharmacy

Though retinoids can be too harsh on sensitive skin, they can still work for rosacea-prone skin if they’re introduced slowly, starting with just once a week before building up tolerance. “I find the best approach is to first create a simplified routine that directly addresses the rosacea, followed by consideration of adding retinol and retinoids once inflammation in the skin is under control,” says Ilyas. 

Adapalene gel — an OTC retinoid treatment that can be used to treat mild to moderate acne and blackheads — is considered a milder retinoid compared to other options like tretinoin and tazarotene, she says. Both Ilyas and Dr. Gabriela Soza, a board-certified dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology, recommend Differin Gel — which contains 0.1% adapalene— as a suitable acne-fighting option for people with rosacea.

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension Brightening Cream

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension Brightening Cream

  • The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension Brightening Cream $ at Sephora
  • The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension Brightening Cream $ at Target
  • The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension Brightening Cream $ at Nordstrom

Ilyas also recommends The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Serum to help improve redness and generally even out skin tone, including any dark spots caused by bumps and blemishes. The serum contains 10% azelaic acid and is cruelty-free, vegan and gentle enough to use up to twice a day, according to The Ordinary.

Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur + Niacinamide Spot Treatment Mask

Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur + Niacinamide Spot Treatment Mask

  • Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur + Niacinamide Spot Treatment Mask $ at Amazon
  • Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur + Niacinamide Spot Treatment Mask $ at Ulta
  • Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur + Niacinamide Spot Treatment Mask $ at Sephora

Sulfur is an ingredient that helps to gently even out skin tone and reduce bumps caused by rosacea, says Ilyas. She recommends this spot treatment mask from Sunday Riley, which you can apply to blemishes or textured areas of the skin. The treatment helps remove dead skin cells, draw out impurities and reduce redness, according to the brand. After letting the mask dry on the skin, the brand recommends washing it off with warm water.

Best sunscreens for rosacea

EltaMD UV Clear Sunscreen with SPF 46

EltaMD UV Clear Face Sunscreen SPF 46

  • EltaMD UV Clear Face Sunscreen SPF 46 $ at Amazon
  • EltaMD UV Clear Face Sunscreen SPF 46 $ at Elta Md
  • EltaMD UV Clear Face Sunscreen SPF 46 $ at Dermstore

The EltaMD UV Clear Sunscreen is a favorite among our experts since it’s free of heavy moisturizers that could clog pores. It also contains niacinamide, which acts as a natural anti-inflammatory ingredient for rosacea. The mineral-based sunscreen offers SPF 46 protection and includes zinc oxide, which experts previously told us provides protection against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays while soothing the skin. 

This EltaMD sunscreen is the only one I’ve tried that doesn’t flare up my rosacea. Similarly, Ginsberg uses it on her fair, sensitive skin every day following her dermatologist’s recommendation because it doesn’t cause flare-ups for her, either. “I [also] love the texture and it never burns my eyes if I sweat,” she says.

Isdin Eryfotona Ageless Tinted Sunscreen

Isdin Eryfotona Ageless Tinted Sunscreen

  • Isdin Eryfotona Ageless Tinted Sunscreen $ at Amazon
  • Isdin Eryfotona Ageless Tinted Sunscreen $ at Isdin
  • Isdin Eryfotona Ageless Tinted Sunscreen $ at Dermstore

This Isdin tinted sunscreen can cover up redness and protect the skin against rosacea’s biggest trigger, according to Soza. It also contains peptides and antioxidants to also help minimize signs of fine lines and wrinkles, according to the brand.

Meet our experts

At NBC Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Dr. Erum Ilyas is a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology. Dr. Ilyas specializes in adult and pediatric medical dermatology, cosmetic dermatology and skin cancer treatment.
  • Dr. Apple Bodemer is a board-certified dermatologist and associate professor of dermatology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
  • Dr. Gabriela Soza is a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Wexler Dermatology in New York City.

Why trust NBC Select?

I am an editor at NBC Select who has written a variety of skin care stories, including treatments for cystic acne, keratosis pilaris and dark under-eye circles. For this article, I spoke to three dermatologists about how to tame rosacea and highlighted their recommendations for the best products to consider.

Catch up on NBC Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

2022-10-17T14:43:00Z dg43tfdfdgfd