The 13 Best Flush-Reducing Moisturizers for Rosacea

By | July 21, 2022

It’s a tried-and-true deal that hydrated skin = happier, less irritated skin. So if you’re dealing with rosacea, moisturizing is likely a crucial part of your routine.

That goes for whether you’re dealing with dryness, oiliness, acne-like breakouts, or all of the above.

But trying new creams can be kind of nightmarish when your skin is super sensitive — especially since many moisturizers have ingredients that can make rosacea worse

The key is finding options that deliver moisture without adding to your skin’s irritation and that also address rosacea-specific concerns like redness, itching, and that annoying flushed feeling. These picks fit the bill, and there’s one for pretty much every skin need you can think of.

A quick look at the best moisturizers for rosacea

best moisturizer for rosacea

How we chose the best moisturizers for rosacea

So what does it take to make our list? Here’s the deal.

Expert advice

We consulted with derms to best understand which ingredients to look for and which to avoid. Some moisturizers are designed specifically for rosacea-prone skin, but more general creams made with sensitivities in mind can work too. Our list has a nice mix of both.

“The most important thing is to find a moisturizer that lacks fragrance, which can be irritating, and is noncomedogenic, meaning it won’t cause breakouts,” explains Philadelphia-based dermatologist Rina Allawh, MD.

Rosacea-friendly ingredients

We combed through ingredients carefully, picking creams free of ingredients known to cause irritation for rosacea-prone skin, like alcohol, added fragrance, menthol, lactic and glycolic acids, and camphor.

If one of our picks does include a certain type of alcohol, we mention which type it is (some are mild enough to be considered alcohol-free) and if they try to splash in added fragrance, we said “No, thanks.”

A word about cetearyl alcohol

Our careful process of finding the best moisturizers for red sensitive skin involved weeding through products that contain fragrances and certain alcohols. The tricky thing about alcohol in skin care is that one type is used so commonly, that it’s tough to avoid completely.

Cetaryl alcohol is often thrown into slews of shampoos, conditioners, and lotions. This ingredient is not the hella drying alcohol though and it’s not one for major alarm bells either.

This alcohol can be whipped up in a lab, but it’s also found in plants and animals. It’s both cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol, which are considered fatty alcohols.

Why is it used in our beauty products so much? Its job is to deliver a nice smooth texture to lotions and creams while also stopping the creams from splitting off into oil and liquid (which is pretty helpful).

Without boring you with the science behind the chemical structure of cetaryl alcohol, the main thing to know about it is that fatty alcohols like this one can actually soothe, compared to other typical alcohol, which can be drying as hell.

Here’s the real kicker, cosmetic products that are labeled “alcohol-free” are only referring to ethyl alcohol (“regular” alcohol) — they may contain other alcohols that the FDA considers safe like cetaryl alcohol.

TL;DR: We stuck to moisturizers that either have no alcohol or have cetaryl alcohol, which won’t dry or burn the living f*ck out of your skin.

Plenty of price points

We know some skin care products can really rock the wallet. We include a good mix of price points so you can find an option that fits your budget.

Solid reviews

We like to creep, especially on reviews. We checked out what users are saying about these products to make sure they deserve a spot on our winning list.

Vetted products

Every product we consider goes through a thorough vetting process that checks for unsupported health claims and shady business practices. Only products that pass that vetting process made our final list.

The best moisturizers for calming rosacea and reducing flush

All right — let’s get ready to hydrate and say “so long” to skin flushing and irritation. Here are the very best face creams for rosacea, no matter what your other skin concerns might be.

Pricing guide

Plenty of rosacea-friendly moisturizers fall into the super affordable category. But as with all things skin care, there’s a big price difference between basic drugstore lotions and luxe creams and serums (which aren’t technically moisturizers, obvi, but there were a few worth throwing in here).

  • $ = under $15
  • $$ = $16–$25
  • $$$ = $26–$50
  • $$$$ = over $50

Best-rated moisturizer for rosacea

Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream

Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream
  • Price: $
  • Standout ingredients: purified water, petrolatum
  • Skin type: all skin types — especially sensitive
  • Size: 15-oz. bottle
  • What we like: non-greasy, absorbs quickly, huge bottle, price-friendly
  • What we don’t like: may be too rich for some

This basic dermatologist-tested cream has been around forever — and for good reason. It’s thick and rich without being greasy, keeps your skin hydrated all day, and is free of irritants. No wonder it’s racked up more than 30,000 glowing reviews on Amazon.

It’s gentle enough for eczema and for use on children too. Plus, you can’t beat the big ol’ bottle it comes in (with handy pump dispenser).

Some peeps don’t love the feel of it though it’s pretty rich, so you might not love it if your skin is on the oily side.

Best anti-aging moisturizer for rosacea

ZO Skin Health Rozatrol

ZO Skin Health Rozatrol
  • Price: $$$$
  • Standout ingredients: lactose, milk protein, brassica oleracea italica extract, arnesyl acetate, farnesol, panthenyl triacetate, papain, glycerin
  • Skin type: oily, mature
  • Size: 1.7-oz. bottle
  • What we like: gently exfoliates, antioxidant protection
  • What we don’t like: pricey, contains cetyl alcohol

If you’re looking to multi-task as you moisturize and have some extra bucks to blow, this medical-grade option by ZO Skin Health may be your winner.

This hydrating serum is formulated for sensitive red skin. It also works to gently exfoliate to help out oily skin and reduce premature signs of aging.

This serum has glycerin, a well-known hydrating ingredient famous for its work on skin barrier repair. Some other standout ingredients with this one include a blend of lactose, milk protein, and brassica oleracea italica extract (broccoli plant extract) to soothe, hydrate, and reduce redness.

Reviewers are impressed with how soothing it is, and some even mention seeing a smoothing result. One less-than-thrilled buyer says it helps for a while and then redness comes back by the end of the day. Another says they don’t love the smell.

It also contains the aforementioned cetyl alcohol, which — as we mentioned earlier — is not the super-duper drying kind. But it’s still helpful for you to know before buying and trying.

Best night moisturizers for rosacea

Eucerin Redness Relief Night Cream

Eucerin Redness Relief Night Cream
  • Price: $
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, licorice root extract
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Size: 1.7-oz. jar
  • What we like: gentle, noncomedogenic, soothing
  • What we don’t like: may irritate very sensitive users

Mild yet potent, this soothing gel cream works overnight to improve skin’s appearance. “It contains licorice root extract, which stabilizes blood vessels, helping reduce redness and flushing,” explains Manhattan-based dermatologist Susan Bard, MD. 

It also contains the hydrating hottie we’ve mentioned, glycerin, and we love that it’s free from fragrances and dyes to cut down on the risk of irritating sensitive skin.

Some users complain that it caused a burning sensation on their sensitive skin. If you’re concerned, maybe do a patch test first.

RosaceaCare Sea Buckthorn Night Cream With Willowherb

RosaceaCare Sea Buckthorn Night Cream With Willowherb
  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: sea buckthorn oil, jojoba seed oil, grapeseed extract, pomegranate extract
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Size: 1-oz. jar
  • What we like: calming, soothing
  • What we don’t like: may need to patch test first, a little pricey

This night cream is a plant-based option for peeps with rosacea. Keep in mind some natural ingredients may cause an allergic reaction for some, so a patch test is a good idea with an option like this.

This one is serving sea buckthorn oil and jojoba seed oil to nourish and moisturize. It also has shea butter, so you know it’s a rich choice for getting that much-needed moisture.

Plus, it contains grapeseed extract and pomegranate extract for protection from free radicals. We love a multi-tasking queen. It is a bit pricey though and it comes in a jar — jars aren’t always as convenient to use and easy to sustain products like bottles.

Best probiotic moisturizer for rosacea

TULA Super Soothe Calming Moisturizing Lotion

TULA Super Soothe Calming Moisturizing Lotion
  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: cucumber, aloe, colloidal oatmeal, probiotic bacteria
  • Skin type: all skin types
  • Size: 1.7-oz. bottle
  • What we like: can help with inflammation and flushing
  • What we don’t like: pricey, small bottle

The jury’s still out on whether probiotic-based skin care can help rosacea for sure, but some research suggests it’s worth a try. This non-irritating formula offers soothing cucumber, aloe, and colloidal oatmeal plus a shot of probiotic bacteria to fight inflammation and flushing.

The not-so-good? The bottle is definitely small for the price. But you’re only supposed to apply a dime-size amount, so it might be fine.

Best tinted SPF for rosacea

EltaMD UV Clear Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

EltaMD UV Clear Tinted Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: niacinamide, hyaluronic acid
  • Skin type: oily and acne-prone
  • Size: 1.7-oz. bottle
  • What we like: lightweight, contains SPF, good choice for acne skin types
  • What we don’t like: contains lactic acid, which may be too intense for sensitive skin

It’s pretty rare for an SPF to take on acne, hyperpigmentation, and rosacea all at once — but this little bottle has some big fans behind it. This tinted SPF only seems to come in one shade right now (which is a bummer), but it includes the soothing and acne-helper ingredient niacinamide.

According to Allawh, this ingredient “can improve the skin barrier and hydrate skin, which can potentially reduce exposures to irritants in the environment that may trigger rosacea.”

This lightweight SPF also has the plumping and hydrating ingredient hyaluronic acid. Although the brand says it’s formulated with rosacea skin types in mind, this pick does contain lactic acid. While this ingredient is a good one for smoothing and brightening, it may be too intense or irritating for sensitive skin.

PSST: There’s an untinted version of this SPF available too.

Best drugstore moisturizer for rosacea

CeraVe Face and Body Moisturizing Cream

CeraVe Face and Body Moisturizing Cream
  • Price: $
  • Standout ingredients: hyaluronic acid, glycerin
  • Skin type: all skin types, including sensitive
  • Size: 8-oz. bottle
  • What we like: easy to find, budget-friendly, rich texture, large bottle
  • What we don’t like: contains cetearyl alcohol

The hyaluronic acid in this moisturizer gives skin a boost of hydration, improving elasticity and texture. But you won’t find any ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin — like retinol, lactic acid, or glycolic acid.

Guess what else though? This pick is:

  • non-comedogenic
  • hypoallergenic
  • fragrance-free
  • paraben-free
  • oil-free 

It’s also gentle enough to be accepted by the National Eczema Association.

It’s hella rich in texture which is great for getting some thiccc hydration on, but you can still feel free to slather this one all over too.

Plus, Dr. Jeremy Fenton of Schweiger Dermatology Group in NYC points to this brand as a good choice for people with rosacea thanks to its simple ingredients. Heads up, this cream does include cetearyl alcohol.

Best rosacea spot treatment for acne-prone skin

TULA Skincare Clear It Up Acne Clearing + Tone Correcting Gel

TULA Skincare Clear It Up Acne Clearing + Tone Correcting Gel
  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: niacinamide, azelaic acid
  • Skin type: acne-prone, oily, combo, mature
  • Size: 1-oz. bottle
  • What we like: contains acne-fighting niacinamide, cruelty-free
  • What we don’t like: contains salicylic acid, little pricey

This is a better bet for fighting breakouts than some other acne gels, since it’s free of irritants like alcohol and fragrances and contains probiotics to balance bacteria on your skin. 

It contains brightening and acne-battle all-star niacinamide and azelaic acid, which is also a big player in the acne-clearing game.

Bonus: This pick is cruelty-free and also free from:

  • parabens
  • sulfates
  • phthalates
  • mineral oil
  • petrolatum
  • gluten
  • silicone

Cons: It contains 2 percent salicylic acid, which as we mentioned, is a known — but not super common — rosacea irritant. Definitely do a patch test first.

Best moisturizer for rosacea that helps fight triggers

SkinCeuticals Redness Neutralizer

SkinCeuticals Redness Neutralizer
  • Price: $$$$
  • Standout ingredients: squalane, glycerin
  • Skin type: all skin types, including sensitive
  • Size: 1.7-oz. bottle
  • What we like: lightweight
  • What we don’t like: small bottle, pricey, may sting some

This lightweight cream cools and moisturizes while using a peptide complex to improve texture and combat environmental triggers that cause flushing and blotchiness. Definitely worth adding to your cart.

It has squalane and glycerin to moisturize ya too.

Reviewers are overall obsessed, noticing an improvement in redness. One points out that it stung their sensitive skin. So this may not be the pick for super-sensitive folks.

It’s non-comedogenic, free from regular alcohol (it does include cetyl alcohol though), and also formulated without:

  • parabens
  • fragrance
  • silicone
  • dye

OTOH, it does come in a tiny bottle and you’re supposed to use it twice a day — so it’s not cheap.

Best moisturizer for rosacea with super dry skin

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer
  • Price: $
  • Standout ingredients: niacinamide, ceramides
  • Skin type: all skin types, including sensitive
  • Size: 2.5-oz bottle
  • What we like: budget-friendly, lightweight, rich, oil-free
  • What we don’t like: may cause pilling

Super parched skin needs max hydration, but a non-pore-clogging formula is still a must.

This noncomedogenic cream is rich but still lightweight and oil-free, with niacinamide to lock in moisture and prebiotics to promote a healthy skin barrier. “I like it in general for a moisturizer for sensitive skin,” Bard says. 

It’s got your back with hydration and soothing, thanks to glycerin and the beloved niacinamide.

A potential con: Some users find that the texture can get grainy or pill-like on their faces.

Best rosacea moisturizer for redness

BIODERMA Sensibio AR Visible Redness Reducing Care

BIODERMA Sensibio AR Visible Redness Reducing Care
  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: glycerin, allantoin
  • Skin type: dry, sensitive skin
  • Size: 1.3-oz. bottle
  • What we like: takes down redness and flushing, soothes
  • What we don’t like: contains some oil

Slather this on when you’re feeling flush. It uses soothers like allantoin to fight that annoying hot feeling while delivering lightweight moisture with glycerin and laminaria. 

This pick is thankfully noncomedogenic and, according to the brand, makes a good “makeup base” which we think means primer, y’all.

Cons: It’s lightweight but not totally oil-free, so it might not be a good option if your skin is naturally oily.

Best budget moisturizer for rosacea

Cetaphil Redness Relieving Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 20

Cetaphil Redness Relieving Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 20
  • Price: $
  • Standout ingredients: allantoin, licorice extract, vitamin E, caffeine
  • Skin type: all skin types, including sensitive
  • Size: 1.7-oz bottle
  • What we like: budget-friendly, cooling, gentle
  • What we don’t like: shade isn’t a match for all

Lightweight and noncomedogenic, this moisturizer has allantoin to cool skin plus SPF to block out UVA and UVB rays. Best of all, the tinted formula helps neutralize the look of flushing.

We appreciate that this pick tosses in vitamin E for taking on free radicals. Allantoin, licorice extract, and caffeine are used here for soothing redness.  

Many reviewers rave about the quality of this pick at its price point, while others wish it gave more coverage or shade options.

The bad news: The tint won’t be a match for everyone’s skin, especially not for darker skin tones.

Best serum for rosacea

La Roche-Posay Rosaliac AR Intense Visible Facial Redness Serum

La Roche-Posay Rosaliac AR Intense Redness Reducing Serum
  • Price: $$$
  • Standout ingredients: selenium, glycerin
  • Skin type: all skin types, including sensitive
  • Size: 1.35-oz. bottle
  • What we like: soothing, oil-free, fragrance-free
  • What we don’t like: little pricey, questionable pump

Put on this potent serum before moisturizing. “It contains thermal spring water, which is made of mineral salts including selenium, a powerful antioxidant that helps soothe dry, red skin,” Allawh says.

It’s noncomedogenic, which your pores will thank you for. Plus, it’s also free from parabens, fragrance, and oil.

The product page seems proud about the air-tight packaging this serum comes in, but a reviewer points out that the pump stopped working for them. Most reviewers are into this serum, saying it helps their redness, but some say they didn’t notice a difference after using it.

Remember tho: It’s a serum, so you’ll need to use it in addition to your regular moisturizer. 

Best natural moisturizer for rosacea

Era Organics Soothe Calming Redness Relief Moisturizer

Era Organics Soothe Daily Redness Relief Moisturizer
  • Price: $$
  • Standout ingredients: aloe vera, chamomile extract, milk thistle
  • Skin type: all skin types except oily and acne-prone
  • Size: 2-oz. jar
  • What we like: plant-based, cruelty-free, budget-friendly
  • What we don’t like: contains oil, comes in a jar

This anti-inflammatory cream uses plant-based ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile extract, and milk thistle to ease flushing and keep itching at bay. 

We appreciate that it’s cruelty-free and free from parabens, sulfates, and fragrance.

On the downside, it’s not oil-free, so skip it if you’re prone to acne or oiliness. 

How to choose the right moisturizer for you

We asked a couple of board certified derms for tips on shopping for a moisturizer when you have rosacea.

Here’s the tea from our experts (and it’s not as complicated as you’d think).

Fenton says it’s best to keep things easy with a simple moisturizer with limited ingredients and no fragrances. He also points to niacinamide as a soothing ingredient.

As far as his fave moisturizer for rosacea goes, Fenton likes Cetaphil or Cerave.

According to Dr. Naana Boakye, a board certified dermatologist and the founder of Bergen Dermatology in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory condition that disrupts the skin barrier, resulting in redness, stinging, and burning. (Ouch!)

So to keep that skin barrier healthy, Boakye suggests looking for moisturizers that have these key hydrating ingredients:

And for reducing redness, she suggests topical tranexamic and azelaic acid.

Ingredients to avoid

OFC, staying away from certain ingredients is just as important as finding the right ones.

We’ve already mentioned the importance of staying away from fragrances and alcohol whenever you can, but there’re a few extras to steer clear of if you have rosacea.

Fenton warns these ingredients may be too extra for sensitive rosacea skin types:

  • alpha hydroxy acids (like glycolic acid)
  • beta hydroxy acids (like salicylic acid)
  • retinol

Boakye agrees, adding that because the skin barrier is compromised, products with alpha and beta hydroxy
acids and retinol should be used with caution (like extreme caution).

How to prevent rosacea flare-ups

Believe it or not, some rosacea flare-ups are also triggered by things outside of your skin care products.

Boakye suggests avoiding these triggers:

Fenton adds that alcohol (not just wine, we guess) is another trigger. (Boo, hiss!)

He suggests keeping your skin well hydrated and ensuring it doesn’t get dried out or overly exfoliated (you don’t want to piss it off!).

Boakye also stresses the importance of keeping your skin barrier healthy by:

When to see a derm

According to Boakye, it’s always best to see a dermatologist early, if you can, because rosacea is a chronic inflammatory condition. “I think education and lifestyle changes are important when dealing with this condition,” she says.

Fenton tells us if you have skin flares despite using gentle over-the-counter products, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist.

Plus, he adds if you have any eye pain or discomfort, you should see an ophthalmologist (a doctor specializing in vision or eye care) to rule out ocular Rosacea.

Frequently asked questions

Should I use moisturizer if I have rosacea

Boakye says, “Yes! All the time and I recommend applying it twice a day.” Fenton adds that moisturizing is important to preventing rosacea flares.

What moisturizer should I use for rosacea

Fenton suggests simple moisturizers with limited ingredients and no fragrances. He points to Cetaphil or Cerave as good options.

Are creams or serums best for rosacea

Fenton says whatever is more hydrating for your skin. “For most people,” he says, “this would be a cream.”

For Boakye, it comes down to ingredients. Find out if the ingredients are hydrating, simple, free of fragrance, and overall safe for sensitive red skin.

Can moisturizer worsen rosacea

Boakye and Fenton agree that this comes down to the ingredients. Moisturizing with rosacea should only worsen things if the ingredients are too harsh or include irritants like fragrance and traditional alcohol. Moisturizing with a product that works nicely for your skin should help prevent flare-ups.

The bottom line

If you deal with rosacea, shopping for new skin care products may feel a little nerve-wracking. Don’t let fear tempt you into skipping moisturizing though.

It may take some trial and error, but moisturizing your skin (twice daily if you can) with rosacea-friendly or sensitive-skin-friendly products may help prevent the condition from flaring.

Look for simple moisturizers with limited ingredients that are specially formalized for sensitive skin types — and some formulas specifically shout out rosacea too.

It’s usually good to skip the more intense skin care ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid.

Many products try to sneak in fragrances and alcohol. Fragrances can irritate many skin types, so we love to avoid these whenever possible. Certain alcohols added to skin care products (especially if they are lower on the ingredient list) may be doable but try to avoid straight-up alcohol in your products as much as you can.

You can consider picking up travel-size versions of rosacea-friendly moisturizers to hold off on committing until you see how your skin reacts.

You can also opt-out of or limit drinking alcohol and eating spicy food and yogurt if you’d really like to try to cut back on rosacea flares.

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