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As board-certified dermatologist Diane Madfes, MD, FAAD, explains, rosacea is an immunity imbalance that breaks the skin barrier and causes inflammation. "It is a spectrum of redness, flushing, red bumps, cysts, and even sometimes facial swelling that we see," she says. The good news: over-the-counter creams can help manage flare ups, she tells us.
Byrdie Researched & Approved
The Proactiv Green Tea Moisturizer is our best overall pick, thanks to ingredients like hyaluronic acid and green tea that work to calm the skin. If you're on a budget, the Cetaphil Redness Reducing Daily Facial Moisture SPF 20 offers a hint of tint and skin-soothing allantoin and vitamin E.
According to Dr. Madfes, rosacea can be triggered by anything from sun exposure and spicy food to red wine, stress, and even hot yoga. If you have the condition, you're probably well aware of how tricky it can be to find skincare products that don't make the issue worse.
However, the right lotion or cream can help calm irritation and reduce redness while helping to prevent facial flushing. "I recommend moisturizers with hyaluronic acid, green tea, and niacinamide (vitamin B3)," says Dr. Madfes, noting that these ingredients help soothe inflammation. Additionally, fragrance-free formulas are ideal, as they're less likely to cause a reaction.
We conducted hours of research to find the best moisturizers for rosacea, evaluating each product to see if they had active ingredients with soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. We also looked for how effective they were at reducing redness. Alongside recommendations from multiple skin care experts and after considering dozens of formulas, we landed on these top-rated picks.
Without further ado, these are the best moisturizers for rosacea.
Best Overall: Proactiv Green Tea Moisturizer
Who else recommends it? Today also picked Proactiv Green Tea Moisturizer.
What do buyers say? 92% of 1,700+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
While you might associate Proactiv with intensive (albeit effective) skincare for acne-prone complexions, the brand's Green Tea Moisturizer isn't actually a treatment but rather a lightweight hydrator. More to the point, this non-comedogenic face cream contains two additives Dr. Madfes recommends for rosacea: hyaluronic acid and green tea. "These are calming ingredients for the skin," she says.
We also appreciate that it's formulated with allantoin, a botanical extract that soothes reactive complexions and supports the healing process—a major plus for those prone to breakouts. Reviewers noted that the formula felt light on the skin and calmed their redness, without clogging their pores. It's also perfect for those with sensitive skin, since it doesn't contain any active ingredients that could irritate the complexion.
Active Ingredients: Green tea, hyaluronic acid, squalane, allantoin | Skin Type: Dry, irritated, sensitive, acne-prone | Size: 3 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Budget: Cetaphil Redness Relieving Daily Facial Moisturizer SPF 20
Has a white cast
On a budget? Go with Cetaphil's Redness Reducing Moisturizer, which is a pick that you most likely can find at your local drugstore. Thanks to a subtle tint and skin-soothing ingredients like allantoin and vitamin E, this SPF 20 face lotion neutralizes redness while calming inflammation.We also love that it dries down to a non-greasy finish, as some sunscreen-moisturizer hybrids tend to make the skin oily throughout the day.
When editor Olivia Hancock tried this moisturizer, she loved that it protected her skin from the sun while being budget-friendly. However, she did note that it left a white cast behind, so it might not work for those with darker skin tones.
Active Ingredients: Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, allantoin, vitamin E | Skin Type: Sensitive, dry | Size: 1.7 ounces | SPF: 20 | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
What Our Editors Say
"I appreciated that this moisturizer works to protect my skin from the sun. Considering how pricy moisturizers can get, this is a budget-friendly pick anyone can add to their skincare routine." — Olivia Hancock, Editor
Best Luxury: Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer
From the luxury beauty counter, we're loving this lightweight gel moisturizer by Biossance. It hydrates with squalane, calms stressed skin with seaweed, and visibly reduces redness with ginger extract. This moisturizer also works to even the skin tone and balance the complexion with the use of probiotics, which can be especially helpful to those who deal with redness.
Active Ingredients: Squalane, seaweed, ginger extract, lactococcus ferment lysate | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.6 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Value: Vanicream Moisturizing Cream for Sensitive Skin
Reviewers note it doesn't absorb well
Vanicream offers the most bang for your buck. This 16-ounce pump bottle contains a fragrance-free, petrolatum-based cream that hydrates without clogging pores or irritating sensitive skin. Reviewers also noted that it soothed their itchy skin and dry patches (two other common symptoms of rosacea).
Active Ingredients: Petrolatum | Skin Type: Sensitive | Size: 16 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Rich Cream: Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Body Cream
Softens cracked skin
Doesn't spread easily
Weleda Skin Food has been a go-to for moisturizing dry skin for nearly 100 years. This exceptionally rich lotion doesn't directly address redness or irritation, but the natural formula promises not to exacerbate the issue while it nourishes your complexion. It contains naturally good-for-you ingredients, like vitamin E and calendula flower extract.
Active Ingredients: Sunflower seed oil, lanolin, beeswax | Skin Type: Dry | Size: 2.5 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
What Our Testers Say
"I used a pinch of this product to cover the driest, most cracked areas of my skin, which at the moment happens to be around my feet and ankles, and felt the immediate relief of deeply nourishing hydration that lasts all day long. I applied the cream morning and night for fast and lasting results." — Ashley Rubell, Product Tester
Best Splurge: Replenix CF Calming Serum
Works well under makeup
"Replenix CF is a great combination lotion," says Dr. Madfes. This caffeine-infused soothing serum contains antioxidant-rich green tea, gentle humectant hyaluronic acid, and calming cucumber extract—a fool-proof formula for addressing rosacea.
Active Ingredients: Green tea, hyaluronic acid, cucumber extract, caffeine | Skin Type: Sensitive | Size: 1 ounce | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for A.M.: CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30
This moisturizer from Cerave has hyaluronic acid and ceramides—two top ingredients for products for rosacea according to Dr. Madfes—making it the perfect morning moisturizer to soothe your skin. Not only is the formula lightweight and have a matte finish, but it protects your skin from UVA and UVB rays with SPF 30.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, ceramides, hyaluronic acid | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 ounce | SPF: 30 | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for P.M.: Rosacea Care Sea Buckthorn Night Cream with Willowherb
In the evening, reach for Rosacea Care Night Cream. As the name suggests, this brand makes products catered to those who have rosacea—so this moisturizer is specifically formulated to soothe and hydrate the skin without irritation. The plant-based formula is chock full of natural skin-soothers like willowherb, sea buckthorn, and allantoin, plus shea butter to deeply moisturize while you sleep.
Active Ingredients: Willowherb, sea buckthorn, shea butter, allantoin | Skin Type: Sensitive | Size: 1 ounce | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best for Mature Skin: BeautyStat Cosmetics Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream
Replenishes skin barrier
This light-as-air moisturizer from BeautyStat is a god-send for dry, irritated skin. Standout ingredients include hyaluronic acid, essential ceramides, protective probiotics, and calming reishi mushroom extract.The addition of fermented ingredients is also able to soothe inflammation and fight against free radicals that can accelerate aging according to BeautyStat.
Active Ingredients: Ceramides, hyaluronic acid, reishi mushroom extract, probiotics | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 ounce | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Oil-Free: EltaMD AM Therapy Face Moisturizer
A favorite of aesthetic dermatologist Naissan Wesley, MD, FACMS, this oil-free face moisturizer hydrates parched skin while smoothing uneven texture, preventing breakouts, and keeping irritation at bay. It also contains hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, with the latter being one of Dr. Madfes's top ingredients for calming inflammation.
Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid | Skin Type: Oily, acne-prone, sensitive | Size: 1.7 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best BHA: Epionce Lytic Tx Retexturizing Lotion
Replenishes skin barrier
"Epionce Lytic Lotion is also wonderful for rosacea, as it repairs the skin barrier," Dr. Madfes says. Containing a blend of gently exfoliating salicylic acid, redness-reducing azelaic acid, and calming allantoin, this facial moisturizer pulls out all the stops to keep your skin clear and healthy.
Active Ingredients: Salicylic acid, meadowfoam oil, azelaic acid, allantoin | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best K-Beauty: Dr. Althea Azulene 147HA Intensive Soothing Cream
Replenishes skin barrier
Korean beauty products are well-loved for frequently utilizing skin-soothing ingredients, and this moisturizer is no exception. Dr. Althea's 147HA cream calls on natural anti-inflammatory ingredients like chamomile and azulene to minimize redness and calm irritation while replenishing the skin barrier.
Active Ingredients: Azulene, hyaluronic acid, chamomile | Skin Type: Sensitive, dry, irritated, acne-prone | Size: 1.7 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No
Best Natural: Eben Facial Cream
We're also big fans of Eben Facial Cream. The all-natural, no-nonsense formula moisturizes with olive oil, soothes with green tea, and boosts dull complexions with vitamin C.
Active Ingredients: Green tea, olive oil, vitamin C | Skin Type: All | Size: 4 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Gel: Then I Met You Calming Tide Gel Cream
Replenishes skin barrier
If you're partial to gels, you can't go wrong with Calming Tide. In addition to its signature peptide complex, it's got niacinamide and hyaluronic acid—two ingredients Dr. Madfes recommends for tackling rosacea. We also love that it's formulated with madecassoside, which is a compound of centella asiatica, that can calm inflammation and strenghten the skin barrier.
Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, peptides | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.7 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes
Best Serum: La Roche-Posay Rosaliac AR Intense Visible Redness Reducing Serum
Works well under makeup
Reviewers note that the pump can break easily
New York-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD says those prone to rosacea are wise to use products containing calming botanical extracts, like this redness-reducing serum by La Roche-Posay. This product's star ingredient is ambophenol, which has been shown to improve rosacea symptoms. Not only does it address inflammation, but it also hydrates the skin and plays well under makeup.
Active Ingredients: Ambophenol, thermal spring water | Skin Type: Sensitive, irritated | Size: 1.4 ounces | SPF: No | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No
Our number one pick is the Proactiv Green Tea Moisturizer, a lightweight face lotion containing a blend of soothing, hydrating ingredients like green tea extract, hyaluronic acid, squalane, and allantoin. If you're on a budget, Cetaphil Redness Relieving Daily Facial Moisturizer is an excellent choice. And if you're open to splurging on the right formula, opt for Replenix CF Calming Serum, a dermatologist-approved hydrator that calms irritation and minimizes redness.
Meet the Expert
- Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and founder and director of Capital Laser and Skincare in Washington, D.C.
- Diane Madfes, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist in NYC, specializing in facial rejuvenation, chemical peels, fillers, skin cancer detection, and general skin care.
- Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, MD, the medical director of Mudgil Dermatology.
- Joshua Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist, as well as the Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
What to Look for in a Moisturizer for Rosacea
More specifically, those that strengthen the skin barrier, such as ceramides and niacinamide. A weakened skin barrier goes hand-in-hand with rosacea—according to dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, founder, and director of Capital Laser and Skincare. Strengthening it can help lock in moisture and lock out irritants.
As Dr. Tanzi explains, rosacea-prone skin is often sensitive, so the gentler and simpler the formula, the better. That means that you want to avoid potentially irritating ingredients, and fragrance is one of the most common (and problematic) culprits out there.
Choosing moisturizers that are free of pore-clogging ingredients is always a good idea.
How can you reduce rosacea flare-ups?
According to Dr. Tanzi, there are ways to help reduce (and even avoid) rosacea symptoms. Very gentle, non-irritating products that are pH-balanced can help, but there's more that you can do. As a fellow rosacea patient, here's what she recommends: "In general, I never put my face in hot water, I don't go in hot tubs or steam rooms, as it takes a toll on my skin," she says. "I wash my face at the sink with tepid water. It's important to avoid rosacea 'triggers,' such as hot weather and too much sun, cold weather and windburn, stress, alcohol, and caffeine."
Can moisturizer irritate rosacea?
Dr. Tanzi says that some moisturizers can irritate rosacea, depending on the formula. “Sometimes moisturizers with glycolic acids and retinol can irritate rosacea symptoms, so it’s best to stick with sensitive skin formulations,” she says.
How often should you moisturize with rosacea?
When it comes to daily moisturizer, Dr. Tanzi doesn’t recommend those with rosacea overdo it. Rather, they should moisturize as needed. “It depends on the need for hydration, but for most, a moisturizer at night will do the job, and for daytime, a good antioxidant is helpful,” she says.
Why Trust Byrdie
Byrdie contributor Theresa Holland is a skincare enthusiast and commerce beauty writer. She interviewed a board-certified dermatologist for this article, compiling their product recommendations and insight into rosacea-friendly formulations. Before making her final selections, she combed through ingredients lists, referenced many peer-reviewed sources, and considered dozens of products from myriad retailers. Theresa has been writing for Byrdie since 2020, where she covers skincare, makeup, and lifestyle products.
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