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8 Best Moisturizers for Rosacea-Prone Skin: Expert Recommendations

CEO Tinh Phung
If you've ever experienced a rosacea flare-up, you know the frustration of suddenly having bright red cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin, resembling a sunburn, even though you haven't been exposed to the sun. These episodes...

If you've ever experienced a rosacea flare-up, you know the frustration of suddenly having bright red cheeks, nose, forehead, and chin, resembling a sunburn, even though you haven't been exposed to the sun. These episodes of flushing or blushing are often triggered by hot drinks, spicy foods, alcohol, or stress. As rosacea primarily affects the cheeks and can cause roughness, keeping the area moisturized is crucial. However, finding the right moisturizer for rosacea can be challenging. The wrong choice could potentially worsen the condition. Luckily, top dermatologists have shared their best moisturizer picks for rosacea. Let's explore them!

What exactly is rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that can cause various symptoms in the skin or eyes. According to dermatologist Jodi LoGerfo, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, it usually manifests as redness around the center of the face, accompanied by flushing, papules, pustules, broken capillaries, and issues with the oil glands. Sometimes, it can be mistaken for acne. Studies show that rosacea affects more than 14 million people in the U.S., with women being the most affected. It usually appears after the age of 30, but it is most prevalent between 45 and 60 years old. Rosacea can have a significant negative impact on a patient's life, causing embarrassment, anxiety, and even depression. However, managing the symptoms can lead to an improvement in the patient's quality of life.

What causes rosacea?

While rosacea affects millions of people, its exact cause remains unknown to doctors. However, they believe it is likely a combination of hereditary and environmental factors, with ultraviolet radiation from sunlight being the most significant trigger. Alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, extreme temperature fluctuations, harsh skincare products, and psychological symptoms like embarrassment can also contribute to rosacea flare-ups.

Woman with rosacea on face. Image: Woman with rosacea on face. (Image source: Alona Siniehina/Getty)

How can moisturizers help with rosacea?

According to dermatologist Navis S. Arora, DO, FAAD, hydration plays a crucial role in managing dryness, sensitivity, and irritation associated with rosacea. A compromised skin barrier can worsen rosacea symptoms, making effective moisturizing essential. By providing hydration, moisturizers support the skin's barrier function, reducing the severity of the condition.

What should I look for in a moisturizer for rosacea?

Dermatologists suggest opting for gentle products specifically designed for sensitive skin. These products should contain minimalistic ingredients to avoid further irritation. Erika Luren, MA, MS, NP, founder of Parasol Aesthetics, Dermatology, and Wellness, advises avoiding moisturizers with alcohol, fragrance, or color, as they can be too harsh for rosacea-prone skin. Instead, look for ingredients that calm and soothe the skin, such as niacinamide, allantoin, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid. Another advantageous ingredient is glycolic acid, which can mimic doctor-prescribed rosacea treatments by promoting cell turnover and boosting collagen production. Additionally, it is recommended to choose moisturizers with SPF, as sun exposure can be more intense for individuals with rosacea.

Woman putting moisturizer on in the mirror. Image: Woman putting moisturizer on in the mirror. (Image source: vorDa/Getty)

How often should we moisturize with rosacea?

Consistency is key when it comes to moisturizing with rosacea. Dermatologist Navis S. Arora advises moisturizing twice daily, in the morning and evening, to maintain skin hydration and barrier function. It is also essential to perform a patch test before introducing any new product to ensure it doesn't irritate sensitive skin. If you are unsure, consult your dermatologist for a personalized treatment plan.

The 8 best moisturizer picks for rosacea

To create this list, we consulted dermatologists who shared their recommendations based on their patients' experiences. Below are the top moisturizers for rosacea:

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Effective application of moisturizer for rosacea

To prevent aggravating a rosacea flare-up or causing one, dermatologist Navis S. Arora suggests the following application method:

  1. Start with a gentle, hydrating cleanser that contains the aforementioned skin-soothing ingredients to remove impurities without stripping natural oils.
  2. After cleansing, pat your skin dry with a soft towel, avoiding rubbing, which can irritate the skin.
  3. Apply moisturizer to damp skin to lock in moisture effectively. This technique is more potent than applying to dry skin. Using clean fingertips, gently massage the moisturizer into the skin in circular motions to ensure absorption and promote circulation.

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