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Let’s make one thing clear, besides your skin. With rosacea, you really don’t know what’s going to cause a sudden flare-up or an itchy red bump. You can get full-blown facial redness right after cleansing. Your rosacea reveals itself as you wash your makeup off. You look in the mirror and it’s staring right at you in its full glory. The best cleansers for rosacea make sure your cleansing experience is a little less scary than that.
When you have rosacea, you need to be very careful with your choice of skincare products. And your cleanser is no exception. It has to be gentle, non-drying, and non-irritating. At the same time, it has to make your skin squeaky clean and remove any potential irritants from the surface of the skin.
This is your starting point. Unfortunately, there’s no cookie-cutter approach to cleansers for rosacea. You need to do a little bit of trial and error because your skin and the way it reacts are unique.
The level of sensitivity that comes with rosacea varies. But the symptoms are usually the same; broken capillaries, annoying flare-ups, and redness. And then there are red bumps that look like acne, feel like acne, but are definitely not acne.
But these cleansers will help you deal with all of those! It’s all about finding one that’s suitable for your skin type to make your skincare routine completely redness-free.
What To Look For in a Cleanser For Rosacea
Below are the things you should look for in your cleanser, things you should avoid, and things to keep in mind.
Look for hypoallergenic formulations.
Pay attention to the formulation of your cleanser to use on rosacea skin. And when I say formulation, I mean check if the cleanser contains common irritants such as alcohol, SLS, and fragrance. When a cleanser doesn’t contain these irritants, it’s usually a good indication that the formulation of the cleanser is hypoallergenic. And hypoallergenic cleansers are usually marketed as soothing, pH-balancing, calming, replenishing, and restoring.
Look for soothing and replenishing ingredients.
Look for soothing, calming, and anti-inflammatory ingredients in your cleanser for rosacea. These can be oatmeal, cucumber, aloe, or green tea. Additionally, look for replenishing ingredients in your cleanser to minimize dehydration. These can be hyaluronic acid, squalane, glycerine, and vitamin B5.
Avoid irritating active ingredients.
Exfoliating cleansers with glycolic acid or salicylic acid are usually not suitable for people with rosacea or sensitive skin. Because they are already potentially irritating. Using them twice daily can cause more redness and rosacea flare-ups.
Consider your skin type.
You should look for cleansers for rosacea that are also suitable for your skin type. For example, a gentle foaming cleanser can provide a very deep cleansing if you have oily rosacea skin. But it can be “too cleansing” for dry skin. Similarly, if you have dry rosacea skin, a creamy cleanser would be a better choice because they are more moisturizing. On the flip side, they can leave a residue on the skin which is usually unpleasant for oily skin. A safe middle ground is gel cleansers which are usually good for all skin types. So, remember to choose your cleanser based on your skin type too.
The Best Cleansers For Rosacea
From foam to gel cleansers, scroll down for the best cleansers for people with rosacea.
1. Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser
This is my personal favorite. And I think this is the best cleanser for people with rosacea. This is the second must-have for rosacea sufferers -the first one being Dr. Jart’s Cicapair CC Treatment, of course. The non-foaming facial cleanser is made to calm irritated and sensitive skin. Because it’s packed with soothers like oat, cucumber, and aloe that naturally reduce redness and inflammation.
And ginger root extract in the cleanser is incredibly helpful in evening out the skin tone. It also has vitamin B5, which hydrates while soothing the skin. The facewash purifies the skin without poking at your rosacea. As it doesn’t foam, it does not strip your skin. It has a gel-like texture that spreads out and washes off easily. This is the first thing I reach for in the morning to cleanse my face. The only downside is that you may need to double cleanse if you wear heavy makeup.
Key Ingredients: Oat, cucumber, vitamin B5. Type of Cleanser: Gel/cream. Skin Type: All. Size: 8.4 oz. Good To Know: Fragrance-free, alcohol-free, cruelty-free, vegan.
2. La Roche Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Facial Cleanser
This one checks all the boxes for sensitive and rosacea-prone skin. First of all, the milky cream texture is super gentle and embracing for the skin. But more importantly, the cleanser is made with skin-restoring ceramides and niacinamide. These two are essential for a healthy skin barrier. But the latter is an exceptional multi-tasker that has anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
The cream cleanser is soap-free, oil-free, and fragrance-free, which is a common trigger for rosacea. The gentle drugstore cleanser is all you need in your cleansing routine to get rid of makeup and day’s dirt. If your skin is super sensitive and you really don’t know which cleanser would help with your condition, there’s no point in starting off with an expensive one.
Because you’re going to experiment a bit with different cleansers. There’s nothing more frustrating than paying a ton for a product that ends up bad for your skin. For that reason, this budget-friendly drugstore cleanser is the one to go for if Dermalogica is out of your budget.
Key Ingredients: Ceramides, niacinamide. Type of Cleanser: Cream. Skin Type: Normal, combination, dry. Size: 13.5 oz. Good To Know: Fragrance-free, soap-free, oil-free.
3. Fresh Soy pH-Balanced Hydrating Face Wash
This one is a deep cleanser in a gel form perfect for all skin types dealing with rosacea. It’s made with soybean oil, which is rich in amino acids that keep the skin smooth and soft. Plus, it has rosewater in it to soften and tone the skin. The cucumber extract and aloe calm the skin as you get rid of makeup, excess sebum, and dirt trapped inside pores.
It doesn’t foam, it’s invisible on the skin, and there is no distinctive smell. The way it works is similar to Dermalogica’s. You can safely use it to clean your skin without worrying about redness, tightness, or dryness.
Key Ingredients: Cucumber, aloe, amino acids. Type of Cleanser: Gel. Skin Type: All. Size: 5 oz. Good To Know: Alcohol-free.
4. Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil
If you often wear heavy makeup, first of all, I feel you. We tend to go for full-coverage makeup in an attempt to cover redness, but the makeup ends up causing more redness and even red bumps. But that’s a story for another time. You should double cleanse if you regularly use heavy makeup.
It’s when you remove makeup with an oil cleanser and then move on to wash your face with another non-oil cleanser. It makes sure there is no makeup residue left on the skin. But it also prevents you from irritating your skin by rubbing it too much to get rid of the makeup. That’s why it’s advisable to consider an oil cleanser like this one.
The non-toxic cleanser is packed with antioxidant-rich oils to nourish and soothe the skin. It also has the signature naturally-derived squalane to make sure your skin is replenished, soft, and fresh. The cleanser breaks up your makeup while softening your skin with an amazingly light oil texture. Plus, it’s fragrance-free, and of course, vegan.
Key Ingredients: Squalane, oat kernel oil. Type of Cleanser: Oil. Skin Type: All. Size: 6.8 oz. Good To Know: Alcohol-free, vegan, cruelty-free.
5. First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser
If you’re following a rosacea-friendly skincare routine, chances are you have at least one of FAB’s anti-redness products. But in case you don’t, this one is a great one to start with. It’s packed with allantoin, an extract that has incredible soothing benefits.
It’s a common anti-redness ingredient. The cleanser contains a blend of other skin soothers like aloe, green tea, and feverfew as well. They help with keeping the skin calm while cleansing. The cream cleanser is fragrance-free as well.
Key Ingredients: Allantoin, green tea, aloe, feverfew. Type of Cleanser: Cream. Skin Type: Normal, dry, combination. Size: 5 oz. Good To Know: Fragrance-free, alcohol-free, vegan, cruelty-free.
6. Ren ClearCalm Clarifying Clay Cleanser
If you have oily and acne-prone skin, the cause of your facial redness can be confusing. Is it acne or rosacea? But one thing is for sure; oily skin is more tolerant than dry skin. Still, instead of going for a heavy exfoliating cleanser, go for a clay cleanser to reduce oil and deal with acne.
This one is made with kaolin clay to absorb oil and soak up dirt. It also has willow bark extract; a natural source of salicylic acid to balance oil production and reduce acne. The cruelty-free face wash doesn’t contain artificial fragrance. It thoroughly cleanses the skin and leaves it shine-free. Plus, it has calming lavender oil, and anti-inflammatory sesame oil to make your post-cleanse complexion redness-free.
Key Ingredients: Willow bark extract. Type of Cleanser: Clay. Skin Type: Normal, combination, oily, acne-prone. Size: 5.1 oz. Good To Know: Alcohol-free, cruelty-free.
7. Caudalie Vinoclean Gentle Foaming Cleanser
If you wear a lot of makeup, or your rosacea is mild to moderate or you’re simply looking for a foaming cleanser, this is one of the best face washes you can try. Foaming cleansers are usually something I avoid. But this is as gentle as they come.
This is like a bubbling cleanser that lightly foams up and removes any trace of makeup, dirt, and oil from the skin. It’s sulfate-free but it does contain fragrance. While foaming cleansers tend to leave the skin dry and tight, this leaves your skin unbothered and pure.
Key Ingredients: Chamomile extract. Type of Cleanser: Foam. Skin Type: All. Size: 5 oz. Good To Know: Alcohol-free, sulfate-free, vegan.
8. Neostrata PHA Facial Cleanser
Here’s the thing; if you insist on using an exfoliating cleanser, make it a polyhydroxy acid one. We all have different levels of sensitivity but we all need some sort of exfoliation. Exfoliation, when done in moderation, keeps the pores clean, speeds up skin turnover, and gives you smoother and brighter skin. Alpha and beta hydroxy acids are usually irritating for most of us.
But polyhydroxy acids like gluconolactone are much safer. And this cleanser is made with a 4% concentration of it. It’s soap-free and fragrance-free and made to gently exfoliate the skin. It removes dead skin cells and also boosts hydration -all thanks to the unique working mechanism of PHAs. The non-foaming cleanser also contains soothing and hydrating vitamin B5, making it one of the best exfoliating cleansers for rosacea.
Quick Tip: If you’re somewhat familiar with exfoliants and you’re looking for something to minimize acne rosacea, try Caudalie Vinopure Pore Purifying Gel Cleanser. It’s a very gentle salicylic acid cleanser I absolutely love to use whenever I’m experiencing breakouts and flare-ups. The concentration is really low, so it’s unlikely to irritate your skin.
Key Ingredients: Gluconolactone, vitamin B5. Type of Cleanser: Gel. Skin Type: All. Size: 6.8 oz. Good To Know: Soap-free, fragrance-free, alcohol-free.
9. SkinCeuticals Replenishing Cleanser
Picking a cleanser for combination skin is tricky as it is. And it gets trickier when you add rosacea into the mix. Fear not, because this one is specially made for combination skin. It’s gentle enough to avoid irritating the skin with its replenishing texture. But it still removes makeup and grime.
With no parabens, no alcohol, and no artificial fragrance, the light-foaming cleanser purifies the skin while maintaining its moisture. Moreover, it contains skin-restoring ceramides to strengthen the skin barrier. And it has vitamin B5 to bind water into the skin and soothe it all the while.
Key Ingredients: Ceramides, vitamin B5. Type of Cleanser: Cream. Skin Type: Normal, combination, oily. Size: 5 oz. Good To Know: Alcohol-free, contains essential oils.
10. Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser
This one is brimming with skin-caring ingredients you’d find in a soothing serum. It’s formulated without fragrance or alcohol and has a unique texture that works both as a cleansing oil and a face wash. It’s made with hydrating hyaluronic acid as well as vitamin B5.
And it contains soothing allantoin, rose water, as well as a botanical extract to take redness out of the equation. This whole thing makes cleansing amazingly gentle, nourishing, and spa-like.
Key Ingredients: Allantoin, vitamin B5, hyaluronic acid, rosewater. Type of Cleanser: Gel/cream. Skin Type: All. Size: 6 oz. Good To Know: Non-comedogenic, alcohol-free, fragrance-free, cruelty-free, vegan.
11. Motif Abundance Cleanser
This is a super gentle cream cleanser that doubles as a brightening face mask! The creamy cleanser is formulated without irritants and actually packs a botanically rich blend of anti-inflammatory and brightening ingredients. Licorice extract, cucumber extract, pineapple extract as well as ceramides ensure your skin is unscathed post-cleansing.
You can comfortably use it in the morning to start off with redness-free skin, and in the evening to remove the day’s dirt and pollution from the skin. It’s equally effective as a face mask because it contains clay and finely milled luffa particles to purify the skin. It also removes light makeup!
Key Ingredients: Licorice extract, ceramides, niacinamide, clay. Type of Cleanser: Cream. Skin Type: All. Size: 3.4 oz. Good To Know: Fragrance-free, clean, cruelty-free, vegan.
Related: Motif Abundance Cleanser Review
12. The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter
If you’re a fan of cleansing balms, you know that nobody does it better than The Body Shop. The cleansing butter is made with skin-soothing chamomile. And it’s enriched with moisturizing olive oil and shea butter.
The butter melts into the skin with heat and dissolves any makeup as you massage it in. And it leaves the skin clear, nourished, and soft.
Key Ingredients: Chamomile oil, shea butter, olive oil. Type of Cleanser: Balm. Skin Type: Normal, dry. Size: 2.7 oz. Good To Know: Alcohol-free, vegan.
This concludes our round-up of the best cleansers for people with rosacea. Overall, Dermalogica’s Ultra Calming Cleanser has been very helpful for my rosacea because it doesn’t dehydrate my skin.
And that’s important for me because I’m also in my 30s and I try to be gentle with my skin to avoid worsening wrinkles too.
If you haven’t found what you’re looking for here, just keep the basics in mind. When looking for a cleanser for rosacea, try to go for creamy, milky, non-foaming, hypoallergenic cleansers.
It’s best to avoid fragrance and look for soothing ingredients in your cleanser. If you regularly wear makeup, don’t forget to double cleanse. And if you’re not sure what to use for it, check out the best makeup removers for people with rosacea.
Read Next: The Best Exfoliators For Rosacea