Redness has been the bane of my life when it comes to my skin. Before knowing better, I reached for harsh toners and exfoliating treatments to try and rid my papulopustular rosacea breakouts, which is often self-misdiagnosed as acne. It was only when I got a rosacea diagnosis, started using prescription azelaic acid, and consistently used moisturisers for redness and rosacea that I saw significant improvement. My skin couldn’t get enough of these calming ingredients. Since then, I’ve tried nearly every anti-redness face cream I could get my hands on.
When it comes to increased redness, blotchiness and an uncomfortable tightness, it’s often all down to our skin barrier; this is especially true rosacea-prone skin, which is far more likely to have an impaired barrier. Our skin does an impeccable job at keeping bad stuff out (pollutants) and good stuff in (water). But when we overdo it on things like exfoliants, over-cleansing, and sun exposure, the bad can get it, cause irritation and result in some angry skin. At that point, it’s practically crying out for some soothing.
Luckily, there are some excellent moisturisers out there that help to reduce redness and overall restore a sense of calm and balance. To help keep your skin feeling happy and healthy, I’ve rounded up some of the best anti-redness face creams to start your journey to relief.
1. By BEAUTY BAY Colloidal Oatmeal + Oat Lipid Rich Moisturiser
For skin in need of some serious TLC, reach for the By BEAUTY BAY Colloidal Oatmeal and Oat Lipid Rich Moisturiser. It’s got a rich yet whipped texture that gives the skin a generous nourishing layer, but doesn’t feel heavy. In my eyes, that’s the perfect texture for dry skin types who still get the occasional congested breakout. It does an excellent job, particularly overnight, at soothing thanks to the formula packed full of soothing colloidal oatmeal and ceramides.
2. Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50
It’s no secret that wearing sunscreen daily is one of the best ways to prevent redness from flaring up. UV is inflammatory so is a major trigger for any kind of skin redness, including breakouts and rosacea. This sunscreen combines the protective benefits of SPF50 with a rich, nourishing moisturiser formula. So skin remains calm and soft, all day long.
3. Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment
There’s one product that conceals redness unlike any other: the Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment. It neutralises redness in a near instant without feeling heavy — basically, it’s a rosacea sufferer’s dream. Though excellent, you’ve got to use the product correctly. This isn’t one to slap on and go, it requires a thoughtful hand. The first step is only using a small amount; a little goes a long way. Next is all about the dab; carefully warm up between your fingers and press into the areas that are particularly red. You’ll soon see the magic of the green turn into a skin-coloured shade that neutralises any and all redness. It works well on its own, or as a colour-correcting layer under makeup.
4. Bubble Skincare Slam Dunk Moisturiser
Boosted with soothing aloe leaf juice and avocado oil to reduce redness, this cooling gel-cream is the ultimate treat for sensitive skin that feels itchy or irritated. I find this to be one of those rare and wonderful moisturisers that works just as well in the morning (under makeup) as it does for use as a night cream. It’s great for those who want a minimal or budget-friendly skincare routine.
5. Allies of Skin Molecular Barrier Recovery Cream Balm
Definitely not the most budget-friendly of the bunch, but if you’re looking for an investment cream, it’s definitely one to consider. Packed with rosacea-loving ingredients — like ceramides, allantoin and squalene — this strengthens and rebuilds the skin barrier fast. I particularly love to slather this on after I’ve used an active ingredient where I know I need some added hydration. The thicker consistency also doesn’t trigger my pustules, which is a huge win in my books.
6. Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream
An original anti-redness cream, the Clinique Redness Solutions Base is as soothing as it looks at first glance. It has a lovely lightweight texture that melts into the skin and doesn’t leave a greasy film. I find this a pleasant base to use before layering other products in the morning. If my skin is being particularly troublesome, I’ll pop this in the fridge to cool for a while before applying to give instant relief.
7. Dear Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream
Like a hug for the skin, this Dear Klairs Calming Cream is a barrier-boosting treat. If your skin is in SOS mode, reach for this. This beautiful lightweight blue cream has two smart ingredients at its core: guaiazulene which helps to alleviate redness and swelling and centella asiatica, a redness reliever and deep hydrator.
8. Origins Ginzing SPF 40 Energy-Boosting Tinted Moisturizer
One for the mornings when you want something but not quite a full-face of makeup. As it promises, this oil-free formula gives skin a pick-me-up (the uplifting scent helps with this too!) while instantly soothing, as well as concealing light redness thanks to its slight tint. Plus, it contains SPF so you really can grab and go.
9. Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré
Now, I’m going to be controversial here. I don’t believe this TikTok famous cream actually does anything for my skin with regards to re-building my barrier, however I do absolutely love it underneath makeup as a primer. I find it difficult to find a moisturiser that works with my SPF and makeup that doesn’t feel too thick or suffocating and doesn’t break me out. This does the trick and somehow seems to keep redness at bay. Maybe it is barrier-building after all, but regardless, as far as moisturisers go, it’s a very decent one.
10. Avène Cicalfate Cream
Last but by no means least is trusty Avene. The French brand that’s like that friend you can always count on or the coffee shop who makes your flat white perfect every time — basically, I can always trust it’s going to come through and never do me wrong. The multi-tasker has a thick, balmy texture that works when melted into fingertips and pressed into the skin; focusing on particularly troublesome areas. In just a few hours, skin is soothed and redness dramatically reduced. I have a tube of this stashed in my bedside table at all times.