4 Derm-Approved Serums That Won't Irritate Rosacea-Prone Skin

By Marissa DeSantis

Finding the right beauty products for your skin type can be tough — it's literally my job, and even I find it overwhelming at times. Not only are there more options out there than ever, but it also requires a lot of trial and error. And while having too many choices is certainly better than not having enough, if you have a skin concern like rosacea, you want to get it right the first time. That's where this roundup of the best serums for rosacea comes in.

Those with rosacea are all too aware that any number of things can set off a flare-up. "Some of the more common triggers include sun exposure, wind, hot or cold weather, emotional stress, heavy exercise, spicy foods, alcoholic beverages, and certain ingredients in skincare products," says dermatologist Dr. Sejal Shah of SmarterSkin Dermatology in New York. While the list of environmental and lifestyle triggers varies depending on the individual, luckily, when it comes to choosing a serum that won't increase irritation and redness in rosacea-prone skin, there are some hard and fast rules. "Avoid products with alcohol, fragrance, ingredients that are harsh or overly drying, and any potential chemical and mechanical irritants," Dr. Shah says.

So what can you put on your skin without exacerbating rosacea? Dr. Shah says to look for a serum that includes anti-inflammatory and calming ingredients, as well as antioxidants. Some popular ingredients that fit the bill are vitamins C and E, which help with everything from firming and evening out skin and to protecting your face from environmental aggressors like UV rays. Common skin-soothing ingredients in serums that are best for rosacea include colloidal oatmeal and niacinamide, as well as moisturizers like hyaluronic acid and squalane.

Check out four of the best serums for rosacea, ahead (including one of Dr. Shah's picks). And don't forget to brush up on the best cleansers for rosacea and the best moisturizers for rosacea to complete your skin care routine, as Dr. Shah notes that "choosing the right cleansers and moisturizers are also key" when it comes to managing this condition.


Dermatologist's Pick: The Overall Best Serum For Rosacea

Specifically developed to help combat redness, this serum from French pharmacy brand La Roche-Posay is fragrance-, alcohol-, and paraben-free, and comes recommended by Dr. Shah herself. Three active ingredients are at play here, most notably, ambophenol, a polyphenol-rich extract that reduces the size of blood vessels and strengthens their walls. It also contains neurosensine and La Roche-Posay's thermal spring water to soothe skin. "This can be used twice a day under SPF and moisturizer," Dr. Shah says of its versatility.


Another Great French Pharmacy Serum

One of my favorite brands for sensitive skin is Avène, another French pharmacy favorite. Their A-Oxitive Antioxidant Defense Serum contains vitamins C and E to help shield your skin from oxidative stress, which Dr. Shah says is ideal for applying in the morning under your SPF. Vitamin C also helps brighten skin tone and support collagen production for plumper, smoother skin. And, Avène has paired hyaluronic acid with their thermal spring water for added hydration and skin-calming benefits that are ideal for rosacea.


This Drugstore Pick That Won't Break The Bank

Serums tend to be on the more expensive side, but if you're looking to test out an option for $10, CeraVe's Skin Renewing Cream Serum is your best bet. The dermatologist-developed serum is non-comedogenic, non-irritating and fragrance-free, and it includes niacinamide, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid to calm and hydrate the skin.

The only downside is that this includes encapsulated-retinol, which can increase irritation for sensitive skin types at first. That being said, if you stick it out for a few weeks, retinol can do everything from boost collagen production to clear up acne.


A Natural Option For Green Beauty Lovers

Not only is REN dedicated to using clean ingredients in all their products, but the brand is also passionate about being environmentally-friendly, using recyclable packaging, refillable solutions, and bottles made with reclaimed ocean plastic. Their Evercalm Anti-Redness Serum uses milk protein to hydrate skin and a seaweed extract called antileukine to reduce redness and inflammation. The serum was also developed with wild Canadian rumex to help lighten hyperpigmentation and improve the skin tone's overall appearance.

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