When you have rosacea, you have to be extra cautious about your choice of skin care products in order to avoid flare-ups. The best cleansers for rosacea are, in general, gentle, non-drying and non-abrasive, but at the same time, they effectively remove makeup, dirt, pollutants, and dead skin.
Rosacea is essentially hypersensitive skin that’s easily irritated by many of the ingredients found in common makeup and skin care products. It also has certain ‘triggers’, like sun exposure, caffeine, hormones, and stress. These triggers and irritants — which may be different for everyone — can cause rashes that look like acne, swelling, dryness, or redness. With that said, you shouldn’t avoid skin care products altogether. In fact, a proper skin care routine tailored specifically for rosacea will help your skin stay healthy, smooth, and symptom-free.
According to celebrity cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Shereene Idriss of Union Square Dermatology in New York, you should choose your cleanser according to your skin type. “There’s no one-size-fits-all cleanser for rosacea, as one person may be more sensitive than the next," she says. "That being said, it is best to avoid cleansers with sulfates as they tend to strip away the natural oils on your skin. This may seem like a good idea but in reality, it triggers your skin to go into overdrive and produce more oil.”
Unsurprisingly, the same thing goes for additives like parabens, fragrances, and phthalates, as they tend to cause irritation. So what should you look for in a cleanser? Your best bet will be a hypoallergenic face wash that has moisturizing properties and comes in a gentle formula like a cream, milk, or oil cleanser. Check out these five highly-rated options, below, that fit the bill.
1. Best For Hydration: A Sulfate-Free Face Wash That Moisturizes And Calms Irritated Skin
Skin Laundry Hydrating Cream Face Wash
Your dry, sensitive complexion will love Skin Laundry’s Cream Face Wash. It's free of soap and sulfates (as Dr. Idriss recommended) and effectively removes makeup and dirt without over-drying the skin. In fact, it actually delivers irritant-free moisture to your skin via macadamia nut, meadowfoam seed oils, aloe, and panthenol, all of which also reduce itchiness and inflammation. It has a lovely but subtle citrusy scent and leaves your skin feeling clean, smooth, and hydrated.
2. Best For Exfoliation: A Cleanser With 4 Percent PHA That's Gentle Enough For All Skin Types
NeoStrata Facial Cleanser
If you’re experiencing a rosacea-related breakout of acne, aggravated dry skin, or oiliness, NeoStrata’s Facial Cleanser with PHA can help. PHA is a much gentler form of an AHA, so it’s an exfoliant that’s safe for most sensitive complexions and improves the overall look and feel of your skin. This cleanser is also is soap-free, fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. In fact, it's so gentle, it can be used by people who've recently had microdermabrasion or a chemical peel.
3. Best Green Option: An Organic Cleansing Milk With Bentonite Clay To Absorb Toxins
Dr. Hauschka Soothing Cleansing Milk
Don’t underestimate the power of this cleansing milk from Dr. Hauschka. Sure, it’s 100 percent organic and vegan, but it also contains bentonite clay and oat, which absorb and remove dirt, sebum, and toxins from the skin while reducing redness and inflammation. Made with anthyllis, jojoba oil, and almond oil, the formula is both gentle and hydrating. Reviewers say it does a great job at taking off all your makeup, and its nutrients help to heal and balance chronic dry skin. With a barely-there scent and a near-perfect rating, this is a safe and non-toxic cleanser that'll convert you to the green side.
4. Best At Removing Makeup: A Skin Soothing Cleansing Butter With Chamomile Extract
The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter
If you want a simple cleanser that melts away makeup quickly and effectively without causing irritation or stripping your skin of any moisture, try The Body Shop's Camomile Cleansing Butter. The rich, lotion-like formula is paraben-free, gluten-free, silicone-free, 100 percent vegan, and includes chamomile extract, which is naturally anti-inflammatory and an antibacterial astringent. With a cult following in the Instagram beauty community and a near-perfect rating on Amazon, you can trust this lightly-scented formula will take off even the most stubborn waterproof mascara.
5. Best For Oily Skin: A Cleansing Oil That Easily Removes Makeup While Protecting Skin With Powerful Antioxidants
Julep Love Your Bare Face Age-Defying Cleansing Oil
The easiest way to remove makeup, no matter what kind of skin you have, is with a cleansing oil. Julep's Love Your Bare Face Age-Defying Cleansing Oil is particularly perfect if you have rosacea because it relies on nourishing oils like grapeseed, rosehip, and olive to thoroughly remove makeup, dirt, and debris without over-drying. The natural oils in this cleanser also deliver essential nutrients and antioxidants to your skin which protect its moisture barrier, boost cell turnover, and keep it healthy and calm. It's also a wonderful option for those with oily skin, since excess sebum is typically produced to compensate for a lack of oil. So, though it might sound counterintuitive, a cleanser like this one could be just the thing to balance out oil production.
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