What is the Best Moisturizer for Rosacea ?

cetaphil-moisturizing-cream

An excellent consumer report about how to choose a moisturizer. The linked article below gives some background on how moisturizers are formulated, how they work, and the operation of common active ingredients.

A table at the end of the PDF document compares about 75 available moisturizers, classifying them under Face, Hands and Feet.

This list of products is perfect for anyone searching for the best moisturizer for rosacea.

Moisturizers: What They Are and a Practical Approach to Product Selection, J. N. Kraft, BSc (Hons) and C. W. Lynde, MD, FRCPC

Skin Therapy Letter (PDF), Volume 10, Number 5, June 2005,

Abstract: Moisturizers are widely used products that are important in many dermatologic and cosmetic skin therapies. They contain varying combinations of emollients, occlusives, and humectants to achieve their beneficial effects, and there is an overwhelming number of formulations available. To develop a rational approach for prescribing moisturizers, commercially available products can be categorized on the basis of application site.

Key Words: dry skin, emollients, humectants, moisturizers, occlusives

There is a vast array of moisturizers available on the market today and consumer demand for these products is growing. These products range from value brands that provide basic moisturization to luxury therapeutics with claims of anti-aging benefits. A recent US study found that moisturizers are the third most commonly recommended OTC topical skin product (13.4%) behind hydrocortisone (27.6%) and anti-infectives (23.4%)

The article has the following sections:

  • What Are Moisturizers?
  • How Do Moisturizers Work?
  • Emollients
  • Occlusives
  • Humectants
  • Where Are They Used?
  • What is the Ideal Moisturizer?
  • Formulation Characteristics

The following moisturisers look to be of potential interest to rosacea sufferers. These are listed in the comparison table.

A summary of some Canadian-marketed moisturizing products/active ingredients by sites of use (many of these products are available in the US as well). This list does not profess to be all-inclusive but includes many of the popular brands used by dermatologists in their practices.

  • Facial Moisturizer, Active Ingregients
  • Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer (Galderma), Cyclomethicone, glycerin
  • Complex 15 Face Cream (Schering Plough), Dimethicone, lecithin
  • Dormer 211 Face Cream (Dormer), Hyaluronic acid complex, lecithin
  • Dove Sensitive Essentials (Unilever), Petrolatum, mineral oil, dimethicone
  • Enydrial (Roc Laboratories), Hypoallergenic base
  • Eucerin 5% Facial Cream (Beiersdorf), 5% Urea
  • Hydra + Destressant (Roc Laboratories) , Hypoallergenic base
  • Hydraphase UV SPF30 (La Roche Posay) , Glycerin, thermal spring water
  • Impruv (Stiefel), Glycerin, shea butter, squalene
  • Neutrogena Moisture Cream (Johnson and Johnson), Glycerin, dimethicone, petrolatum
  • Nutrilogie 1 Intensive Care for Dry Skin (Vichy Laboratories), Sphingo-lipid, urea, glycerin
  • Nutrilogie 2 Intensive Care for Very Dry Skin (Vichy Laboratories), Sphingo-lipid, urea, beeswax, shea butter
  • Oil of Olay Moisture Cream & Oil of Olay Complete All Day Cream (Proctor and Gamble) Hypoallergenic base
  • Spectroderm (Glaxo Smith Kline Consumer), Dimethicone, glycerin
  • Toleriane Riche Smooth Protective Cream (La Roche Posay), Shea butter, squalene, glycerin
  • Toleriane Soothing Protective Care (La Roche Posay), Glycerin, squalene
  • Vichy Thermal Fix 1 and 2 (Vichy Laboratories), Filladyn, sunflower oil, glycerin
  • Vichy Novadiol Intensive Re-Densifying Care Face and Neck (Vichy Laboratories), Phytocomplex, beeswax, glycerin

Featured Products

What do you like?

Have you found a moisturizer that you love enough to recommend to other rosacea sufferers?

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About the Author: David Pascoe started the Rosacea Support Group in October 1998. .

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281 Reader Comments

  1. cara says:

    Food for thought;

    Milk thistle – clogged liver

    Moisturizing and healing mask;
    Beat Egg white mask w cucumber pulp (blended) and contents of a
    parasite cleanse gel capsule mixed in (wormwood, clove and green
    walnut) i also experimented with a layer of glycerin and aloe first.
    really soothing.

    30 days of masks

    If lupus major cleanse in order; research Gabriel Cousens or Optimum
    Health Institute ( the later non profit nutritional approach to health
    “opportunities”.)

  2. Aileen says:

    Oh yes, I just about lived at the doctors for a number of years. I am íntriguing, puzzling, interesting, complex and so on with symptoms of many things but no conclusions. Most of them agreed with Sjogrens diagnosis but the immunologist said no but can’t give a diagnosis either.All my symptoms fit into S S but I do not have the usual antibodies.He said no to lupus and many other ideas I came up with.Just started with a chiropractor. Don’t know if it will help but she sure knows where the sore spots are. I am hoping! Aileen

  3. elizabethann says:

    I’ve kept my rosacea under pretty good control for a year now, using Topix Replenix CF Cream in the morning, underneath my sunscreen (Clarins spf 40 multiprotection) and at night, Trilogie Rosehip Oil and nothing else. It’s a nuisance because I live in the UK and have to pay horrendous customs and VAT charges to import my Topix Replenix from the USA. But it’s the best daytime product I’ve found so far. As for the rosehip oil, it gets too oily if I just smooth it on straight from the bottle, so I do it this way: I put 2-3 drops of oil on the palm of one hand, rub my hands together, and then pat my face with both palms. I do it just after spritzing my face with rosewater, which means my skin is still a bit damp. This works for me, but I’d love to find a European product which worked as well as the Topix Replenix.

  4. Jutta says:

    I was diagnosed with Rosacea about 5 years ago. Have been using Finacea, works well for the redness, but the pustules and acne-like outbreaks are getting worse. Is there anything out there that helps? I have spent a fortune on products that promise, but don’t deliver.

  5. Sara says:

    Jutta – Sorry to hear about your struggle. I also have rosacea. I have been on doxycycline 50 mg twice daily. I also use metrocream at night. This regimen has cleared up my face and kept it under control. I’m not wild about the prescriptions, but it is the only thing that keeps it under control. I remember how painful it was when my face was horribly broken out. I had gotten to where the only relief from the pain was a mask of Greek yogurt. I called in sick to work day after day. I also use vanicream light lotion as a moisturizer. For the first year of my treatment, I used Cerave moisturizer and it worked very well; I just found it to be too heavy after a while. Good luck!!

  6. Brenda says:

    I also have rosacea, I have been taking Oxytetracycline 500mg twice a day and I moisturize, wash, cleanse using Epaderm cream. I am pretty clear most of the time with only slight flare ups every now and then, one thing that isn’t relieved is the constant itching, has anyone found any cure for it?

  7. aileen says:

    I cannot find an itch cure either.Tried everything anyone mentions, even tried haemorrhoid cream! Even tried Hycor eye ointment (not together) and I thought that did help a bit,itches are very stubborn and I do wonder about mites but no one seems to want to do a skin test. Lets hope for a miracle cure. Aileen

  8. elizabeth ann says:

    Just thought I’d add that my dermatologist has put me on to a range of skincare products especially for rosacea, that he says are very good and not gimmick! I’ve tried some “rosacea” products in the past, but they didn’t work and were very expensive. The range my derm recommends is a French brand called Aderm, and you can buy it on the internet. It’s not expensive, about the same as a good drugstore brand. Haven’t tried it yet, but when my Topix Replenix CF Cream runs out I’m going to get some Aderm. It’s so horrible expensive buying creams from the US and paying customs and VAT!

  9. Brenda says:

    Thanks Elizabeth, Iv’e just ordered some Aderm will let you know outcome.

  10. Sara says:

    My dermatologist gave me Promiseb for the itching. I only have to use it every now and then, but it seems to work. Keeping my face clean is a must and I wear very little make-up. http://promiseb.com/patient_index.php

    As with everyone else, I try my best to stay out of the heat, sun and I try to not get myself worked up. I live in South Carolina and the heat is pretty bad. It has just turned colder and I think I am the only one that is happy about it. I feel like I can go outside now. Does anyone live in colder weather and still have a hard time with their rosacea?

  11. elizabeth ann says:

    Yes, Sara, I live in the UK, and am equally uncomfortable in heat (which for us is usually less than 85% in summer, often a lot less) and sunshine, which I can’t take directly, but also in cold, especially when it’s windy. In the UK we don’t often get temperatures below 30% (I’m using Fahrenheit here), but even in the high 30’s to low 40’s I find cold makes my rosacea sting and burn. My cheeks turn bright red, and can be extremely painful. Whenever possible in winter I tie a scarf round my lower face to protect myself from the cold and wind outdoors, but it does look quite odd and could scare the neighbours!

  12. Brenda says:

    I also live in Swindon in England, the sun is not as bad as the cold for me, I don’t lay in the sun and I use a factor 50 sun cream, however there is nothing to protect from freezing winds and and rain in the winter I tend to stay at home a lot. I lived in Myrtle Beach for 3 years but didn’t have this problem then so I enjoyed the sun. but I feel for Sara.

  13. Sara says:

    Thanks Brenda.

  14. Anita T. Monroe says:

    Brenda and Elizabeth Ann,

    I live in the northern section of the Carolinas and it gets bitterly cold in the winter and i
    have the same problem with the cold weather that you do. The worst thing for me is
    indoor heating which is extremely dry and makes Rosacea much worse. I try to conbat
    the dryness with vaporizers in all the rooms where I spend a lot of time. some people
    put built-in vaporizes on their furnaces, but that is quite expensive.

    I am going to try your Topix Replenix cream if I can find it here. Brenda, like you I lived in a maritime environment for many years and my skin condition was much better, but it didn’t go away.

    I have had this condition for such a long time that I have just about given up hoping that medical research will find a cure for it. I keep hearing several comments from doctors: “This is not an important problem”, “It just the thing your skin does”, “Just find some good make-up”.. The only hope is that whatever company FINDS a cure for
    this problem is going to make a ton of money. After all, once you get these symptoms, they do no go away; they are always lurking in the background, ready to make you
    miserable, especially this time of you.

  15. Rosemary says:

    I was just diagnosed last month so it is very new to me. I was on the metrogel but it is too harsh. The itching is to much, I can take it. I need help

  16. Anita T. Monroe says:

    Rosemary, I hope this forum can help you. Metrogel is too harsh for many of us. The cream is somewhat better, but I can use it only every other day.

    This is not an easy condition to deal with, especially if you have any public life. If you live anywhere near the Mayo Clinic, I advise going there. They specialize in working
    with puzzling, chronic conditions. Most people seem to find the medications and topical medications and lotions that work for their individual skin. The basic rules you have probably learned by now: !. Try to find a way to stay away from dry, over-heated air 2. Notice which foods seem to make things worse – most people can’t tolerate alcohol, extremely hot or spicy foods. 3. Stay out of extremely cold temperatures, especially with high winds. 4. Use a good, pure moisturizer 5. Be careful with direct
    sun and sunscreens. 5. Use a light make-up that doesn’t irritate your skin. Clinique is good. 6. Try to avoid extreme emotional stress 7. Don’t expect to find much help from
    physicians who are not specialists.

    Try to explain to people who express surprise – “What’s wrong, your face is so red!”
    This can be tricky and embarrassing. You might as well be ready for it with a good answer. “I know, it’s a skin condition that I’m trying to get healed. I wish that I didn’t look like this”.

    Don’t get discouraged, but you do have to realize that a cure doesn’t exist. It is something that you are going to have to struggle with for a long time. There is some hope because medical research is starting to pay attention. After all, so many people are developing this condition that finding a cure would make a significant amount of money.

    Best of luck to you.

  17. cara says:

    There is so much wonderful advise on this amazing site. It takes time and effort to sift through the information and to start to really understand what is happening to us. In the briefest words; the medical establishment is in conflict to the reasons. They throw dozens if not hundreds of meds and topical solutions at us. It’s everything from mites to candida to hormones to thyroid to allergies. Different things work for different people and I believe different causes result in the sensitivities and triggers. One thing seems clear to me; something is out of balance. The sensible thing is to try an anti candida diet – NO SUGAR NO SIMPLE CARBS NO FRUIT NO CAFFEINE NO DAIRY NO GRAINS for a week, thirty days or a year. See what happens.

    A common sense approach might say the more severe the longer to heal. Try organic unrefined coconut oil to moisten (do not expect miracles in 24 hours); research this site; earthclinic site; bee wilder’s site. This did not happen over night, it cannot be just one quick fix. I love a cucumber mask for moistening. I love a little glycerin or jojoba oil and coconut oil is wonderful. But none of this is going to help completely/immediately if i don’t clean up the imbalance causing these food triggers/sensitivities. I have turned to prayer at times and as i refuse to get on the anti-biotic train to forever I believe in a longer range more complete wholistic approach. The prayer gives new inspriration and new resolove. And always new information.

    Examine how we got here. Are you a cookie monster? I was. Did you party a little too much? I have. Do you have a delicate, pink complexion? I do. Are you a cheese aholic? I am not but I can understand how one could be! Are frittos or potato chips your best friend? GMO round up ready corn or potatos cannot be good for our digestive track; in fact thinning of the small intestine lining has been found in farm animals who eat them. Never mind. Be resolved. Today is a new day! The body is a self healing organism if given half a chance. In some cases it needs your full resolve; and may be asking for your full committment and attention. Best to all ~

  18. Brenda says:

    I have been using Argon oil for over night and in the morning and it really helps the dryness, I’m still using the Epiderm cream during the day at intervals but nothing helps the itching, when it gets impossible to handle I put a thick layer of yogurt on my face as a mask and let it stay on 30 mins if nothing else it cools the skin eases the itch somewhat, oh for a cure.

  19. Brenda says:

    I forgot, I used the Aderm for just one hour and had to rinse it off, my face really didn’t like it,I was red as hell.

  20. elizabeth ann says:

    Oh Brenda, you had the same experience as me! My Aderm arrived this weekend. I ordered the Sensiphase, supposed to be targeted for rosacea, but like you I found my face went bright red. I also experienced terrible burning and stinging and had to wash it off. I’m back to my Topix Replenix CF Cream now, and I also find Trilogie Rosehip Oil is good on the dryer parts of my face. Good luck!

  21. Sara says:

    I had a lot of itching while I was healing as well. My dermatologist suggested Cerave (the moisturizing cream, not the lighter lotion). I used it for about a year and it was good for me. It was heavier than a normal moisturizer, but it did help with my itching. I find that even now (a year and a half later), I have to have a moisturizer on my face or the itching comes back. I am on antibiotics for my face though. I didn’t want to be, but it was the only thing that helped with my face.

  22. Anita T. Monroe says:

    Sara, I am on an antibiotic too, a mild one, Oracea. i’ve tried not taking it because i really don’t like taking something that could have a negative effect on the environment. After a day or so without it, I had a major outbreak, so it looks as if this is something that i truly need.

    My insurance company has stopped covering it, so I’ll have a fight on my hands. if you still want it, you have to fight with doctors and insurance people.

    How does it start? I have wondered for years and tried experiments with food, eliminating things like sugar or flour. NOthing makes any difference.

    When I first developed this condition, it was about a week after childbirth when I was in my early 20’s. I’ve suspected that it can be triggered by some type of fluctuating hormonal imbalance. Or some kind of extreme stress like childbirth.

    Is it allergies – to God knows what? I’ve tried the allergy protocols. No difference.

    Is it hereditary? If it is, no one on either side of my family has it. Only me.

    There is probably a simple solution. Since my former doctor once said, “It’s not life threatening, so just deal with it,” I have assumed that little to no research was being done on this problem. Evidently, that is changing. We all just have to wait and see.

  23. Theresa says:

    Greeting everyone again and saying thank you for all your posts and suggestions.
    It helps lessen the isolation and daily struggle to know we are a community who understand each other and look to help each other.
    questions – some time ago someone said they were trying pawpaw/papaya extract as it had had good results with some other skin conditions. Is there any furthe update on this? Has anyone else tried?
    Also what is a good barrier cream as I read in a post that barrier cream had helped lessen redness over period of a year? Thank you all again.

  24. Comment via email

    “For those of you looking for a everyday face cream…I have noticed that in my case, sunscreen can be very irritating..so I went to a website called beautypedia and began reading their reviews…it is a great place to read about products and their components. After a few trial and errors (and a few trips to Sephoras for samples), I found creams with sunscreen that I can tolerate. So, while it takes time to find what works for you, don’t give up!

    Carolina”

  25. Sara says:

    I have found that I am allergic to the oxybenzone in sunscreens. Usually the only kind that doesn’t contain oxybenzone is the children’s sunscreen. It’s the only kind I can use and it doesn’t irritate my skin.

  26. elizabeth ann says:

    My dermatologist told me the problem is hereditary, typically from people who come from Northern Europe. He called my skin “typical Celtic skin”, Type One Fitzwalter, and I know that rosacea is sometimes called “the curse of the Celts”. Almost everyone in the UK has Celtic ancestry, though often mixed with other northern European genes, so we have a lot of rosacea here! But once you have it, although you can’t get rid of it completely, he says we all need to watch for our triggers and choose the mildest possible skincare products. Ironically, the brand he recommended, Aderm, made my rosacea worse!

    But once you’ve found a cream or other product that doesn’t make your rosacea worse, he advised, just carry on using it and don’t experiment.

    The only topical cream I can tolerate seems to be my Topix Replenix CF Cream, although in summer I sometimes replace it with an Aloe Vera gel, and in winter I add a layer of Trilogie Rosehip Oil around the dryer areas of my face.

    These products keep it under control, together with yearly maintenance IPL treatments. I have to pay for these out of my own pocket, as the NHS doesn’t offer it in the area where I live.

    I also find it’s much worse in cold weather, especially when windy. Hot weather is easier to bear, but then there’s the sunscreen problem!

  27. Lynda Maxwell says:

    Does anyone have success with something for ocular rosacea? Yes, that’s it. I have ocular rosacea. My eyes sting, itch. Sight is blurred. The only thing my eye doctor suggests is Tea Tree oil and Ocusoft Scrub pads. I still have it. No improvement! Desperate situation. Thanks.

  28. elizabeth ann says:

    Hello, Lynda –
    Yes, ocular rosacea is a problem for me, too. It was misdiagnosed for years, but then I insisted on seeing a consultant and he got it right. I have it on and off year round, but I keep it under control – i.e. mild stinging and watering, but not actual conjunctivitis – by going on a 3-month course of doxycycline every winter, and using chloramphenicol drops whenever I get a flare-up.
    I also find I need to take a 3-week course of doxycycline in between winters, from time to time. I wear tinted glasses year round to cut glare, and dark glasses, always, in the sun. These measures have helped a lot, but I find I can’t wear any eye makeup these days as it can trigger a flare-up.
    Hope this helps. Sorry I can’t be more encouraging, but this disease is a real nuisance!

  29. Lynda Maxwell says:

    Dear Elizabeth Ann, Thanks so much for the support. I use doxycline everyday. I never heard of chloramphenisol drops. I’ll ask my eye doctor about that. All he said was use Tea Tree Oil & Ocosoft scrub pads. Nothing helps. I see him in January. Use of Dove soap for sensitive skin and precription creams help my face, chest, & elsewhere. Keep in touch & I’ll tell you how the chloram. is working. Do you have a resourse re it’s benefts from a doctor?

  30. Lynda Maxwell says:

    Dear Elizabeth Ann, Thanks so much for the words above. They give me hope. I do take the doxicycline everyday. But the new eyes drops you mention sound great.

  31. Linda says:

    Elizabeth Ann – have you tried Bare Minerals/Escentuals products for your eyes? I have dry eyes that Restasis helps and when I have an ocular rosacea flare-up I use Lotemax and other meds I get from my optometrist. I have no trouble with Bare Minerals on my face and eyes. I don’t use their mascara, but you might give it a try – it’s all on QVC and returnable minus S&H, or they sell at Nordstrom and Sephora. I love their eyeshadow above all others – I like the loose powders, which can also be used as eyeliner. A ton of colors to choose from. Oh, you can also find them on eBay, but they’re not so easy to return if they make your eyes itchy. I take Oracea every day and that helps me a lot. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll give you my whole routine. You might find my posts on here. Good luck…

  32. elizabeth ann says:

    Thank you for your helpful suggestions, Linda – I will certainly give Bare Minerals/Escentuals a try. Anything that would help! The problem I have with mascara is that at any moment during the day or evening my eyes may start watering, so any mascara I wear is likely to get smudged. The only mascara I can tolerate is the non-waterproof kind, unfortunately. I’m thinking of getting my eyelashes dyed!

  33. Lynda Maxwell says:

    Where can I find chloramphenisol drops people here in USA never heard of it. Do I need a prescription? I don’t use any makeup.

  34. aileen says:

    Hi, I said some time ago that paw-paw ointment seemed to help the itch just a LITTLE.I have never been a party goer or drinker, nor did i devour cookies, cheese chips etc but I DID sunbake to excess and I DID smoke.Dermatologist said redness could be caused from sun sensitivity now due to taking Doxy and Endep. I have a very dark complexion tho I am Anglo. I also have Sjogrens Syndrome, had over active thyroid killed with R A I pill, arthritis etc etc. The docs say it adds up but they don’t know what it adds up to. Also have burning mouth syndrome and Lichen Planus which really bothers me.Most of which have no cures.Life is fun isn’t it? Hope you all soon find some relief. yesterday the dermatologist gave me a script for ROSEX.Maybe it will help. Aileen

  35. elizabeth ann says:

    Re chloramphenicol drops – I live in the UK, and you can buy the drops here without a prescription. They may be called something else in the US, though. They’re a mild antibiotic, with other ingredients that help to remove redness and calm the inflammation of the eyelids. I rely on them – have a repeat prescription so I can get them free of charge (I take thyroxin, so all my prescriptions here are free).
    Hope you find the equivalent, Lynda.

  36. Linda says:

    Lynda Maxwell – try this link: http://www.drugs.com/mtm/chloramphenicol-ophthalmic.html – It’s ends in col not sol… Good luck…

  37. Brenda says:

    Has any one tried ‘Dermalogica ultra calming range’ ? I have ordered some foundation, to check out, if you get it from ‘Beauty Lounge’ they send 5 different samples to try.

  38. Penny says:

    I’ve suffered with Rosacea for over 20 years now. My dermatologist has me on Metronidazole cream for use every other night, and locoid creme for redness and itching. It works for me, and I have also discovered TriDerma facial redness repair which I use at night for moisture. When I experience extreme dryness is spots I apply Aquaphor at night. It’s a lot like Vaseline so I can only tolerate it at night. The next morning the dryness is gone. I wash with cetaphil calderma am and pm. Hope this helps someone! Hang in there guys, it’s not the worse disease we could have.

  39. Comment via email.

    “Penny, You’re right, it’s not the worst disease you can have, but it is socially inhibiting, especially when you have to go to work every
    day.

    My major worry is that it might move into my eyes and affect my eyesight. I have been taking oral Oracea, a mild anti-biotic, but my insurance company stopped covering it, and it is VERY expensive. I discovered today from my pharmacist that there is a generic drug just a little stronger and about a tenth the price. So, I’ll not have to give it up. It does keep my condition under control during the “bad” months when there is an excess of pollen and dry air.
    Thanks for the tips about products.

    Anita.”

  40. elizabeth ann says:

    No, Penny, it’s not the worse disease we could have, but it’s very frustrating and annoying. I’ve had to spend days at home, indoors, because my skin has been stinging and burning so much that I couldn’t tolerate any slight breeze at all. And it’s embarrassing when people assume you’ve been drinking (I don’t, I’m a teetotaller) or on a sunbed (never, wouldn’t dare).
    And, Anita, I do think you’re right to be concerned about your eyes and to keep on with the antibiotic. I’m grateful to get it free here in the UK, but would happily pay for it if I had to. The problem with ocular rosacea, for me, is not just the pain and tearing, but the fact that it can come on suddenly, when I’m driving, and then it’s dangerous. I think you’re wise to try to fend it off as long as possible. I take an oral antiobiotic every day now it’s winter, as well as the chloramphenicol drops, and this does help, a lot.

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