The Best Foundations for Rosacea-Prone Skin Will Cover and Calm Redness

Hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic formulas, ahead.

A woman has foundation applied to her face.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you have rosacea, you're not alone. Cameron Diaz, Sofia Vergara, and Prince William (he's across the pond, but you get my point) make the list—along with an estimated 14 million additional people in the United States. Incorporating the best skincare products for rosacea and paying a visit to your dermatologist are the best ways to actually calm inflammation, but the best foundations for rosacea will instantly conceal redness without further aggravating the skin condition.

While many turn to a good foundation to camouflage their symptoms, it's worth noting that certain makeup can aggravate your skin. "Certain ingredients that are commonly found in cosmetic products such as fragrance, alcohol, and other harsh chemicals can irritate sensitive skin and trigger a rosacea flare," explains Dr. Connie Yang, a dermatologist at PFRANKMD by Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank. “This includes fragrances, alcohol (found in toners and astringents), physical exfoliants or scrubs, and ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.”

So, what's the solution? Picking a dermatologist-approved product, of course. Ahead, the experts clue Marie Claire in on the best foundations for rosacea—powder, liquid, and stick formats included.

The Best Foundations for Rosacea

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What Is Rosacea?

While doctors don't know exactly what causes rosacea, they do know that it's an inflammatory disease and that it comes in different forms. Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea is accompanied by redness, flushing, and dilated blood vessels, whereas pupulopustular rosacea has acne-like features, shares Dr. Kobets. There's also the phymatous type, where extra-dilated pores and thickened skin are accompanied by bumpy sebaceous hyperplasia.

What to Look For in a Foundation for Rosacea

  • Labels

When searching for a foundation for rosacea, look for labels like hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic (that means it's been formulated to not cause blocked pores!), and fragrance-free.

  • Hydration

Dr. Lolis says a hydrating foundation is best because it can "help calm the skin and make the foundation feel more comfortable." Look for moisture-loving ingredients like hyaluronic acid, centella asiatica, niacinamide, or ceramides.

  • Weight

Depending on their consistency and formulation, foundations can clog your pores. Dr. Lolis recommends lightweight, water-based formulations if you're looking to prevent occlusion and breakouts.

Ingredients to Avoid

Our experts have a list of ingredients they recommend their patients avoid. "Steer clear of fragrances, plus chemical SPF ingredients like avobenzone and oxybenzone in such foundations, which can not only cause allergic or irritant contact dermatitis but also exacerbate the [acne form of rosacea]," says Dr. Kobets. She also recommends that those with acne-type rosacea avoid foundations with dimethicone as the first ingredient.

Dr. Lolis adds lanolin, almond oil, coconut oil, and mineral oil to the list, as they can "sit and emulsify in your sebaceous glands and increase the oiliness of your skin." That means oil-based foundations are generally a no-go.

How to Test Foundations for Rosacea

Gatt recommends you patch-test new products before smearing your whole face. Apply a small drop to your neck or a small portion of your face to see how it will react with your skin and reduce your risk of irritation.

How to Remove Foundations for Rosacea-Prone Skin

"Just like any cream, lotion or product applied on the face, foundations are composed of chemicals that can also potentially irritate the skin," adds Dr. Lolis. "To minimize any negative effects of foundation, it's important to double cleanse to fully remove all the potential irritants as well as the oil, trapped dirt, and grease from the foundation."

Meet the Experts

Dr. Connie Yang Headshot
Dr. Connie Yang

Dr. Yang is a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, known for her dedication to helping patients achieve and maintain healthy, beautiful skin.

She attended Northwestern University for her undergraduate studies, building a strong foundation in the sciences. She pursued her medical degree at Boston University School of Medicine and spent a dedicated research year at Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Dermatology where she worked in the clinic for pigmentary disorders and served as the administrative director for Project Phoenix, MGH’s pro-bono tattoo removal clinic. She completed her dermatology residency at Mount Sinai Hospital, where she served as Chief Resident of Cosmetics in her final year of residency.

Dr. Yang is certified by the American Board of Dermatology and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Kseniya Kobets Headshot
Dr. Kseniya Kobets

Dr. Kseniya Kobets’ clinical focus is on the cosmetic treatment of patients using cutting-edge modalities for rejuvenation, acne, rosacea, acne scarring and hair restoration. After earning her Bachelor of Arts from City University of New York in 2005, Dr. Kobets attended Yale University School of Medicine. There, she pursued a dual degree program, earning her Doctor of Medicine and Master of Health Science in 2011. Her postdoctoral training began with a yearlong internship at Yale New Haven Hospital. She then went to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, completing a three-year dermatology residency in 2015, followed by a cosmetic dermatologic surgery fellowship at the institution’s Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Health Center in 2016. Dr. Kobets’ research focus is on the development of an institutional review board for evaluating hair restoration with non-ablative laser and topical growth factors. She has shared her research through peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, as well as oral presentations. A leading board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Kobets is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery and the American Society for Laser, Medicine, and Surgery. Dr. Kobets practices at The Cosmetic Dermatology Center at Montefiore Einstein Advanced Care Westchester, a cosmetic dermatology center setting a new standard for state-of-art skin care services. Here, she uses the latest tools and techniques, supported by advanced technologies and clinical research for personalized treatment plans for all patients with the goal of achieving a naturally beautiful appearance. Services range from acne scar treatment, injectables, chemical peels, hair restoration, laser treatments, microneedling, Photodynamic treatment, Platelet-rich plasma, thread lifts and other pro-aging and healthy skin therapies.

Dr. Margarita Lolis Headshot
Dr. Margarita Lolis

Dr. Lolis is a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group. She is fellowship-trained in Mohs surgery, cosmetic dermatology, and laser surgery. Her areas of expertise include skin cancer, Mohs micrographic surgery, cosmetic procedures, and laser surgery.

Dr. Lolis received a Bachelor of Science with honors at Yale University and a medical degree from Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in NYC. She is passionate about education and research and is very involved in training cosmetic and procedural fellows as well as physician extenders. Dr. Lolis has published many book chapters and articles in leading dermatology journals and is active in the Schweiger Dermatology Group clinical research department.

Erica Marie Gatt Headshot
Erica Marie Gatt

Skin health guru Erica Marie Gatt's decades worth of experience working as an aesthetician and makeup artist has shaped her foolproof, fuss-free beauty philosophy. She believes that curating thoughtful, streamlined skincare regimens for her clients is key to achieving effortless natural beauty and an overarching sense of empowerment, confidence and well-being. As someone who loves the outdoors and being active, Erica recognizes the link between health, wellness and beauty and embraces a holistic approach that puts equal emphasis on both an inner and outer glow.  

Erica honed her talent and channeled her passion under the tutelage of celebrated Los Angeles esthetician Gina Mari after having spent years as a makeup artist. Acknowledging that the optimal canvas for makeup is clear, toxin-free skin, Erica gained invaluable experience working on a myriad of skin types with a range of needs, while learning from the industry’s top beauty mavens.  

Sophia Vilensky
Freelance Writer

Sophia Vilensky is a Freelance Beauty Writer at Marie Claire with a beauty, wellness, and entertainment journalism portfolio that includes contributions to Byrdie, Bravo, Teen Vogue, and Us Weekly. Growing up in a family of beauticians—and through her own personal studies—she developed an in-depth understanding of aesthetics, cosmetic product formulation, and beauty treatment development and has also held roles as a senior copywriter, content strategist, and proofreader for top beauty and wellness brands. Even so, you'd be hard pressed to find her with her hair and makeup actually done. Sophia is based in Minneapolis and is a 2019 graduate of the University of Minnesota, where she majored in English and minored in cinema studies. During her time at the university, she was the Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Minnesota Daily, earning the 2019 Editor of the Year award for her work. She connected deeply with the Twin Cities arts scene, collaborating with leading beauty professionals, designers, and artists. Graduating Summa Cum Laude, her thesis—a close-reading of Vanderpump Rules—was featured on NPR. When not immersed in writing or testing new products, Sophia enjoys watching reality TV, reading, and exploring the newest woo-woo wellness trends. Keep up with her on Instagram @sophiavilensky.