Red, inflamed skin can often feel uncomfortable and frustrating to treat. Fortunately, there are plenty of over-the-counter skincare products for redness that help alleviate this common sensitivity symptom.
“Redness of the skin can be caused by a number of factors,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon at Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue. “Inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea, allergies to skincare ingredients, heat, sun exposure, acne, and over-exfoliation are all common causes.”
To come up with these recommendations, we spent hours researching the best skincare products for redness, considering ingredients, formulation, and more. We also tapped Dr. Engelman for tips on what to look for in redness-reducing products. From soothing serums to overnight masks to color correctors, these anti-redness products will leave your complexion soothed, hydrated, and even-toned.
Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray
Tower 28 Beauty’s SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray has the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance, which is the ultimate sign a product is safe for sensitive skin. The power of this redness-relieving spray comes from hypochlorous acid: a compound naturally produced by the body’s immune system. It alleviates irritation thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. This acid is blended with water and salt to ensure maximum delivery to the deepest layers of the skin.
Price at time of publish: $28
Type: Mist | Size: 1 and 4 ounces | Key Ingredients: Hypochlorous acid
SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Mask
The SkinCeuticals Phyto line should be a staple in any anti-redness skincare routine—and it comes highly recommended by Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon. She says the blend of calming cucumber, olive, dipeptide, and hyaluronic acid “effectively reduces redness and hydrates the skin.” This product can be used as a leave-on, rinse-off, or overnight mask, making it versatile enough to fit into any skincare regimen. Plus, the gel is a vibrant green that instantly reduces redness on sensitized skin.
Price at time of publish: $66
Type: Mask | Size: 2 ounces | Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, dipeptides, cucumber extract, thyme extract, and olive extract
Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser
According to Dr. Engelman, “using harsh skincare products can also cause the skin to become inflamed,” making gentle cleansers a top pick for redness-prone skin. The Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser is recommended by most dermatologists for anyone with sensitive skin, predominantly for its milky texture and soothing ingredients. By combining glycerin and coconut-based surfactants, this face wash cleanses the skin without stripping the barrier from the essential moisture it needs to remain calm.
Price at time of publish: $10
Type: Cleanser | Size: 8 ounces | Key Ingredients: Glycerin, coconut surfactants
Biossance 100% Squalane Oil
“Squalane also helps reduce redness by repairing and strengthening the barrier, increasing skin’s moisture content, and serving as an anti-inflammatory agent,” says Dr. Engelman. As the sole ingredient in this pick from Biossance, the vegan and cruelty-free topical sits lightweight on the skin, making it ideal for all skin types. (Although we wish it absorbed into the skin faster.) Plus, because squalane mimics sebum naturally produced by the skin, it’s one of the best oil varieties for acne-prone skin.
Price at time of publish: $34
Type: Oil | Size: 3.4 ounces | Key Ingredients: Sugarcane-derived squalane
iS Clinical Hydra-Cool Serum
The iS Clinical Hydra-Cool Serum provides equal parts hydration and antioxidant properties to help soothe inflamed, overly sensitized skin. The formula includes ingredients like centella asiatica to reduce redness often associated with sunburn and skin conditions like rosacea and eczema. It also blends vitamin B5 with kojic and hyaluronic acids to target signs of aging like dehydration and pigmentation. It’s super lightweight, so this serum fits smoothly into daytime and nighttime skincare routines.
Price at time of publish: $96
Type: Serum | Size: 1 ounce | Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, kojic acid, and centella asiatica
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Rosaliac AR Intense Visible Redness Reducing Serum
French pharmacy brand La Roche-Posay is beloved for its results-driven formulas and accessibility. The Rosaliac AR Intense Visible Redness Reducing Serum is no exception, thanks to its blend of ambophenol, glycerin, and the brand’s proprietary Thermal Spring Water. This combination of ingredients combines into a milky serum that works to soothe inflammation. Dermatologist-recommended and allergy tested for individuals with conditions like eczema and psoriasis, this hydrating serum is ideal for dry skin types.
Price at time of publish: $43
Type: Serum | Size: 1.35 ounces | Key Ingredients: Ambophenol, glycerin, and Thermal Spring Water
Dr. Barbara Sturm The Better B Niacinamide Serum
Niacinamide is a B vitamin commonly associated with minimizing the appearance of pores, but it is also a powerhouse ingredient for calming redness quickly and effectively. Dr. Barbara Sturm’s The Better B Niacinamide Serum harnesses this ingredient, plus vitamin B5 and marine plankton extract, to create an acne-focused treatment that leaves skin radiant and hydrated as it restores the skin’s protective barrier.
Price at time of publish: $145
Type: Serum | Size: 1 ounce | Key Ingredients: Vitamin B3, vitamin B5, marine plankton extract
The Inkey List SuperSolutions 10% Azelaic Serum Redness Relief Solution
A lesser-known ingredient for combating redness is azelaic acid, which happens to be the lead component in The Inkey List’s SuperSolutions 10% Azelaic Serum Redness Relief Solution. Both affordable and easy to use, this gel instantly soothes the skin and brings down the appearance of inflammation over time. Other ingredients like allantoin help the formula feel nourishing, while the light green hue acts as a neutralizer for flushed skin.
Safe for people with rosacea, this gel-like serum won’t pill under makeup or other skincare, so it fits seamlessly into a daily routine. If you have extremely sensitive skin and have never used products with these ingredients before, you may want to patch-test this product before fully applying it.
Price at time of publish: $18
Type: Serum | Size: 1 ounce | Key Ingredients: Azelaic acid and allantoin
Cetaphil Foaming Face Wash for Redness Prone Skin
Foaming face washes are known for being very drying, making them less than ideal for people with dry or sensitive skin. However, Cetaphil’s Redness Relieving Foaming Face Wash is specifically formulated to hydrate skin and calm inflammation. Humectants like glycerin and castor oil lock in moisture and create a protective barrier to the skin, while allantoin soothes the skin during use. We also appreciate that this dermatologist-loved cleanser won’t break the bank.
Price at time of publish: $11
Type: Cleanser | Size: 8 ounces | Key Ingredients: Allantoin, castor oil, glycerin
Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream with TFC8 Face Moisturizer
Two common causes of redness and inflammation are a lack of moisture and a compromised skin barrier. Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream is the antidote to both, thanks to the patented TFC8, which works on a cellular level to replenish and renew the skin.
The formula also includes humectants like hyaluronic acid and plant oils from avocado, sunflower, and evening primrose to nourish and hydrate even the driest of complexions. It’s very expensive compared to other moisturizers, but for those who are willing to splurge, it’s incredibly effective on irritated and sensitive skin.
Price at time of publish: From $92
Type: Moisturizer | Size: 0.5, 1, and 1.7 ounces | Key Ingredients: TFC8, hydrolyzed rice protein, hyaluronic acid
Avène Tolerance Control Soothing Skin Recovery Cream
Avène is another French brand worth knowing about. The Tolerance Control Soothing Skin Recovery Cream is a lightweight day moisturizer that soothes inflammation, burning, and other signs of sensitization. It keeps skin hydrated and calm for up to 24 hours thanks to Avène’s Thermal Spring Water and squalane. It also has a stamp of approval from the National Eczema Association.
Price at time of publish: $36
Type: Moisturizer | Size: 1.3 ounces | Key Ingredients: Avène Thermal Spring Water, squalane
Paula’s Choice Clear Regular Strength Anti-Redness Exfoliating Solution With 2% Salicylic Acid
Anyone with oily, acne-prone skin will find the anti-redness pore-clearing benefits of this Paula’s Choice solution worth every penny. This exfoliating liquid sloughs away sebum, dirt, and other impurities from the pores while fading the hyperpigmentation often experienced post-breakout. Its formula also contains glycerin for hydration and allantoin for soothing anti-inflammation.
Price at time of publish: $34
Type: Toner | Size: 4 ounces | Key Ingredients: Salicylic acid, allantoin, glycerin
Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment
The Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting Treatment from Dr. Jart+ is a buildable formula that neutralizes redness to give the appearance of an even-toned complexion. The mossy green hue comes from centella asiatica, an ingredient from Asia that promotes wound healing and has since been popularized by the skincare industry for soothing and moisturizing the skin. Combined with essential oils like lavender, rosemary, and rosewood, plus niacinamide, this semi-matte color corrector keeps complexions calm and free from excess sebum throughout the day. It also contains broad-spectrum SPF 30.
Price at time of publish: $52
Type: Cream | Size: 0.5 and 1.7 ounces | Key Ingredients: Centella asiatica, niacinamide, and zinc oxide
e.l.f. Tone Adjusting Face Primer
The e.l.f. Tone Adjusting Face Primer is an affordable drugstore product that ensures redness won’t peek through your makeup. The semi-translucent green hue easily blends on top of the skin. Packaged in a hygienic pump, this natural-finish primer is safe for all skin types, even those who are sensitive or acne-prone. Plus, like the rest of the brand’s products, the formula is vegan and cruelty-free.
Price at time of publish: $8
Type: Primer | Size: 0.47 ounces | Key Ingredients: Dimethicone
Make Beauty Diffusion Dew Skin Tint
and pore-blurring base product with skin-mimicking technology. The ultra-fine pigments in the formula seamlessly blend into the skin, creating a luminous and even-toned complexion. And as niacinamide visibly reduces redness and other acute visual discoloration, added adenosine works to treat the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This formula won’t clog pores and is the ultimate universal makeup product for those with redness-prone skin.
Price at time of publish: $32
Type: Skin tint | Size: 1 ounce | Key Ingredients: Adenosine and niacinamide
Saie Slip Tint Dewy Tinted Moisturizer SPF 35
Another skin tint we recommend is the Saie Slip Tint. With its dewy finish and lightweight coverage, this daily base product acts as equal parts redness neutralizer and sun protector. It comes in 14 shades with a mineral SPF 35, which adds to the multitasking benefits of this tinted moisturizer. Ingredients worth calling out include hydrating hyaluronic acid, pansy flower for moisture retention, and skin-brightening licorice root extract—all of which benefit red, inflamed skin.
Price at time of publish: $36
Type: Skin tint | Size: 1.3 ounces | Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, pansy flower, licorice root extract
Sonya Dakar Blue Butterfly Balm
With a name like Blue Butterfly Balm, it’s no wonder this anti-inflammatory oil blend from celebrity esthetician Sonya Dakar is beloved by many. Extracts from the blue butterfly pea flower and Kalahari melon give skin visible relief from irritation and redness. Plus, the added hydration from the base of solidified macadamia, cupuaçu, and evening primrose keeps complexions balanced. This balm, which turns into an oil that melts into your skin, will restore your skin’s protective barrier in no time.
Price at time of publish: $85
Type: Balm | Size: Not listed | Key Ingredients: Blue butterfly pea flower, Kalahari melon, evening primrose oil
Clearstem Skincare Hydraberry Moisture Mask
This formula contains olive-derived squalane, abyssine, and arnica to restore damaged skin barriers and replenish moisture levels for balanced, hydrated, and bouncy skin. This product also doubles as an intense overnight moisturizer for those who need a bit more TLC than the average mask allows. We only wish the shipping and return policies were a bit more flexible. You have to spend $75 to get free shipping, and though the brand’s site says it offers 30-day returns, there’s an $11 handling fee applied.
Price at time of publish: $44
Type: Mask | Size: 2 ounces | Key Ingredients: Squalane, abyssine, aloe vera, arnica
Augustinus Bader The Essence
Exfoliating inflamed or sensitive skin is challenging because you don’t want to exasperate any visible irritation. Fortunately, Augustinus Bader’s The Essence is a three-in-one product that provides mild chemical exfoliation. Using the brand’s signature TFC8 technology, phytic acid, and vitamin E, this lightweight and hydrating liquid reduces the appearance of discoloration, improves skin texture, and helps the skin attract and retain moisture. Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t use this exfoliating product if you’re using a prescription-strength topical, like tretinoin.
Price at time of publish: $93
Type: Essence | Size: 3.7 ounces | Key Ingredients: TFC8, phytic acid, vitamin E, salicylic acid
Topicals Like Butter Moisturizer
Full of antioxidant-rich green tea and anti-inflammatory madecassoside, the Topicals Like Butter Moisturizer is a worthy addition to any redness-reducing skincare regimen. Because of the product’s creamy yet occlusive formulation, this moisturizer is multipurpose, meaning it can be applied wherever you need your skin’s barrier repaired.
Price at time of publish: $34
Type: Moisturizer | Size: 1.7 ounces | Key Ingredients: Colloidal oatmeal, madecassoside, green tea
How to Shop for Anti-Redness Products Like a Pro
“Look for cooling and anti-inflammatory ingredients that can help quickly tone down redness in the skin,” says Dr. Engelman. She recommends products that contain aloe, squalane, and cucumber, given that these ingredients provide an abundance of antioxidants and barrier-restoring properties to the skin. Plus, these gentle ingredients are not as abrasive on the skin as benzoyl peroxide and retinol, which often break down the skin barrier and exasperate conditions like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis.
And since these ingredients are lightweight, even those who have acne-prone skin can incorporate them into their routines—as long as the formula doesn’t clog pores. This formulation can often be tricky to find, as most sensitive skin-friendly skincare products for redness are full of occlusives that can feel heavy on oily skin.
Any anti-redness moisturizer, serum, or cleanser you use in your routine should be safe for sensitive skin. Typically, you’ll notice cleansers designed for sensitive skin are milky and creamy, while moisturizers are rich and emollient. Serums should feel neutral when applied to the skin—not tingly. These product types offer more soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits compared to products that are more lightweight and less viscous.
Color cosmetics, while helpful in the short term, typically will not have as lasting an impact as targeted skincare products for redness. “Unless the formulation contains ingredients that promote redness relief, skin tint or color-correcting products will only temporarily mask the redness, not treat it,” says Dr. Engelman. “This is fine as a short-term fix (especially if you have an event), but it will not address the cause of the problem.”
Take Our Word for It
This article was written by Samantha Parsons, a beauty industry veteran, and writer with experience across the cosmetics, skin, and wellness industries. She researched countless options to find the best skincare products for redness. Factors that influenced her top picks include ingredients, formulation, and product type. She also consulted with Dendy Engelman, MD, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon at Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue.