Layers, yes/no?
April 25, 2012 11:52 AM   Subscribe

Off Label Use: YNMD, but... should I use my non-proscribed rosacea medication on the rest of my non-afflicted face as a facial moisturizer, since it seems to work for that too, and am I seriously doing a no-no with the medicine by slapping cosmetics onto it?

I have a wee bit of a product dilemma. I like foundation, but my skin is dry, so it peels right off, and I have intermittent acne and rosacea, the latter moderate and just on my nose and the former something that responds to acne vulgaris specific treatments. The foundation does not appear to trigger my rosacea, nor does layering on my nose stop the metrocream from working.

I think all the moisturizers I've tried exacerbate my nose specific rosacea (but I can't tell, too many variables here, just like I can't pinpoint the zit source!) but improve the acne damage and seem to discourage the intermittent oil spurts that always herald a blemish outbreak. The metrocream is also a moisturizer and intended to be applied indefinitely; instructions say literally "apply to the affected nose as needed".

It is an anti-inflammatory, but doesn't seem to block my pores/inspire acne but it seems to moisturize everywhere, smells pleasantly of almonds and rosacea is classified at a type of acne, and includes inflammation. The alternative acne treatment that works on my non-nose blemishes involves an effective topical antibiotic that inflames my nose very badly but kills zits.

So can I use this on my blemish prone face in an area not officially prescribed, to moisturize, so I can wear the foundation for the pretty goth face look that otherwise takes two or three coats of foundation to avoid shedding in dandruffy flakes after thirty minutes, without putting more than just metrocream and makeup on my poor nose?
posted by Phalene to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Why not? If it's OTC, it's not likely to do anything to the non-rosacea parts of your face.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:00 PM on April 25, 2012

It's doctor issue only, not OTC, but rosacea is more common all over the face.
posted by Phalene at 12:23 PM on April 25, 2012

Why not? If it's OTC, it's not likely to do anything to the non-rosacea parts of your face.

OTC does not mean benign in any amount.

In any event, if it's doctor-prescribed, I think you need to ask the doctor who prescribed it. It could have steroids, which sometimes have to be monitored for long-term use, even topical. (My mom is using a steroid on her eyelid and needs periodic monitoring for potential serious side-effects.)
posted by palliser at 1:01 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Depends on what's in it and what the side effects are. Anything with a corticosteroid, for example, shouldn't be used unnecessarily because it has a skin-thinning side effect. Well-moisturized skin that's more prone to injury long-term doesn't strike me as good tradeoff.

Metrocream isn't a steroid that I see and the only thing that seems to be a (slim) risk there is cancer if you ingest it. If you're no more likely to lick it off yourself when you use it on all your face vs half of it there doesn't seem to be a reason not to use more.

Other than just a general avoid-more-chemicals outlook, that is. Which I'd encourage, but I'd probably worry about too much cholesterol in my food before I worried about this, were I you.
posted by phearlez at 1:02 PM on April 25, 2012

FYI, Metrocream's active ingredient is Metronidazole, which is an antibiotic that also has other properties.

I can't imagine that putting foundation on top of metrocream is harmful. I'd look at this instead from the perspective of "do I want to be using this stuff indefinitely on skin that doesn't need its active properties?"

The physician insert for Metrocream [link goes to pdf] says METROCREAM® Topical Cream contains metronidazole, USP, at a concentration of 7.5 mg per gram (0.75%) in an emollient cream consisting of benzyl alcohol, emulsifying wax, glycerin, isopropyl palmitate, purified water, sorbitol solution, lactic acid and/or sodium hydroxide to adjust pH.
Maybe you can find a moisturizer with similar ingredients minus the metronidazole.
posted by needs more cowbell at 1:13 PM on April 25, 2012

The thing with metrocream (or metrogel) is that continued use in areas not immediately in need of the prescription can cause extra drying, sun sensitivity, and irritation. If you've reactive skin (likely, considering), it can also shorten the useability window of the medicine, since increased exposure "teaches" skin to react to it.

This is not at all what you are specifically asking, but it sounds like some alternatives to beat the flakes might be good news after reading that. So I have some recommendations to offer, if you'll forgive me.

You're probably hyper-sensitive to various regular moisturisers, I'd assume. And possibly things that work for other rosacea-sufferers might not work for you. But! I still make these recommendations, as they help keep my skin healthy and cosmetic-accepting with or without flare-ups in effect, decreasing my own snake-like shedding tendencies exponentially:
Mellow Melon Cleanser - so soothing, I can even use it on bad eczema flare-ups without making it worse.
Vegecol Moisturizer - the least reactive moisturizer I've ever used - even some of the doc-recommended varieties broke me out terribly.
ZZ Night Cream by Annemarie Borlind - I use this sparingly and only the areas most prone to dryness, and not even every night. It's ridiculously emollient and has made my skin way less flakey.

If you like the gothy-pale look, using a nicer, oil-free tinted moisturiser (I've found that NARS doesn't trigger my skin as much as others) in the shade closer to what you prefer and applying with a big brush (buffing it on, specifically) will give you a great canvas to build upon. You can then buff on an oil-free foundation in one or two thin layers to get the precise effect you prefer, even varying where the layers are by what shows up more through the tint and foundation without looking cakey. Bonus: buffing exfoliates! Just remember to spritz your brush with alcohol and wipe down, regularly.
posted by batmonkey at 1:16 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've used Metrogel for years, though I would counsel against relying on it as a moisturizer because, as batmonkey points out, it tends to dry out my face even more. Perhaps, though, if you've found it's the lesser of two evils, it doesn't seem like it would cause permanent harm. A better idea might be to ask your dermatologist for moisturizer recommendations (or better yet, samples!).

As far as foundation goes, I layer it all the time! I will say, though, that this primer has VASTLY improved my life because it lets the foundation glide over my flaky skin with (relative) ease.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 1:28 PM on April 25, 2012

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