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Using a moisturizer alongside metronidazole: What you need to know

How to keep your skin hydrated when treating rosacea with this ingredient.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 31, 2023 • 8 min read
Medically reviewed by Meredith Hartle, DO
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 31, 2023 • 8 min read
Medically reviewed by Meredith Hartle, DO
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Metronidazole—a powerful antibiotic—is an effective ingredient for combating rosacea. However, it does come with the potential side effect of skin dryness. Yet by incorporating the right moisturizer into your skincare routine, you can counteract this dryness and maintain optimal skin health. So, you get the best of both worlds! 

Following a hydrating skincare routine is key. Here, our experts explore the benefits, precautions, and helpful tips for seamlessly combining metronidazole with a suitable moisturizer. Learn how you can nurture and protect your skin while reaping the benefits of this widely used medication.

What is metronidazole?

Metronidazole is a versatile medication used topically, orally, or intravenously to treat various conditions. It’s effective in treating rosacea and different infections across the body. As an antibiotic, metronidazole works by halting the growth of specific types of bacteria.¹

Metronidazole brand names include MetroCream, MetroGel, MetroLotion, and Noritate Cream.

Can I use a moisturizer alongside metronidazole? 

Metronidazole is commonly prescribed to treat rosacea, and while it can be effective, it may cause skin dryness as a side effect.² This is why using a moisturizer alongside metronidazole is important, as it helps alleviate dryness during the treatment.

Remember, if you experience any persistent or severe side effects while using metronidazole, it's always a good idea to consult your healthcare provider for further guidance.

The importance of moisturizing your skin

Moisturizing your skin is an important part of skincare for several reasons:

Hydration: Moisturizers help increase the water content in the outermost layer of your skin, known as the stratum corneum. By increasing hydration, moisturizers contribute to smoother skin texture.³

pH Balance: Moisturizers can also help maintain a normal pH balance in your skin.⁴

Barrier Function: Moisturizers also play a role in improving the barrier function of both normal and diseased skin.⁵ The skin barrier is a protective shield, helping to prevent irritants and allergens from entering your skin and minimize moisture loss. Regular moisturizing helps strengthen this barrier and enhances its ability to keep the skin healthy.

Overall, moisturizers are beneficial for all skin types, especially when you have dry or dehydrated skin

Metronidazole and moisturizer 

When selecting a moisturizer to use with metronidazole, there are certain properties you should look for. First, choose a non-comedogenic moisturizer that won’t clog your pores. Also, make sure you opt for a moisturizer that’s gentle and suitable for sensitive skin. Rosacea-prone skin tends to be more sensitive and easily irritated, so choosing a moisturizer that won’t further aggravate the condition is important. Look for products labeled specifically for sensitive or dry skin, as they are often formulated with soothing ingredients and are less likely to cause irritation.⁶

Consulting with a dermatology provider can provide further guidance to help you select the most suitable moisturizer for your specific skin needs and rosacea symptoms.

The Rich Moisturizer

The Rich Moisturizer by Curology thoroughly hydrates and is gentle on the skin. The moisturizer’s formulation soothes sensitive skin by incorporating nourishing ingredients like aloe vera, known for its soothing properties. Aloe vera has moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties which helps to calm and hydrate the skin, reducing redness and discomfort.⁷

The Rich Moisturizer also contains hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Hyaluronic acid attracts and retains moisture in your skin, while glycerin acts as a humectant, drawing water to the outer layer of your skin and maximizing moisture levels.⁸ These ingredients help to replenish and maintain your skin’s hydration, promoting a healthy and nourished complexion.

This moisturizer is also non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores, reducing the risk of breakouts.

Skin tips when using metronidazole

When using metronidazole, watch out for adverse effects, always use sunscreen, and apply moisturizer.

Watch out for any adverse effects

When using metronidazole gel topically, it’s important to be cautious of any potential adverse effects and adhere to the provided guidelines. 

Some adverse experiences associated with the topical use of metronidazole gel may include:

  • Tearing of the eyes

  • Burning

  • Skin irritation

  • Dryness

  • Transient redness

If any persistent or severe side effects occur, consult your healthcare provider for further guidance. Remember to use the medication as directed by your medical provider and avoid contact with the eyes.⁹

Always use sunscreen 

Using sunscreen is essential for protecting your skin from harmful UV radiation, which can cause sunburns and increase the risk of skin cancer. While no sunscreen can provide 100% protection, they allow for extended sun exposure before skin redness occurs, providing valuable protection.

For individuals with rosacea, choosing broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect against UVA and UVB rays is particularly important. These sunscreens should also contain emollients, which help moisturize and soothe the skin, as rosacea-prone skin tends to be more sensitive. It’s recommended to use sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 30.¹⁰

If you have rosacea, we recommend using mineral sunscreens, as they contain ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that provide physical protection by reflecting UV rays away from your skin. Mineral sunscreens are generally better tolerated by individuals with sensitive skin and are recommended for patients with rosacea.¹¹ Curology’s The Sunscreen is a non-greasy mineral sunscreen that glides on smoothly, leaving skin feeling fresh. 

Remember that sunscreen is just one part of a comprehensive sun protection routine. Wearing protective clothing and sunglasses can also help provide additional protection for your face and eyes. By combining these measures, you can enhance your defense against harmful UV radiation and help maintain the health of your skin.

Use moisturizer 

Using moisturizer is very important when using metronidazole, as it can help combat dryness and maintain skin hydration.

Here are some moisturizers we recommend:

Curology's Gel Moisturizer: Curology offers a gel moisturizer specifically formulated to provide hydration without clogging pores. This lightweight moisturizer can help alleviate dryness and keep your skin nourished.

Cetaphil Daily Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion: Cetaphil offers a non-comedogenic, lightweight lotion that provides long-lasting hydration. This lotion is designed to moisturize without clogging pores.

EltaMD AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer: EltaMD offers a facial moisturizer specifically formulated for daytime use. It’s lightweight, non-comedogenic, and provides long-lasting hydration. 

When selecting a moisturizer to use alongside metronidazole, look for gentle, non-comedogenic products, suitable for your skin type. It’s recommended to patch-test new products and consult a dermatologist or skincare professional for personalized recommendations based on your specific needs and concerns.

Remember to apply the moisturizer after cleansing your face and allowing the metronidazole to fully absorb into your skin. This will help lock in moisture and provide the necessary hydration to combat dryness effectively.

When will I see results when using metronidazole? 

The timeframe for seeing results when using metronidazole can vary depending on individual factors and the specific condition being treated. However, according to one study most of the overall positive effects of metronidazole for rosacea were observed within the first three weeks of treatment.¹²

Keep your skin hydrated with Curology

Curology offers a range of skincare products, including moisturizers, to help keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Our moisturizers are dermatologist-designed to provide hydration without clogging pores. By incorporating a quality moisturizer into your skincare routine, you can help maintain your skin’s moisture balance and support a healthy skin barrier.

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

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Try Curology’s moisturizer today!


Can I use sunscreen after metronidazole?

Yes, you can use sunscreen after applying metronidazole. It’s actually recommended to use sunscreen in conjunction with metronidazole to provide additional protection for your skin. This helps safeguard against the harmful effects of UV radiation.¹³

Do I apply metronidazole before moisturizer?

Yes, in most cases, metronidazole should be applied before moisturizer. After washing the areas to be treated with a mild cleanser, you can apply metronidazole. Once it has been absorbed into the skin, you can then apply your moisturizer. Remember, it’s always a good idea to follow the specific instructions provided by your healthcare provider or the product packaging for the best application sequence.¹⁴

Can I use vitamin C serum with metronidazole?

While there are no known interactions between vitamin C serum and metronidazole, it’s always best to consult a dermatology provider before combining different skincare products or treatments. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific skin concerns and medical history. By seeking professional guidance, you can ensure the safe and effective use of both metronidazole and vitamin C serum in your skincare routine.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Hernández, Ceruelos A., et al. Therapeutic uses of metronidazole and its side effects: an update. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. (January 2019)

  2. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Metronidazole. DailyMed. (2019, June 1)

  3. Mawazi, S.M. et al. Review of Moisturizers; History, Preparation, Characterization and Applications. Cosmetics. (2022, May 16)

  4. Mawazi, S.M. et al. Review of Moisturizers; History, Preparation, Characterization and Applications. Cosmetics. Ibid.

  5. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology Skin moisturizers: Therapeutic potential and preventative maintenance of dry skin. JAAD. (2008)

  6. Zhang, H., et al. Rosacea Treatment: Review and Update. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). (February 2021)

  7. Surjushe, A., et al. Aloe vera: a short review. Indian J Dermatol. (2008)

  8. Milani, M, and Sparavigna A. The 24-hour skin hydration and barrier function effects of a hyaluronic 1%, glycerin 5%, and Centella asiatica stem cells extract moisturizing fluid: an intra-subject, randomized, assessor-blinded study. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. (2017, Aug 11)

  9. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Metronidazole. DailyMed. (2019, June 1)

  10. Grivet-Seyve, M.,et al. Evaluation of a novel very high sun-protection-factor moisturizer in adults with rosacea-prone sensitive skin. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. (2017, June 10)

  11. Farshchian, M., and Daveluy S. Rosacea. StatPearls Publishing. (2023, April 19)

  12. McClellan, KJ., and Noble S. Topical metronidazole. A review of its use in rosacea. Am J Clin Dermatol. (May 2000)

  13. Tan, JK., et al. Randomized placebo-controlled trial of metronidazole 1% cream with sunscreen SPF 15 in treatment of rosacea. J Cutan Med Surg. (November 2002)

  14. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Metronidazole Topical Cream 0.75%. DailyMed. (June 2022)

Meredith Hartle is a board-certified Family Medicine physician at Curology. She earned her medical degree at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, MO.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Meredith Hartle, DO

Meredith Hartle, DO

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