Well here you are, one of the frequently asked questions about rosacea topicals has been answered.
Does it matter whether I apply my rosacea prescription topical before or after I use a moisturizer ?
This recently available abstract suggests that in fact it doesn’t matter.
The study looked at the absorption of finacea before and after moisturizer lotions were applied and was unable to find a significant difference.
So now you know; you can apply your topicals before or after you moisturize and it won’t make any difference.
Cutis. 2009 Mar; 83(3):119-24., Del Rosso JQ, Lehman PA, Raney SG., Valley Hospital Medical Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
The medical management of rosacea increasingly has involved not only the appropriate selection of topical medication but also patient education and specific recommendations regarding appropriate skin care.
The recognition that epidermal barrier dysfunction and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) play a pathophysiologic role in rosacea and that skin moisturization may help to mitigate signs and symptoms of the disease has led to a deeper appreciation of the importance of proper skin care in the treatment of rosacea.
Data from a percutaneous penetration study performed using human skin suggest that any of the tested moisturizer lotions may be applied either before or after azelaic acid gel 15% without a major change in the percutaneous absorption profile of azelaic acid.
[Update]: a quote from Dr. Powell’s excellent book: Rosacea Diagnosis and Management says that the medicine should always go on first; Drugs have priority-they go on first ! he tells us in italics.