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In What Order Do I Apply Skin Care Products?

By August 10, 2010August 31st, 2010Blog, Skin Care, Sunscreen

After doing a recent blog about the importance of using a good sunscreen, many of my clients asked me if I knew the order for applying skin care products.  I said not really, but I’ll l find out.

Some of the most frequently asked questions were:

  • Do I put  sunscreen on before or after moisturizing?
  • When should I apply my foundation?
  • When do I apply my Retin-A?

After some research and talking with a colleague of mine who is a P.A. in Dermatology, here are some suggestions:

1.  In the morning you should always start by cleansing your face with a gentle cleanser, followed by a good sunscreen.    As a rule, there is no need to apply an additional moisturizer at the same time as application of the sunscreen.  The sunscreen has enough emollient to do double time.  If you feel that you need an additional moisturizer, use a moisturizer with built in sunscreen.   Lastly, apply your foundation and you are ready to begin your day!

2. In the evening, clean your face and remove any eye makeup with a gentle cleanser.  Cleansing your face before bed is very important because this is when your cells rejuvenate.  If you use a toner, now would be the time to apply it.  Once the toner has dried, apply your moisturizer, followed by a retinoid to help repair the days incidental UV damage.

3.  It is best to apply most products when the skin is moist because active ingredients can penetrate better when they are dissolved. Once your cream has dried up, its rate of penetration decreases dramatically. Don’t wipe your skin dry after you cleansed or washed it if you intend to apply a product.  If the skin is too wet, just pat it a little with a towel.

There are many good products on the market today so look for products that are good for your skin and the environment!  See the video below from, that may also help clear up this mystery of putting on skin care products.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Darlene Haviland says:


    I loved the DermTV video. Listening and watching this information greatly adds to an individual’s understanding of skin care and dermatology principles. I hope to watch more in the future.

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