If you have a comprehensive skincare routine, you may be applying several products twice a day. As important as finding the right system for your skin, the order in which you apply can also have a major impact on how effective your cleansers, creams, and lotions are. In fact, applying your products incorrectly could be detrimental to your skin, leading to irritation and sensitivity.

Let’s break down the correct order for your skincare routine, from start to finish. While every step below may not be part of your particular application, just follow along, skipping the products that you don’t use. While it might seem a little complicated at first, it pays to be precise.

Step 1: Cleanser

Never, ever apply a skincare treatment without cleansing your face thoroughly. Not only does it help your pores open up to allow treatments to fully penetrate the skin, but neglecting to cleanse can make your skin react negatively to your skincare routine. Putting serums and creams on top of oil, dirt, and pollutants traps it in your pores, leading to breakouts.

Step 2: Serum

Serums are an essential part of a skincare routine. They are highly concentrated and formulated to penetrate the skin deeper. Serums are more targeted to provide benefits that combat signs of aging or damaged skin. They are tailored to your specific concerns including: peptides for firming, collagen building, brightening agents, humectants for dryness, and fighting free radical damage with antioxidants.

Step 3: Eye Cream

The skin around your eyes is particularly thin and dry, which means that it is easily irritated. The thinness is also one of the key reasons we tend to age around the eyes faster than other parts of our face. That being said, eye creams are typically thinner than other moisturizers, so they need to be applied before you go in with a thicker moisturizer. Again, give your creams plenty of time to soak in before applying another product over it.

Step 4: Moisturizer

Once your eye cream has fully absorbed, it’s time to treat the rest of your face to a heavy dose of hydration. No matter what your skin type, including oily, never, ever skip this step. Your skin needs water to stay plump, healthy, and firm. Without moisture, your skin barrier begins to break down, and you lose the shield that protects you from outside pollutants. Your moisturizer also helps “seal in” the rest of your products, essentially settling on top of them and urging them deeper into your skin.

Step 5: SPF

Last, but certainly not least, you’ll apply your sunscreen. Layering sunscreen underneath other products can be potentially dangerous, as it can render it ineffective. Sunscreens aren’t meant to soak into your skin. In fact, they work because they do the exact opposite. They form a barrier on your face that blocks out the harmful UV rays that can lead to more rapid signs of aging and skin cancer.

A Few Rules of Thumb

Think you’ll have trouble memorizing the exact order? There are some common patterns in product application that can come in handy when you’re wondering what your next step is supposed to be.

  1. Water-based products should come before oil-based products. It’s common knowledge that oil and water won’t mix, so applying products haphazardly can make it impossible for those that are water-based to actually reach your skin. Allow your water-based products to absorb fully before starting on your next step.
  2. Thin texture to thicker textures. Start light and move towards heavy. That means serums, then moisturizer, then SPF.

The best rule of thumb when it comes to learning more about skincare? Talk with the experts. Your providers at Advanced Skin Therapeutics and Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Institute can help you unlock the full potential of your skin to be its best. Stop by or setup an appointment today!