Skin care product application: Order matters


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As you prepare your morning skin care ritual, how many bottles, creams, soaps and powders are sitting before you? Many of us apply more than one product to our faces and, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, the sequence in which you use them does matter.

“Medications or treatments should be applied directly after washing your face,” said board-certified dermatologist Susan Taylor. “This ensures that the medications or treatments are properly absorbed by the skin. Otherwise, people may think a product isn’t working because it’s applied in the wrong order.”

Dr. Taylor recommends this order:

1. Wash your face. Use a gentle cleanser and gently pat dry.
2. Apply medication or treatment — unless your dermatologist recommends otherwise. If you’re using eye cream, Taylor recommended using your ring finger, since it is the weakest and won’t pull hard on this delicate skin.
3. Apply moisturizer and/or sunscreen.
4. Apply makeup, if desired.

“It’s important for people to know that using several products at the same time may not only negate the benefits of each product but also irritate the skin,” Taylor said. “Using too many products may cause redness, stinging and dryness of the skin, especially if an anti-aging product is included. The signs of aging may then be more noticeable. A dermatologist can address any questions or concerns that you have about caring for your skin.”

For more information, check out the academy’s video “Get the Most from Your Skin Care Products.”