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How to Layer Skin Care Products, According to a Dermatologist

Oct 28, 2020

How to Layer Skin Care Products, According to a Dermatologist

Skin care products and routines can get overwhelming. We reached out to a dermatologist to give you the basics on how to layer to maximize effectiveness.

Let's get started.

One of the most frequent questions people have regarding their skin care routine is in which order they should be applying products. Is it serum or moisturizer first? Wait...what about eye cream?

With so many different types of skin care products out there, it can be a little overwhelming to even begin a proper skin care routine. To get you all the right answers (and hopefully make your skin care journey a little less daunting), here are a few tips from Dr. Luigi Polla, the dermatologist who developed Alchimie Forever skin care.

1. The foundation of any skin care routine is a clean canvas – only apply products to perfectly cleansed, dry (or damp) skin.

2.Apply products from thin to thick. Toners first, followed up by serums, gels, and creams. If you start with a thicker product, the penetration of the thinner products will be impeded and diminished. In general, try to avoid mixing hydrophilic (water-based) products with oily products. The latter tend to prevent the penetration of the former.

The foundation of any skin care routine is a clean canvas.

- Dr. Luigi Polla

3. Sunscreen should be applied after all other treatment products have been applied. Meaning, after your serum, moisturizer, and eye cream. If you are using a daily moisturizer with sunscreen, apply your serums and eye cream first, then your moisturizer with SPF.

4. Makeup should be applied on top of your sunscreen. Remember, makeup is meant to cover your skin. Foundation and concealer should be applied after your sunscreen. If you are using a tinted moisturizer with SPF, apply this as you would a moisturizer with SPF (after serums, anti-aging treatments, and eye creams, before concealer and/or foundation).

5. These general rules apply morning and evening, with the exception that moisturizers with SPF and makeup should not be applied before going to sleep.

6. It's important to be mindful that some prescription products require specific direction. For example, retinoid creams are best used in the evening, applied 15-20 minutes after cleansing the skin, before anything else. This ensures the optimal penetration of the therapeutic active ingredients. Creams and moisturizers should then be applied on top of the treatment product.

7.What about facial masks? It's incredibly easy to add masks into any routine. Ideally, once or twice a week! It is recommended to apply a mask to a clean face, so make sure you apply it directly after cleansing when your skin is still damp. Follow up with the rest of your skin care regimen.

A couple more things to remember. In general, using products from different (non-prescription) brands will not affect the efficacy of each product, so feel free to mix and match if desired. Also, there’s little evidence supporting the idea that your skin builds a tolerance to ingredients in your skin care products.

However, your skin care routine should be adjusted according to the seasons, and when your skin type evolves (we tend to get dryer as we get older).
Lastly, make sure you are having regular check-ins with your dermatologist and estheticians. They will be able to analyze and offer the best recommendations for your individual skin type. Watch the video below for an in depth look at product application by Alchimie Forever CEO, Ada Polla. You can also download a printable cheat sheet here!

Adapted from The Alchemist blog by Alchimie Forever for BEing WELL.

Our team works with some of the top wellness professionals in the spa, health, and beauty industries to bring you valuable content that will help you be well. See the original Alchemist blog post here.

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