Expert Tips on Skin Care Layering Plus a Handy Skinfographic

Expert Beauty Tips: How To Layer Your Skincare Like a Pro

Tips on skin care to get layering

If you’re anything like us, your bathroom cabinet is cluttered with every skin-improving concoction known to man. Gels, serums, creams, lotions – maybe even substances you didn’t know existed (what’s a hydrogel??). If the variety wasn’t confusing enough, applying them incorrectly or in the wrong order may mean you’re not reaping the max benefits, turning all that effort into a waste of your time, and let’s face it, a waste of money.

“The key to skincare success is to understand what ingredients work together and which order they should be applied,” says Rachel Nazarian, MD, of Schweiger Dermatology Group. “Start with thinner water-based products first (quicker evaporation, quicker absorption) then the thicker oil- based products,”

Dr. Nazarian demystifies layering with some simple skincare guidelines:

  1. Water-based solutions like toner should be applied first and can be transferred to skin directly from the bottle with a roll-on or sponge, or on pads.

  2. Serums are mostly water, so they’re up next.

  3. A classic gel formulation is oil-in-water, and should be applied third. Hydrogels are essentially the same and can also be applied after serums.

  4. Lotions, creams, and ointment are all oil-water combinations, with lotions having the least amount of oil. Ointment has the moist oil (80%!) and should go on last to avoid blocking other skincare ingredients from penetrating.

But where does SPF come in? Application timing varies for chemical vs. sunscreens.

Chemical – These sunscreens work by being absorbed into skin and should be applied to clean skin for best protection. Steer clear of applying chemical SPF over products containing anti-aging or chemical resurfacing ingredients to avoid degrading the active ingredients in your sunscreen.

Physical – Active ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide work by reflecting radiation. This means these SPFs can be layered on top of other lotions. Just keep in mind that mixing sunscreen with lotions will dilute the SPF number.

About Schweiger Dermatology Group

Schweiger Dermatology Group was founded to help make excellent dermatology care accessible throughout the Northeast. In 2010, Dr. Eric Schweiger started the practice with a single location in Midtown Manhattan. When he saw the need for high-quality dermatology care that did not require weeks or months of waiting to see a qualified provider, his vision of a multi-location practice was born.

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