In what order should I use my skin care products?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get in my practice is the order of usage when it comes to skin care products.

The order matters so that you can get the maximum benefit from the products you have invested in.

1- Cleanser. Use a liquid based cleanser that can easily wash or wipe off. This obviously removes dirt and excess oil from the skin, but I also recommend doing a “double cleanse” at night.. Cleansing twice ensures the skin is clean, especially if you wear makeup.

2- Exfoliate. This step physically sloughs off dead surface skin cells. Your serums and moisturizers will work harder because they are sitting on live cells instead of dead surface cells.. and your makeup will look better!

2- Toner. Toner rebalances the pH of the skin after cleansing. It also acts like a “rinse cycle” for the skin. If you live in an area where the water is mineral-rich, that “tight” feeling you might get after cleansing could very well be from the mineral deposits left on your skin from your water.

3- Eye Makeup Remover. Always remove all traces of eye makeup with an eye makeup remover. Hold a saturated cotton square over your lashes for a few seconds. Then swipe down.

4- Spot Treatment. If you use an acne spot treatment for blemishes, dab on the areas and let the skin absorb it for a few seconds.

5- Serum. Serums address various skin concerns. Some are highly active with acids for the repair of the skin for issues such as fading age spots and other discolorations or smoothing out lines and wrinkles.. while others soothe and calm irritated and sensitive skin with ingredients such as green tea. Serums have a light molecular weight to enable quick absorption into the skin which boosts their efficacy. Gently pat onto the skin.

6- Eye Cream. Always use products made for eyes around the eyes. With the ring fingers, dab eye cream on the orbital bone around eyes. The heat from your eyes will draw the moisture where it is needed.

7- Moisturizer. After the serum is absorbed into the skin, apply your moisturizer. Generally speaking, a night cream tends to be heavier because it is designed to be absorbed over the course of the night. A day cream is typically lighter.

8- Sun Protection. Physical sunscreens offer the best protection for the skin. They work immediately so they don’t need to be applied before sun exposure. Physical sunscreens work by deflecting the sun rays off the skin. A good way to visualize this: Imagine you are holding a mirror on your face facing the sun. The rays will bounce off the mirror. Look for titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in your sunscreen. Unfortunately, sunscreens in foundations are not considered strong enough for adequate sun protection.

A basic morning and evening skin care routine takes less than 5 minutes. Be good to your skin and it will reward you by looking more radiant and youthful!