Order Does Matter: Steps To Make Clients' Skin Care Regimen Most Effective


The order in which you apply skin care products is the key to the product's effectiveness, according to the American Academy of Dermatologists. 

“Medications or treatments should be applied directly after washing your face,” said board-certified dermatologist Susan C. Taylor, MD, FAAD. “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.”

Taylor recommends the following steps for skin care:

  • Wash your face. Use a gentle cleanser and gently pat dry.
  • Apply medication or treatment. If you are using a medicine or other treatment on your skin, you should apply this right after cleansing unless otherwise recommended by your dermatologist. When applying any cream around your eyes, use your ring finger, as it is the weakest finger and will not pull too hard on this delicate skin.
  • Apply moisturizer and/or sunscreen.
  • 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,” said Taylor. “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.”

To view a video tutorial click here.

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