What product to apply when?

One of the most frequent questions I get about skin care, is in which order to apply products. Indeed, if you are using a moisturizer, a serum, foundation, and a sunscreen in the morning – what goes on first? And what if you add a treatment product on top of that?

Here are a few good rules of thumb to make the most out of your skin care routine, as recommended by my father, dermatologist Dr. Luigi Polla. Keep in mind that these recommendations are not product specific, but work even if you are using products from different brands.

  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. Serums first, followed by gels, followed by creams. If you start with the 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.
  3. Sunscreen should be applied after all other treatment products have been applied. Meaning, after your serum, after your moisturizer, after your 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. 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 actives. Creams and moisturizers should then be applied on top of the treatment product.

A couple more things to remember. In general, using products from different (non-prescription) brands will not affect the efficacy of each product. Also, the idea that your skin gets “used” to a product and that you need to change your routine every couple of months is not supported by much scientific evidence. 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). And remember to always listen to the recommendations of your dermatologist or skin care professional.  Watch this video to learn more about how to layer your skin care products.

My favorite skin care tips

In honor of  National Wellness Week, which is coming to an end, I thought I would share some of my favorite skin care tips, so that you might add to and enhance your wellness resolutions as they are proposed by SpaFinder.

1. Listen to your skin. If your skin breaks out when you use a product, that product is not for you. If your skin feels uncomfortable, irritated, blotchy, raw when you use a product, that product is not for you. Think of your skin as a baby – it can’t express itself in words, so it finds other ways of telling you how it feels. Listen to it. Try our Kantic Calming Cream which helps to soothe and calm irritation and redness.

2. Always apply products from thin to thick. That means serums first, gels second, creams third, and sunscreens last. Watch this video to learn more about how to layer your skin care products.

3. Don’t mix your treatment product with your protection product. Do you use a shampoo and conditioner in one? I didn’t think so. Why do to your skin what you wouldn’t do to your hair?

4. If you are old enough to have a cocktail, you are old enough to be using an eye cream. No ifs or buts about it. The skin of the eye contour area is the thinnest (other than the skin of our lips), and will start showing age earliest. Check out our eye care products here.

5. Always apply your eye cream or gel with your ring finger (our weakest finger), and from the outside in. That will minimize the likeliness that you will tug at this delicate area, stressing it further instead of treating it with some TLC.

6. Our faces lie, our necks tell our age. Make sure you use your facial products on your neck and décolleté. Even better, invest in a product that is specifically designed for this delicate area such as our Firming gel for neck and bust.

7. Our hands also tell our age. Aging does not happen from forehead to chin, but on our entire bodies. Our hands in particular, which are as exposed to the elements as our faces, deserve the same anti-aging care. Try our Dry skin balm to help soften and nourish any dry skin.

8. Prevention is key. Don’t wait for the brown spots and wrinkles to show up before you start using quality anti-aging products. Our Pigment lightening serum is especially formulated to help reduce the appearance of brown spots and even out skin tone. It’s suitable for all skin types and skin tones.

9. Sunscreen is also key. SPF 15 during the winter months (SPF 50+ on the ski slopes), SPF 30 during the sunny months (SPF 50+ on the beach or by the pool). Check out our Protective day cream SPF 23 for your daily skin care regimen.

10. Don’t expect of your products the same results you will get from treatments in a spa or medical office. Products are a complement to treatments, not an alternative.

Just as National Wellness Week was to serve as a reminder that we need to take care of ourselves, that we need to commit to health and wellness, let us also commit to a healthy skin care regimen. Find the products that work for you, and use them morning and evening. Every day, as part of your self care ritual.