It can feel overwhelming to begin adding more skincare products to your regimen – especially when you realize you’re not sure what order it should go in! Fortunately, there are some general rules that you can keep in mind to ensure you get the most benefit out of your products. The best rule is to apply products from thinnest to thickest. Putting your skincare products on in a random order can be a waste of product, so here’s a step-by-step guide to skincare regimens and how to layer your products.

1. Remove Makeup

If you’re washing your face at night, it’s important to thoroughly remove any makeup before washing. This extra step can help ensure there’s nothing left behind after washing to clog your pores. Use an oil-based remover like micellar water or makeup removing balm to completely remove traces of makeup. Avoid using makeup-removing wipes since they can be damaging and even drying to your skin.

2. Wash Your Face

It’s best to wash your face at least once per day – preferably at night so you can remove the oil, dirt, and makeup from throughout the day. If you have oily skin, consider washing twice per day (morning and night). Use a gentle, unscented moisturizer and massage your face with warm, soapy water, making sure it’s not too hot. Finally, rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a clean towel.

3. Apply Treatments or Medications

If you have special active ingredients or medications in your regimen, apply them to damp, clean skin so you get the most benefit. If you have acne, for example, apply your benzoyl peroxide or Tretinoin at this step. If you use specialized serums, these can be used here as well. Whatever product you want to absorb most directly into the skin, you should apply directly after washing. However, if you use treatments that are harsh, you can apply them over top of your moisturizer as a barrier.

4. Apply Moisturizer

Moisturizer is key to keeping your skin hydrated and youthful. Use a small amount of non-comedogenic, unscented moisturizer and apply it evenly over your face and neck. Make sure to massage it in to help your skin fully absorb it and avoid residue. If you need help selecting the right moisturizer for your skin’s needs, your board-certified dermatologist can help.

5. Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreen is integral to keeping your skin protected throughout the day. During your morning regimen, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30. Some people prefer mineral sunscreens while others prefer chemical ones. Ultimately, the choice is yours – just make sure has sufficient protection and that you apply enough of it to cover your face, ears, and neck. Finally, give your sunscreen a few minutes to begin protecting your skin before going outside or putting on more products.

6. Apply Makeup

If you wear makeup, you can apply it over top of everything. If you typically begin with primer, make sure to allow a few minutes for it to soak in. Then, you can progress to foundation or concealer over top of your skincare products. To complete your regimen, you can top off your face with a long-lasting setting spray.

Schedule an Appointment

At Kwan Dermatology, we’re dedicated to helping patients establish an effective and sustainable skincare regimen. To meet with our board-certified dermatologist Dr. Kwan, contact our San Francisco office by calling or filling out our online form.