Is Sunscreen More Effective Before or After Moisturizer?

by | Apr 18, 2018

A vital part of any facial skincare routine, sunscreen, also comes with an age-old question: is it more useful to apply it before moisturizing or after? The short answer to that question: dermatologists are actually split! That being said, there are some pretty specific types and times when order may matter.

Across the board, it is agreed upon that a minimum SPF of 30 should be used to protect all parts of the body, even those that may not see the sun as often. Dermatologists also recommend using physical sunblocks over chemical ones, as physical blocks use minerals to reflect ultraviolet rays, whereas chemicals rely on reactions with the skin and degrade quicker.

A good rule of thumb for basic sunscreen application is to lather it on overtop of medical ointments or medications. From there, though, it tends to depend on the type of sunscreen you are using as to whether it goes on before or after the moisturizer.

If a cream or lotion-based sunscreen (generally the most commonly used type) is being applied, it is recommended to put it on after the moisturizer. If sunscreen mixes with moisturizer, there is always a chance of the sunscreen being diluted, thereby minimizing its ability to protect the skin from rays. Additionally, sunscreen tends to include ingredients that can be drying to skin, so, by applying the moisturizer first, you are saved from an oddly combined, sticky residue and both properties of both lotions are preserved.

If, however, the sunscreen is in powder form then it can be safely applied after makeup, and reapplied quite easily throughout the day without smudging makeup or needing to reapply entirely.

For a truly healthy routine, many dermatologists recommend a thorough cleansing of the face each morning, followed by the application of moisturizer utilizing natural and active ingredients, and, finally, a good base layer of sunscreen. Make sure that layer is relatively thick, and keep in mind it should be reapplied every 2 to 3 hours for the best protection.

All in all, sunscreen is such an important part of skincare – why not make sure it’s being used correctly?