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Layering Your Skin Care - Which product goes when?!

So you have invested in great skin care…you have the bottles and jars all lined up but when to apply what? Get the most out of your investment by using them in the most effective order.

Step 1 – Cleanser Cleanse your skin with an appropriate cleanser for your skin type to remove oil, sweat, air borne pollution and dead skin cells. Even if you didn’t wear makeup, cleansing your skin before applying active ingredients in creams and serums will allow better and more effective penetration and results. Be sure to rinse the cleanser well before step 2 to avoid irritation. Leaving cleanser and makeup/pollution on the skin is one of the key triggers to skin irritation and breakouts.

Step 2 – Toning Lotion. Apply a toner for your skin type and condition and leave on. This step is not for cleaning or removing leftover makeup. Your skin should be clean when you apply your toner. This is important water-based step will prime the skin with hydration and other active ingredients which will assist the even and effective penetration of serums and creams.

Step 3 – Serum/Concentrate/Booster. MOST serums/concentrates/boosters are best applied after toner is massaged into the skin and BEFORE your cream. Read the instructions on all serums as they might be recommended to be mixed with your cream for best results. Most serums are concentrated active ingredients to give a quicker boost of results to the skin. The active ingredients are concentrated in a water or gel solution for quick absorption. Some serums though are made mostly from nutritious oils giving it a more luxurious, oily texture and not intended to penetrate the skin but more to protect and heal the surface. If you have been recommended to use both a water-y  and an oily serum be sure to use the water-y serum first.

Step 4 – Spot Treatment. Have you been recommended a spot treatment for acne or pigmentation? Now is the time to apply.

Step 4 – Cream. Regardless if your “cream” is in a gel, water or oil based cream, it is applied following your toner (plus serum or spot treatment if you are using).  Wondering if your night cream can be used in the day and your day cream at night? Most day creams can be successfully used at night. Not all night cream can be used successfully in the day. Creams containing AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acid such as Lactic or Glycolic) or Retinol (or any Vitamin A) are NOT recommended to use in the day due to photo sensitivity. Also some night creams do not have an appropriate level of moisture-sealing ingredients to protect the skin when outdoors. Most creams will state on instructions whether they are good for day and/or night. Follow package instructions or those given by your Esthetician to protect your skin.

Step 5 – Sunscreen . A critical step to truly protect your investment – your skin’s health and beauty! Without this step all the other great active repairing, soothing, protecting and healing ingredients are a waste of time and money! It is also important year round. Apply only in the day regardless of how sunny or warm the day is. UVA radiation is at 100% year round and penetrates the skin causing destructive affects to your collagen and elastin. Be mindful to apply at least ¼ teaspoon to cover face and neck. Applying less than this amount will lower the SPF rating and sun protection you expect and desire. Are you using a moisturizer or makeup with a sunscreen? If your cream and/or makeup has the appropriate level of sunscreen for your skin type and sun exposure AND you apply liberally enough to achieve the needed SPF then adding another sunscreen would not be necessary.