Consumers often spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars a year on skin care products in an effort to improve the look of their skin. From anti-aging serums to acne medications, many adults and teens regularly apply medications or treatments to their skin. But does the sequence in which skin care products are applied influence how well the products work? Dermatologists say yes.
"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."
To maximize the effectiveness of skin care products, Dr. Taylor recommended people take the following steps when caring for their skin:
1. Wash your face. Use a gentle cleanser and gently pat dry.
2. 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.
3. Apply moisturizer and/or sunscreen.
4. 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 Dr. 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. A dermatologist can address any questions or concerns that you have about caring for your skin."
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