David B. Reath, MD
Knoxville, TN (865) 450-9253
HKB Knoxville Staff

How To Apply Skin Care Products. Mystery Solved.

Skin Care Order To Apply ProductsAny skin care expert will tell you that the order in which you use your products is key to getting the results you want. The last thing you want to do is put your most expensive product, an active serum, over a heavy cream blocking absorption and preventing the liquid gold from doing its job.

Another common mistake is to over-use night serums during the day. Usually this happens once someone starts seeing results and figures twice a day will make it twice as good. 

Whether you are just starting on a healthy skin care regimen or have been using medical skin care products for a while, you and your skin will benefit from understanding the basics of skin care product layering.

Start with the thinnest and finish with the thickest.
The first product you should apply to is the product with the thinnest consistency. This will be a serum, your most potent and concentrated product. Allow your skin to absorb the serum before you go on to the next step. You don’t want to put on a heavier product immediately and take the chance it will block some of your serum from penetrating the skin. Our advanced products are formulated with lipid tails that allow the precious actives to be absorbed into your skin and penetrate lickety-split. Still, if you’re going to towel-dry your hair, or get dressed, this is the time.

If you are using a spot treatment for acne or brown spots, use that next. Follow with your all-over treatment, which for most people will be a hydrator/moisturizer. Your last product to apply is your sunscreen primer. This seals everything in.

Vitamin C in the morning. Vitamin A (Retinol) at night.nightday
Think “C coffee” and “A asleep”.

There are good reasons why you want to keep this straight. Antioxidants like Vitamin C are not stored in the skin. They fought the good fight and need to be replenished to battle the forces of skin damage during the daylight hours. Many all-in-one night serums contain Vitamin C and antioxidants, which is great. But if you have a Vitamin C serum on its own, use it in the morning.

Retinols are stored in the skin. They make your skin more reactive to sunlight, which is why we suggest you use them while you are sleeping, and follow up with a good physical sunscreen in the morning. If you’re still tempted to use retinol in the morning, don’t. Vitamin A receptors in your skin shut down during the day, so it’s just a waste of good product.

Stick to a single line of skincare products.
Skin care lines are designed to work together with the active ingredients complementing one another. Most people get better results and less irritation when a single line is used instead of mixing and matching.

That said, if you have a “can’t live without” product you love and want to change other aspects of your skin care routine, let us know. We’ll help you make selections so you aren’t overdoing one active and not getting enough of another.

All the best,
Dr. David B. Reath

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