by: J Benge
JAN 11, 2023
For some of our skinspan heroes, sunscreen application is as routine as brushing our teeth, but not all of us have developed such diligence in our healthy habits quite yet. Indeed, the rest of us tend to treat sunscreen application as a more optional step in our daily skin care regimen. If you fall into the latter bucket, it’s likely because regular use of sunscreen can be disruptive to daily life, especially given the recommendation to reapply every couple of hours.Not to mention the added confusion of when to apply sunscreen - before or after moisturizer and makeup? Given the irrefutable data on the detrimental effects of sun damaged skin, we want to help clear up any confusion on sunscreen application to show you just how simple it is to wear sunscreen every day.
What are the effects of sun exposure on skin?
Unfortunately, the JEET Association for Support to Cancer Patients states that most skin damage due to frequent exposure to both types of sun rays occurs before the age of 20 but doesn't show visibly until many years later (1). As such, young people who are overexposed to the sun have an increased risk for the development of basal cell cancer later in life, which is the most common type of skin cancer. Fortunately, you can prevent these adverse effects with regular sunscreen use. Knowing when and how to apply sunscreen, especially as it relates to the order in which you apply your skin care regimen, is crucial to incorporating SPF into your daily routine.
Do you put sunscreen on before or after moisturizer?
If you opt for a chemical-based sunscreen (look for active ingredients like avobenzone, octinoxate and oxybenzone), dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen as one of the earlier steps in your skin care routine. You can apply a chemical sunscreen before or after a peptide moisturizer, so long as the chemical sunscreen is able to absorb into the skin. Generally, the earlier you incorporate a product into your skin care routine, the better the active ingredients will absorb into your skin.
So if you use a serum or moisturizer with active ingredients that you want peak benefit from, you should apply those topical skin care products before your chemical sunscreen. Just be sure that your chemical sunscreen is applied at a stage in your routine where absorption into your skin will occur.
If you opt for a mineral-based sunscreen (look for active ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide), it is recommended that you apply your sunscreen after your moisturizer. That’s because the active compounds in mineral sunscreen work by forming a physical shield against UV rays on the top of your skin, therefore you don’t want to dilute that barrier by applying moisturizer on top of it.
What do you need to know about chemical and mineral sunscreens?
Both types of sunscreens are effective. But if you’re using chemical sunscreens, doctors from Ottawa and Calgary warn against products that contain oxybenzone, avobenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule because they can accumulate within your blood when used regularly (2). Chemical sunscreens can also potentially cause contact dermatitis and photoallergic contact dermatitis and are known pollutants for our precious oceanic reefs.
Can you put moisturizer over sunscreen?
If you’re using mineral sunscreen, you should apply your moisturizer before sunscreen, leaving your sunscreen as the last layer in your skin care routine.
How long should I wait to apply sunscreen after moisturizing?
Do you apply sunscreen before or after moisturizer and makeup?
As a rule of thumb, you should apply your first application of sunscreen for the day before your makeup.
Makeup can be applied after your skin care routine, including moisturizer and sunscreen. Just be sure that you've given your skin enough time to absorb the sunscreen and moisturizer before moving on to your makeup routine.
Can you put makeup on top of sunscreen?
However, you should be sure to reapply your sunscreen every two hours and after activities that may disrupt your sunscreen, such as exercise and water exposure. Experts recommend that you reapply with a powder sunscreen, SPF setting spray, or sunscreen lotion to boost your level of sun protection while maintaining your makeup look.
- The sun's UV lights can change the appearance, texture, and even the overall health of your skin, making it important for you to learn how to apply it in the right way.
- If you're using a chemical-based sunscreen, it is recommended that you apply it early in your skin care routine so that it can be absorbed properly by your skin.
- Those using a mineral-based sunscreen should apply the product after their moisturizer because the mineral ingredients act as a physical shield on the surface of skin against the sun.
- You should allow your sunscreen to absorb into your skin for at least two minutes before going ahead with your makeup application.
Produced by: J Benge