With summer upon us, it has become all the more important to figure out how to use products effectively. Most of us have a clear idea of what we need to apply, but the order in which we apply it is frequently a major issue. This is especially true when it comes to sunscreens and moisturizers. After all, they both need to be worn, but ostensibly need to be the last or next to last. Figuring out how to apply them properly will help give you skin the extra dose of protection its needs to combat the summer sun. Interestingly enough, the answer can be a bit complicated as the type of sunscreen you’re using can end up determining when you apply something. These days a lot of people are simply skipping the question by opting for combination products though. Let’s take a quick look at the various options we all have available to us so that we can be sure on how best to care for our skin this summer.

Skipping It
It honestly is simpler to skip over the problem by simply used a moisturizer with an integrated SPF compound. These are increasingly available and offer a simple approach to solving the dilemma and ensuring that our skin is always protected. There are an increasing number of options out there that just need to be applied like you would any other moisturizer. You get both benefits without needing to worry about the order at all. As useful as this is, there are some drawbacks. A combination product is not as potent as using both of the products on their own in the proper order. You also can’t necessarily reapply the product to keep up the SPF protection throughout the day without risking clogged pores. Combination products are a specific choice that works well but isn’t the best option if you expect a lot of sun exposure that day. Fortunately, you can easily fall back to the more complicated option of figuring out the best way to apply standalone products together.

Standard Sunscreen
Most of us are likely to be using a relatively common sunscreen. Looking at the ingredient list will give you a number of chemical names with only the barest traces of zinc oxide. These sunscreens are referred to as “chemical” sunscreens as they essentially go through a reaction once applied to the skin. Once this reaction has completed half an hour or so after application, the compound of your skin will absorb UV rays instead of letting your skin do it. The process is highly effective and that’s part of what makes chemical sunscreens so easy to come by. They need to make contact with your skin do their job though. Apply your standard sunscreen, let it sit, and then apply your moisturizer. This will help create a properly layered protection that should make your skin more resistant to sun damage. Applying chemical sunscreen after your moisturizer will result in little to no sun protection and simply end up hurting your skin.

Mineral Sunscreen
These are the sunscreens that most of us should be trying to use preferentially. It isn’t because chemical sunscreens are bad for you, but because mineral sunscreens work on a “reflect” rather than “absorb” principle that tends to be more effective. These sunscreens make heavy use of minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to create a surface layer of the sunscreen that provides a protective shield. The best news is that they don’t have to be in direct contact with the skin to achieve this either. Apply your favorite moisturizer before your apply this kind of sunscreen. Once your moisturizer is full absorbed, you can easily apply all the sunscreen over it. This will actually make an even better seal for the moisturizer. It will be trapped closer to your skin and be less likely to evaporate off quickly thanks to the mineral sunscreen over it. Your skin will be all the more protected. Applying moisturizer over it will result in your skin not getting much in the way of moisturizer, but you’ll still get the sun protection.

Skincare is about learning how best to make use of the products available to you. Sunscreen and moisturizer, as two of the most basic products, need you to know how to use them properly to ensure your skin is adequately protected. Combination products can help, but they have downsides just like improperly applying your sunscreen and moisturizer in the wrong order. Picking what suits your lifestyle will ensure that your skin gets the care that it needs with minimal fuss.

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