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Can sunscreen be applied after moisturizer: dermatologists explain all the nuances

Yulia PoteriankoLady
Everyone needs UV protection, but do you know how to use it correctly?

Can you explain exactly how to use sunscreen correctly to get all the protection and care you want from it? As a rule, our knowledge is limited to the fact that you just need it on sunny days.

But dermatologists say that the effectiveness of the product may depend on the stage of your skincare routine. That's why Allure turned to professional dermatologists: Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, and Sejal Shah, a board-certified dermatologist in New York. Here's what they had to say.

Controversy among doctors

Most modern women use a multi-step skincare routine. Cleansing, exfoliation, moisturizing, nourishing, and makeup should be considered not only as separate procedures but also in combination. This includes the stage of UV protection.

According to Zeichner, a sunscreen with chemical filters is designed in such a way that these filters must be absorbed into the skin to work. Therefore, any layer underneath them will create an obstacle to this important contact, the doctor believes. Thus, he advises applying SPF first, followed by a moisturizer.

However, Shah disagrees with his colleague. He points out that a care cream on top of a protective cream can change the properties of SPF. This combination can affect the way ultraviolet light affects the skin. Roughly speaking, this sequence will simply dilute the sunscreen and weaken its effect.

Physical and chemical filters

The type of sunscreen you use further complicates the situation. It can be based not only on chemical but also on physical filters, which are minerals that cover your skin and reflect the sun's rays, preventing them from penetrating the cells. It is best to apply this product as the last layer.

Products that already have UV protection

Another nuance to consider is the presence of UV filters in care and decorative products. Some moisturizers for daytime use and foundations contain SPF. In this case, you should make sure that their protection factor is at least 30. And you don't have to decide which layer of sun protection to apply as the two-in-one approach works quite effectively here.

Final tip

And yet, what if you like to use moisturizer and sunscreen separately? Despite their differences in approach, the experts still agreed on their recommendations. Both Zeichner and Shah advised to use a little trick to get the most out of your products. First, apply a light moisturizer, let it absorb completely, and when the skin has completely absorbed it, apply SPF.

Alternatively, you can create a double barrier for yourself. First, use a moisturizer with UV filters, and when it is completely absorbed, apply an additional sunscreen. In this case, you can easily combine a chemical filter with physical filters and get maximum sun protection.

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