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  5. Sunscreen Or Moisturiser - Which One Comes First?

A daily skin care routine usually includes the application of more than one product. While some of these products can be used or skipped depending on your skin goals, both moisturizers and sunscreens are an absolute must everyday.

Whether you go out or spend your day indoors, reaping maximum benefits requires you to know how and when to use your skin care products. So, if you are still unsure whether to apply your moisturiser first or your sunscreen, this article will guide you through this dilemma.

Types Of Sunscreen

Sunscreens are of varied kinds. They differ in composition, the way they work to protect you against the sun and who should use them. The commonly available sunscreens can be broadly categorised into 2 types:

A. Chemical Sunscreen

These contain ingredients such as oxybenzone, azobenzone, octisalate, etc. [1] Chemical sunscreens soak up the UV rays from the sun and convert them into heat energy that can be dissipated from your skin.

Formulations of this sunscreen absorb into your skin quickly and are usually water-resistant. So if you are going for a swim or other activities that make you sweat a lot, a chemical sunscreen will work best for you.

B. Physical Sunscreen

Also known as mineral sunscreen, common ingredients of physical sunscreens include titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Physical sunscreens act as a protective shield, deflecting the harmful radiations of the sun and not allowing them to enter your skin. But they can feel a little heavy on the skin and leave a whitish tint on the applied area.[2]

Physical sunscreens are a good choice if you have sensitive skin. They sit on the skin’s surface and hence are less irritating.

Should You Apply Sunscreen Before Or After Moisturiser?

The answer to this question primarily depends on the kind of sunscreen you are using. Most experts will advise you to use your chemical sunscreen directly on your skin. This will help the ingredients to be absorbed better and the protection against the sun rays to be more effective. If you apply moisturiser before applying a chemical sunscreen, the moisturizer can act as a barrier, preventing the sunscreen from reaching into your skin and working effectively.

Since physical sunscreens work as a protective barrier that reflects the sun rays away from your skin, it is best to use these sunscreens as a topmost layer. So if you are using a physical sunblock, apply your moisturizer and other skincare products before applying the sunscreen.

The jury is still out on which product should be used before the other. How the moisturiser affects the working of the particular sunscreen also needs to be considered before choosing one of the two. You can consult your dermatologist or take SkinKraft’s AI enabled quiz to know your skin’s present condition and order products that suit your skin the best.

Step to apply sunscreen to face and neck

How Long Should I Wait Between Applying Sunscreen & Moisturizer?

Your moisturizer and sunscreen each play a unique role in your skin care routine. The moisturiser prevents loss of hydration from your skin, whereas your sunscreen protects you from the harmful radiations from the sun. So for effective functioning of each product you should ideally not mix them or use one right after the other.

Whether you are using your moisturiser or sunscreen first, allow a time gap of 15 to 20 minutes in between the two products. This will allow the product applied first, to be absorbed fully into your skin, before you apply the second one. This way the moisturizer or the sunscreen will not cross-react or interfere with the working of each other.

A Few Things To Remember About Sunscreens & Moisturizers

  • Use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, and preferably use a water resistant one.[3]
  • Preferably pick up a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UV A as well as UV B rays.
  • UV radiations not only cause photodamage to your skin making you look older than your age, but are also responsible for causing skin cancers.[4] Therefore, it is an absolute must that you use an appropriate sunblock all year round.
  • Lastly, you may opt for a product that has both moisturizing as well as sunscreen properties to avoid this confusion. But make sure that the product has a sufficiently high SPF to protect your skin outdoors as well.

Wrapping Up

Skin care products such as moisturizers and sunscreens are designed to suit specific skin types and may contain different ingredients. More studies are needed to confirm how they interact, and if that affects their specific functions.

In the meantime you can apply your chemical sunscreen before moisturising, while using the physical sunscreen as a last step in your skin care routine. Most importantly do not skip either of them for a healthy, glowing skin and preventing premature signs of aging.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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