How To

Unsure When to Apply Sunscreen in Your Skincare Routine? We’ve Got You Protected

Written by Dahvi Shira

When it comes to skincare, sometimes the biggest battle is the order of application.  Sunscreen is an essential part of any skincare regimen, no matter your age, gender or skin color – And it’s an important one to implement into your routine, every day.  So, let’s regroup and start protecting your skin from sun damage that can contribute to it looking dry, tired and unhealthy.  

Now, yes, there is a “right” order of when to apply sunscreen in your skincare routine—but we promise it’s not complicated. One of the biggest questions we hear when it comes to this is, does sunscreen go on before or after moisturizer

We’re giving you all the latest on why the order matters, plus a few tips to maximize the effects of SPF in your morning routine.

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Sunscreen or Moisturizer: Which Comes First?

It’s the age-old question: Does sunscreen go before or after moisturizer? We’re here to share once and for all – you should apply sunscreen as the final step in your skincare routine.   Because products with SPF are specifically formulated with certain protective ingredients, layering it on after your moisturizer is the most effective way to block out those harsh rays. 

Sunscreen with Moisturizer: Do I Mix?

If you’re in a rush, or your skincare routine feels like a tedious drag, you’re probably on the kill-two-birds-with-one-stone track.  But, while the idea of mixing your sunscreen and moisturizer together seems like a smart idea, it actually may be less effective. Mixing your sunscreen and moisturizer into a hybrid concoction can result in formulas not working as intended, and that pretty much defeats the purpose of sun protection in the first place. 

Now, there is an exception to the mixing rule. If a product is derm-approved to act as a dynamic duo, then go to town.  

Looking for ways to streamline your routine? 

With our recommended morning routine here at YSE Beauty, skip the moisturizer step in the morning altogether and apply our Skin Glow SPF 30 Primer.  This multi-purpose formula is designed to hydrate, enhance glow and protect skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.  Plus, it’s made with Niacinamide to help heal those dark spots and provide anti-aging benefits – all while it’s working to protect you from UV radiation.  Yes, it’s an overachiever.

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  • YSE Beauty

Wearing Sunscreen: How Often Do I Apply?

If you’re spending long hours in the sun, it’s important to prioritize sunscreen versus moisturizer.  SPF reapplication needs to be a priority at least every two hours. The active ingredients in sunscreen are broken down by the sun over time, so this is especially important in the Spring and Summertime.  During Fall and Winter, UV exposure is lower and you're presumably spending less time outside, so once-a-day application is fine.   However, SPF still needs to be worn in those Winter months!  Moisturizer, however, can be applied as little or frequently as you wish—though it’s always recommended when your skin is feeling dry. 

Get the Most Out of Your SPF

Now that we know the steps on wearing moisturizer before or after sunscreen, we’re here to give expert-recommended tips on choosing the right SPF, and the best one specifically for your skin type. 

The Numbers Matter

Let’s be clear on one thing: If you’re using an SPF under 30, it’s not doing its job. Always stick to 30 and above, as recommended byThe Skin Cancer Foundation, if you’re planning to be outside for an extended period of time.  Additionally, opt for a sunscreen with "broad spectrum" protection, which means it blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

Water, Play, Wear

If you’re splashing around in the water or playing a sport outside, it’s time to swoop up a water-resistant sunscreen to protect your skin while in the water or sweating. If it says "water resistant" on the label, it means it protects you for up to 40 minutes, while "very water resistant" means it protects you for up to 80 minutes.

Keep Applying

Sunscreen isn’t a one-and-done situation. It requires regular reapplication in order to be effective. You’ll want to reapply every two hours when outdoors, and immediately after swimming or perspiring heavily. You can apply sunscreen over makeup when reapplying, as it's not practical to remove makeup so often.  

Be Generous

There are many cases where less is more—sunscreen isn’t one of them. You’ll want to apply generously, ensuring you get part of your exposed skin. For whole-body application, use about two tablespoons of sunscreen, or the equivalent of a shot glass.  And when applying sunscreen on your face, use about a nickel-sized amount, evenly spread across your skin.

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The Right SPF for Your Skin

In general, mineral sunscreens work best for sensitive skin, as the ingredients are less likely to irritate the skin on your face.  For acne-prone skin, choose a sunscreen labeled "non comedogenic."  This type of sunscreen doesn’t block your pores, which also means it’s less likely to cause breakouts. 

 If you have a deeper skin tone, you may want to go with a translucent, tinted sunscreen.  This may help minimize the white cast on your face that mineral sunscreen can sometimes leave.  

For oily skin types, sunscreen can definitely be tough, especially with the greasy texture that comes with some formulas.   If you have oily skin, skip the moisturizer first step, and just go straight to applying your SPF.  Also, you can try an oil-free sunscreen for a more matte finish.  

Sunscreen: A Year-Round Routine

After you’ve applied your SPF, you should also consider wearing protective clothing, sunglasses and hats while you're outside.  And as mentioned previously, ensure you apply moisturizer first – or opt this step in your routine- and your sunscreen last.  Don’t forget to re-apply after spending hours in the sun, and wear your SPF every day of the year, no matter the season.

In general, sunscreen formulas have come a long way over the last few years, so there is something for everyone, at every price point and for every skin type.   Trust ust, your skin will thank you later on in life (and you’ll thank yourself!) when you don’t show early signs of aging, due to sun damage.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving.