When using topical acne medications, it can be confusing when to apply which product. At the very least, you will be applying a topical acne cream, a moisturizer, and a sunscreen. Some people even use serums and additional acne medications on top of their basic regimen. Its important to understand the best order to apply acne products, in order to get the best results possible from each product.
Dr. Schweiger recommends applying your topical creams in the following order:
- Topical acne medications: Most topical medications should be applied first, directly onto clean, dry skin. This allows the medications to be absorbed into the skin and to work in the most effective manner possible. The exception to this rule is with retinoids, which can sometimes be applied after moisturizer is applied, in order to prevent the development of dryness and irritation on the skin.
- Moisturizer: Moisturizers should be applied after the application of acne medications. The use of a moisturizer often allows the acne medications to better penetrate the skin, and prevents medications from drying out your skin.
- Sunscreen: Sunscreen should be applied after both acne medications and moisturizer. It is important to apply a moisturizer with broad spectrum protection (which means protecting against both UVA and UVB rays) and an SPF of 30 of higher.
When confused about when to apply topical creams, a good rule of thumb to follow is to apply the products in order from thinnest to thickest. This will allow all of the topical creams to penetrate into the skin.