The Right Way to Layer Your Skincare

Serums, moisturizers and spot treatments, oh my! If you’re anything like us and have a full skincare/makeup cabinet, it can be intimidating to figure out how to incorporate your latest products into your routine. And you're not insane for feeling that way... The order you're applying things does matter!

When in doubt, follow the golden skincare rule of cleansing your face first, then applying products from lightest to heaviest is generally the best way to go. 

Here's your step by step guide to layering your skincare:

Step 0: Remove makeup

Whether you’ve got a face full of makeup or just a bit of highlighter and mascara left on your complexion, it’s crucial to remove your makeup before you cleanse. We’re a huge fan of micellar water which effectively and gently get the job done.

Step 1: Cleanse

Cleansing your skin is essential. Just like you wouldn’t get into a set of freshly washed sheets in dirty clothes, you should not apply skincare products to dirty skin. Over the course of the day, dirt and oil is bound to accumulate on your face — so you especially need to wash that off at night before applying any other products before you go to sleep. We’re not excusing you from washing your face in the morning, though. As we sleep, our skin cells regenerate meaning dead skin cells may be on the surface of your skin, and especially need to be washed away in the morning.

A dime-sized dollop of your cleanser of choice is the perfect amount to remove the day’s dirt and grime without stripping your skin of natural oils or irritating your complexion. SLMD's Salicylic Acid Cleanser is a great choice because it's gentle but great at exfoliating and unclogging pores.

Step 2: Tone

Toners can be found in a spray bottle or in a little pre-soaked pad, among other forms! They don’t appear to be more than a little water or mist, but they have major benefits. Think of toner as the primer of your skincare routine! Loaded with acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatories — toners just take an easy swipe or spray to keep your skin feeling healthy. Our favorite little toner in a pad = SLMD Resurfacing Acne Swipes, which are formulated with three powerhouse, exfoliating, acids: Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid, and Lactic Acid.

Step 3: Treat

Here’s where it can start to get complicated. Treatment products are potent concentrates of ingredients — like retinol, benzoyl peroxide, and sulfur — which can be used to target a range of skin concerns, from dark spots and discoloration to acne and aging.

You only need a pearl-sized drop of your go-to treatment lotion — which should be gently applied in upward strokes until it’s fully absorbed. Make sure you do some research on your ingredients if you’re mixing more than one treatment product. For instance, a serum like SLMD's Retinol Serum should be saved for nighttime skincare as it can degrade in the sun and make your skin more susceptible to UV damage.
During the day, great treatment ingredients for acne are benzoyl peroxide or sulfur (if you are sensitive to benzoyl peroxide) BP Lotion or Sulfur Lotion can be used day or night following cleansing your face.

Step 4: Apply Serum

After applying a treatment product— now would be the time to apply a hydrating serum like SLMD's Hyaluronic Acid Serum (able to hold 1000x it's weight in water and fill in every nook and cranny). 

Step 5: Moisturize

Finally, it’s time to seal it all in! Once you’ve let your previously applied products settle into your skin, apply a nickel sized amount of your favorite moisturizer, llike SLMD's Facial Moisturizer or a moisturizer that doubles as a sunscreen like Dual Defender SPF 30.

Step 6: Target Problem Spots

Apply a spot treatment with acne-fighting ingredients, like Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid, to any problem areas that may need a little more concentrated attention. For red or inflamed pimples, use SLMD’s BP Spot Treatment. I f you’re experiencing blackheads or whiteheads, use a spot treatment with Salicylic Acid, like SLMD’s Salicylic Acid Spot Treatment.

Step 7: Protect

Sunscreen is quite possibly the most essential step in your routine, so make sure your daily moisturizer is equipped with SPF protection ie.  Dual Defender SPF 30. 
Now go enjoy all your skincare goodies without stressing about the order you’re putting them on! Knowledge is power.

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