EDIT 28/08/2017: I know recommend you apply sunscreen after moisturizer. Read this post for more information about why I changed my mind.
Ah sunscreen. We all know how important it is to use it daily and we slather it on our faces every morning (if you don’t, you should start now! 😉 ) to prevent all kinds of damage the sun can cause, from premature wrinkles, to sun spots to cancer. But there still seems to be a lot of confusion about what’s the proper way to apply sunscreen.
Are you making this mistake?
A very common mistake most people make is to think that applying it on their faces after their moisturizer will guarantee the best protection. If you think about it, it has its logic. If it is on top of the skin, then it should protect it better. Sadly, that is not true. At least not if you use chemical sunscreens.
How physical blockers work
Now, if you use physical blockers (sunscreens with Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide) instead, it doesn’t really matter when you apply them. These ingredients simply work as a shield and so, when the sun rays hit them, they are reflected away from our skin. But all other sunscreens work in a very different way.
Why chemical sunscreens should be applied before moisturizer
Chemical sunscreens don’t work straight away but have to be activated first. In order to do that, they need to bind to the skin so that the chemical reaction that makes them effective can occur. To work their best, this type of sunscreen needs to be applied on bare, cleansed skin. If you apply it after your moisturizer, that’s just gonna get in the way and the chemical sunscreen will not provide much protection against the sun. And you don’t want that right? The same is true for cosmetics with SPF as well. If they contain chemical sunscreen agents they should be applied on bare skin too to be effective.
So, next time, remember: cleanse, apply sunscreen and then, moisturize!