What Should I Apply First: Moisturizer Or Sunscreen?

by Gio
apply moisturizer or sunscreen first

EDIT: This post was edited with the latest scientific information on 21/07/2017.

Moisturizer or sunscreen: what comes first? That’s the chicken and egg question of skincare. Everyone you ask seems to have a different answer.

Sunscreen always goes last.

Nope, it depends on what type of sunscreen you use.

Just put it on whenever, who cares?

I do. Because sunscreen is serious business. You get the order wrong, you may unwittingly reduce its effectiveness!

So, what should you do? Let’s see what the experts recommend:

Theory #1: Sunscreen Always Goes Last

Both skincare gurus Paula Begoun and Nicki Zevola Benvenuti of Future Derm agree: sunscreen is ALWAYS the last step in your daytime skincare routine.

This, Paula’s argues, is how scientists test the effectiveness of your sunscreen. They don’t get creative and apply sunscreen under moisturizer to see if it works as well.

If tests say that sunscreen on top of moisturizer works, that’s good enough for me. This is the theory that I’ll be following from now on.

Theory #2: It Depends On What Type Of Sunscreen You’re Using

Did you know there are two types of sunscreens?:

  1. Chemical*: it uses synthetic UV filters, such as avobenzone, mexoryl, and octocrylene.
  2. Mineral: it uses mineral UV filters, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

The theory goes that chemical sunscreens need to touch the skin so the chemical reaction that activates them can occur. Any chemical sunscreen goes before moisturizer while mineral sunscreens can still be applied last.

The only one who promotes this theory, as far as I know, is Dr. Neal Schultz, a board-certified dermatologist who practices in Manhattan.

When I first started this blog and wrote this post, I was a huge fan of Dr Schultz’s work but, as my research about sunscreen continued, I’ve started to question some of his conclusions.

(Science isn’t a done science. New information can always come up to refute approved theories. When that happens, we should revisit our conclusions rather than standing firm on our positions for fear of looking stupid).

During my research, I couldn’t find any evidence that chemical sunscreens need to be activated by the skin. If that were true, those handy UV bracelets that tell you when your sunscreen is starting to lose its effectiveness wouldn’t work with chemical sunscreens. But, they do.

The only reaction that happens when you apply ANY sunscreen to your skin is the creation of a protective film. As the sunscreen dries, it forms a film on the skin that makes it harder for it to be wiped off.

This film takes around 20 minutes to form. That’s why your mum always told you to apply sunscreen about 20 minutes before leaving the house.

If you’ve been following Dr Schultz’s theory (I did for a while) and applied sunscreen first, I don’t think you have everything to worry about as long as a) you’ve waited for the sunscreen to dry properly and b) you gently pat on the rest of your skincare on top (that’s just common sense, anyway).

Related: Chemical VS Physical Sunscreen: Which One Is Right For You?

The Bottom Line

After examining the latest research, I now recommend that you apply sunscreen as the last step of your daytime skincare routine. Always.

*Technically, all sunscreens are chemicals. That’s because everything made of matter is a chemical. Even water. Even zinc oxide. But, recently, chemical sunscreen has become synonymous with non-mineral sunscreen, so that’s how I’m using it here.

Do you apply your sunscreen before or after your moisturizer?

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Amy May 23, 2012 - 10:43 pm

i just got the gel today! Got the cleanser from the doctor when i visited her and that was a week ago.

beautifulwithbrains May 24, 2012 - 8:54 pm

Amy, that’s good. Let me know how they work for you. 🙂

Amy May 24, 2012 - 9:04 pm

Yes, I will def. let you know.

beautifulwithbrains May 25, 2012 - 5:48 am


Chris June 10, 2012 - 7:02 am

I use the la Roche posay mexoryl sunscreen and it tends to leave this white residue on my cheeks… Most likely because its water resistant! But I cant remove it! Its only noticable when I wash my face, but I’m a little worried that while having this residue on my cheeks, it will make my sunscreen less affective or will it have no difference?

beautifulwithbrains June 10, 2012 - 10:11 pm

Chris, I’m afraid I’m not sure what you mean. Sunscreens containing Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide can leave a white cast on skin after you apply them. Is that what you mean? Or do you only see the residue when you try to take it off? In that case, you may wanna try a stronger makeup remover because if your skin is not completely clean when you apply sunscreen, its efficacy may be compromised.

Chris June 10, 2012 - 11:14 pm

It’s doesn’t have zinc or titanium. During the day you can’t tell it’s there, but when I wash my face all of the sunscreen comes off except on my cheeks. It seems that the only way it will come off is if I scrape it with my fingernail or use a rougher face cloth. I hate doing that to my face, but it seems to be the only way to remove it.

Chris June 10, 2012 - 11:22 pm

Oh and another question… I want to buy the la Roche moisturizer with sunscreen. It says it has mexoryl and avobenzone, but it doesn’t say “broad spectrum” on the front like the rest of them. Does that mean its not as affective at blocking UVA and UVB rays like all their other products that say “broad spectrum”??

beautifulwithbrains June 11, 2012 - 6:12 am

Chris, I had never heard of a sunscreen behaving like that, how awful! Have you tried using a cleansing oil to remove it? You can try using olive oil too.

I don’t know all the ingredients in that moisturizer, but avobenzone, which protects against UVA rays, make me think the product is broad-spectrum. The problem with moisturizers with SPF though is that you’ll have to apply several layers to get the protection stated on the bottle, so even if it contains broad-spectrum protection, it still won’t protect your face as well as a separate sunscreen.

Chris June 11, 2012 - 7:09 am

I’ve tried a sample of DHC’s deep cleansing oil and it didn’t do much at all. I tried using a rough cloth and I did get a lot of it removed.

I’m glad you told me about the moisturizer sunscreen. I tried using another sunscreen from la roche posay, but it leaves a white cast and doesn’t blend in as good. I’m only sixteen so it’s hard to find something that is suitable for everyday use without stubborn residue or looking like a ghost! Lol!!

beautifulwithbrains June 11, 2012 - 8:00 am

Chris, I’m sorry the DHC cleansing oil didn’t work for you. I think you should try using a mixture of olive oil and jojoba oil and see how that goes. You’d probably have to remove the oily residue with another gentle cleanser, but if it does the trick, it’s worth it.

Otherwise, you should try using another sunscreen as I don’t think this one is that suitable for your skin type. Maybe try something with only Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide. They may leave a white cast on skin, but at least you shouldn’t have to go through all that hassle to remove them.

zangmo June 13, 2012 - 10:51 am

i have always been using Garnier Sun Control,Daily Moisturiser, Mexoryl® SX. as my base cream before applying foundation. and recently through a friend i came to know that sunscreen/control is used only after applying a moisturiser .so i am thinking of using jovees moisturising cream(shea butter with fruit extracts,moisturiser) as my base cream and then apply jovees sandal wood,suncover,natural protection (SPF 30) before applying my foundation .adn also is it okie if i use jovees sandal wood,suncover,natural protection (SPF 30) as my base cream and apply jovees moisturising cream(shea butter with fruit extracts,moisturiser) at night.
please advice

beautifulwithbrains June 13, 2012 - 8:30 pm

Zangmo, sunscreen should be the first product you apply on your skin, before moisturizer and before foundation. And I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t use the jovees moisturizer at night. Hope this helps.

zangmo June 14, 2012 - 5:45 am

Thank you so much.

beautifulwithbrains June 14, 2012 - 6:03 am

Zangmo, you’re welcome!

zangmo June 14, 2012 - 6:13 am

And could you please advice me like i have been using Garnier Sun Control which is SPF 15 and now the Jovees sun cover is SPF 35.is it ok to use it or should i stick to Garnier…and also is it safe to use a different product like jovees sunscreen in the day time and garnier moisturiser at night?

beautifulwithbrains June 14, 2012 - 1:02 pm

Zangmo, you should use the product that works best for you and you won’t know what that is until you try both. The Jovees one may be better during the day because it has higher SPF, but you can use them either during the day or at night, whatever works best for you.

muna July 4, 2012 - 6:47 pm

hello..i have a problems..i always changed the sunscreen and face wash..now im using garnier sun control spf 15 and same brand’s face wash too..wish was available for all skin types..nowww i m thinking to use garnier’s moiserizer too..so want ur advice.what should i do?nnnn m lilttle confuse..sun protection factor means protection time, period na or what??

beautifulwithbrains July 5, 2012 - 6:18 am

Muna, I don’t think there’s any problem if you want to use the moisturizer too. Just apply it after sunscreen. Sun Protection Factor measures the length of time you can spend in the sun without burning. For instance, if you burn within 10 minutes of sun exposure, SPF15 will protect you for 150 minutes. Hope this helps.

muna July 5, 2012 - 7:11 am

thank you..last one question wanna ask you..:-) if i use face power at last or after moiserizer than also ok na??

beautifulwithbrains July 5, 2012 - 4:57 pm

Muna, you’re welcome and yes, you should always apply face powder last. 🙂

Natalie July 6, 2012 - 6:31 am

I have a question. Ive been looking for a high PPD rating sunscreen and I found the best one made by La Roche Posay. It’s the Anthelios XL 50+ Extreme Fluid, but the downside is, is that it leaves a faint white cast. The sales clerk told me that I could mix the tinted version with this sunscreen and it will be more cosmetically appealing. Is it ok to mix the two together, because I’m a little afraid it will affect the protection that it offers… I know that makeup with titanium could affect the avobenzone, but it’s basically the same formula I think!!

beautifulwithbrains July 6, 2012 - 9:36 pm

Natalie, you are right. It’s never a good idea to mix sunscreens with other products because if you do you’ll compromise their efficacy. The white cast may not be very appealing, but using a sunscreen that doesn’t offer enough protection is worse. If it really bothers you, then you should switch to a sunscreen with a lower concentration of Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide because they are the ingredients that leave a white cast to skin.

Natalie July 6, 2012 - 9:49 pm

Really??, ughh I’ve been spending MONTHS for the right sunscreen…. I know that liquid foundation or tinted moisturizer would definantly affect the protection, but even if it’s the same exact formula, the same brand, and same protection?? I’m not saying your wrong at all, but it’s a little hard to believe!

beautifulwithbrains July 6, 2012 - 10:12 pm

I don’t think they have the exact same formula, but even if it is very similar, there is always the risk of diluting the sunscreen and if that happens, then you’ll have a lower SPF than that stated on the bottle and thus less protection. It is true that this risk decreases when you use the same actives and same level of SPF, but still you’d have to be very careful because even a small dilution would be too much when it comes to sunscreen. Applying a tinted moisturizer on top would be a better option.

Vivien July 23, 2012 - 12:06 am

This doesn’t have anything to do with products, but about uv protection. At the moment I have about 6 blankets over my French doors in my room to block out the heat and the sun. My question is, is that since my room is completely dark does that mean there is no uv rays entering in?

beautifulwithbrains July 23, 2012 - 5:54 am

Vivien, if your room is completely dark, then I think you’re well protected and don’t need to wear sunscreen inside.

Vivien July 23, 2012 - 8:28 am

Thank you!!:)

beautifulwithbrains July 23, 2012 - 12:01 pm

Vivien, you’re welcome.

muna August 27, 2012 - 4:34 pm

if i apply moiserizer at night too…it harmful my skin? Or its good ?

beautifulwithbrains August 27, 2012 - 7:07 pm

Muna, it is ok to apply moisturizer at night. I always do before going to sleep and in the morning my skin is very soft.

Elizabeth August 27, 2012 - 9:15 pm

When I apply my sunscreen it goes on white then dries clear. Should I put an even light film of white on my face and let it dry or do I rub it in until it dissapears. I’m afraid of rubbing it too much that I’ll mess up the protection. My sunscreen is chemical based

beautifulwithbrains August 27, 2012 - 9:48 pm

Elizabeth, just apply the recommended amount (1/4 teaspoon of sunscreen for your whole face) evenly on your skin. It’s when you don’t apply enough or forgot an area of your face that you are compromising the protection it provides. Some sunscreens do leave a white cast on skin, others do dry clear. As long as you apply it properly, I wouldn’t worry about that.

Renita August 28, 2012 - 5:18 pm

hi mam i hav oily skin i use only clean&clear facewash to my face and no other products. during my menses tim i use to get pimples and it turns to black spot which looks ugly kindly suggest me wat all products(with name) should i use from morning to night.
Thank you.

beautifulwithbrains August 29, 2012 - 4:36 pm

Renita, if you only get pimples during your period then the cause may be hormonal and the only thing you can do is to use an anti-spot treatment on them when they start to appear.

To keep your oily skin under control all year round, instead, I’d suggest a moisturizer or serum with Salicylic Acid which exfoliates skin, preventing the pores from getting all clogged up, and regulates sebum production. Hope this helps.

Renita August 30, 2012 - 11:48 am

Thank you so much mam can u say me wat moisturizer shd i use though i’m in india (tamilnadu).

beautifulwithbrains August 31, 2012 - 8:12 pm

Renita, it’s hard for me to name a product for you because I don’t really know what products are available in India nor what your budget is. Philopsophy clear days ahead oil-free salicylic acid acne treatment & moisturizer is a good, although pricey option, and so is Paula’s Choice CLEAR Extra Strength Targeted Acne Relief ExfoliatingToner with 2% Salicylic Acid. If these aren’t available where you live, just look around for a leave-in product that contains salicylic acid.

srijana August 31, 2012 - 7:22 pm

hello mam..im 4rm nepal n i wanna ask u a question…befor go on bed or at night if apply face powder..it remove my pimples or its good for skin?

beautifulwithbrains August 31, 2012 - 8:59 pm

Srijana, what do you mean with face powder? You mean the cosmetic kind that’s used to set makeup and absorb oil? It’d be useless to use that at night. It’s much better to let skin breathe while you sleep. But if instead you mean a treatment for spots, yes, that can be applied at night.

sharan September 4, 2012 - 4:44 pm

mam..there is any bad effects if i apply cucumber in my face and let it hole night?

beautifulwithbrains September 4, 2012 - 7:53 pm

Sharan, I don’t think it’s necessary to leave it on that long, but there shouldn’t be any side effects.

Beth December 11, 2012 - 10:01 am

I have a problem with breaking out very easily because my skin is so sensitive! It is horrible, if I think about a zit I get 10 of them! I use Dior skincare products-including moisturizer. I can’t put on both moisturizer and sunscreen, it is just way too much for my face to handle. How should I choose between the two? Also, I have tried PLENTY of “combo” sunscreen/moisturizers, these are a no go for me!

beautifulwithbrains December 11, 2012 - 10:36 pm

Beth, I’m sorry to hear about your problem. Definitely opt for sunscreen if you have to choose. The sun rays are very damaging to the skin and cause wrinkles and brown spots. This damage is very sneaky because it won’t show up straight away, but after years. And it accumulates. So, if you wanna slow down the aging process, sunscreen is a must. Just opt for one with moisturizing ingredients that will keep your skin soft, smooth and hydrated too.

nikita February 13, 2013 - 4:43 pm

mam…im having dry skin….can u please suggest good sunscreen for my skin??….or a gud combo of sunscreen n moisturizer..??…

beautifulwithbrains February 13, 2013 - 8:03 pm

Nikita, have you tried Paula’s Choice Extra Care Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 30+, for Normal to Dry Skin or Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen SPF 30+ Chemical Free Fragrance Free Sensitive? They are both good options for dry skin. Hope this helps.

NIKITA February 14, 2013 - 5:53 am

Not yet mam…i will try them….thankuu….n..mam,, which is gud for dry skin..SUNBLOCK r SUNSCREEN???….

beautifulwithbrains February 14, 2013 - 9:05 pm

Nikita, I wouldn’t say one is better than the other for dry skin. It depends on the formula. You should just use a product that also contains some moisturizing ingredients.

rose February 27, 2013 - 10:56 pm

Hi I wanted to know if its okay for me to use only sunscreen as a moisturiser for my face for maybe a week….and can I also apply sunscreen on my lips…..xx

beautifulwithbrains February 28, 2013 - 10:11 pm

Rose, if you find that your sunscreen is moisturizing enough then yes, you can use that alone and skip the moisturizer. As to whether you can apply sunscreen on the lips, it depends on its formulation and whether all its ingredients are safe for use on the lips. Every sunscreen has a different formula so I can’t give you a precise answer. A lip balm with SPF would be a much safer option.

diya March 1, 2013 - 2:48 am

hi..i want to know that if i scrub my skin everyday..its good for skin or its bad?

beautifulwithbrains March 1, 2013 - 10:40 am

Diya, it depends on what scrub you are using and what your skin type is. Physical scrubs (those with beads and micro particles) can be used up to 3 times a week if you have oily skin, less if it is dry. Chemical exfoliants (those with AHAs and BHA such as glycolic acid or salicylic acid) may be used more often depending on how high their concentration is and how sensitive your skin is. Washcloths can be used daily by everyone instead. Hope this helps.

triveni March 2, 2013 - 3:46 pm

As you mentioned that the sunscreen should be applied before the moisturiser, i just wanted to know that after applying the sunscreen should i wait for some time and then apply the moisturiser?

beautifulwithbrains March 3, 2013 - 9:26 pm

Triveni, yes. It would be best to wait a few minutes to give the sunscreen the time to sink in before applying the moisturizer.

pinuplover March 15, 2013 - 6:42 pm

i use vitamin e oil to moisturiser because i have dry patches to skin, but my sunscreen is neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum its uva/uvb waterproof, i was wondering which should i apply first which second i know that foundation would be third, and how long would i have to wait before applying each step?

beautifulwithbrains March 15, 2013 - 8:08 pm

Pinuplover, neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum is a chemical sunscreen, so you should apply that first, and moisturizer afterwards. Just wait until the sunscreen has sunk into the skin, and then apply the moisturizer.

Nazma March 18, 2013 - 9:15 am

i use neotrogina sunscreen spf 55 then oil free moisturizer and go to my office. But when i reapply sunscreen & why? I want to clean my face neutrogena acne face wash after come back my home, is it right for me? please advice me What can i use morning to night accordingly.

beautifulwithbrains March 18, 2013 - 9:54 am

Nazma, if you’re not spending much time in the sun, then reapplying sunscreen may not be necessary. If you want to retouch it, you can do so with a powder with SPF. The rest of your routine seems fine to me.

Isha March 19, 2013 - 12:18 pm

Hey Hi,

I just wanted you to help me out, actually my skin is of mix tone, my cheeks are dry & my forehead is a bit oily, T point which we say. I am nowadays using Ranbaxy Suncross Suncreen & just wanted you to guide me tht how shud i apply it? do i need to apply moisturiser also after applying suncreen or there is no need of mosturiser coz my skin luks so oily after applying sunscreen. Please suggest what shud i do coz aftr applyng sunscreen my face luks so dull & oily 🙁 what shud i do ?

beautifulwithbrains March 19, 2013 - 2:50 pm

Isha, if your skin is that oily, then I think applying sunscreen would be enough. Although, maybe you should consider switching to a sunscreen that’s more lightweight and dries to a matte finish.

mao March 30, 2013 - 12:23 am

I recently started wearing an spf 25 moisturiser (soap & glory). It’s a chemical sunscreen and I recently read about how these kinds of moisturising sunscreens just wear off after 2 hours leaving you unprotected.

I don’t reapply because I usually apply some powder or bronzer and highlighter after moisturising. If I was to re-apply my moisturiser, it wouldn’t go so well with the powders and probably cause spots. Is it better to wear higher spf physical sunblock? Do they not wear off so easily? I live in the UK, so I don’t spend much time in the sun…

beautifulwithbrains April 1, 2013 - 6:14 pm

Mao, I’d definitely use a physical sunscreen then. They last a lot longer on the skin and, if you don’t spend much time in the sun, you probably won’t need to reapply it throughout the day.

mao April 13, 2013 - 3:36 pm

Hi, thanks for responding! Is there a sunscreen you recommend? I recently purchased La Roche Posay 30 spf (the matte fluid one). I like it a lot as it doesn’t make my skin oily. However, it contains titanium dioxide and I’d possibly like to find one with zinc oxide. I’d appreciate any recommendations =^..^=

beautifulwithbrains April 15, 2013 - 5:47 am

Mao, the best sunscreen with zinc oxide I’ve found so far is sunumbra. It’s natural, gentle and effective. You can read my review here: http://beautifulwithbrains.com/2013/04/10/product-review-sunumbra-sunkids-spf-40/

Wingsofa July 14, 2013 - 10:38 pm

Mao, You might not spend time in the sun ; its because we don’t see the sun as much as other countries, but when it’s here, it’s the same sun. PROTECT.

rahi April 1, 2013 - 4:47 am

hi.. im 18 years old.. my skin type is dry.. i tried 3 more sunscreen and moisturizer.. but it doesnt works for me.. pls suggest me honestly which r the sunscreen and moisturzer is best to use and works really..

beautifulwithbrains April 1, 2013 - 5:56 pm

Rahi, have you tried Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Moisturizer for Normal to Very Dry Skin or Osmotics TriCeram? They are great moisturizers for dry skin. As for sunscreen, I’d suggest you try Paula’s Choice Extra Moisturizing Sunscreen or Skinceuticals Physical UV Defense SPF 30. Hope this helps.

oge April 13, 2013 - 3:57 pm


My skin is normal but my nose and forehead get oild through the day.. I’m making a trip this summer to an extremely hot place and I honestly do NOT wanna get a tan! I love my yellow skin! What sunblock/sunscreen can I use that will be effective? Is clinique’s sunscreen good?
Secondly, I apply the sunscreen/sunblock before my moisturiser right?
Thanks, God bless..

beautifulwithbrains April 15, 2013 - 5:57 am

Oge, yes, Clinique’s sunscreens are pretty good. Also, Paula’s Choice has a nice sunscreen for normal to oily skin. As for the order of application, a chemical sunscreen should always be applied before moisturizer, while a physical one can be applied afterwards.

Gabby April 15, 2013 - 6:50 pm

Do I have to reapply my sunscreen even if I am barely outside throughout the day? I apply my sunscreen right before school and I go just about all day without reapplying. The sunscreen is chemical, but it has pretty stable ingredients such as mexoryl and avobenzone… I know your suppose to reapply every two hours, but is that two hours of sun exposure or two hours period??

beautifulwithbrains April 15, 2013 - 8:18 pm

Gabby, that’s two hours of sun exposure. You’re supposed to reapply sunscreen often because the active ingredients degrade when exposed to sunlight and, after a couple of hours, become ineffective. But if you’re not exposed to sunlight, then the sunscreen ingredients will degrade much slower and, if you barely spend any time outdoors and away from big windows, reapplication may not be necessary. You may want to retouch it at least once with a powder with SPF though, just to be on the safe side.

Veniska April 26, 2013 - 5:54 am

hi, since past 8months before steping out of house, I apply (Neutregena Ultra sheer sun block spf 50) on my skin to beat the Indian sun. i have loved the results, its suiting my skin type too..I apply this sunscreen without applyin a moisturizer. But off late i feel my skin getin dry due to weature change so im planin to start using (Neautrgene Oil free moisturizer spf 15) before i apply the neutregena sunblock,
would it be fine ? or too much of spf(15+50=65) wud lead to skin damage.
im okay if u suggest other moisturizer but dont want to discontinue neutregena sunblock.
Please suggest

beautifulwithbrains April 26, 2013 - 8:32 pm

Veniska, is it a chemical sunscreen (ie one that doesn’t contain only zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide)? If so, it would be better to apply the sunscreen first and then the moisturizer.

And there’s no need to worry about too much SPF. You can’t really add SPF, so if you apply a sunscreen with SPF 50 and a cream with SPF 15, you’re only getting SPF 50 anyway. I’ve written a post about that. If you’re interested, you can read it here: http://beautifulwithbrains.com/2012/06/19/sunscreen-math-can-you-add-up-spf/

Maria May 10, 2013 - 12:22 am

Hmm, I have been applying my sunscreen right after moisturizer for a very long time. I did not know that chemical ingredients need so much time to work. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

beautifulwithbrains May 10, 2013 - 6:33 am

Maria, you’re welcome. That’s one of the reasons why I prefer physical sunscreens. You can apply those after moisturizer without problems. 🙂

Risma May 20, 2013 - 4:47 am

Hlw mam, i m 25 yrs old n m using a fairnes cream fair and lovely bt i feel as if my skin is getin harm coz of d sun rays m a college std n my complexition is fair these days i have few brown spots on my face.so i want to knw if i can apply my fairnes cream wit sunscreen too bt wat sud b d proces and my fairnes cream contains titanium oxide and zinc oxide

beautifulwithbrains May 20, 2013 - 9:29 am

Risma, if your fairness cream contains titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, then it already provides some sun protection, but I don’t think it is high enough. Get a sunscreen with the same ingredients and apply it after the fairness cream to make sure that your skin is adequately protected from the sun’s rays. Hope this helps.

jane May 26, 2013 - 7:06 pm


i am off to africa soom. i use a toning lotion. please tell me the kind of spf to use and what make. my skin is dry but abit oily around my jaw. my skin is very sensitive. i get alot of rash pimple on my body and face. but i dont want sun burn, and it is really hot in africa. please any nice suggestions.
thank you

beautifulwithbrains May 26, 2013 - 9:41 pm

Jane, I’d suggest you use a physical sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Both Sunumbra and Badger Balm make physical sunscreens that are gentle and suitable for people with sensitive skin too. Hope this helps. And enjoy your trip to Africa!

mythili June 21, 2013 - 9:45 am

I have hyper pigmentation on my cheeks, forehead and nose. Currently i am using sunscreen lotion with SPF 45+. when i using sunscreen lotion on my face its look oily.What kind of sunscreen lotion can i wear on my face. Tks

beautifulwithbrains June 21, 2013 - 9:01 pm

Mythili, if it looks oily, you’re probably using one that’s too thick for your skin type. Try a lightweight one that doesn’t contain alcohol. Alcohol is used to thin the formulas, but it can be irritating and drying, causing skin to produce more oil.

Tanya July 8, 2013 - 3:04 pm

Hi,I have very sensitive n acne prone skin.any form of cream causes breakouts..Iv tried using various sunscreens but everything causes a reaction…I’m desperately lookin for a solution as I do glycolic peel n need a sunscreen..any suggestions?….thanx

beautifulwithbrains July 10, 2013 - 6:03 pm

Tanya, I’m sorry to hear about your problem. I’d recommend either Sunumbra sunscreens or Badger Balm Organic Sunscreen Base with Zinc Oxide. Both are physical, unscented sunscreens that contain only a bunch of ingredients, so they shouldn’t cause a negative reaction.

Kim July 15, 2013 - 1:53 am

I wear La Roche Posay Anthelios 50 and its physical and chemical. However, I’m wondering if my makeup primer will rub the physical part of the sunscreen off when I apply it. I know that once titanium and zinc oxide is rubbed off it loses protection.

beautifulwithbrains July 17, 2013 - 7:42 am

Kim, if you apply your primer gently and without buffing, it shouldn’t remove your sunscreen.

Lilly July 18, 2013 - 9:31 pm


I have brown skin( I’m east Indian) and I do want to protect my skin from the sun even though i don’t burn. What kind of sunscreen should I use?

beautifulwithbrains July 18, 2013 - 9:53 pm

Lilly, any broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 will do. 🙂

jack July 22, 2013 - 1:20 pm

I am in construction field and out on the sun all the time. The color of my face and neck is five shade darker than my body. What Is the best way to correct this. And how can I prevent this issue.

beautifulwithbrains July 25, 2013 - 9:55 pm

Jack, I’m sorry to hear about your problem. I’d recommend you start using a broad spectrum sunscreen straight away as that would prevent you from tanning. That way, your skin should also slowly go back to its normal colour, but you can accelerate the process by using an exfoliant in the evening. Hope this helps.

Dorothy Macarena August 8, 2013 - 2:47 am

Hi beatifulwithbrains I have a lot of pigments on my face and arms I use fade away and it seems to keep them at bay ,my question is do I use sun cream first or fade away as I believe both poproducts need to penetrate the skin
Thank you

beautifulwithbrains August 8, 2013 - 5:56 am

Dorothy, that depends on what type of sunscreen you use. Chemical sunscreens (such as those with Avobenzone, Mexoryl etc) need to be in contact with the skin to work properly. However, that may compromise the penetration of your lightening cream. So, I’d recommend you use that first, and follow it up with a physical sunscreens (ie those with either Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide). These create a shield on the skin that reflects light away from it so they can be applied last without compromising their efficacy. Hope this helps.

Kimberly August 26, 2013 - 1:32 am

I use a moisturizing cleanser on my face at night, however in the morning it leaves a filmy feeling to my skin. It can only be removed if I use a different type of cleanser. Will this film that’s left on my face affect my sunscreen in anyway? I use a chemical base sunscreen btw.

beautifulwithbrains August 26, 2013 - 6:16 am

Kimberley, it’s difficult to say without knowing what ingredients are creating the film, but it is possible it can interfere with the sunscreen. Ideally, chemical sunscreens should be applied first as they need to be in contact with their skin to work effectively.

Hana August 26, 2013 - 6:27 am

Hi there. I’d wish to have your view on something.
I have a very sensitive skin, would it be okay if I apply sunscreen, moisturizer and face powder at the same time? wont it block my pores as I applied too much products on my face?
And, is it okay for me to use different moisturizer and sunscreen brand? I’m currently using clinique’s moisturizer and sunsense daily face SPF 50+ . I’m worried any of these would damage my face as I have a very sensitive one. Can you have a review on them?
Thank you so much 😀

beautifulwithbrains August 26, 2013 - 1:49 pm

Hana, I’d recommend you do a patch test before using the products. If they don’t irritate your skin, then you can safely use them all together. However, I’ve noticed that the sunsense sunscreen uses chemical sunscreen agents that could irritate sensitive skin. Of course, that doesn’t mean they would irritate your skin (everyone is different), but a better option for your skin type would be a zinc oxide based sunscreen such as Sunumbra SPF 30 or Badger Balm Broad Spectrum SPF30 sunscreen cream.
Hope this helps.

Kimberly September 2, 2013 - 5:20 pm

Hello this is Kimberly again, I was wondering will my makeup affect my sunscreen in any way. I use a powder base makeup and a chemical sunscreen.

beautifulwithbrains September 3, 2013 - 10:00 pm

Kimberley, as long as you apply the makeup gently without buffing, you should be fine. You can check out this post for more info: http://beautifulwithbrains.com/2012/12/04/is-your-foundation-application-messing-with-your-sunscreen/

Sunblock newbie September 24, 2013 - 5:08 am

I have some serious sun damage and have started using Tizo 3 and ColorScience mineral powder. Is it ok to mix Tizo with a little concealer? And is it ok to then use my dual finish Lancome powder over the Tizo3 and concealer? and lastly apply my under ColorScience powder over all of that?

beautifulwithbrains November 8, 2013 - 5:35 pm

Sunblock newbie, as a rule you should never mix your sunscreen with any other product because that could lower the protection. And, yes, it is ok to apply products in that order, if you like the result.

Anu November 11, 2013 - 8:20 pm


I wanted to know if the products that say UV protection but do not mention having SPF, are actually sunscreens. I have come across a few moisturisers that claim to offer UVA/B protection but there is no SPF written on them. Can I still use them as sunscreens?

Additionally, someone had recommended a gel based sunscreen to me since I have a combination skin type. So if I have to apply that sunscreen besides a moisturiser (which has UV protection, no SPF), which one do I apply first?

beautifulwithbrains November 13, 2013 - 9:40 pm

Anu, products that claim to provide UV protection but don’t mention the SPF number usually contain ingredients that can protect against UV rays such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. However, without a SPF number there’s no way of knowing the level of protection they provide. There could potentially be so little of them that they would only provide SPF 2 or 3. We don’t know, but if the concentration was high enough to provide adequate protection they would probably have added a SPF number. So, I wouldn’t use them as sunscreens.

As for the order of application, it simply depends on the ingredients. If the sunscreen contains chemical sunscreen ingredients, then it goes first, just after cleanser. If it contains only titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, you can apply it either before or after moisturizer.

EmmaC January 15, 2014 - 2:36 pm


I apply an anthelios sunscreen in the morning and I follow it up with powder because it makes my face extremely shiny, however after I have applied the powder my face feels quite dry and I am worried it has absorbed the physical properties of the sunscreen. I use cornflour so the ingredients should not interact, however is it still ok to apply something to absorb oil or will this affect the physical protection?


Gio January 15, 2014 - 9:25 pm

EmmaC, applying powder afterwards shouldn’t interfere with your sunscreen and the protection it affords. However, if the sunscreen you’re using is making your face very shiny, you should consider trying something else. That way you won’t be forced to use a powder that makes your face feel dry.

muskaan January 28, 2014 - 6:46 am

I usually Go for morning walk.is der any need to apply sunscreen dat time.bcoz i heard dat morning sunlight is good,and it contains vitamin D.

Gio January 28, 2014 - 9:52 pm

Muskaan, you should always apply sunscreen when you go out during the day. It’s true that you can get Vitamin D from the sun, but you can also get it from food. Just follow a healthy diet and you’ll get all the vitamin D you need without the risk of developing cancer or aging prematurely.

muskaan January 28, 2014 - 6:49 am

is moisturizer has side effect,bcs i strtd usng moisturisr nowadays and its getting pimples.shud i stop using it.am using loreal total hydraTotal 5

Gio January 28, 2014 - 9:53 pm

Muskaan, some moisturizers contain comedogenic ingredients that can cause wrinkles. Try using a different one that’s designed specifically for your skin type.

em February 9, 2014 - 8:02 am

hi.. im presently using adapalene ..a generic for differin..should i still use sunscreen evn when im inside the house? im using the internet on a regular basis ..im just wondering if i need to use sunscreen to protect my face from uv emissions from my laptop?
and flourescent lamp?

Gio February 9, 2014 - 10:41 pm

Em, laptop and fluorescent lamps don’t usually emit enough UV rays to damage skin. But UVA rays can penetrate through windows, so if you spend time near them, you should wear sunscreen indoors too.

em February 10, 2014 - 6:08 pm

thanks Gio for the reply..very much appreciated.Keep well!

Gio February 10, 2014 - 8:38 pm

You’re welcome. Take care!

ayushi jain April 8, 2014 - 12:42 pm

I have very dry skin n on applying cold cream my skin gets dark then what should be applied on face to be moist,glowing and fair

Gio April 8, 2014 - 8:03 pm

Ayushi, what do you mean that the cold cream makes your skin get dark? Is it tinted? Does it happen straight after application?

ayushi jain April 9, 2014 - 6:20 am

yaa my skin gets more darker then normal skin ..what should be applied after washing face??n do glycerine makes colour dark in summer??

Gio April 9, 2014 - 8:59 pm

Ayushi, could you be more precise please? I have never heard of a products that makes your skin darker after application unless it is tinted. Are you wearing sunscreen daily? Maybe it’s the sun that’s darkening your skin?

After washing, you should apply sunscreen and moisturizer. And nope, I’ve never heard of glycerine doing that.

ayushi jain April 10, 2014 - 3:15 am

ok thanku gio but u sure dat glycerine doesn’t makes colour dark..

Gio April 10, 2014 - 7:49 pm

Ayushi, I have never heard of glycerin making the skin darker. Actually, nothing in creams should do that, unless the product is tinted. The only other thing I can think of is that you may have a particular skin condition that causes skin to darken. In that case, you should consult a dermatologist immediately. Are you using sunscreen?

ayushi jain April 10, 2014 - 3:20 am

actually I mean to say that I m fair but on applying anything I gets dark..n glycerine suits me can I use glycerine daily by adding water n rose water..

Gio April 10, 2014 - 7:51 pm

Ayushi, if glycerin works for you, then keep using it. Yes, you can use it with water and rose water.

ayushi jain April 10, 2014 - 9:03 am

in my face there is redness on cheeks how it can be removed n suggest me cream which will make me fair,moist n glowing..

Gio April 10, 2014 - 7:55 pm

Ayushi, I’d love to help you, but you need to give me more information. Otherwise I may recommend something that doesn’t agree with your skin and make it worse.

What is the redness caused from? Acne? Rosacea? Irritation? If the latter, I’d using a cream with soothing ingredients such as aloe vera or allantoin.

What’s your skin type and do you have any particular condition? In the meantime, I’d recommend, if you don’t already, to use an exfoliant with glycolic acid, which will make your skin smoother and brighter.

ayushi jain April 11, 2014 - 7:16 am

actually the redness ie from pimples..n glycerine suits me but I m lil confused dat it will make me darker..i usually apply a layer of glycerine and then sunscreen is that ok..or it will make my colour dark.

Gio April 11, 2014 - 1:49 pm

Ayushi, for pimples I recommend you use a cream with Salicylic Acid. It helps unclog the pores and reduce pimples and breakouts.

Glycerin is usually the first ingredient in most skincare creams, and if it made skin darker, pretty much everyone would suffer from it. Instead, people use it without their skin getting darker.

What sunscreen are you using? Maybe the SPF is too low or doesn’t provide sufficient protection. That would cause your skin to darken overtime.

ayushi jain April 11, 2014 - 7:20 am

n I use soap on my face because on using facewash pipmles gets started..

Gio April 11, 2014 - 1:58 pm

Ayushi, soap is not really a good option. It usually contains harsh ingredients that can clog pores and irritate skin. A gentle face wash like Cetaphil would work better.

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