What Goes On First... Cosmeceuticals, Prescription Topicals or Sunscreen?
You have probably wondered what the proper order is for applying skin products, be it medications, moisturizer, cosmeceuticals, or sunscreen. It is suggested that topical medications or cosmeceuticals go on first, and then sunscreen. If sunscreen is applied first, it might interfere with the medication's penetration, or it may be rubbed off with the application of the medication, thus impairing the evenness of the sun-protective barrier. Therefore, it is usually recommended that the sunscreen be the last thing applied in the ordering of products.
General guidelines are: wash face, tone, apply topical medication or cosmeceuticals (you may add moisturizer first or after if skin is dry) and then sunscreen. If you have more than one cosmeceuticals you are using, these may be mixed together and applied simultaneously, generally to the entire face. If medications are to be used in specific area only, or as "spot treatments", such as with bleaching creams or certain acne medications, these can be used after the cosmeceutical(s) are applied, so as not to have them affect unintended areas.
Remember, the hydroquinone fading cream type products should be applied at night, only to affected areas, and used for a period of time (generally ~2 months) followed by a break (~2 weeks) and then resumed in same fashion, if needed or directed by your practitioner.
Remember to reapply sunscreens regularly! The powdered sunscreens are useful as "reapplication" sunscreen products as they won't mess up applied make up.
If you are using a Clarisonic® ultrasound device or Environ®'s Cosmetic Needling device to enhance the effects of your cosmeceuticals, generally these devices are best used in the shower, when the face is maximally hydrated. These devices are MUCH preferable to scrubbing the face (which may stimulate oil gland activity), or using strong exfoliators (which can thin the skin barrier). Remember, after using Clarisonic® ultrasound device or the Environ® Needling device, the penetration of follow-on skin products will be greatly enhanced, so be prepared for stronger reactions to your products, as well as improved results!