The Art of Layering: Sunscreen, Facial Oils, and Your Skin's Best Friend

The order matters

The Art of Layering: Sunscreen, Facial Oils, and Your Skin's Best Friend

In the quest for flawless, protected skin, there's a growing awareness of the importance of sunscreen. Whether you're a skincare enthusiast or just starting to take better care of your skin, you may have heard conflicting advice on the order in which to apply sunscreen and facial oils.

Should sunscreen go on before or after your favorite facial oil? The answer, it turns out, depends on the type of sunscreen you're using.


The Art of Layering: Sunscreen, Facial Oils, and Your Skin's Best Friend

**The Basics of Sunscreen**

Before we delve into the nuances of sunscreen application, let's briefly discuss the two primary types of sunscreen: chemical and mineral (also known as physical).

Chemical Sunscreens

These sunscreens contain organic compounds that absorb UV rays and transform them into harmless heat. Some common chemical sunscreen ingredients include avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone.

Chemical sunscreens work by getting absorbed into the skin, where they then absorb UV rays, convert the rays into heat, releasing them from the body. This chemical reaction however is limited by time (about 2 hours) before they reach the blood stream, get metabolized and secreted.

If you're one of those applying 2 fingers long of this sunscreen every morning underneath your makeup, know you will have to reapply this sunscreen several times during the day to stay protected from UV rays if that's your goal, otherwise after the 2 hours-protection you will be sunscreen free.

Mineral Sunscreens

These sunscreens use lab made nature-identical minerals, typically zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or a combination of both, to create a physical barrier on the skin's surface that reflects and scatters UV rays away from your skin, similar to a mirror bouncing light away from you.

Because these sunscreens do not become absorbed into the skin and do not get metabolized by your body, they offer a longer lasting and less toxic protection compared to chemical sunscreens.

Chemical sunscreens should be applied UNDER your facial oil,
Mineral sunscreens should be applied AFTER your facial oil.

**Oils & Sunscreens, Which Goes First**

Chemical Sunscreens Under Facial Oils

When using a chemical sunscreen, it's generally recommended to apply it before your facial oil. Here's why:

  1. Absorption Mechanism
    Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing UV radiation and converting it into heat. To do this effectively, they need to be absorbed by your skin to form a uniform, even layer of protection. Applying an occlusive facial oil before the chemical sunscreen, prevents the chemicals from getting absorbed by the skin.
  2. Product Interaction
    Some facial oils can alter the effectiveness of chemical sunscreens by diluting them or reducing their adherence to the skin. This can result in reduced sun protection, leaving your skin vulnerable to UV damage.
  3. Optimal Penetration
    Chemical sunscreens need to penetrate the top layer of your skin to be most effective. Applying facial oil first can create a barrier that hinders the sunscreen from reaching its intended depth.

Mineral Sunscreens After Facial Oils

On the other hand, mineral sunscreens tend to work better when applied over facial oils. Here's why this order is preferred:

  1. Physical Barrier
    Mineral sunscreens, those containing zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or a combination of both, create a physical barrier on your skin. When applied after facial oils, this barrier can adhere more evenly and effectively, providing enhanced sun protection.
  2. Minimized Interference
    Unlike chemical sunscreens, mineral sunscreens are less affected by the presence of facial oils. They don't rely on skin absorption, so applying them over oils won't compromise their protective abilities.
  3. Enhanced Hydration
    Facial oils can provide an additional layer of hydration and nourishment to your skin, which can be beneficial when spending time outdoors in the sun. Applying oil first ensures your skin is adequately moisturized before sunscreen application.

In the world of skincare, proper product layering can make a significant difference in the effectiveness of your routine. When it comes to sunscreen and facial oils, the choice between applying sunscreen before or after oils depends on the type of sunscreen you're using.

Always keep in mind, chemical sunscreens don't last all day. They have a very limited window of protection before your metabolism renders them inert, and they must be reapplied every 2 hours or so, which for the women wearing makeup means washing their faces to reapply both sunscreen and makeup every few hours during the day. Without saying chemical sunscreens are not as safe to the body as many would have us believe.

Remember that sun protection is paramount for maintaining healthy and youthful skin. As much as sun protection during the peak hours of the day is important, lacking sun exposure also brings a number of health issues to consider, such as lack of vitamin D, which is related to mood changes and depression, fatigue, muscle weakness, bone pains, among many other health conditions.

Whichever sunscreen and facial oil combination you choose, the key is consistency. Make sunscreen a daily habit, reapply as needed, and enjoy the sun responsibly while keeping your skin safe and beautiful.


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