How To Apply Skincare Products: Why Lotions, Serums, And Toners Work Better On Damp Skin

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This question originally appeared on Quora. Answer by Tatiana Aynbinder.

Why is damp skin best for applying products?

When perfecting your skincare routine, it’s essential to consider the best methods for applying products to your skin. Proper application helps to ensure that your products are working optimally to deliver their active ingredients into your skin.

Apply your products onto your skin when it’s damp (not wet) for better absorption of the active ingredients. When your skin is moist, it is significantly more permeable than when dry. This permeability allows for better absorption of alcohol-free toners, serums, lotions and creams, enabling them to work deeper, faster, and with a higher concentration of active ingredients.

For an extra boost, optimize the effectiveness of your facial products by using a hydrating (non-alcohol based) toner that contains high concentrations of active ingredients (appropriate for your skin type) as a mist to dampen your skin. Instead of making applications after showering by using the humidity of the shower, you can add another layer to your skincare routine by using a concentrated toner. A facial toner or mist adds powerful active properties that can improve, correct and protect your skin, while allowing subsequent products to penetrate deeply.

Moist skin can improve the efficacy of your skincare products. However, you should still be cautious and follow directions precisely. For example, some medications or topical treatments are prescribed for use on dry skin, such as certain prescription retinoids, or acne meds that have high levels of active ingredients (or include alcohol). Some of these can cause irritation if not used according to directions.

Sunscreen is designed to be applied to dry skin. The purpose of mineral sunscreens (like titanium dioxide) is to sit on the top layer of skin and not be absorbed. These act as a shield, protecting your skin by reflecting away harmful UV rays. Make sure you apply sunscreen to dry skin so it isn’t diluted by moisture.

Getting to know proper methods of application, and being consistent with your use of topicals, will aid the penetration of active ingredients into your skin. Proper methods of use will ensure that you’re getting maximal results from your skincare regimen.

I hope this helps!

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