When it comes to skincare, the order of application can be crucial. One common question that arises is, “What goes first: moisturizer or sunscreen?”

This seemingly simple question has sparked debates among skincare enthusiasts and experts alike. In this article, we will delve into this topic to provide you with a comprehensive answer based on expert opinions and scientific evidence.

Importance Of Sun Protection

Sun protection is crucial for maintaining healthy skin and preventing premature aging. UV rays from the sun can cause damage to the skin, leading to wrinkles, age spots, and an increased risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen helps to block these harmful rays and protect the skin from damage.

Purpose Of Moisturizer

Moisturizer plays a key role in keeping the skin hydrated and healthy. It helps to maintain the skin’s natural moisture balance, preventing dryness and irritation. Additionally, moisturizers can improve the skin’s barrier function, helping to protect it from environmental damage and pollutants.

Role Of Sunscreen

Sunscreen plays a crucial role in protecting the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. It helps to prevent sunburn, skin aging and reduces the risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen works by either absorbing or reflecting the sun’s rays, depending on the type of sunscreen used.

Order Of Application

Here’s a breakdown of the order of application in points:

  1. Cleanse: Start with a clean face to remove dirt, oil, and impurities.
  2. Toner (Optional): Use a toner if it’s part of your skincare routine to balance the skin’s pH levels.
  3. Serum (Optional): Apply a serum with active ingredients like antioxidants or hyaluronic acid for additional skincare benefits.
  4. Moisturizer: Apply moisturizer to hydrate the skin and create a barrier.
  5. Sunscreen: Finish with sunscreen to protect the skin from UV rays.

Expert Recommendations

  1. Dermatologists: Many dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen as the final step in your skincare routine. This ensures that the sunscreen forms a protective barrier on top of your moisturizer, maximizing its effectiveness in shielding your skin from UV rays.
  2. Skincare Specialists: Skincare specialists often advise applying moisturizer first to hydrate and nourish the skin before applying sunscreen. They argue that moisturizer helps create a smooth base for sunscreen application, ensuring even coverage and better adherence to the skin.
  3. Product Instructions: Follow the specific instructions provided by the skincare products you use. Some products may recommend a particular order of application for optimal results.
  4. Personal Preference: Ultimately, the order of application may come down to personal preference and what works best for your skin. Experiment with different methods to see which one yields the best results for you.


In conclusion, both sunscreen and moisturizer play essential roles in maintaining healthy skin. While there is some debate over whether to apply moisturizer or sunscreen first, the key is to prioritize sun protection by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Whether you choose to apply moisturizer or sunscreen first depends on your skin type and personal preference.

The most important thing is to ensure that you are using both consistently as part of your daily skincare routine to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays and maintain its health and appearance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need sunscreen if my moisturizer has SPF?

While moisturizers with SPF offer some protection, they may not provide enough coverage for extended sun exposure. It’s still advisable to use a separate sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection and an SPF of at least 30 for adequate protection.

How long after moisturizer can I apply sunscreen?

Allow your moisturizer to absorb into your skin for about 5-10 minutes before applying sunscreen. This ensures that the moisturizer has had enough time to penetrate the skin and won’t interfere with the effectiveness of the sunscreen.

What should I apply first in my skincare routine moisturizer or sunscreen?

The order of application depends on personal preference and skin type. Some prefer to apply moisturizer first to hydrate the skin, while others prefer to apply sunscreen first for maximum sun protection. Experiment to see what works best for you.