The Proper Order For Your Skincare Routine – Recommended By a Dermatologist

The Proper Order For Your Skincare Routine – Recommended By a Dermatologist

Beauty Woman face Portrait. Beautiful Spa model Girl with Perfect Fresh Clean Skin. Brunette female looking at camera and smiling. Youth and Skin Care Concept.

Choosing the perfect skin care product is a huge challenge. Knowing what products will work well for your skin type or a specific concern, or just knowing which products work well together in general is tough. Plus, there are so many fantastic options out there, it can seem almost impossible to choose!


After 30 years of practicing dermatology, I know that most women want an effective daily skin care regimen, but they aren’t quite sure how to get started. They’re unsure of which product types they need to be using on a daily basis and also what order to use the products in. Many patients ask me if order matters when it comes to their skin care routine, and the answer is yes. Applying products in a particular order ensures that you receive the maximum benefits from each product.


Today, I’m going to lay it all out on the table. This guide covers the most important steps in a basic skin care regimen, discussing the order they should be applied and also why each product is important. Of course, your skin care regimen will vary slightly depending on your age, skin type, and if you suffer from any specific skin care concerns (acne, rosacea, etc.), however, this guide will get you off to the right start.

Cleanser (AM/PM):

The first step in your routine should be to clean your face and get rid of all the dirt and oil. Regardless of your age and skin type, you always want to start and end your day with a clean face, as it will give you a clear palette for applying the rest of your products.

Toner (AM/PM):

If there’s any dirt left behind after you cleanse your skin, a toner will make sure it’s gone. It will also ensure that all the products you put on after will work to their full potential. Toners are especially helpful for oily skin to reduce oil production.

Serum (optional) (AM/PM):

Serums focus on skin’s problem areas, so make sure to look for a serum that works well for your skin type and whatever concerns you have. There are anti-aging serums, skin brightening and lightening serums, hydrating serums (though a hydrating serum is not the same thing as a moisturizer!), and the list goes on and on.

Eye Cream (AM/PM):

Eye creams are helpful to reduce puffiness and dark circles and also to reduce the signs of aging. The skin around your eyes is more delicate than the skin elsewhere on your face, which makes it one of the first areas to show signs of aging. Because of this, it’s good to use a specific product for this area.

Moisturizer (AM)/Night Cream (PM):

No matter what your skin type, you should always moisturize. Not only will moisturizer keep your skin hydrated, it will also help seal in the products you’ve used before it. At night, use a night cream instead of a moisturizer. Night creams help moisture absorb into the skin. They are different from moisturizers because they are thicker and heavier and will absorb more slowly into the skin throughout the night.

Sunscreen (AM only):

Make sure to apply sunscreen every day and make sure it’s the last step in your regimen to ensure it’s working to its full potential. 90% of skin aging is from the sun, so sunscreen is the most important part of any skin care regimen. To be blunt, if you are going to skip this step, you may as well skip all the rest. Don’t forget that sunscreen should be applied every day, all year round, regardless of the weather or the season.

Dr. Alan J. Parks founded Eastside Dermatology & DermWarehouse. Dr. Parks is board certified in dermatology with clinical interests including cosmetic and surgical dermatology, laser treatments, BOTOX® Cosmetic, and skin cancer surgery. Dr. Parks is a recipient of the American Academy of Dermatology Community Service Award for skin cancer screening and the Edmund D. Lowney Teaching Award for teaching dermatology residents.

2 thoughts on “The Proper Order For Your Skincare Routine – Recommended By a Dermatologist

  1. Hi there. I seldom offer remarks but this time is an exception.
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