“Common Sunscreen Mistakes: Serum First or Sunscreen First?”

Sun protection is key when it comes to skincare and beauty routines. It is imperative to understand the correct order of application: serum first, followed by sunscreen. This ensures your skin receives the full benefits of both products, maximizing their effectiveness.


Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays is crucial, especially during hot weather. Sunscreen is essential not only to shield your delicate skin but also as a daily necessity. Shelly Leggins, a renowned beauty expert from the USA, emphasizes, “You may not be aware, but it’s not just direct sunlight that damages your skin. UV rays can reflect off surfaces like sand, water, grass, and even car windows, causing harm to your skin. Hence, applying sunscreen daily is a crucial step in your skincare routine, not just in summer but all year round.”

It’s not just about sunscreen; women also need to incorporate various other skincare products, such as serums. Knowing the correct order of application is vital to optimizing their benefits. But which should come first, sunscreen or serum, to ensure they don’t hinder each other’s effectiveness?

The type of sunscreen you choose matters, as applying it before or after your serum can impact your desired skincare outcomes.

The order of application depends on the type of sunscreen you choose, impacting your desired skincare results.

There are two main types of sunscreen: Chemical and Physical

Sunscreen contains ingredients that filter UV radiation, protecting your skin from sun damage and maintaining its stability when exposed to sunlight. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), most common sunscreens contain chemical filters and typically combine two to six active ingredients such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate.

Chemical sunscreens should be applied first in your skincare routine, before serums and moisturizers, to ensure optimal absorption into the skin.

On the other hand, physical sunscreens contain ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which create a protective barrier on the skin’s surface, blocking the absorption of other products. Therefore, physical sunscreens should be applied after your serum and moisturizer.

Regardless of the type of sunscreen you use, chemical or physical, it should be applied before your makeup. As for powder-based sunscreens, feel free to use them as the final step, even after your makeup. These are convenient for reapplication throughout the day without disturbing your makeup.

Apply sunscreen before your makeup, regardless of the type you choose.

How Can Serums Enhance the Effectiveness of Sunscreen?

While sunscreen offers significant protection against the sun’s UV rays, it doesn’t stop there. Sunlight also contains infrared radiation, which can penetrate deep into the skin and generate free radicals.

Recent studies suggest that using local antioxidants can help reduce the risk of skin damage caused by aging and skin cancer.

It is recommended to use antioxidants like vitamins E and C, along with tea extracts such as echinacea pallida, Gorgonia, and chamomile oil.

Using a serum rich in antioxidants, such as a 20% Vitamin C serum combined with Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid, followed by a physical sunscreen, can significantly boost your skin’s defense against UV rays. The high concentration of L-ascorbic acid stimulates the regeneration of healthy skin cells, making your skin brighter and better protected.

Frequently asked questions

One of the most common mistakes is not using sunscreen daily. Sunscreen is crucial to protect your skin from UV damage, which can lead to premature aging and skin cancer. Another mistake is applying sunscreen only when it’s sunny. UV rays can penetrate through clouds, so it’s important to wear sunscreen even on cloudy days. Additionally, people often forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming or sweating, which reduces its effectiveness. Choosing the wrong type of sunscreen for your skin type is also a mistake. Different skin types require different formulations, so it’s important to select a sunscreen that suits your skin’s needs.

Serums are concentrated formulas that contain active ingredients targeting specific skin concerns, such as wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, or acne. By applying the serum before sunscreen, you ensure that these active ingredients can penetrate the skin effectively. Sunscreen creates a barrier on the skin that blocks UV rays, but it can also block the absorption of serum if applied first. Therefore, the recommended order is to apply serum first, wait for it to absorb, and then apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

The general rule of thumb for layering skincare products is to apply them in order of consistency, from thinnest to thickest. Start by cleansing your face, then apply any toners, essences, or lightweight serums. After that, you can apply thicker serums or treatments, followed by your moisturizer. Finally, finish with sunscreen as the last step in your morning routine. This ensures that each product can properly absorb into the skin without interfering with the effectiveness of the other products.

Daily sunscreen use offers numerous benefits for your skin. Firstly, it helps prevent sunburn, which is not only painful but also increases your risk of skin cancer. Secondly, sunscreen protects against premature aging caused by UV rays, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and age spots. It also helps maintain an even skin tone and texture, preventing sun-induced hyperpigmentation. Additionally, sunscreen can help keep your skin hydrated, as sun exposure can lead to dryness and dehydration. Overall, incorporating sunscreen into your daily routine is a crucial step in maintaining healthy and youthful-looking skin.

When choosing a sunscreen, it’s important to select one that offers broad-spectrum protection, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for active ingredients such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, which provide strong UV protection and are generally well-tolerated by most skin types. You may also want to avoid sunscreens containing Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, as these chemicals can be harmful to coral reefs and marine life. Additionally, if you have sensitive skin, opt for fragrance-free and paraben-free formulas to minimize the risk of irritation.