A dermatologist shares his thoughts on the best protocol.


If moisturizer is a girl's best friend, then sunscreen is our partner-in-crime — especially as Southerners who were raised on the importance of both, given the climate in our neck of the woods. We can't imagine life without either, but we've often wondered: Is it best to apply moisturizer or sunscreen first? As Allure recently pointed out, the protocol isn't exactly set in stone, and not all derms agree.

But to shed some light on the proper M.O., we tapped Dr. Anthony Rossi, MD, FAAD, dermatologic surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and assistant professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College.

"I usually recommend putting moisturizer on first. This helps let the moisturizer do what it does best — trap the water (or moisture) on the skin and keep it hydrated. Then I say to follow up with sun protection," Dr.Rossi advised. "Using a mineral-based sunscreen such as Bare Republic, which contains titanium and zinc dioxide, as the final layer allows these physical blockers to do what they are supposed to — act as a barrier that 'blocks' the UV rays from penetrating into the skin layers. That is why sunblock should go on as the last layer." Just in time for beach season, Bare Republic has even launched fun neon sunscreen sticks ($8.99) with SPF 50 that stays water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

If technicolor sun care isn't your thing, that's okay too, just layer your sunscreen on over your moisturizer after it's totally absorbed into your skin. Still fretting over what to do? That's what these 2-in-1 SPF-moisturizer combos are for, y'all.

To determine the best order is for your skin care routine, always consult with your dermatologist before making any changes.