How to Layer Your Skincare Products with Sunscreen

How to Layer Your Skincare Products with Sunscreen

Sunscreen is widely considered to be the best anti-aging product for your skin, but many of us struggle to find a way to use sunscreen along with our other skincare products.

Whether we use it faithfully or not, we know that we should wear sunscreen – every day, even if we are inside.  Living in the Midwestern US, or other parts of the world that have a definite change of seasons, it’s easy to think of sunscreen as a “summer staple” then put it on the shelf when the first chill of fall arrives. Just remember, if it’s daylight, you need sunscreen!

Views regarding the need for sun protection have drastically changed over the last few decades. We’ve changed our sun-loving habits from slathering on baby and tanning oil (while using mirrors to maximize sun reflection), to going to tanning beds for a quick base layer before a vacation, to wearing SPF every day along with sun protectant clothing and hats (while sitting under an umbrella!) Stark contrast, right?

So, where does sunscreen fit in to a skincare regimen? What is the best way to layer sunscreen with your other skin care products? Find the important answers you need below.

What does sunscreen do for your skin?

Sunscreen protects your skin in a variety of ways from exposure to the harmful rays of the sun.

Use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen (UVA and UVB coverage) has been proven to reduce the risk of both nonmelanoma and melanoma skin cancers. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that daily use of SPF 15 decreases the risk of developing Squamous Cell Cancer by 40% and Melanoma by 50%!

Other benefits of applying sunscreen each day include:

  • Delays signs of aging (fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, etc.)
  • Fades scars
  • Prevents discoloration and hyperpigmentation
  • Protects from blue light 

What is the difference between physical sunscreen and chemical sunscreen?

Physical sunscreen, which is also called mineral sunscreen, sits on the surface of the skin, and shields the skin from the sun. It reflects UV rays away from the skin.

Zinc oxide and titanium oxide, which the FDA has deemed to be safe and effective, are two of the main ingredients in mineral sunscreen. Zinc oxide is a recommended ingredient for individuals with sensitive skin, as well as for children.

One downside of physical sunscreen is that it is difficult to rub in, sometimes leaving a residual white sunscreen “film” visible on the skin. In addition, being inherently less water resistant creates a need to more frequently re-apply. 

Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays before they are absorbed by the skin. They are easy to apply and don’t leave a white sheen, so many people prefer chemical sunscreen.

However, the FDA is currently researching the active ingredients in chemical sunscreens, and they have not concluded that they are safe - or unsafe. In fact, the FDA banned two ingredients - aminobenzoic acid and trolamine salicylate - due to harmful health side effects.

Another disadvantage of chemical sunscreens is that they can cause redness or inflammation for people who have sensitive skin and can aggravate skin conditions like rosacea and melasma.

Pros and cons aside, experts are resolute that wearing sunscreen daily is the most effective way to reduce sun-related skin damage and skin cancer. Millions of basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the US. 

How do I use sunscreen with my other skincare products?

Sunscreen should be a part of your daily skincare regimen - and once you find an effective sunscreen that works well for your skin, it’s an easy addition!

Here is how we recommend layering your skincare products with sunscreen:

  1. Cleanser
  2. Toner
  3. Serum(s)
  4. Moisturizer
  5. Sunscreen
  6. Makeup (optional!)

If you’re in a pinch and need to reapply sunscreen without damaging your makeup, you can try powder sunscreens or mist your face with a spray sunscreen.


The conclusion is simple: wear sunscreen every single day!

Not convinced? We love this video from Adore Beauty featuring Dr. Michelle Wong from Lab Muffin!

Kate Ryan Skincare does not carry a sunscreen, but click here to shop for skincare products loaded with safe, effective ingredients that are anti-aging and anti-oxidant! They’ll help repair some of the damage from those days when you rushed out without sunscreen or didn’t think you needed it. If you have questions, our email is always open:!

Please comment with your favorite sunscreen - we are always looking for new sunscreens to try!