Should I Apply Skincare on Wet or Dry Skin?

August 04, 2022 by L'Oréal
By: by L'Oréal | by L'Oréal
Person patting their face with a towel and smiling

Even the most seasoned skincare enthusiasts might have some missteps in their daily routines — like not knowing what order to apply products or mixing ingredients that don’t play well together by accident. Another skincare mishap is a habit we’ve all likely done: drying our face before applying products. As it turns out, skincare is actually best applied to wet or damp skin. We spoke with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Michelle Farber of Schweiger Dermatology about why this is the case, what the benefits of applying products to damp skin are and how to know if it might be a vital step for you.

Does Skincare Absorb Better on Damp Skin?

“The benefit to applying your products on damp skin is that it allows your skin to better absorb the main ingredients in those products,” says Dr. Farber. When your skin is wet and permeable, it allows most products to penetrate through more easily. That being said, with damp-skincare application comes responsibility, she adds, like “choosing the right products for your skin, making sure you don’t overdo it with too many products and adding appropriate moisturizers to help keep your regimen balanced.”

Is It OK to Put Moisturizer on a Wet Face?

“By far the best product to apply on wet skin is moisturizer,” says Dr. Farber. “Applying a moisturizer right after the shower is a great way to keep your skin hydrated.” If you need a recommendation, the CeraVe Moisturizing Cream is a rich face and body moisturizer that we love for its non-greasy formula and ability to deeply hydrate the skin. 



Should Serum Be Applied to Wet Skin?

When it comes to more potent skincare products like serums, however, you want to be careful about how much you’re applying. Because your skin is absorbing more product while it’s wet, it can often increase irritation (unless you’re using a hydrating formula, like hyaluronic acid — in that case, you want to apply the product to damp skin). As far as skincare masks go, you can go ahead and apply them on freshly-washed skin, but products like sunscreen should be applied (and reapplied!) onto dry skin.

How Often Should Skincare Be Applied to Damp Skin?

Dr. Farber advises being mindful of how your skin reacts to certain products when increasing absorption because you may experience irritation. “Don’t start applying a new product every day — especially on wet skin as it’ll be more potent — but integrate slowly, a few days a week, and get your skin adjusted,” she says. Of course, if you’re unsure about what products will be safe for your skin, consult your dermatologist.

Photo: Chaunte Vaughn 




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