Quick Q: Should I Apply Skin-Care Products on Wet Skin?

Even the most seasoned skincare enthusiasts might have some missteps in their daily routine — like not knowing what order to apply different products in or mixing ingredients that don’t play well together by accident. Another one of these skincare mishaps is a habit we’re all likely doing: drying our face before applying products. And as it turns out, skincare is 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 are, and how to know if it might be a vital step for you.

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Why Should You Apply Skincare Products to Damp Skin?

“The benefit is allowing your skin to better absorb the main ingredients in your 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.”

What Types of Skin-Care Products Should You Apply to Wet Skin?

By far the best product to apply on wet skin is a 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 it’s a non-greasy formula and ability to deeply hydrate the skin. 

CeraVe
Moisturizing Cream

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. 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 re-applied!) onto dry skin.

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How Often Should I Apply Skin Care 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 are going to be safe for your skin, consult your dermatologist.

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