Hello Dr Bailey,
I was wondering about the pH of skincare products and their effect on multiple ingredients. For example the Professional Cell Repair Serum (which I use thanks to your advice), functions at a pH of under 3.5 I believe. How essential is it to wait a while before applying a moisturizer or sunscreen after? As I understand it, many moisturizers and especially sunscreens are at an alkaline pH. Does the silicone based Vitamin C absorb immediately or over the course of the day, and how does that affect the use of a follow up moisturizer and sunscreen. I would hate to negate the benefits of the ascorbic acid by using another (alkaline) product that stopped it from working correctly.
This is a great question and I love talking about the specifics of skin care.
Many people wonder if they need to let each of their skin care products dry before applying the next. There are so many great active ingredients to improve your skin now days and you want to use as many as possible to maximize results. Waiting for each product to dry in a layered skin care regimen is a ‘deal breaker’ though because it just takes too much time. With any good skin care regimen, it’s the regular everyday use that brings results and my products were created to be layered one right after the next. The ingredients are compatible on your skin and I’ve figured it all out for you!
With all the great active ingredients today it would be so convenient if they all could be mixed into one product. The problem is that most of them ‘don’t play well together’ in the same container, so you’re stuck layering layer them on your skin. That means product compatibility on the skin is important.
Some ‘purists’ advocate that skin care products should always be allowed to completely dry before the next is applied, and with some products this is important. My products, however, were created to be layered. There may be some negligible benefit in letting each product dry before applying the next, and when you have the time, you could do that…. but the additional benefit is minimal and the benefit derived from regular daily use of a practical regimen far outweighs skipping layers due to time constraints.
Not all skin care products are compatible though. It’s why I created my Anti-Aging Antioxidant Skin Care Kits. The Anti-Aging Antioxidant Skin Care Kit can also include glycolic acid for maximal anti aging benefit. These kits contain compatible products with all the really good anti-aging active ingredients made today – this is a powerful anti-aging skin care regimen that gets results. For years I’ve had patients layering these products:
- first the Replenix CF Cream,
- then Professional Cell Repair Serum,
- then Glycolix Face Cream
- and then Citrix Sunscreen during the day
- and one of the glycolic acid facial creams at night.
I see these products work on their skin so I know that the actives are getting in and doing their job in spite of not waiting for each step to dry before applying the next.
Regarding your other question about product pH, the pH is more of a concern for long term product storage and product stability than for short term usage on your skin. Your skin begins to alter product pH the minute the product hits your skin surface. The vitamin C in the Professional Cell Repair Serumwill activate faster when you apply another product over it instead of having a slower time release, but this more rapid activation is not a serious matter. Again, it’s the practical ability to layer these products every day, over a long period of time that brings the results and it’s ok to layer the products one after the other, the subtle change in their activity is negligible in the long run. Again, I see these products work for people every day and yet it’s rare that someone consistently lets each product dry before they apply the next.
Thanks for asking a really great question that many people share.
Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist
Disclaimer: Please realize that availing yourself of the opportunity to submit and receive answers to your questions from Dr. Bailey does not confer a doctor/patient relationship with Dr. Bailey. The information provided by Dr. Bailey is general health information inspired by your question. It should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem (and is not an extension of the care Dr. Bailey has provided in her office for existing patients of her practice). Never ignore your own doctor’s advice because of something you read here; this information is for general informational purpose only.
If you found this information helpful, you may also want to read: