In what order should I apply my SkinMedica products?

Your skin care routine likely involves products that do a multitude of benefit for your skin health. Did you know that you can help impact their effectiveness by ensuring that you apply the products in the optimal order? It turns out that there is a best order in which to apply your skin care products. In this article, we will focus on the best order to apply SkinMedica products.

Everyone’s skin care routine is different, and it should be because everyone’s skin is different! But, the general rule of thumb when it comes to the order of products in a skin care routine is-

  1. Cleanse
  2. Growth Factor
  3. Correct
  4. Hydrate
  5. Protect (AM only)

Another good way to think about applying skin care products is going from the thinnest products to the thickest products. It isn’t always the case, but generally it will lead you in the right direction when you are going through your skin care routine. For example, the thin cleanser will go before the thick moisturizer and the retinol fits right in between along with your other products.

SkinMedica Even & Correct Product Regimen
SkinMedica Even & Correct Order to Use

Let’s go through each step and what it entails, remembering that it is ideal to wait a bit after each step to let the product absorb into your skin-


Begin your skin care routine with a facial cleanser morning and evening. The SkinMedica Facial Cleanser works to remove any makeup, dirt, and other environmental pollutants from your skin while hydrating and refreshing as it cleanses. Using a cleanser should be the first step AM and PM in every skin-care routine.

We also recommend the AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser for use a few times a week. This cleanser works to unclogs pores while removing impurities, excess oils and makeup. Naturally derived alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) combined with beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) in addition to jojoba spheres help exfoliate skin and enhance skin texture.

-Splash face with warm water, gently massage cleanser over face, and then rinse thoroughly.

If you are also treating the appearance of melasma or hyperpigmentation, you may be using SkinMedica Even & Correct Pads.  Apply daily or as needed for exfoliated, bright skin.  Wipe over face daily, or as tolerated, after cleansing and before applying any treatment products.  Allow skin to dry before layering and avoid the areas near the eyes.  

Growth Factors

Starting with growth factors, this includes TNS Essential Serum, TNS Advanced+ Serum, and TNS Recovery Complex. Applying these directly after cleansing allows them to penetrate the skin and work to their full ability. The growth factors play a huge role in maintaining the elasticity and firmness in your skin. They are natural substances made by your skin to maintain healthy cells and repair damaged skin.

-TNS Essential Serum and TNS Advanced+ Serum Directions- dispense a single pump onto the back of your hand, blend together and apply to the face AM and PM

-TNS Recovery Complex Directions- apply a single pump AM and PM to face, neck, and chest



If you have never used a retinol before, it is best to start with Retinol 0.25 and work your way up to Retinol 0.5 and then Retinol 1.0 as your skin adjusts to the product. Using it too often and starting with too strong of a retinol can cause your skin to become irritated, red, and very dry. We like to say start low and slow with retinols. Start with using a retinol in the evening every few days, and if your skin is doing well with it, increase the frequency/strength from there.

-Apply a single pump to the face in the evening. If you have never used a retinol product before, begin by limiting use to twice a week, gradually increasing the frequency to every other night, and then advancing to each evening or as tolerated. Mild redness, peeling and irritation is expected with this product.


After applying a retinol, the next step would be Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum or the Lumivive System. Lytera works to reduce the appearance of stubborn skin discoloration through ingredients that help balance pigment (or melanin) levels. Lumivive AM provides a bio-barrier against environmental aggressors including blue light, pollution, and damaging rays with a revolutionary blend of antioxidants, peptides, and natural extracts. Lumivive PM recharges the skin’s ability to repair itself overnight and helps restore a youthful appearance.

-Apply a single pump of Lytera 2.0 and the Lumivive System AM and PM daily to the face.

SkinMedica’s most advanced skin brightening treatments include Even & Correct Treatment Serum and Even & Correct Dark Spot Cream. These treatments should be applied in the morning and evening after cleansing. Apply all over the face, neck and décolleté.

Eye Products

This step also includes applying any eye products prior to moisturizing. These products will work to improve your eye’s appearance, lift sagging, and brighten the area. Apply these products twice daily (like the TNS Eye Repair or Instant Bright Eye Cream) using your ring finger to avoid using too much pressure to your skin adjacent to and beneath the eye area and eye lids.


After cleansing and correcting comes hydrating and moisturizing.

HA5 Rejuventating Hydrator fits into the Hydrate category to use before you moisturize. HA5 acts as a hydrator to your skin which supports your skin’s ability to replenish its own hyaluronic acids (HA), and then a moisturizer goes in to lock that hydration in. A hydrator is a cosmetic treatment product that promotes epidermal health by supporting the skin’s natural ability to replenish HA.

Moisturizing is the final step because it acts as a barrier to keep moisture in your skin throughout the day and night. There are a few different moisturizers to use (see this blog post to learn the differences between them all!) and each one will work differently depending on your individual skin type.

-Apply your moisturizer in the morning prior to sunscreen and apply it in the evening as your final step.


The final step in any skin care routine in the morning is protect. Wearing sunscreen everyday is one of the best, and easiest, ways to protect your skin, especially since exposure to the sun is the main cause of premature aging. Even when it’s overcast, up to 80% of the sun’s rays are still being absorbed by your skin. Used regularly, SkinMedica sunscreens can prevent sunburn, skin cancer, and premature aging. It is essential in all skin-care routines!

-Apply sunscreen liberally to your face in the morning as the final step in your skin care routine and reapply every 2 hours or as needed.

Finding the right skin care products for your unique skin can be tricky, but using this order will help make sure each product is being used to its fullest strength! As always, ask your provider with any specific questions (or visit our clinic in Denver) or call us at 720-650-4660.



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