Skincare Stacy

Skincare Stacy
Spot Treatment Before or After Moisturizer?

Spot Treatment Before or After Moisturizer?

Your spot treatment comes before moisturizer in your skincare routine.

Generally, you should apply a spot treatment after using your cleanser and toner but before your moisturizer and facial oil. Depending on the active ingredients in the spot treatment, it can be used as part of your morning skincare routine or evening.

This article will explain everything you need to know about when to apply a spot treatment.

When to Apply Spot Treatment

CeraVe Acne Control Gel

If your spot treatment includes active ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, you are safe to use it either morning or night.

Generally, if your product includes glycolic acid or lactic acid, then you should stick to applying it at night.

Regardless of when to apply them, these are all great ingredients to fight skin texture and acne. Be sure to look for them in your spot treatment products!

When to Apply Spot Treatment in the Morning

Your morning skincare routine should follow this order:

  1. Cleanser

  2. Toner (optional)

  3. Spot treatment

  4. Vitamin C (optional)

  5. Moisturizer

  6. SPF

When to Apply Spot Treatment in the Evening

Your nighttime routine should follow this order:

  1. Cleanser

  2. Spot treatment

  3. Anti-aging or hydrating serum (optional)

  4. Moisturizer

  5. Facial oil (optional)

Sticking to this order will help improve your skin’s ability to absorb the acne treatments.

Do you put acne treatment before or after moisturizer?

Hero Cosmetics Rescue Balm

You should apply your acne treatment before moisturizer.

Moisturizers are much heavier than acne treatments. Therefore, if you apply them before your spot treatment, you may reduce the efficacy of the treatment as it can’t absorb as well.

Generally, we structure your regular skincare routine by applying products from “thinnest to thickest” or “wateriest to oiliest”.

Best Acne Spot Treatments

CeraVe Acne Control Gel is a great treatment formulated with salicylic acid while La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo contains benzoyl peroxide and lipo hydroxy acid.

Alternatively, Naturium makes a good spot treatment with sulfur and niacinamide to reduce acne scars.

All of these ingredients can help reduce clogged pores, so the best one for you depends on your skin type. Generally, salicylic acid and sulfur are safer options for people with sensitive skin and dry skin than benzoyl peroxide.

How to Use Acne Spot Treatment

To use acne spot treatment properly, first wash your face so you’re working with clean skin. If desired, you also apply a toner for further cleansing.

Then, apply a thin layer of your spot treatment to the affected area. Allow it to absorb for 1-2 minutes.

Finish off by applying any serums or moisturizers to help protect your skin barrier.

Do you put acne treatment before or after serum?

Your acne treatment should come before your serum to maximize its efficacy.

How long do you leave acne spot treatment on?

You should leave your acne spot treatment on for a few hours.

Preferably, if you are applying a spot treatment as part of your evening skincare routine, you can just leave it on overnight and wash it off in the morning.

Do you leave acne cream on overnight?

Yes, you can leave acne cream on overnight.

While some active ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can be worn during the day, others should be best kept for nighttime such as alpha hydroxy acids.

Do you rub in acne spot treatment?

Yes, when using a spot treatment, you can gently rub it in to the affected area. Just be careful not to be rough.

Summary: Spot treatment or moisturizer first?

Your spot treatment should be applied before your moisturizer.

That being said, you should start by cleansing your face and applying your toner before you go in with a spot treatment.

After letting your spot treatment absorb, you can apply a hydrating serum, moisturizer, and facial oil if desired.

Struggling to keep up with skincare? You need to sign up for my newsletter below! Find specific skin routines and protocols in My Roadmap or start with my Basic Skincare Guide.

Also, follow my other socials for free skincare, health, and beauty content daily: