The Science Behind Skincare Layering: How it Works and Why it's Effective

The Science Behind Skincare Layering: How it Works and Why it's Effective

Understanding Skin Barrier Function 

Environmental stressors like pollution, UV rays, and harsh chemicals can pose a threat, causing dehydration, sensitivity, and premature aging. Enter the mighty skin barrier, it keeps your skin protected and radiant. 

Do you know what's really interesting? The skin barrier isn't the same for everyone, the stratum corneum displays a sex difference. Research suggests that males are more likely to have a thicker stratum corneum layers than females, which might explain why male skin tends to age at a slower pace. Additionally, hormones like estrogen, can play a role in skin thickness and hydration levels throughout the menstrual cycle.

On this article we discuss a bit deeper the skin barrier and its functions. 


bionassay skin layers

The Science Behind Skincare Layering

If you're a skincare enthusiast, you must have already heard of the term layering in reference to your skin routine.

The art of layering involves understanding the science behind skincare and choosing products that work together to achieve your desired results.

So, let's dive into the optimal way to layer your products and why it's so crucial to go from light to heavy.

The secret to layering is the layer order. Starting with the lightest, most watery formulas, and then progressing towards heavier, thicker, oil-based formulas.

Products with smaller molecules (like toners and serums) help prep your skin by penetrating into the skin barrier.

Heavier formulas (like moisturizers and sunscreen) nourish and protect the skin by forming some sort of veil.

This allows your skin to receive the maximum benefits from all the goodies in your skincare products. But how does this work? Well, we have to go back to our good old friend, the skin barrier

 skin layering dalton rule

The Skin Barrier & The Dalton-500 Rule

The skin barrier is your skin's protective layer, responsible for keeping out harmful substances and retaining moisture. It's a highly effective barrier, but it's also incredibly selective, only allowing small-sized molecules to penetrate through.

Unfortunately, most of the good stuff we want our skin to absorb, such as hyaluronic acid and vitamins, are high molecular weight compounds that just simply cannot penetrate the skin barrier on their own. 

This is where the dalton-500 rule comes into play. Only molecules with a molecular weight of 500 daltons or less can pass through the skin barrier. So, it's crucial to choose products that contain ingredients with a smaller molecule size, ensuring that they can penetrate deeply into your skin, going from the epidermis to the dermis and eventually to the subcutaneous layer. 

skin layering guide


By layering products in this specific order, you're allowing each product to penetrate deeper into the skin and work its magic. This approach not only enhances the absorption of the active ingredients but also seals in everything underneath it. So, don't be shy about stepping up your skin layering game. Sure, it might take a little extra time, but trust us, the results will be totally worth it.


The importance of understanding the science behind skincare layering cannot be understated. It is essential that you always keep your skin barrier's function and health in mind, and that you select products with ingredients that are designed to work with the natural chemistry of your skin. When layering skincare products, be sure to pay attention to the order in which you use them so that they can activate each other’s effects. Additionally, different ingredients can act synergistically with one another – some ingredients actually work better when combined together than when used alone. Read more on this! Ultimately, consistency is key; finding the best layering combination and learning to listen to your skin means you’re developing skin awareness one skincare ritual at a time. 

Happy layering!