Beauty Trends

Why Your Skin-Care Products Pill and How to Prevent It — Expert Advice

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There are worse things that can happen to you than skin-care pilling — when your products start to form pesky little granules that build and build until they fall right off your skin — but that certainly doesn’t make it any less annoying because you probably do so much hard work on your routine. According to the experts, there are a couple of different reasons that this happens; luckily, these issues are really easy to resolve.

Apply your skin-care products in the right order

First thing’s first, your products might be pilling because you’re applying them in the wrong order, says Mona Gohara, a board-certified dermatologist based in Connecticut. A good rule of thumb to follow is simply to “apply products from lightest to heaviest,” as she advises. 

New York City board-certified dermatologist Shari Marchbein generally advises applying serums, then moisturizer, then SPF (of at least 30 or higher) on a daily basis, which “allows products with the most actives to be in closest contact with the skin.”

To prevent pilling even further, you can also stick to similarly formulated products when layering. “If the pilling occurs when the consumer layers products, that means there is the incompatibility of the layered products — like water-based and oil-based products do not mix well,” explains cosmetic chemist Ginger King.

Take your sweet time when layering stuff

Sheer impatience to get your skin-care routine done is another common cause. “Pilling most commonly occurs because we aren’t giving enough time for each product to dry before applying the next,” explains Marchbein. 

The solution to this is pretty simple. “Typically, giving a bit of extra time — a minute or so — between layers will prevent this,” she says. So take a coffee or wine break between skin-care layers. 

According to Gohara, pilling can also occur when people apply too much of any given product. Again, the solution to this cause of pilling is pretty self-explanatory. “Use lighter products and less of them,” Gohara advises. 

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