You Should Brush Your Teeth Before Doing Your Skincare Routine For 1 Very Good Reason

In a go-go-go lifestyle, it can be hard to keep track of all the daily to-dos and jam-packed appointments — even keeping your teeth clean and removing your makeup before bed might (admittedly) fall to the wayside at times. That's why it can feel like a gold star-worthy accomplishment just to stay on top of your skincare and oral hygiene regimens day after day.

However, if you tend to squeeze the steps of your bathroom sink routine in wherever they happen to fit, we have some bad news, courtesy of skin expert Dr. Joyce Park. In a TikTok clip, the dermatologist explains that there's a specific order you should follow when doing your skincare and teeth-brushing — and nope, it doesn't boil down to whichever you happen to remember first. "Brush your teeth, and then wash your face," she urges in the video. The reason all comes down to protecting your skin. And bonus: Following her advice might save you the time you'd otherwise end up spending trying to rehab your complexion later.

What's so bad about doing your skincare routine before brushing?

Brushing your teeth after doing skincare might seem harmless, but chances are you're leaving at least some residue on your face. Think of it this way: You're essentially swapping your serums for toothpaste film — and that's not so great for your skin. "Toothpaste residue can irritate the skin," Dr. Richard Lipari, a cosmetic and general dentist, shared with Well+Good. "Everyone's skin is different so the degree to which the skin may be affected depends on the person. You should always wash your face after brushing your teeth."

Saliva is another potential trigger for irritation, notes Dr. Joyce Park in her TikTok clip. According to Cleveland Clinic, regular skin exposure to saliva can lead to angular cheilitis, a condition resulting in uncomfortable cracked lip corners. While a little bit of spit from brushing your teeth probably isn't enough to cause a serious medical condition, you may still notice skin woes such as acne, sensitivity, and irritation.

If you're still not convinced, know that this isn't the first time a doctor has backed the rule on social media. Another viral video by dermatologist-slash-TikToker Dr. Lindsey Zubritsky warns viewers, "If you're brushing your teeth after already washing your face, you're destroying your skin. Bacteria from your mouth in the dribbled out toothpaste can cause acne on your chin + leftover toothpaste with hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, baking soda, and fluoride sits on your skin all night [causing] terrible irritation and dryness."

Okay, but what if you can't always brush first?

While the skincare-after-brushing method makes sense, it might not always be realistic in everyday life. What if you need to brush your teeth during your lunch break, or what if you have a nighttime snack after you've already washed your face? In these cases, it's better for your oral health to give your choppers a cleaning, but you might need to make a few adjustments to make sure you don't sacrifice your skin health too.

First, consider swapping your standard toothpaste for a skin-friendly version. In particular, look for a paste without sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). "SLS is the prototypical sulfate ingredient that has been removed from sulfate-free products," board-certified dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner explained to Well+Good. "It's a known irritant, causing skin inflammation." A gentle, all-natural baby toothpaste might be your best bet if you struggle to find a regular toothpaste excluding the irritating ingredient.

In a pinch, you can also use your go-to toothpaste, but take extra precautions. Use just a pea-sized amount of paste, brush with your mouth closed, and use a cup of water to carefully rinse. Micellar water can remove superficial dirt and grime from the skin, per Healthline, so feel free to wipe it around the mouth just in case any toothpaste or saliva residue remains. Reapply moisturizer and serums, and you're done.