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Why a night regimen benefits your skin

Is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin, Dry Skin, Oily Skin
April 4, 2018 Reviewed by Marta 5 Comments

Dear Marta, What’s the point of a nighttime beauty regimen and should products I use be any different from the ones I use during the day?

When this question landed in my email, I knew that a glib answer wouldn’t suffice. Indeed, for years, I was cynical enough to assume that when beauty companies say “use twice a day, morning and night” it was to encourage me to use their product more quickly. I doggedly avoided a night regimen until I came to understand that there are four good reasons to work on getting my “beauty sleep.”

The skin changes at night

The skin goes through changes at night as you sleep. Its metabolic rate increases and “cells show increased production and a reduced breakdown of proteins,” which is all good news for those who desire beautiful, healthy skin. Also, blood flow seems to be higher at night and when blood flow is increased to the skin, the area of absorption (of whatever serum you put on at night) increases too.

Some products are more effective at night

In our post on whether night creams really work, we noted that there is evidence that skin cells follow a circadian rhythm: the cells divide consistently in order to make up for dead ones. This could be why serums with actives that signal to cells – such as AQ’s Serum – are recommended for use at night.

There are other products that are best used at night, certainly those that contain retinol. This is because the skin is more prone to burning when layered with retinoids and exposed to sunlight. The same is true of  products that contain AHAs, such as glycolic and lactic acid (read more on how AHAs work). See below for product suggestions for night owls.

Sleeping gives you wrinkles

I am a side sleeper and without a doubt this causes wrinkles to form on my cheeks, and side of face. Even the American Academy of Dermatology warns that sleep wrinkles can become etched into the surface of the skin after years of sleeping in the same position. I have finally taken this issue in hand by making sure I go to bed with a good, moisturizing serum or night cream. Typically, these would be too heavy for me for daytime, but at night they really help ensure that I wake up crinkle free (don’t even ask why it has taken me more than 50 years to figure this out).

Sleep’s benefits

According to Dr. Perricone, getting a sufficient amount of rest enables your body to produce more human growth hormone, which makes skin more elastic and less likely to wrinkle. Moreover, a shortage of shut-eye can throw off levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger and increases fat retention. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that a loss of three hours of sleep inhibits healthy weight loss.

Personally, I find that the act of cleansing my face and neck and then “treating myself’ to a nice skincare product (or two) before bedtime makes me feel a tad pampered and ready to take full advantage of my beauty sleep.

Products that come into their own at night:

ClarityRX Sleep it Off Mask ($120 in the shop). This is a progressive and unique, 2-phase anti-aging treatment that goes from a warming nighttime transforming mask to a nourishing moisturizer all-in-one while you sleep. A powerful treatment that is a natural retinol alternative.

Prana Reverse A ($48 in the TIA shop). I am often asked to recommend over-the-counter retinol creams and this is the one that I have no hesitation in putting forward. It is the only one that I use – at night, of course. It isn’t too harsh but it is not namby-pamby either. If you have stubborn areas of aging skin or hyperpigmentation and want a relatively effective over-the- counter retinal, then this is worth trying out. Use at night as retinyl palmitate is photosensitive. I like this formula because it has a slew of anti-agers and natural ingredients. Read the full review.

Deciem NIOD Non-Acid Acid Precursor 15% ($55 in the shop). This another clever night time product. A gentle, non-acidic alternative to acid-based epidermal resurfacing treatments. Instead of using direct acids like alpha and beta hydroxy acids or retinoids that are common in skin care, NAAP uses fermentation bio-derivatives and amino isolates.

ClarityRx Restore It 7.5% Glycolic Exfoliator ($64 in the shop) This is a highly-concentrated exfoliating serum is a renewing treatment that uses glycolic acid to remove damaged, dull skin cells while aiding in regulating oil production and clogged pores.

Your Best Face Restore Night Treatment Serum ($130 in the shop) is a focused nighttime serum for the face, neck and hands. With an ingredients list bursting with rejuvenating peptides, this serum moisturizes, gently resurfaces and brightens skin overnight

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic & Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum ($88 in the shop) is an nighttime serum featuring aa dynamic trio of retinol, ferulic acid, and niacinamide to fade wrinkles and firm skin.

Ayelet Naturals Good Night Cell Renewing Cream ($42 in the shop) is designed to provide the skin with the extra energy it needs to stimulate collagen production, fight free radicals and lock in moisture while you sleep. As skin temperature rises overnight, it causes a significant loss in water.

  • April 6, 2018

    by Robin

    Marta ... are you in my head??? I was just wondering this very morning if there are products that are best for night use, so thank you. Now, of course, I want to know if there are ingredients best used during the day? What should a daytime regime include to provide best protection against the elements (besides sunscreen of course)? Where does vitamin C fit? Thanks so much! R

  • March 15, 2013

    by sher hamilton

    Thank you for this informative blog. As women, we really are so vain in different aspects, including our skin. Well, one thing that we have to refrain of is too much exposure under sunlight - it's a fact that it can cause skin problem. However, let's not also forget about the <a href=""> fabulous benefits of sunlight </a> which is Vit. D

  • January 1, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Kris, I would recommend the La Vie Celeste Extra Rich. It is extra rich compared to LVC's regular day/night cream, but it isn't too much for oily skins, and leaves a matte finish.

  • January 1, 2013

    by Kris Ann Ellis

    Hi Marta - Which one of these would you recommend for someone with combo to oily skin, which still gets dry in the Michigan winters? I need something moisturizing for night time, but not too heavy. I was considering the Biao but then noted that you found it a bit heavy for your skin, which is a bit oily. Thanks for the help and happy new year.

  • October 4, 2012

    by Dennis

    I love this article! once you get into the routine of doing your skin routine before bed you really can't live without. Since you brought up the fact that HGH helps with skin elasticity, another way to really encourage an increase in HGH is through intermittent fasting, which some say increases HGH by 2000% in men and 1800% in women after a 24 hour fast. I do it twice a week, personally.

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