While placing cold tea bags on your eyes and rubbing used coffee grains into your thighs are all well and good, there are few beauty tricks as effective as a good night’s sleep.
At night, the body and skin goes into full-on ‘restoration’ mode, recharging neurons, regenerating new skin cells and repairing damage from daily environmental aggressors such as those pesky free radicals we all know and hate. Skimp on your eight hours of shut-eye and your skin will punish you with dark under eye circles, poor texture and dull skin tone to name just a few.
That being said, does your skin REALLY need that all-singing, all-dancing, super-expensive night cream to assist in this overnight regeneration or can your daily moisturizer do the job just as well?
Well, that depends.
In most cases, day creams contain some form of sun protection which is obviously not required a) at night nor b) in your bedroom, whilst tucked up under your comforter. Day creams are also formulated to be light enough to wear under makeup and sometimes even contain pigment to offer a subtle tint to your complexion. Again, do you need this while sleeping? No.
Of course, there are many untinted, non-SPF day creams that concentrate on doing the simple job of moisturizing your skin with clinically-proven ingredients like hyaluronic acid (HA). And yes, these work perfectly overnight if hydration is your main mojo. With age, replacing lost HA becomes more and more important as the dermis and subcutaneous layers of the skin begin to thin and lose moisture. Sebum production also drops significantly in the skin as you mature, so fighting back with a hydra-quenching moisturizer both day and night makes perfect sense. Although as a side note, if your moisturizer doesn’t contain broad-spectrum sun protection because you want to wear it day and night, please make sure your makeup does. Try Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF50.
If you’re looking to really amp up your anti-aging game with something more than rehydration, a night cream that goes one step further in helping to firm, lift and tone your skin with specific active ingredients might be just what you need.
Anti-aging night creams are usually so-called because they contain specific active ingredients like retinol or glycolic acid. These are great for increasing cell turnover, but because they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, they’re best worn at night to minimize irritation.
Simply put, we recommend choosing a medical-grade day cream containing antioxidants and broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect, then a nighttime moisturizer with retinoids and/or AHAs to plump, polish and repair.
Herein, some of our latest favorite medical-grade finds…
5 Of The Best Medical-Grade Night Treatments
1. Alastin Restorative Neck Complex
The skin on your neck is extremely thin and weak, making it super-susceptible to drying, aging and environmental damage. It also has fewer oil glands than the skin on your face so requires extra moisturization. This is why your anti-aging efforts should never start at the forehead and end at the chin, and why you should include Alastin Restorative Neck Complex in your nightly regime. A hero of the Alastin range, Restorative Neck Complex is formulated to target crepey skin and discolorations and help tighten, tone and hydrate. Perfect as an overnight treatment if you prefer to wear sun protection on your neck and décolletage through the day. As a sidenote, it has also been clinically-proven to effectively support the skin both before and after procedures such as microneedling and laser skin rejuvenation. Impressed? Us too.
2. SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E
Most antioxidants such as vitamin C and ferulic acid are best worn during the day when they work to protect the skin from pollution and UV damage. However, SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E was created as a first-of-its-kind overnight antioxidant treatment to help neutralize free radicals while you sleep. Derived from the knotweed plant, resveratrol helps strengthen the skin’s natural antioxidant defense system for smoother, firmer more radiant skin after just a week of use. Apply it nightly to cleansed, dry skin for the best results.
3. SkinMedica Dermal Repair Cream
Brimming with sodium hyaluronate (the ultra-moisturizing sodium salt of hyaluronic acid), as well as vitamins C and E, SkinMedica Dermal Repair Cream is the perfect example of how a moisturizer can effectively work as both a day and night cream combined. It’s super-hydrating so might be too rich for oily or combination skin types, but for normal to dry complexions, it’s pretty unbeatable. Apply it in the morning, underneath sunscreen and again at night, after cleansing and toning.
4. ZO Skin Health Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair
When it comes to tried and trusted skincare ingredients, retinol is up there at the top of the pile. Offering a whole host of beautifying benefits, retinol not only stimulates the skin to turnover more efficiently, but it also helps soften it by thinning the outermost layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum. A certain amount of irritation and sun sensitivity can often occur with topical retinol, however, which is why it’s generally applied at night. ZO Skin Health Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair, with its high 1 percent concentration, works hard to target UV damage and premature aging, while maintaining a low level of irritation. A combination we are highly on board with.
5. Jan Marini Age Intervention Retinol Plus
With a balanced combination of retinol, peptides and antioxidants, it’s no wonder Jan Marini Age Intervention Retinol Plus is such an industry favorite. Hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and shea butter combine with the above to give this night treatment major gold stars for anyone with dry or slightly dull skin. In clinical trials, 97 percent of testers saw a noticeable improvement in skin texture, radiance and pore size after using it for just 12 weeks. Now, that’s the kind of percentage we love to hear.