Sleep not only allows for your body to rest after a long day, but your skin also uses this time to repair itself. Feeding your skin with the best night creams to help rejuvenate the skin is key to a healthy, fresh face. That’s why it’s essential to have a separate day and nighttime skincare routine. According to experts, the best time for skin rejuvenation happens between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am. After all, they don’t call it ‘beauty sleep’ for nothing. You might scoff at the idea of purchasing a night cream when you already have a face moisturizer at home that you love, but there’s a significant contrast between the two, and it might just be the extra boost your skin needs to achieve your dream results.
So, what’s the difference between a day moisturizer and a night cream? The short answer is there are ingredients that work better when applied at a specific time of day. For example, retinoids (found in retinols) are best to be applied at night as exposure to the sun during the day can cause irritation. But that’s just one of many ingredients on the list of do’s and don’t when it comes to night cream. Samantha G. Stoler, MD, of Skin Dermatology in Denver, Colorado, tells SELF, “A night cream should not have sunblock or sunscreen ingredients included. That is vital in a day moisturizer for all-day sun protection, but night creams do not need the extra chemical.”
Randie H. Kim, MD, Assistant Professor of Dermatology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine further explains the difference, “Night creams tend to be heavier than regular moisturizers to really promote hydration. Regular moisturizers may also contain SPF to protect against UV exposure while night creams contain active compounds that help boost skin repair and restoration.”
How do you find the right night cream for you?
According to Dr. Stoler, the best night creams have ingredients such as “hyaluronic acid or heparin sulfate analog that can help hold the water in the skin for longer, creating longer hydration and healthier looking skin.” Your age also factors into the kind of night cream you should be looking for. Dr. Stoler tells SELF exactly why this is: “The older a person is, the more hydration the moisturizer will need to deliver.” No need to stress though, as your evolving needs can often be simply addressed with “thicker creams that create a better seal or have more ingredients that maintain the moisture inside the skin for longer,” says Dr. Stoler.
There are a few key indicators on how you can tell if your night cream is actually working. According to Dr. Kim, you can tell that your night cream is working when it “feels more hydrated and supple” as well as signs of improved texture such as feeling “smoother, more even skin tone, and reduction of the appearance of wrinkles.” But don’t expect to see any quick results. Dr. Kim tells SELF that you should give your night cream at least eight weeks before you start to see any improvement. This is because it takes time for the old dead skin cells to slough away and for the new skin cells to appear.
Choosing a night cream depends on the specific issue you want to target as well as your needs and skin type. With the various options available, it can feel overwhelming on what product you should try out first. Ultimately, the goal is to find a moisturizing product that makes your skin still feel hydrated and dewy when you wake up. In an effort to aid your skincare journey, we’ve rounded up the best-selling night creams from cult-favorite beauty brands such as Tatcha, Tula, La Mer, and Dr. Barbara Sturm.