by Melissa Chichester
“Beauty sleep” is more than just an old wives’ tale. As we slip into slumber and dream of tropical vacations, our skin is busy regenerating and repairing cells, especially during REM (rapid eye movement). While it can be hard to resist falling into bed after a long day without a care in the world, spending a few extra minutes to take care of your skin on a daily basis will leave you with radiant skin for the next day and beyond. After cleansing and removing daily life from your face—makeup, pollution, dust, car fumes—it’s time to restore skin with a night cream. Here are 5 common myths about this important (and often skipped) skincare step.
“Can’t I just use my day cream?” Is a common question regarding night cream, and while technically you can use your day moisturizer, it’s a little more complicated than that. Day cream is generally lighter than night cream and contains SPF to protect skin from the sun. Some sunscreens can clog pores, so using it at night isn’t ideal. Plus, you may not get the extra hydration skin needs at night. Daytime moisturizers are designed to protect skin from the elements it is exposed to; in turn, night creams are designed for skin hydration and replenishment.
If you think you’re too young for night cream, guess again. The production of collagen, a major building block in the maintenance of hair, skin, and nails, may begin to decrease as early as age 25. Many night creams contain ingredients that contribute to skin health like Vitamin C, collagen, Co Q-10, and hyaluronic acid. Adding a night cream to your skincare routine is an important measure in maintaining a youthful complexion through your 20’s and beyond.
I used to think night cream was just another beauty product I didn’t need, and another way for companies to dupe people into buying something, until I actually starting taking skincare seriously and using night cream. Instead of waking up with dry, tight skin, my complexion began to appear more replenished and radiant. Night cream isn’t a “magic potion” like some of the glossy, airbrushed advertisements may claim; however, in conjunction with consistent cleansing, a nutritious diet, and proper hydration, it does make a difference. Take it from a former skeptic!
While we sleep, our skin naturally loses moisture. Combine that with the suboptimal conditions (like a dry home, an overheated room, a poor diet, and not drinking enough water) and instead of waking up looking refreshed, your skin will feel dry, dehydrated, and tight, resulting in looking tired and run down. Enter night cream: a richer, thicker, and heavier formula designed to hydrate and support aging skin. Night creams contain ingredients that hydrate slowly over several hours, like hyaluronic acid to help with the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles (which work better when sunscreen doesn’t interfere). In the morning your skin will appear plump and nourished, and it will feel soft and supple. You might even find yourself wearing less makeup as your complexion improves!
One of the biggest myths about skincare is that if the product is more expensive, it has better ingredients; however, this is a common misperception. High-end luxury brands can and do charge more for the name, fancy bottles, and marketing through celebrity spokespeople. Many pricey night potions contain “fragrance” or “perfume” as the first listed ingredient—a sign that you may not be getting the best ingredients for your skin. Don’t equate more money with better skincare; always read the label!
My favorite night cream is the Avalon Organics Co Q-10 Wrinkle Defense Night Crème, a vegetarian formula not tested on animals. While supplementing skin with antioxidant Co Q-10, this formula is not greasy or heavy, and it has a smooth texture that is easily absorbed. When I’m looking for extra hydration, I turn to Perfectly Pure Retinol Cream with Moroccan Argan Oil. The antioxidant properties of retinol combined with essential fatty acids in argan oil provide a moisture level that is kicked up a notch, leaving behind soft and nourished skin.