Nightly Skin Care: Sleeping Beauty

Nightly skin care isn’t just a luxury you save for a Girls’ Night In spa indulgence. You may be totally committed to the 3 daily skin care essentials — cleanse, moisturize, protect — in the morning. But when it comes to the end of the day, many of us shirk our duty to our skin in favor of falling into bed with a good book, a good movie, or of course a good partner. Ignoring nightly skin care takes its toll, though, making it harder to maintain healthy, beautiful skin. Even worse, skipping a nighttime skin routine means wasting the best opportunity we have to let skin heal and rejuvenate.

Once you get in the habit, nightly skin care need be no more burdensome than caring for skin in the morning. It’s still a case of 3 essential steps, but tailored to the way your skin works while you’re sleeping. Yes, that’s right — we said works. You may be snoozing prettily in dreamland, but your skin cells work the night shift! Here’s how to give those busy cells the tools they need to get the job done.


Nightly skin care starts with the same first step as your morning routine. But there’s a bit more to it, because at the end of the day your skin is carrying a lot more debris than it does when you wake up. Before using your preferred cleanser (which can be the same one you use in the morning, and may perform gentle exfoliation with AHA/BHA acids), however, you need to break up with your make up. (Sleeping in makeup is an invitation to irritation and inflammation, as bacteria easily multiply in makeup residue.)

Thoroughly remove makeup from your face, lashes, lips, neck, and decollete before cleansing. Use a specially formulated makeup remover — there are many disposable wipes and makeup removing liquids available, some incorporating micellar water. Once your skin is makeup free, cleanse and rinse thoroughly.


The second step in nightly skin care is custom-made for the night shift. While you sleep, your skin has time to absorb and make use of topical treatments that address particular skin issues, such as redness or dark spots, and work their rejuvenating magic on wrinkles, lines, puffiness, and other signs of aging. Retinols, the ingredients that work so powerfully to smooth wrinkles and stimulate new skin cell growth, do their best work at night because they break down quickly when exposed to light.

See your skin care practitioner (or contact our cosmetic consultant, Mary Lou Brimecombe) for treatment recommendations tailored to your skin’s specific needs. In addition to retinols, night treatments deliver peptides (special nourishing proteins), antioxidents, brighteners, and other refreshing and rejuvenating ingredients, These treatments are available in various combinations and forms. Serums are concentrated liquids. Apply these first after cleansing, to allow them to penetrate. Follow with creams or lotions in the order recommended by your skin care specialist. Apply treatments to the skin around the eyes last before moisturizing.


The third step in nightly skin care is to provide your skin with the moisture it craves. You can use your regular moisturizer, or choose a nighttime formula that is more dense and creamy. You may also use a combination product, like Neocutis’ Micro Night that includes nutrients, hydrating glycerin, and lipids — treatment and moisturizer in one. Apply moisturizer over your face, neck, and chest.

Every so often, give your hands and feet an extra moisturizing overnight treatment, too. Slather on a rich moisturizing cream or lotion (or even the old faithful petroleum jelly), pull on cotton socks and cotton gloves, and reward your hands and feet for their hard work all day long with a good night’s renewing rest.

Those few extra minutes of nightly skin care will pay off in years lost from your looks and healthy, beautiful skin 24/7!