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The Best Nighttime Skincare Routine According to Dermatologist, Dr. Nina Desai

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The Best Nighttime Skincare Routine According to Dermatologist, Dr. Nina Desai

The Best Nighttime Skincare Routine According to Dermatologist, Dr. Nina Desai

When developing a skincare routine, it is important to know your skin type and to pick products that are right for your skin. This will ensure that your products are working for you, and will not make any of your concerns worse. Whether your skin is oily, normal or dry you want to ensure that you have the perfect nighttime skincare routine. 

When you sleep your skin regenerates and repairs itself, so this is the best time to give your skin a little more TLC and apply your key ingredients. Keep reading for 7 Dermatologist Tips to craft your ideal nighttime skincare routine. 

Tip 1: Double Cleansing is Key

Cleansing is a very important part of the nighttime routine. I am a big fan of the double cleanse at night to prepare your skin to soak in the powerful active ingredients you apply before sleep. 

If you are oily, combination or you wear makeup during the day I would recommend starting with a Micellar Cleansing Water on a soft cotton round to remove makeup. I recommend following this up with an AHA cleanser, such as Glycolic Resurfacing Cleanser for a deeper clean. If oil, dirt, bacteria and makeup are left behind on the skin at night, your skin will be more prone to becoming congested and you may wake up with a new breakout. 

Those of us with very sensitive skin or very dry skin may not be able to tolerate a glycolic acid cleanser every night, so I often recommend alternating nights with Gentle Cream Cleanser. For those with sensitive skin or dry skin Conditioning Milk Cleanser would be less drying to skin. When you wash your face you always want to be careful to not tug or pull at your skin and do not rub dry with a towel. Be very gentle and always pat dry, making sure not to irritate your skin.

Tip 2: Toners + Exfoliants Are a Must

Next, toners have become a great additive to one’s skincare routine. Traditionally, toners were products used to restore the skin’s pH after cleansing the face with an alkaline soap, and they also helped prep your skin for serums and moisturizers and get rid of excess oil or dirt that your cleanser might have missed. But today, the best toners do so much more. They can actually provide similar benefits as a serum or treatment product. That’s because they are infused with ingredients like AHAs, hyaluronic acid and vitamins that can exfoliate, brighten, soothe, hydrate and more. An amazing product like Pro 5 Liquid Exfoliant (containing 5 different acids) would be perfect to tone all skin types. 

Tip 3: Don’t Skip Your Retinoids

Next you would apply your retinoids. Retinoids, or vitamin A derivatives, are so important for promoting cell turnover and boosting collagen production, which overtime is going to leave our skin smoother, tighter and with fewer fine lines and wrinkles. When starting out with a retinoid, no matter what your skin type is, you want to start at a low strength and work your way up. Starting with Renew Serum (1% retinol) or Retinol Smoothing Serum (1.5% retinol) would be perfect. By slowly building a tolerance you will minimize any redness, dryness or peeling that may occur. Retinol itself is light-sensitive, so your skin not only becomes more vulnerable to the sun and ultimately becomes more susceptible to sun damage but the retinol will lose potency, this is one of the main reasons retinoids are best to use at night.  

Tip 4: Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize 

Next you must moisturize. This is where knowing your skin type is important. If you are oily or acne-prone you will want to use Oil Free Moisturizer or Oil Control Emulsion, which uses ultra light hydration with microsponge technology to reduce shine. If you have dry skin you will want to pick a thicker, richer moisturizer to hydrate the skin and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles such a Vita E Essential Cream and Restorative Cream. For even more hydration, try adding a hydrating serum to maintain your skin barrier and lock in moisture, without adding more oil back to the skin. 

Tip 5: Your Delicate Skin Needs Extra Love

I like to give my under eyes and lips a little extra TLC before bed. The skin around the eyes is thin and super delicate and more susceptible to the breakdown of collagen and the development of fine lines and wrinkles, so protecting these areas is very important to prevent the appearance of aging. For my eyes, I love Eye Restore. The specialized blend of antioxidants and peptides in this product gently but effectively boost collagen and elastin production, which will improve crow’s feet, crepey texture and under-eye discoloration so this is a must and can actually be used morning and night. For my lips I love an occlusive balm to lock in moisture, I use Lip Revival which hydrates and conditions the lips making them healthier and fuller.

Tip 6: Use Serums for Targeted Transformation

While retinoids, antioxidants and SPF are the staples of any good skincare routine, targeted serums and products should also be worked into your routine based on your individual skin needs. If you are dealing with hyperpigmentation, sun spots, or melasma key ingredients are brightening agents such as Arbutin and AHAs like Glycolic Acid, Azelaic Acid, Lactic Acid - so a perfect product to target those concerns is Brightening Serum. If you suffer from acne or have oily skin, you will also want to give your face some extra defense from oil and bacteria that will contribute to acne, so Renew Serum would be a great choice for you. And when you have an annoying active acne lesion, Clear Skin Spot Treatment should be used as a spot treatment until the area is clear. 

Tip 7: The Way You Sleep Can Matter

Some other steps we can do to keep our skin healthy is to wash our pillowcases once a week. Oil and bacteria build up on our pillowcases and can contribute to acne. Additionally we should also do our best to sleep on our back and not on our face or side to avoid the unnecessary breakdown of collagen while we sleep. Lastly, for a more potent dose of hydration, I sometimes recommend an overnight face mask 1-2 times a week for those who need it. 

Ready to find your perfect skincare routine? Take our skin quiz today »

September 15, 2020 By Nina Desai, M.D., F.A.A.D.