Shannon R., SELF magazine
Does night cream just seem like a way for companies to sell you another product that you don't really need? While in some cases that may be true, you may be surprised to learn that there can be a good reason to use a different face cream at night.
Why should I use a night cream?There are two basic types of night creams. Of course, they can be called numerous things, but for my purposes I'm going to divide night creams into two broad categories so we can see the main benefits.
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1. Anti-Aging - can also be called firming, anti-wrinkle and lifting. These products often contain ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid, salicyclic acid and retinyl acetate. All of these ingredients help your skin to increase turnover (meaning new skin replaces older skin quicker), which can help diminish the appearance of age spots and fine lines and wrinkles. However, these ingredients can be irritating and increase skin sensitivity. Skin sensitivity can increase when exposed to UV rays, so it's best to avoid sun exposure when using certain anti-aging creams. Therefore the best way to avoid UV exposure is to wear these products at night. Makes sense, right?
2. Deep Moisture - can also be called ultra-hydrating, deep nourishing and restorative. These products often just use higher levels of emollients so they are more moisturizing than their daytime counterpart. There is no real reason why you need more moisture at night, your skin doesn't "absorb" ingredients any better. Your skin is constantly regenerating, so if you are happy with the level of moisture you receive from your daily moisturizer than you likely don't need a separate night cream. However, if you find that your skin is drier when you are at home you may want to use a heavier cream at night (or invest in a humidifier!)
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Are night creams different than day creams?
In many cases, not really. Day moisturizers tend to be lighter and nowadays they usually contain SPF. Night creams don't contain SPF (which does make them feel different) and are often heavier and more hydrating. Anti-aging night creams may contain higher levels of active ingredients since they are specifically intended to be worn at night to minimize irritation from UV exposure. Of course, they are many anti-aging day creams available as well. But if you find that your anti-aging day cream is irritating, you may want to switch to a night cream and stick to a regular moisturizer for day use. Also, be sure to look for the ingredients I mentioned earlier (in particular, retinol and retinyl acetate) since they can be especially irritating when worn during the day.
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If you are happy with your daily moisturizer and don't experience irritation then you probably don't need a separate night cream. However, if you are looking to amp up those anti-aging benefits or you find your current anti-aging cream to be irritating, you may want to consider a separate night cream to help minimize the increased skin sensitivity these ingredients can cause when exposed to the sun.
Shannon R., SELF magazine