By Rituparna Som
In the world of beauty, every day brings with it a buzzy new product or ingredient. Case in point: Night creams, day creams, sun creams—why not throw in a dusk cream and cloud cream while we’re at it? Well, cloud cream sound rather fantastic, doesn’t it?
However, if you’re wondering whether a night cream is all that different from a day cream, the answer is yes. Here’s a breakdown of it all and why it belongs in your skincare routine.
Day cream versus night cream
A lot of day creams are made with a certain amount of SPF which is not required at night. (By the way, don’t even think of this as an excuse to skip sunscreen—this level of SPF is by no means enough to work as protection by itself.)
A night cream can also include ingredients that usually cause photo sensitivity and require you to stay out of the sun—retinols and exfoliating acids for example. Of course, you can use them during the day too, but you will have to be extra careful applying and reapplying copious amount of sunscreen throughout the day.
At night, all you need to do is pile on the retinol and pass out. Easy , right? Talk about some real beauty sleep!
Wait, my skin is different at night?
No, your skin isn’t different or does not behave differently at night. However, at night, while you’re hopefully sleeping well and catching all your , your skin does not meet the usual aggressors—UVA and UVB rays, pollution, and extra doses of cortisol.
Sleep means your stress levels are lower, and therefore your body feels much more relaxed. There is science to show how cortisol (which is the stress hormone) produced in the body can take a toll on more than just your nervous system and heart. Of course, it affects your skin, too.
There are a few theories that say good quality sleep also produces more collagen (ta-ta wrinkles), better blood flow (hello glow), and no more puffy eyes (which means reduced dark circles). Now add a good night cream to the mix, and you might as well have made each night a fountain of youth.
So how do I choose a night cream?
As with any skincare, start by listening to your skin—do not follow trends. If you feel pigmentation is a problem you want to address, look for night creams with exfoliating acids (stick to low percentages if you’re an acid newbie) and vitamin C.
Retinols are a good-for-everyone kind of however a lot of people can be sensitive to it—so start with smaller percentages, use them once a week and build up tolerance. Stick to non-fragranced products if you have sensitive skin and/or rosacea.
Keep in mind that much like you, your skin also has different moods - some days you might have dry skin, and some days it might feel overly oily, so choose a cream that makes you feel comfortable regardless of which skin type it has been marketed towards.
A skincare ritual is meant to make you feel like yourself, it’s not meant to be a chore—so if it feels like a bother the routines. But please, your face before sinking into a pillow. That’s one beauty commandment you should never ignore.