We’ve all been there: it’s late, you’re tired, and you’ve either forgotten or can’t be bothered to meander over to the bathroom sink and follow through with your nighttime skincare routine. And while it’s fine to have a bedside beauty basket complete with some makeup removal wipes or a quick moisturizer for this exact reason, try not to make a habit of this. Here are six mistakes you might be making that are holding you back from your best skin.
1. You skip washing your face before bed
This can be bad for your skin on so many levels. First, your skin is covered in oil, pollutants from the day, makeup, and sweat. Even if it’s only a little bit of this stuff, it’s going to clog up your pores and impact your skin over time. Not only does cleansing your face before bed feel great (hello, clean pillowcases!), but it also gives your skin a chance to do what it does best at night: regenerate. Don’t slow down the natural process by leaving dirt and oil caked on your skin.
2. You’re inconsistent with retinol
This is one of the best things you can do for your skin at night. Retinol is at its highest performance during the nighttime hours while you’re snoozing, so applying it before bed offers your skin so many advantages. Retinol can help regulate oil production and smooth skin, accelerating cell turnover. And since cell turnover is something your skin already does plenty of while you sleep, this will only enhance the natural process.
3. You’re over exfoliating
There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Exfoliation is wonderful for your skin, and let’s be honest: we all love that ultra smooth skin we get after a gentle scrub. However, if you do this too much you could cause uncontrolled microtraumas in the skin, leading to irritation or possibly infection. The same goes for chemical exfoliants, too. You can strip away too much and potentially damage your skin barrier if you exfoliate excessively. If you just can’t help yourself, keep the exfoliation to every other night. But mostly, we recommend it 1—2 times per week.
4. You’re using the wrong moisturizer (or none at all)
This is a common mistake among people with oily or combination skin. They think their skin is already oily and doesn’t need any moisturizer, but the truth is they’re two separate things. Oil production and hydration are exclusive of one another, and no matter what skin type you have moisturizer is always necessary. It’s also perfectly possible to have excessively oily skin that’s dehydrated. Whether your skin is sensitive, dry, oily, combination, or normal, just pick a moisturizer that works with your skin and don’t over or under use it. We recommend hyaluronic acids for acne-prone skin types, and richer moisturizers for sensitive, dryer types.
5. You're using morning actives in the evening
We love a good antioxidant and routinely recommend vitamin c serums and creams to our patients and customers. But this active belongs in your morning routine. Using it at night is simply wasting it considering its main function is to protect you from free radicals. Yes, it’s possible that you’ll get some of the brightening benefits, but there are other products that can accomplish this at night so keep your morning products where they belong: in the morning.
6. You're layering your products the wrong way
Generally, you should layer night products as follows: cleanse, toner (optional), eye cream, actives (such as spot treatments, serums, retinoids, peels), and moisturizer. So what could go wrong if you switch that order up? Let's say you apply a moisturizer immediately after washing your face... everything you apply after that is going to have a difficult time penetrating through that layer to reach your pores where it can be absorbed. If you're ever unsure of how to layer your products, we've put together a guide for you. But a helpful tip is to apply products thinnest to thickest.