Dear Lizzy: Why should I use a night cream?

Dear Lizzy,

I am really confused about all the types of skin care creams out there. I use a daytime moisturizer, but do I really need to have a night cream too?



Dear Confused,

I can understand the confusion. There are so many products out on the market and they go by so many names. It is hard to keep them straight. But really there are two basic types of evening creams. For my purposes I am going to divide night cream into two broad categories so we can see the main benefits.

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 is 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?Try the Anew AHA Refining Cream.

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 does not 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 do not 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!).Try Avon Anew Overnight Hydration Mask.

Are evening creams different than day creams?

In many cases, not really. Day moisturizers tend to be lighter and usually contain SPF. Night creams do not contain SPF (which does make them feel different) and are often heavier and more hydrating. Anti-aging evening 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.

Bottom Line

If you are happy with your daily moisturizer and do not experience irritation then you probably do not need a separate evening 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.

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