Most of us were raised with the nightly parental advice, “Wash your face before you go to bed.” From a young age, we’re taught that not washing your face at night is bad for your skin.
Your parents were not wrong because it is vital to clean your face off of all the dirt that has gathered there during the day. All the bacteria living on our faces are the cause of spots that appear suddenly overnight. And then the long fight to make them go away starts, but you can prevent it by just washing your face before bed.
Obviously there’s a lot more to good skin than simply washing your face. In addition to using effective skin care products, one of the strongest contributors to good skin is having a good nightly skin care regimen.
Why is this important?
Researchers have determined that new skin cells grow more quickly during sleep, so creating an optimum environment for this nighttime renewal is extremely important. Although there may not be one perfect skin regimen for everyone, everyone should be able to develop their own best nighttime practice by adapting the following steps to their own needs:
Whether you use a gel, soap or lotion, cleaning makeup completely from your face is an absolute necessity. Even light traces of makeup can cause clogged pores and breakouts.
Some skin experts recommend using a cleansing brush or washcloth to clean more thoroughly. These work great for some skin types, but with overuse they can also damage the skin. Use them in combination with a gentle cleansing lotion and monitor your skin for changes in dryness or roughness.
Even the best cleansers cannot always completely remove all makeup. To remove any lingering makeup residue, use makeup remover or olive oil on a cotton pad, and wipe your face and neck. This should remove any remaining makeup, leaving a clean skin surface for the following steps.
Exfoliating and facial masks
Exfoliating the face shouldn’t be done every night, but it should be done 2-3 times per week. Although there are numerous types of exfoliates, they all act in the same way. They remove the top few layers of loose skin by abrasion.
Some exfoliaters use round particles for rubbing the skin smooth, others use more angular bits. Whatever the material, skin experts agree that the skin must be exfoliated regularly to encourage skin renewal.
On nights when you don’t exfoliate, facial masks can be used for a variety of treatments. Ranging from deep moisturizing masks to masks that clean clogged pores, there are specialty masks that repair or help many skin conditions.
Skin toner has not traditionally been used at night, but it can be a significant part of an effective nighttime skin regime because of how it affects the skin.
Wiping the skin with toner actually balances the pH of the skin and provides the best environment for moisturizer to be applied. Specific toners are used for certain skin types so if you choose to use one, be sure it is not one that will dry your skin.
Some people choose to use retinoids as a core part of their skin care. Retinoids are effective in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and in making the skin tone more even, among other benefits. These creams are dabbed on wrinkled and creased areas, while avoiding the eye area.
Retinoid creams are available in an over-the-counter form or by prescription. Both types are effective but the prescription creams contain a higher concentration of retinol, which can dry the skin.
Whether your retinoid cream is prescription or purchased over the counter, you should always apply moisturizer immediately following the application of the cream. Some of the stronger retinoid creams require a thicker and heavier layer of moisturizer to offset their drying effects.
All skin types need moisturizer, even oily skin. The base of a nighttime moisturizer may vary from water to oil but its purpose remains the same—to leave the skin feeling soft and supple.
Moisturizing is a major part of good skin care. Cleansing dissolves so many of the skin’s natural oils, and using a moisturizer helps replace some of the oils that have been washed away.
Because moisture is needed everywhere, moisturizer should be applied everywhere. Use it over the entire face and neck, and be sure to pay attention to areas around the eyes and lips, which can easily become dry. If you use an eye cream, be sure to apply it after the evening moisturizer.
Although most people are not aware of it, facial skin can be pulled and tugged during sleep. This usually occurs when people turn over on their sides. When changing position, sleepers characteristically push their faces into the pillow, tugging on the skin.
Using a silk pillowcase will solve the problem. No matter where or how the sleeper moves, the silk material is so smooth that the skin cannot be pulled.
Sleeping on your back
Another way to keep wrinkles away is to sleep on your back. Side sleepers invariably form more wrinkles when they sleep because of the way the facial skin folds against the pillow’s surface. Sleeping on your back keeps these sleep creases from forming more permanent lines on the face.
Getting good sleep
A good night’s sleep is one the of the best beauty aids in the world. After a night of quality sleep, skin is healthier—and it looks fresher and brighter.
To be sure that you get quality sleep each night, try to go to bed at the same time each night. Turn out all the lights in the room, including phones and IPads. Being able to sleep through the night is one of the best guarantees of getting quality sleep.
It’s logical that for us to have healthier skin, we have to take good care of our skin. But also please consider this: the quality of our nightly skin care regimen predicts how our skin will look the next day. If we are tired, our skin will look tired. If we are rested and ready to face the day, the freshness of our skin reflects that as well.
Giving yourself the best possible skin care products along with the best possible nightly skin care ritual will result in the best possible “you”—and isn’t that a great way to start your day?