Itâ??s an urban myth that skin goes to sleep at night. So letâ??s FACE THE FACTS.

There are a lot of reasons why skincare products need to be applied at night. In fact, it can be easily argued that nighttime products are more important than daytime, because thatâ??s when the skin repairs itself.

During the day, skin is bombarded with wind, makeup, pollution, sweating, and all of this exhausts the cells. Why? Because the sole purpose of skin is to protect our bodies from outside insults and contaminants. So during the daytime, the skin is busy defending itself from these environmental factors. Thatâ??s why, during the day, we apply products that strengthen, hydrate and protect with skin with antioxidants (topically and systemically) and UV protectors. At night, itâ??s ready to get ready for another day. Thatâ??s the time when the cells renew themselves and need to be activated with key ingredients like retinol; surface repair agents, such as ceramides; and anti-inflammatory agents, such as botanicals. These all work together to create skin that is brighter, more even-toned, and hydrated.
So nighttime products are different from daytime products, because the skinâ??s needs are different. Many active ingredients in skincare products have a relatively short life, and are deactivated by sunlight. So the really important ingredientsâ??the really good stuffâ??is rendered useless. So by nighttime, thereâ??s no residual value. Products need to be reapplied. During the daytime skincare products are rubbed off, sweated off, washed off, wiped off. Or theyâ??re completely absorbed. Moisturizers last only 3-4 hours. Medical treatments require application 2-3 times every 24 hours. Iâ??m a proponent of saturating the skin with active and powerful ingredients so that itâ??s nourished throughout the day and night. Nighttime products are heavier, to restore essential moisture, reduce wrinkles and repair the skin. They provide what we call barrier protectionâ??to prevent transepidermal water loss (dehydration). Then in the morning, your skin is supple, revitalized and smooth. The active ingredients used in nighttime products are better able to stimulate and up-regulate cell turnover so that fresher, brighter, healthier skin can emerge. Nighttime is a perfect opportunity for controlled release of active ingredients over a 4-6 hour period. It is also a good time to layer products which may not be possible during the daytime if makeup is to be applied overtop. Finally, Iâ??d be remiss if I didnâ??t mention the importance of cleansing as a part of a night- time skincare program. Many people, Iâ??m convinced, take the short-cut of not removing their make-up before retiring. Our faces are never covered, theyâ??re always exposed to all kinds of environmental pollutants. Cleanse your skin, faithfully and thoroughly to remove the dirt and surface oils. Itâ??s important for everyone, but critical for women who wear cosmetics. Sounds a bit extreme, I know, but you may even want to do it twice. Itâ??s that important.

You may be tired, you may be stressed. But nighttime skincare is important. And it only takes a minute.

Zein Obagi, MD

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