Night Creams: How They Work and How to Choose One For You


How do you get ready for a night of beauty sleep? Sleeping for seven to nine hours (1) not only recharges your body and keeps you healthy but also allows your skin time to repair itself. You can help your skin with that process by applying a night cream before drifting off.

Choosing the right beauty products can be tricky. Most skincare products share similar formulations (2). Many are moisturizers with various ingredients added to meet the promises marketed on the label.

Night cream is a specific type of moisturizer with potential nighttime benefits. Most night creams are designed to have a smoothing effect (3). When you apply the cream, the rough skin cells on your face are smoothed down. The smoothed down layer may also prevent loss of water. Night creams come in different consistencies depending on the needs of your skin type.

While there are many nighttime creams available, some are simply daytime moisturizers you can use at night. When choosing the right night cream for you, read the list of active ingredients carefully. Experts recommend you choose products with a limited number of ingredients (4). It can also help to select a product for your skin type: oily, dry, or combination. A night cream might contain active ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, retinol, melatonin, or vitamin C. These ingredients are included to address different goals you may have for your skin.

Prioritize Moisture With Hyaluronic Acid

Hydration is key for promoting soft, smooth skin. Hyaluronic acid is a great way to hydrate your skin because it prevents water loss. This ingredient may be especially helpful for people with sensitive skin because it can help to repair the skin barrier.

Night cream with hyaluronic acid may also regulate the healing of skin tissue and wound repair (5). For individuals concerned about the effects of aging, hyaluronic acid has been shown to reduce wrinkles and sagging skin. There is also evidence that it can tighten skin and improve skin elasticity.

Use Retinol to Address Aging Concerns

As you age, your skin ages too. Factors such as sunlight exposure, stress, and hormones (6) affect how your skin ages and changes. Production of collagen, the protein that keeps your skin well-structured and elastic, decreases with age. Less collagen production is a cause of wrinkles and sagging skin.

One way to address signs of aging skin is to use creams that are retinoid-based or contain retinol. Retinol is a synthetic derivative of vitamin A. Retinoids improve cellular processes and collagen development in your skin. The use of a retinoid cream before bedtime may lead to fewer wrinkles and firmer, more elastic skin.

Look to Melatonin for Reducing Environmental Damage

Melatonin can be found in both day and night creams (7). Melatonin easily penetrates the outer layer of your skin, and it has skin protectant and antioxidant properties. Antioxidants may prevent cellular damage (8). As a result, melatonin could reduce the effects of environmental damage such as exposure to pollution, UV light, and blue light (9). People who use a cream containing melatonin report less stinging, calmer skin, and reduced brown and UV spots.

Creams with melatonin also have several potential anti-aging effects. Research has shown that melatonin-based creams reduce the appearance of crow’s feet around the eyes, improve skin recovery after pinching or stretching, and reduce the roughness of the skin.

Choose Niacinamide for Even Skin Tone

Niacinamide is another name for vitamin B3 (10). This ingredient aims to brighten the skin and even the skin tone (11). Products with niacinamide have been shown to reduce red blotchiness, yellowing skin, and darker patches of skin. Additionally, research has shown that niacinamide can improve elasticity and reduce wrinkles.

Harness the Power of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a substance that has antioxidant properties and encourages collagen production (12). Researchers have found other possible benefits of applying vitamin C to the skin, including:

  • Protection from UV exposure
  • Improvement of skin tone and tightness
  • Increased hydration
  • Reduction of wrinkles
  • Wound repair and healing

Pick Peptides for Collagen Production

Peptides are made up of amino acids, which are chains of molecules (13). Peptides take on many roles in the body, including regulating stress, immunity, and growth (14). Certain types of peptides stimulate collagen production (15). The addition of peptides in your night cream may result in fewer wrinkles, better elasticity, increased smoothness, and lighter skin.

A good night’s sleep can improve your health and also help you achieve the skin of your dreams. With the right night cream, you can assist your skin in its natural repair process. It might be worth the few extra minutes each night in front of the mirror to wake up in the morning feeling refreshed with smoother, healthier, and more glowing skin.


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  3. 3. Accessed on March 16, 2021.
  4. 4. Accessed on March 16, 2021.
  5. 5. Accessed on March 16, 2021.
  6. 6. Accessed on March 16, 2021.
  7. 7. Accessed on March 16, 2021.
  8. 8. Accessed on March 16, 2021.
  9. 9. Accessed on March 16, 2021.
  10. 10. Accessed on March 16, 2021.
  11. 11. Accessed on March 16, 2021.
  12. 12. Accessed on March 16, 2021.
  13. 13. Accessed on March 16, 2021.
  14. 14. Accessed on March 16, 2021.
  15. 15. Accessed on March 16, 2021.

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