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  • Writer's pictureNatural Skin By Lynne

The Biggest Skin Care Mistakes People Make At Night

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

We all have a night time routine, and that includes skincare for many of us. But your evening practice may not be as beneficial as you think.

Here are the biggest skincare errors I see & hear of, that people make and how to remedy that:

Retinol within a skincare routine with Natural Skin By Lynne

Applying Vitamin C at night

Just as retinoids are best for night time use due to sunlight deactivation and sensitivity, vitamin C serums have an ideal time period for application.

Don’t apply a vitamin C serum at bedtime - As an antioxidant, it should be applied in the daytime to protect the skin from free radicals.

Also, vitamin C serum doesn’t go well with topical retinoid, which is supposed to be applied at night. They can end up cancelling each other out, rendering them both ineffective.

Not Washing your Face

During the day, dirt, oil, makeup and even pollution particles build up on the skin. Not washing it off properly means that they can cause skin irritation, inflammation and free radical damage. This contributes to premature aging, dark spots, fine lines and even wrinkles.

In addition, washing your face can have harmful health effects — including attracting acne-causing bacteria and impeding your skin’s natural replenishment process — especially if you wear makeup.

People who don’t wash their faces at night also build a collection of bacteria and free radicals on their pillowcases, which amplifies the negative impact.

Ideally, you should wash your face for 30 seconds at night with warm water and a gentle cleanser that is fragrance-free with neutral pH to avoid irritation and dryness.

Failing to Moisturise

If the skin is dehydrated and the surface is dry and tight, this increases oil production as your skin tries to correct the problem naturally.

Dehydration of the skin can also cause redness, sensitivity and irritation, and a moisturiser is an effective way to add water to the skin. In addition, your skin switches to repair mode at night, so applying moisturiser will help maximise absorption and enhance the skin barrier.

It’s especially important to moisturise during the dry winter months when the skin becomes red, flaky and inflamed.

Getting too Aggressive

Some people wash and clean until their skin is squeaky-clean. Usually that squeaky sound is the sound of your skin’s natural oils being stripped away. This in turn damages the skin’s barrier and affects your skin pH balance.

Our skin is supposed to have natural oils in it to help keep it intact and to protect our internal environment from outside irritants. Wash your face at night, but be gentle.

Incorrectly Combining Products

Take care when combining skin care products.

Not layering your products correctly can lead to incomplete penetration and lack of efficacy of active ingredients. Always apply prescription products first and then going from lightest to thickest, with the most emollient item applied last as a seal.

This will enhance the skin barrier and improve the effects of all other products.

One common mistake is using benzoyl peroxide wash right before using a retinoid. This dries out the skin even more and can even inactivate certain retinoids. We always recommend a gentle cleanser prior to retinoid use & advise against using too many active ingredients at night.

You should be cautious and use one active ingredient e.g. retinol alone. Don’t be tempted to layer or combine retinol with a glycolic acid or too many of these ‘powerhouses’. This can actually lead to irritation and disruption of your skin barrier. Less is more.

And if you skipped your night time routine, don’t try to double up the next day — especially if you’re used to alternating ingredients.

Often I see clients with dry, peeling skin because they have mixed their products trying to speed up the repair process of the skin! Although all of the ingredients serve a purpose for different skin care conditions and help the skin in their own way, they do it best when your skin is healthy and has an intact skin barrier.

Neglecting your Neck

The skin on your neck is delicate, and as a result may show signs of aging sooner than other areas and is often neglected.

More & more people are becoming concerned about fine lines and textural change, now being referred to as ‘tech neck’. Nowadays, it is especially important to care for your neck just as you do your face.

Be sure to apply moisturiser to your neck to keep the skin hydrated.

Don’t Ignore your Lips

Many people aren’t using the right lip product or are not using any lip product at all.

For those who suffer from dry or chapped lips, I would always recommend an emollient to help protect the lips from further dehydration and help to repair the damaged skin.

It will help to reduce any irritation to lips overnight which may occur with lip-licking or drooling, which some people do in their sleep without even realising it.

Forgetting to Change your Pillowcase

Evening skincare isn’t just about what you do at your bathroom sink. Your bed also plays a role. You may not have realised that your pillowcase should be part of your skincare routine.

Many people make the mistake of not changing their pillowcase often enough, which can lead to acne. Even if you wash your face nightly, it is important to change your pillowcase every few days.

Not Getting Enough Sleep

I know this isn’t a skincare routine, but staying up to binge your latest TV show or using your phone at night can disrupt sleep. Studies have shown that chronic poor or low sleep quality is associated with increased signs of skin aging and poor barrier function and makes people feel worse about how they look.

Getting the recommended eight hours of sleep each night can greatly benefit your skin.

While you sleep, blood flow is increased to your skin, which allows collagen to rebuild and repair damage from environmental factors - so go on, get your beauty sleep!

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Your skin will thank you!

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