According to dermatologist Shasu Hu, MD, our skin really does repair itself overnight. It’s more receptive to recovery while our bodies are at rest, mainly due to skin’s higher temperature (which peaks at night) and high moisture loss. This allows active ingredients in skin care products to penetrate deeply and be even more effective than during the day.
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While you want potent ingredients to work their magic, it’s also important that products contain some soothing ones to avoid irritation, says Miami-based Hu, especially if you have sensitive skin. Look for gentler ingredients, like niacinamide, and botanical extracts, including lavender and green tea. Whatever nighttime treatment you choose, how often to apply is up to you. Once a week is sufficient if that’s all the time you’ve got!
Photo by Kate Sears
All of these products should be used as the last step of your p.m. routine.
Isdin Melatonik, isdin.com/us, $150
While known as a sleep aid, melatonin acts as an antioxidant here, helping skin fight free radicals. The serum
also has bakuchiol, an anti-aging ingredient that’s like a gentler version of retinol for those who can’t tolerate it.
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Korres Black Pine AntiAging, Firming & Lifting Sleeping Facial, sephora.com, $68
Potent black pine extract works with peptides to lift, firm and contour.
Burt’s Bees Overnight Intensive Lip Treatment, burtsbees.com, $9
The peppermint and jojoba oil–infused treatment lets you wake up to smooth lips.
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil, sephora.com, $55
This overnight retinol oil is tough on wrinkles but gentle on skin, thanks to soothing botanicals and essential oils.
Ahava Mineral Radiance Overnight De-Stressing Cream, ahava.com, $55
Sleep off damage from daily stress and environmental pollution.
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Patchology FlashPatch Restoring Night Eye Gels, ulta.com, $60
Apply these patches—containing retinol and peptides—under your eyes for five minutes before bed. Then remove and rub in remaining serum to smooth crow’s feet while you snooze.
Dr. Brandt Skincare Hydro Biotic Recovery Sleeping Mask, sephora.com, $52 Probiotics help restore the skin’s barrier and microbiome.
Dermalogica Sound Sleep Cocoon, ulta.com, $80
Essential oils, like lavender and sandalwood, help you drift off, while vitamin C–rich Kakadu plum brightens.