As a dermatologist, I know that my nighttime skin care routine is important for maintaining a healthy and radiant complexion. At the same time, it is a key step towards preventing skin aging and correcting skin problems. My nighttime routine is the ultimate skin care multi-tasking opportunity that happens while I sleep and I'm serious about maximizing it.
The essence of my nighttime routine has stayed the same for over 30 years. At 62, I can look back and say that products have evolved but the concepts of my nighttime routine have not. I'm going to share my current routine and at the bottom of this article, you can see how it has worked for me over the years.
First, I do a thorough face and neck skin cleansing.
I make certain to remove all makeup, dirt, debris and product residue.
I wash with my pH balanced Extremely Gentle Foaming Facial Cleanser, warm water and a Clarisonic Brush (they are no longer available and when mine breaks I'll get a Foreo).
Next I swab with my Naturally Hydrating Pore Minimizing Toner to remove any residual product, sooth my skin with organic witch hazel and rose hydrosol, and hydrate with glycerin and hyaluronic acid.
I call this product duo my Skin Cleanse Zen - and for me it is!
After cleansing, I know that my skin is super clean and ready to maximally absorb the important products that I layer next. - Dr. Bailey
Next, I layer products to deeply hydrate, brighten, fight age spots and stimulate collagen renewal all while I sleep.
I layer the best powerhouse serum to renew skin overnight.
It's Instantly Luminous Multi-Action Serum with fractionated hyaluronic acid technology that stratifies in the layers of my skin. Together with sodium PCA (part of the skin's natural moisturizing factor), these high-tech hydrators work to hold water and prevent dull, dehydrated crepey skin when I wake up. The serum also contains the antioxidant glutathione that protects the hyaluronic acid so that it can work its magic. The fractionated hyaluronic acid also helps to carry the ingredients in my next products more deeply into my skin. If you had to pick just one serum for your skin care, this is it. I apply it in the AM too.
I apply a retinoid to stimulate collagen renewal and glowing skin.
Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream is what I use most nights. It is made with the most advanced and stable retinol technology. Blended with green tea polyphenol antioxidants the technology fights irritation common to other retinoids such as Retin A (which I still occasionally use in place of my Retinol Cream) while still providing proven retinoid benefits such as:
- stimulating collagen synthesis,
- slowing collagen decline,
- fighting age spots and skin pigment problems, and
- brightening the complexion for glowing skin.
Almost every dermatologist nighttime skin care routine I know of includes a retinoid because we know how important they are to prevent skin aging. - Dr. Bailey
I top my retinol with glycolic acid!
Yes, they can be used together and the benefits are synergistic. I apply my Glycolic Acid Anti-Wrinkle 15% Night Cream as often as possible because glycolic acid professional face creams (10% or higher with acid pH of under 4) are proven to fight skin aging. They:
- stimulate collagen synthesis by a different mechanism than retinol,
- increase epidermal thickness,
- fight age spots and skin pigment problems, and
- stimulate the skin's hyaluronic acid production in deeper skin layers for dewy skin that glows.
My sensitive skin tolerates this combination at least 3 nights a week to all but the skin around my nose and the apples of my cheeks where my skin is always sensitive. Glycolic acid can be irritating and at the first sign of irritation I swap the glycolic acid for simple deep hydration.
I apply a deeply hydrating moisturizer for nighttime skin care.
I blend my Daily Face Cream for Dry to Normal Skin with a few drops of my Omega Enriched Face Booster Oil and apply this around my nose and on my cheeks every night. On nights where I don't use glycolic acid, I apply this over my Retinol.
My skin loves the soothing organic botanicals in my Omega Enriched Booster Oil including borage, sea buckthorn, argan, pomegranate and others. They complement the ceramides, squalane, aloe and glycerin in my Daily Face Cream.
I hydrate my lips, hands and feet at bedtime to keep them soft all day.
Dermatologist Nighttime Skin Care Routine for Mature Skin
I've done variations on this routine since I was 28 years old. I now have mature skin at 60+ years of age. You can see me age in the photos to the right (I was in my early 40s in 1999).
This series of images has been posted this in my office to show what's possible with skin care and cosmetic dermatology. I know that my nighttime skin care routine can claim most of the credit. It has helped me fend off the skin problems of a fair skinned rosacea and seborrhea-prone woman who loves to be outdoors. This means I fight age spots and collagen decline from both sun and age on a complexion that is inherently sensitive.
My routine works really well. I also know from my parents and grandparents that my skin naturally wants to be dry, rough, thin, wrinkled and covered with age spots. I'm not giving in. My grandmother didn't have this great technology to help keep her skin healthy, youthful and radiant as she aged. She took good care of her skin as best she could given that cold cream and sun hats were about all that was available back then. I've got much more powerful options today.
Both my grandmother and I love gardening and being outdoors as much as possible in the California sun. At 62, my fair skin looks much different than hers did. I know how lucky I am and I'm grateful that modern skin care science can turn back the clock on nature when it comes to our complexions. - Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey