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How to Choose a Night Skin Regimen

Naaila Khan

After a particularly exhausting week the other day, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying some me time before bed. Coming right off a crazy Indian wedding, copious amounts of greasy food, and layers of makeup like I was, I wanted to give my frazzled skin a bit of TLC, except one look at the clutter of products on my dressing table – hydrating this and rejuvenating that – and I realized I had no idea – a moisturiser? An oil? A serum of some sort? – what a good, simple night time regimen looks like.

So I decided to ask three top notch dermatologists for advice. Ahead, here’s what Dr. Mukta Sachdev, Dr. Kiran Lohia and Dr. Malavika Kohli had to say about why sleep plays such an integral part in getting and keeping great skin and their advice about the perfect night regime for each skin type.

You see, when you snooze with these pros, you don’t really lose. (Ha!)

1/3 The Unexpected Virtue of Sleep

You already knew that getting a sufficient amount of sleep is great for your skin – but just to remind you, here’s why.

Dr. Kohli: “Your skin benefits the most during 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, especially between 12 and 4 am. Your body temperature drops and blood flow to the skin increases, which helps with the cell renewal process.

When you sleep, your levels of cortisol, a hormone that breaks down collagen, drop while levels of melatonin – a sleep hormone that’s also a great anti-oxidant – spike, and growth hormones are released. This explains why getting enough sleep is vital to the effectiveness of your skincare products and treatments.

Dr. Sachdev: However, your skin can dry out a little bit when you sleep, so it’s important to keep it hydrated.

2/3 A Night Regimen For Your Skin Type:

It’s best to stick with the basics, according to these experts. A typical night regimen for any skin type means a water-based, non-irritating, gentle cleanser and a hydrating moisturiser.

Dr. Lohia: All skin types, even acne prone or oily, need a moisturiser before bed. It’s the formula that changes according to skin type, which determines whether to use a gel, lotion, or cream.

a) Oily

Dr. Sachdev: “A night regimen for oily skin includes a cleanser containing salicylic acid to wash off makeup and grime while controlling oil production, followed by a moisturiser with a lighter emulsion, like a gel or a serum. If you have oily skin, try to stay away from ingredients like vitamin E, cocoa butter, shea butter, or anything in a petroleum base.

The La Roche-Posay range is great, it doesn’t aggravate acne or make your skin too greasy. Try the Toleriane Softening Foaming Gel for your cleanser, the Toleriane Fluide as a moisturiser, the Active C is great for correcting wrinkles.”

b) Dry

Dr. Lohia: “Look for a sulfate-free cleanser or a gentle cleansing milk, neither of which will dry out your skin. Follow it up with a strong moisturiser containing hydrators like ceramides and silicones.”

Dr. Sachdev: “I like Sesderma’s C-Vit Moisturising Facial Cream; it has a heavier cream base that moisturises and has anti-aging ingredients to boot. Don’t forget your eyes – dry skin is more prone to wrinkles, and this is true for your eyes, too. Try the Sesderma Facial Eye Contour Cream at night.”

c) Normal/Combination

Dr. Sachdev: “Combination skin means either that your T-zone is oily while the rest of your face is dry, or the other way around, where your T-zone is dry while the rest of your face is oily.

For the former, choose products that work for dry skin, but don’t apply as much on your T-zone. Try Avène Ysthéal + Anti-Ageing Emulsion and the Eye Contour Care for your eyes.

For combination skin that’s oily everywhere but the T-Zone, I like the Neutrogena Deep Clean Foaming Cleanser to balance out your skin.”

d) Acne Prone

Dr. Lohia: With acne-prone skin, it’s best to ask your dermatologist to guide you with your products. A face wash with salicylic acid and a moisturizer that contains anti-acne ingredients like benzoyl peroxide or alpha-hydroxy acid works best; you also want to look for products with a gel base because you don’t want any extra grease.”

Dr. Sachdev: “I’m a huge fan of Cetaphil Cleanser for oily skin, coupled with the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo as a night time moisturiser; but avoiding the eye area.”

e) Anti Aging

Dr. Sachdev: “Unlike with Caucasian skin, the most common signs of aging in Indian skin aren’t really wrinkles but brown spots or pigmentation, so look for products that aim to erase those. This is just about using products that work for your skin type and have anti-aging properties.

Look for retinol in your skincare; it’s the best active ingredient to target aging across the board, whether your skin is dry or oily or in-between. Skincare products that feature retinol also feature peptides and hyaluronic acid, which are also great for anti-aging.

The skin around your eyes is delicate, so use something especially suited to it, and make sure you don’t skip your neck and hands; these are areas that tend to get ignored.

L’Occitane’s Immortelle Divine Cream targets dark spots and improves overall skin tone, while Vichy’s Liftactiv Night Anti-Wrinkle Cream is a nice, non-greasy formulation if you have deep wrinkles.”

3/3 Things To Remember:

Dr. Kohli: “One of the cardinal rules of bedtime skincare is removing your make up before going to bed. Otherwise your pores get clogged and you get acne. Also remember that kohl and eyeliner works like micro tattoo over time and end up looking like dark circles. (Yikes! We had no idea.)

Also, avoid hot, steaming showers before you go to bed; they leave your skin dry and dehydrated.”

Dr. Lohia: “Stay away from at-home DIY masks, both before bed and in general; they tend to irritate your skin more often than not.”

Dr. Sachdev: “Try and keep your regimen as simple as possible so that it’s doable on a daily basis – you don’t want to end up using a ton of products, getting lazy and end up doing nothing at all.”

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