Evening Skin Care

Medically Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on June 21, 2012
3 min read

After enduring makeup, oil, weather, and pollution all day, your skin needs some tender loving care at night. Even when you're tired, it's worth it to take a few minutes to follow these nighttime tips from Lisa Ginn, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist in Chevy Chase, Md.

Wash Your Face at Night

Don't go to bed until you've cleaned your makeup off your face. If you leave it on, your makeup grinds into your skin all night, causing breakouts and even stretching out the pores, which makes your skin look older.

Ginn recommends an oil-based makeup remover, which can handle even waterproof mascara without tugging delicate skin. Use a cotton pad to sweep the makeup remover over your skin. Follow up with a gentle face cleanser.

Boost Collagen With Vitamin A

As you get older, your skin makes less collagen, which helps keep your skin firm.

"If you never stopped making collagen and never damaged collagen, you would never get a wrinkle, your pores would stay small, you'd never get a scar, and your skin would stay nice and tight," Ginn says. "Collagen is key."

To stimulate collagen production, which will help smooth fine lines and reduce the appearance of pores, Ginn recommends applying vitamin A in the form of either a prescription or over-the-counter retinoid every night. As a bonus, retinoids can help lighten brown spots.

Apply Eye Cream

The skin around your eyes is thinner than elsewhere on your body, and it becomes even thinner as you age. That can lead to under-eye circles and hollowing.

Ginn says to look for an eye cream or serum with vitamin A, C, E, or K, which can help repair the skin and lighten dark circles. If you use a serum, you'll need a light eye cream on top of that to keep the skin hydrated.

Change Your Sleep Sides

Ginn says she can tell what side a person sleeps on because that half of her face has more fine lines.

Some experts recommend anti-wrinkle pillows, but before you go to the expense, Ginn recommends starting out the night on the side you don't usually sleep on.

Even if you end up flipping over in your sleep, which you probably will, you'll spend less time with one side of your face smooshed into the pillow. Or you could try sleeping on your back.

Be Happy

Ginn emphasizes that to look good you need to feel good. "Just take time to enjoy life," Ginn says. "What's going on inside is surely going to reflect on the outside."

So spend a few minutes reading a funny book or watching a humorous YouTube clip, go for a walk, call a friend, or enjoy a piece of exquisite dark chocolate. All in the name of beauty!

Hand and Foot Beauty Tips

  • Foot care. A few nights each week, rub your toes and heels with a lotion containing 12% lactic acid, which helps slough off dry skin. Top this lotion with a heavier cream, such as one made with shea butter or glycerin. Then slip on a pair of socks over the creams and call it a night. Don't do this nightly, though. Ginn warns against wearing socks every night because the warm, moist environment is the perfect environment for fungal infections.
  • Hand care. It's hard to use a heavy-duty hand cream during the day without leaving greasy residue on the things you touch. So use it at night. Slather it into your hands and cuticles before going to bed.