Taking even a few minutes for a nighttime facial routine can improve the health and beauty of your skin.
After enduring makeup, oil, harsh weather, and pollution all day, your skin needs some tender loving care in the p.m. We know -- you're tired at night. But if you can, hold off on your shut-eye just long enough to follow these nighttime tips from Lisa Ginn, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist in Chevy Chase, Md.
Wash Your Face at Night
Stop! Don't slip into bed sans cleansing. 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, and follow up with a gentle face cleanser.
Boost Collagen With Vitamin A
As you get older, collagen production in your skin decreases. "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," says Ginn. "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
For refreshed-looking peepers, "eye cream is a must," says Ginn. Skin around the eyes is thinner than elsewhere on the body, and as you age it becomes even thinner, which can result in under-eye circles and hollowing. Ginn says to look for an eye cream or serum with vitamins A, C, E, or K, which 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.
Switch Up Your Sleep Sides
Ginn says she can tell what side a patient 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 try sleeping on your back.
Ginn emphasizes that to look good, you need to feel good. "A happy face -- the lines are so worth it," says Ginn. "Just take time to enjoy life. What's going on on the 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
Your face isn't the only skin that needs tender loving care. Check out these expert for perfecting your tootsies and hands at night.
Foot care. A few nights per 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. However, Ginn warns against wearing socks every night as 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 all over your computer keyboard and work papers. So at night, break out the big guns, like shea butter. Slather it into your hands and cuticles before hitting the hay.