Do you use separate products in the morning and at night? Or did you wonder why some people apply vitamin C in the day while others limit it to only the night? Why? And must you?

The truth is, different products target different skin needs. Also the time of day matters. Not to scare you, but using some skin care products at the wrong time may make you age faster.

Is the morning or evening routine more important?

This is often asked, but it misses the point. The question is more: When should you be doing what for your skin? Then you’d find that in the day, it’s all about protection and prevention, while in the night you want to focus on cleansing, repairing, and restoring (in one word: treatment).

Photo by Shiny Diamond

Some products are intended to be used at night because when you sleep, your skin goes into repair mode. Then, the ingredients can better penetrate your skin than in the day and so better aid in regenerating your skin. This is also the reason why nighttime skin care products tend to be richer and pack a heavier punch.

At night, you also aren’t exposed to UV radiation. This means it’s the right time to apply products that degrade when exposed to UV rays as well as those that make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

These are generally products with ingredients such as vitamin A or exfoliators (AHAs). If your skin gets more sensitive to the sun, it’s a must that you apply a good SPF in the day, but it also means you don’t want to use them in the day to risk more damage to your skin.

Keeping your skin hydrated and the moisture sealed in is a must both the day and night. So, moisturisers are a must every time you wash your face. They prevent your skin from drying out, leaving your skin hydrated while preventing premature ageing.

Your preference for texture

Different products have different textures and it can be a bit finicky to find out which ones layer well with each other. You’ll probably need some experimenting to find out what works with your skin and if it plays nicely with makeup and SPF.

You may find that you prefer a lighter moisturiser during the day and slather on thick creams at night. That’s because your skin just as your body has a circadian rhythm – a built-in clock.

Your inner clock tells your skin to produce more sebum in the morning. Peak production is around lunchtime which is also why you appear shinier in the afternoon. Production slows in the night.

And what about vitamin C?

Some people swear by using it only during the day. That’s because it’s an antioxidant that helps protect against UV-induced free radical damage. It also boosts collagen production and is exfoliating.

But, your body produces collagen when you sleep during the night. And, since exfoliation thins your skin, it makes it more sensitive to the sun, more prone to sun damage.

So depending on what you want to address or what risks you don’t want, you apply a vitamin C product in the day or night.

If you want to limit sun-induced damage, you layer with vitamin E and under your SPF, so that it may boost the antioxidant effects as well as the protection of your sunscreen.

If you don’t like the idea of getting more sun-sensitive and like the idea of boosted collagen production, you use vitamin C in the night.

Of course, you can use vitamin C in the morning and night. You get the benefits of both worlds, antioxidant protection as well as a collagen production boost. It’s all down to your skin and what you want to address as well.

What about the weather and the seasons?

When seasons change, your skin may act up, but it doesn’t mean you need to overhaul your entire skin care regimen.

During the seasons where you find you’re in a heated and dry environment, you may want to add a layer of facial oil or replace your moisturiser with a thicker one.

Inversely, in the seasons where it’s hot and humid, you’ll want to switch to lighter creams and moisturises. But you don’t need to wait for the seasons to change. Listen to what your skin needs and adjust your routine.

Adjusting for age

It’s never too late to start a good skin care – it’s also never too early. Forming healthy skin care and health habits in your 20s and 30s is like laying a good foundation for your skin in the future. Then, the essential steps are an apt moisturiser whenever you wash your face, a good SPF during the day, and cleansing in the evening.

Later, you’ll find you may want to support collagen and elating production and add such products to your regimen. But as always, if you listen, your skin will tell you what it needs.

Must you use limit products to the one or other time of day?

Absolutely not. But if you’re using something that may leave your skin more sensitive to the sun, it’s a given to religiously apply a good SPF in the day.

Otherwise, you can use the same products whenever you like, morning and evening. If your skin likes them and that’s your preference, you can use the same set of products in the day or night.

Just know that some products may not work so well in the day as they can break down due to the sun. Using a different set of skin care for morning and evening can eat into your pockets.

The one thing I’ll say is that most people only need to wash their face once a day, in the evening. In the morning, a simple wipe with a gentle damp cloth or rinsing your face is enough. Your skin is clean from your night time skin care. Then follow up with your routine which ends with SPF.

The bottom line

What kind of products you use at what time of day depends on what your skin needs. Your skin gets stressed during the day as it’s exposed to the sun, makeup, and pollution. This is when you want to protect your skin against harmful external factors that wear at your skin.

In the night, your concern is cleansing and restoring your skin. It’s the time when you tackle your personal skin issues. Having a solid nighttime skin care routine helps you make sure to wake up with gorgeous skin.

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