do you need a night cream?

Night creams are the balmy goodness that you slather onto your skin before your head hits the pillow. They’re like a nourishing hug for your face, but do you really need one? The answer partially depends on your skin type – some people would benefit from one, others maybe not so much.

Naturally, those with dry skin deserve the comfort of a night cream. Dry skin types tend to lack sebaceous glands, our sebum-producing factories, which means that less sebum will be made. Put simply, sebum is a waxy substance that’s essential for the health of our skin. I like to think of sebum as our skin’s natural raincoat – it coats the surface of our skin with a “waterproof” layer, which prevents precious moisture from escaping through the epidermis, our outermost layer of skin. As if that’s not enough, sebum also moisturises the skin to keep it soft, smooth and supple.

A night cream can step in as the moisture-retaining layer that dry skin is missing out on. The REN Evercalm Overnight Recovery Balm (€45) serves dry skin a diet of lipids from olive, almond, borage and linseed oils to nourish and moisturise. It also contains a jojoba and sunflower oil complex to reinforce the skin barrier and lock in our skin’s own stores of moisture. This is incredibly important because trans epidermal water loss (TEWL) (the natural process of moisture passing through our skin), increases during our beauty sleep.

Sadly, dry skin and a weakened skin barrier often go hand in hand. A compromised skin barrier is more permeable than usual, making it much easier for harmful irritants to enter and moisture to pass through, which can cause dehydration – a skin condition where the skin lacks water. It’s common for those who suffer from inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea and eczema to have an impaired skin barrier function. 

In this case, I would recommend a night cream like Skingredients Skin Good Fats (€45). It contains skin-native ceramide NP to fortify the impaired skin barrier, as well as drago-calm, an emollient which has antioxidant properties to help reduce the impact of irritants on the skin.

If you’re a mature hooman on the lookout for pro-ageing skincare, a night cream might be in your best interests. Our skin is in survival mode throughout the day, which is why we arm it with antioxidants to protect it from free radical damage and apply a broad-spectrum SPF to shield the skin from UV exposure. It’s during the night that the skin can focus on rejuvenation and repairing skin damage that’s occurred during the day, which a night cream can assist with. Nerdie fact: our skin is busiest repairing damage between 10pm and 2am.

The Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream (€80) uses clever retinol tri-active technology to diminish fine lines and regulate the skin’s cell renewal rates, which helps to reveal fresh, even-toned skin. It also contains niacinamide which stimulates the synthesis of ceramides to reinforce the skin barrier and protect the skin’s moisture supply.

In my nerdie opinion, night creams are skincare “add-ons” that can be incorporated into your evening regimen as and when you need to. While a saviour for moisture-starved skin, I don’t believe that they’re a night-time necessity for every skin type – especially if you’re using serums brimming with vitamins and nutrients galore.

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