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How Do I Choose the Best Night Cream?

By Rhonda Rivera
Updated May 17, 2024
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A night cream is essentially the same as a daily moisturizer but without the sunscreen. The best night creams have moisturizing agents and antioxidants but lack irritants. Most face creams have a moisturizing ingredient, but they are often not the best moisturizers available. Antioxidants are another beneficial ingredient to have in a night cream, and they must be stored properly to be effective on your skin. In addition, it is important to avoid irritants such as fragrance oils and alcohol, both of which can cause negative reactions on sensitive facial skin or the thin skin around your eyes.

Some moisturizing agents are better than others, but jojoba oil and lanolin are among the best moisturizing agents available. In addition to being great moisturizers, they are known for their ability to moisturize without clogging pores and worsening acne. Look for a night cream that contains ingredients such as these. It is not unusual for a good cream to have a blend of effective moisturizers, from shea butter to jojoba oil. These ingredients also can be purchased in plain form to make your own night cream.

Antioxidants are good for your skin because they protect it from damage. This kind of ingredient occurs naturally but is difficult to package and keep fresh. A cream that contains antioxidants usually comes in an opaque bottle with a very small opening to minimize damage from light and oxygen. Antioxidants will not be nearly as effective if they are not stored properly, such as accidentally leaving the bottle open or sitting in the sun.

Substances such as alcohol and fragrance oils generally should not go on your face. These ingredients are very common and therefore are likely to be found in some of the most popular beauty care creams. Some people are particularly sensitive to them to the point that they have an allergic reaction after applying the night cream. Other people do not have a noticeable reaction, but fragrance usually is unnecessary, and alcohol is drying to skin. Many experts advise against using facial cream around the eyes, and you probably should heed this advice if the cream contains ingredients that could irritate your eyes.

Even the best night cream might appear virtually ineffective if it is not used according to its instructions. The most effective time to use a night cream is immediately following a shower. During this time, your skin is plump with water, and the night cream helps retain that water to moisturize your skin. The specific directions usually are more specific, so make sure to read the instructions printed on the bottle's label.

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