On top of knowing what each skin care ingredient can do for your skin, you need to understand when to use each one. Read on to see the skin care ingredients designed to work best at night.
AHAs and BHAs
Both AHAs and BHAs are chemical exfoliators. AHAs can appear on the back of your skin care product listed as lactic acid and glycolic acid. These ingredients are great for combating dull skin, wrinkles, and dryness. BHAs, on the other hand, help to fight acne from beneath the surface. The most common BHA is Salicylic acid. Beta hydroxybutanoic acid and trethocanic acid (also known as citric acid) are a few other BHAs.
Yes, you can still use your AHAs and BHAs during the day. But note that you should be extremely vigilant applying your sunscreen throughout the day since these chemical exfoliants make your skin very sensitive to UV rays and could cause pigmentation. For this reason, they are best used at night.
Try: COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid has apple water and niacinamide to dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells and enable faster cell turnover, revealing brighter, clearer, smoother skin.
COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid is formulated with 4% natural BHA plus, willow bark extract, and niacinamide to clear sebum build-up and boost cell turnover while keeping skin from over-drying.
Vitamin A derivatives, including retinol, are skincare ingredients that shouldn’t be used during the day! Retinol is a great skin care ingredient and highly effective in reversing sun damage and signs of aging.
This superhero of skin care is known for improving skin’s texture, evening out skin tone, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and stimulating collagen production. But for being a powerful exfoliant and helping rebuild sun damage, it is also really harmful to the skin if you don’t use SPF at any point during the full 24 hours after using. When it comes to using retinol during the daytime without proper sun protection, it could have the opposite effect and actually make your skin age faster!
Try: Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM. Besides 1.5% retinol, it also brings squalane in the formula (one of dermatologists’ favorite skin care ingredients, by the way) to boost its anti-aging powers and add moisture.
Pure ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is not only a powerful antioxidant, but it also has exfoliating properties, which is the reason why your skin can look brighter and more even toned and fade acne scars with regular use. With high percentages of vitamin C (upwards of 7% in a bottle), your skin can be sensitized and be subject to UV damage when exposed to daylight. So be sure to use sunscreen on top of any vitamin C, or to be extra cautious, simply use any pure vitamin C treatments at night.
Try: Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum. With 5% of vitamin C, this serum is gentle enough for the most sensitive skin and can be used during the day as well, but make sure you use SPF!
+ Expert tip: The get the most out of your vitamin C, make sure to use a low pH cleanser and toner prior to application. Or, wait a few minutes for your skin to go to its natural acidic state before applying. Pure vitamin C works best in a low pH environment.