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Don’t Wear Sunscreen at Night and Other Bedtime Skin-Health Moves Derms Have Nightmares About

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When it comes to her best skin-care advice for patients, New York dermatologist Jody A. Levine, MD prefers a rather simple protocol: “I always recommend patients wear a daily moisturizer with sunblock in the morning,” she says, but notes this is one piece of healthy-complexion advice that isn’t for all hours of the day.

“One mistake I see people make is using their moisturizer with SPF when they go to sleep as a nighttime moisturizer. There is no need to use SPF at night, as it can unnecessarily dry out the skin or clog the pores.”

Another pore-clogging move, says Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Chung Honet, MD, is not properly removing makeup before bed—but for many more reasons than simply flushing foundation down the drain. “Washing off the skin oils and makeup chemicals trapped under a day’s worth of sweat, dirt and environmental toxins is essential to allowing the skin to rest and rejuvenate, not to mention providing a clean slate to receive any bedtime skin-care actives we may apply.”

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) strongly supports this one and notes that eye makeup also hits the list. Their advice: “Use an oil-free makeup remover, and then wash your face using a gentle cleanser. Avoid scrubbing your face, even when removing makeup. If you apply an acne medication at night, apply it after cleansing, and then apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer on top of the medication.”

Although this one is less on the skin-care front and more on the actual sleeping situation, Dr. Honet also says that sleep habits, like sleeping on your stomach or tying your hair up in a ponytail too tightly, both increase the likelihood of creating facial sleep creases and hair thinning, respectively. “Bedtime is the prime time of the day to allow the skin and the body to rest and revitalize. During sleep, the body restores, reorganizes, repairs, gets rid of toxic wastes, stores new information, and regenerates hormone and energy stores. For the skin, being one of the many organ systems of the body, sleep becomes a very important time of the day for rejuvenating and revitalizing while we rest.”

And, while Glenn Dale, MD dermatologist Valerie Callender, MD isn’t against the long-revered acne-fighting ingredient of benzoyl peroxide, she does say to be careful when applying anything that contain it before hitting the hay, as it is rather notorious for staining sheets and pillowcases.

“If you must use these acne products, then stick to white towels, pillowcases and sheets,” she advises.

Another product that isn’t a pass, but does involve a little nit-picking before your head hits the pillow, according to Davie, FL dermatologist Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, MD: The fan-favorite of facial oils.

“As our skin gets drier during winter, we want to replenish hydration and luminosity by heartier moisturizer, yet some can be superheavy for our facial skin,” she says. “DIY oils and nightly hydration facial masks are so popular on social media now, but my advice is to be careful. Most of these contain cooking oils, such as olive oils, sesame oils, sunflower oil or shea butter, which can be very comedogenic and can cause acne breakouts and blemishes. Choose wisely.”

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