Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 12/12/2021
Every night, while you sleep, your skin gets busy maintaining itself. From producing new cells to absorbing skin care products and medications, night is a busy time for your skin, which is why it pays to have an effective nighttime skin care routine.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to spend a fortune to take care of your skin during the night. In fact, for most guys, it just takes a few simple skin care products to help your skin look and feel its best after a night’s rest.
We’ve shared these products below, along with more information on how you can create a night skin care routine that’s quick to apply, simple and effective.
Search online for nighttime skin care products and you’ll find countless lists of “must-have” eye creams, hydrating serums and other over-the-counter products to treat everything from dry skin to dark circles.
The reality is, when it comes to skin care, less is often more. While purchasing 20 different skin care products may make for a colorful bathroom counter, there's no guarantee that it will have much of a positive impact on your skin.
Instead, you’ll often get better results from a simple skin care routine that’s built around proven, science-based products. We generally suggest starting with the following.
Retinoids are medications derived from vitamin A. They’re typically used to treat acne, but they also offer serious anti-aging benefits that make them worth including in your nighttime skin care protocol.
The most well-known retinoid is tretinoin, a prescription medication that’s used to treat wrinkles, rough skin, hyperpigmentation (darkened skin, such as age spots) and acne.
Tretinoin works by speeding up your body’s production of new skin cells, which is a process known as epidermal turnover.
This promotes the shedding of old, dead skin cells, which helps to improve your skin’s texture and appearance.
You can find tretinoin in hims Anti-Aging Cream for Men, along with several other science-based ingredients for improving skin tone and texture.
Tretinoin is a powerful medication, which is why it requires a prescription. If the thought of using a prescription medication as part of your nighttime routine isn’t appealing, you may want to look into a non-prescription retinoid such as adapalene or retinol.
These popular skin care ingredients aren’t quite as powerful as tretinoin, but they’re available over the counter and can provide a similar range of benefits.
You can buy adapalene as Differin® gel. Retinol, on the other hand, is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter creams, serums and other anti-aging products.
When it comes to preventing the signs of aging, few products — including offerings from brand names — compare to good old-fashioned moisturizer.
In fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, moisturizer and sunscreen are the two most effective anti-aging products you can buy.
Moisturizer works by trapping moisture inside your skin. It’s great for use immediately after you take a bath or shower, as the ingredients in the moisturizer help to keep excess moisture inside your skin after you bathe.
Try using moisturizer as soon you dry off after taking a shower or bath, as this is when it’s most needed. To prevent your skin from drying out too much, try to bathe in warm water, rather than hot water.
Moisturizer is also great for increasing your skin’s moisture content after you apply ingredients that can cause dryness, like retinoids or peeling agents.
Night creams are designed to stimulate your collagen production, as well as your production of other important proteins while you sleep.
They also provide moisturizing benefits, making them a good addition to your routine if you have dry, sensitive skin.
One ingredient to look for in a night cream is hyaluronic acid, an important molecule involved in skin hydration.
Hyaluronic acid attracts water, which adds volume to your skin and provides the structural support your skin needs to maintain itself.
Another ingredient worth looking for is caffeine, which is absorbed quickly by the skin and linked to improvements in photoaging — a form of skin aging linked to sun exposure.
You can find both of these ingredients in hims Goodnight Wrinkle Cream for men, which can be used after cleansing and applying other skin care products.
When it comes to skin care, a good rule of thumb is to start with the lightest products first, then get heavier.
At night, this means cleansing, then treating and then moisturizing before you hop into bed for the evening.
Before you start applying skin care products, you’ll need to gently wash your face to get rid of dirt, sweat and extra sebum.
It’s best to wash your face using a gentle cleanser and warm water. Choose a cleanser that’s alcohol free, as alcohol can dry out your skin and affect your skin barrier.
Apply cleanser with your fingertips and carefully rinse your face using warm water.
Make sure to avoid scrubbing your face or using a washcloth. This can cause irritation, so it’s always best to stick with your fingertips.
If you typically use a cleanser with alpha-hydroxy acids or beta-hydroxy acids, such as lactic acid, glycolic acid or salicylic acid, be careful to avoid irritation.
If your skin feels overly dry or itchy, consider switching to a gentle cleanser that’s less harsh on your skin.
Once you’re done cleansing your face, carefully pat your skin dry with a clean, soft towel.
Give your skin a minute or two to relax before you start applying the rest of your nighttime skin care products.
Once you’ve cleansed your face, you’ll want to apply active treatments. If you use a retinoid such as tretinoin, adapalene or retinol, now’s the time to carefully apply it to your face, focusing on acne-prone skin or areas with visible signs of aging.
Make sure not to over-apply active treatments, as most don’t require a large amount in order to be effective.
Follow the instructions provided with your skin care treatment and make sure to be careful applying it near your eyes, nostrils and mouth.
If you use a spot treatment, now’s the time to apply it to any areas with visible acne, wrinkles or dark spots. If you’re prone to dryness from retinoids, this is also a good time to use a hydrating serum.
Since moisturizer traps moisture inside your skin, you’ll want to use it after you apply your other skin care products.
Apply moisturizer, night cream or eye cream after you’ve used your active treatments. This not only helps to keep your skin hydrated, but it’s also great for reducing the severity of itching and other side effects of retinoids and peeling agents.
Alternatively, this is a great time to apply a thin layer of night cream. Use a light touch when you apply moisturizer or night cream at the end of your routine, as you want to avoid creating overly oily skin that rubs off onto your pillowcases and bedding.
Skin care doesn’t begin and end before you go to bed. To keep your skin smooth, acne-free and protected from damage, you’ll also want to have a routine for the next morning.
Morning skin care is very similar to night skin care. It begins with cleansing, then involves active treatments such as hims’ Morning Glow Vitamin C Serum, and then concludes with moisturizing.
However, there’s also one extra step: protection. Since you’ll be spending time outside, it’s vital that you use a good quality sunscreen to protect your skin from UV radiation.
For the best results, choose a broad-spectrum, water resistant, SPF 30+ chemical sunscreen. If you’d like to keep your morning skin care routine simple, look for a daily moisturizer with a built-in SPF 30+ level of protection to combine this step with the last.
No matter what skin type you have, taking proactive care of your skin can help you look your best at any age.
After you shower, try following the routine above to give your skin the care it needs while you’re asleep.
Focus on active ingredients rather than brand names, since that’s where the real results come from.
Over time, a good nighttime skin care routine can improve your skin’s appearance, enhance your skin health and take care of your skin concerns — all while you’re asleep.
Sounds like a dream, right?
To help get started, check out hims’ range of men’s skin care products online.