Day and night creams are specially formulated to target specific problems on our skin.
The main function of both day and night creams is to hydrate the skin, making it soft and smooth.
Although most often mistakenly assumed that these two types of creams can be used interchangeably, there is a difference in their ingredients and the effects they create.
What is a day cream?
Daytime moisturisers are usually formulated with SPF and antioxidants to protect your skin from environmental stressors like pollution, dry air and harmful UV exposure when you are walking outside. A day cream is a more lightweight cream and has skin lightening agents like vitamin C. The main function of a day cream is to hydrate the skin, making it soft and smooth.
Due to its lightweight nature, day creams can easily be worn under makeup.
What is a night cream?
A night cream is typically heavier and richer than day creams. They contain active ingredients like retinol and glycolic acid, (to polish) retinoids (to plump) and peptides which have anti-ageing benefits which regenerate the skin cells while you sleep. Night creams may also contain exfoliating acids.
These ingredients are usually exclusive to night formulas because they tend to make your skin sensitive when exposed to the sun.
Difference between the two
One of the main differences between day and night creams is the difference in texture. Day creams usually tend to have a lighter texture, while night creams have a thicker and heavier texture.
Day and night creams differ in how they are absorbed by the skin. Day creams are easily absorbed by the skin, while night creams may take longer to be absorbed fully due to their thick consistency.
Another main difference between the two is that day creams contain SPF and lightening agents like vitamin C, while night creams contain active ingredients like retinol and acids which cannot be used during the day due to the skin being exposed to the sun.
Can you use the night cream during the day and vice versa?
Most moisturisers can function as both a day cream and a night cream.
When you’re younger, it’s easier to get away using one moisturiser for both day and night use. However, it’s important to wear a product with SPF during the day if you’re going to be outside, or even if you spend a lot of time indoors near a window or where there’s a single stream of sunlight streaming through.
More importantly, you must make sure not to use a moisturiser with potent ingredients like retinol, AHAs and BHAs during the day as the sun makes your skin sensitive.
Vitamin C also has the same effect during the day.
Using a night cream in the day will leave your skin feeling greasy and your skin won’t be protected from the sun. while using a day cream in the night will leave your skin feeling moisturised and nourished, however you won’t reap the full range of benefits that ingredients specific to night creams provide, such as anti-ageing and moisturising.
if you’re adamant about having just one type of moisturizer, choose a moisturizer with SPF for both day and night: “There’s no harm in using SPF at night,"
Benefits of day cream
- Provides hydration.
- Keeps skin smooth.
- Reduces ageing signs.
- Skin repair.
- Promotes blood circulation.
- Gives you a dewy no-makeup look and helps makeup to be applied on smoothly.
- Fights damage caused by pollution.
- Combats dryness.
- Prevents wrinkles and fine lines.
- Filled with antioxidants to repair damaged skin.
Benefits of night cream
- Provides deep hydration
- Restores essential skin nutrients
- Supports cell regeneration and renewal
- Fewer comedones
- Less moisture loss
- Reduce wrinkles
- Reduces skin damage
- Improves glow
- Ingredients such as retinol can be very beneficial to skin elasticity and firmness.
- Improves skin texture, reduces itching, alleviates irritation and inflammation.
Why is it important that we use both night and day cream?
Most people prefer using different products for the day and night because they want the benefits of different ingredients. For example, you may want to choose an antioxidant moisturiser in the morning and a product with retinoids at night.
As you get older, it's advisable to invest in separate hydrators for morning and night to better meet your skin's needs.
Wearing a day cream with SPF during your time in the sun will also help prevent dark spots and skin pigmentation, as well as slow down the development of wrinkles.
Aesthetic reasons aside, SPF's most significant purpose is protecting you from skin cancer.
It’s important to invest in products that help repair and regenerate the skin’s cells during REM sleep (when your body repairs itself)
Look for night creams that contain ingredients that boost collagen production such as peptides— which also have the added benefit of containing signalling molecules to smoothen and relax muscles.
Investing in a good day cream as well as a night cream will do wonders for your skin once incorporated into your daily skincare routine. Speak to your dermatologist to get the best recommended cream for your particular skin type and if you have any skin problems, it’s always safer to consult with a licensed practitioner first.
Note for first time users: always do a 24-hour skin patch test to rule out any allergies or adverse side effects.