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The Dermatologist Guide to Perfecting Your Nighttime Skincare Routine

Dr. Bottiglione Dermatologist's Choice Treatment Night and Day Skincare Cream

As a dermatologist with years of experience, I often get asked about the differences between day and night moisturizers and why it’s essential to invest in specialized skincare products for different times of the day. Let’s dive into the details and unravel the secrets behind an effective nighttime skincare regimen.

Day vs. Night Moisturizers: Understanding the Basics

The distinction between daytime and nighttime moisturizers primarily boils down to their formulation, purpose and your preference. During the day, your skin faces environmental stressors. Therefore, a daytime moisturizer should be lightweight, fast-absorbing, and ideally contain SPF to protect against sun damage. A thinner moisturizer makes it easier to apply makeup smoothly and ensures that your skin feels comfortable throughout the day. An oil-free moisturizer like the Ultimate Restorative Hydrating Complex is helpful to reduce acne. The silky texture is not greasy and doesn't pill on the skin.

On the other hand, nighttime is when your skin goes into repair mode. This is the optimal time to use a thicker, more nourishing moisturizer. These heavier formulations help to lock in moisture and support the skin’s natural regeneration processes. Night moisturizers often contain higher concentrations of active ingredients, such as glycolic acid, TCA, or RetinA (tretinoin), which can slightly enhance their effectiveness while you sleep.

aging mature skin nighttime skincare routine

The Power of Active Ingredients in Night Moisturizers

When selecting a night moisturizer, look for products that contain potent active ingredients designed to target specific skin concerns. For instance, glycolic acid and TCA (trichloroacetic acid) creams are excellent choices for overnight use. These acids work by exfoliating the skin, promoting cell turnover, and improving overall texture and tone.

Using a stronger concentration of glycolic acid at night rather than in the morning can maximize its benefits. This is particularly important for those with sensitive skin, as applying such ingredients during the day may lead to redness and irritation. While this redness and slight dryness from glycolic and TCA is normal and usually fades away soon after applying it may not be the look you want when at work or running errands. By incorporating these actives into your nighttime routine, you allow your skin to heal and rejuvenate without the added stress of red or dry skin. I recommend the Dermatologist's Choice Ultra Anti-Aging Cream with active non-neutralized glycolic acid or the TCA Advanced Peel Solution for the next level anti-aging treatment strength. 

The Importance of Nighttime Moisturization

Moisturizing before bed is crucial for maintaining healthy, hydrated skin. If you experience dryness, redness, or scaliness, nighttime is the perfect opportunity to apply a rich, soothing moisturizer that can help restore your skin’s natural barrier. A good night cream can alleviate these symptoms, leaving your skin feeling soft and supple by morning. Also consider applying an oil, such as the Pre Bath Oil, to your skin at night to deeply moisturize the skin if dry skin or eczema is a major skin concern of yours. 

Choosing the Right Facial Cleanser

Your nighttime skincare routine should always start with a thorough cleanse. The type of cleanser you choose depends on your skin type—whether it’s dry, oily, or combination. For those with aging skin, a cleanser with glycolic acid is highly recommended. Glycolic acid helps to exfoliate dead skin cells, unclog pores, and stimulate collagen production, making it an excellent choice for mature skin.

I often recommend the Dermatologist's Choice pH Balanced Cleanser, which has been clinically tested for over 40 years and the winner of best cleanser by This cleanser effectively removes oil and debris without drying out the skin, making it suitable for 95% of users. Following up with a glycolic treatment cream, like the Facial Enhancement Cream by Dermatologist's Choice, can further enhance the benefits, leaving your skin looking refreshed and revitalized. Consider the full nightly skincare routine here.

dermatologist recommended nighttime skincare routine night treatment cream

The Ideal Nighttime Skincare Routine

To achieve glowing skin by morning, here’s a simple yet effective nighttime routine:

  1. Cleanse: Use the Dermatologist's Choice pH Balanced Cleanser to remove makeup, oil, and dirt.
  2. Tone: Apply Glycolic Peel Cleansing Pads by Dermatologist's Choice to further exfoliate and prepare your skin for treatment.
  3. Treat: Use a nightly treatment cream with active glycolic acid, such as the Ultra Anti-Aging Cream by Dermatologist's Choice, to target wrinkles, dark spots, and acne.

By following this routine, you allow the active ingredients to work their magic overnight, leading to improved texture, tone, and overall skin health.

Investing in a quality night moisturizer and following a consistent nighttime skincare routine can make a significant difference in the appearance and health of your skin. Remember, the key is to choose products that suit your skin type and address your specific concerns. With the right combination of cleansing, toning, and treatment, you’ll wake up each morning with a radiant, youthful glow.

Embrace the power of nighttime skincare, and let your skin repair and rejuvenate while you sleep!

The best anti aging skin set Wrinkles fine lines dark under eyes skin pigmentation sun damage dark spots uneven skin tone acne

Ultimate Age Management: Intermediate Plus Set


Revive and Rejuvenate. A powerful six-step regimen for those looking to reverse and manage signs of aging. This kit incorporates our best dermatology clinical strength non-neutralized glycolic acid products (pH Balanced Cleanser, Facial Enhancement Cream, Glycolic Peel Cleansing Pads, Ultra Anti-Aging Cream, and Pre-Bath Oil) to dynamically reduce signs of wrinkles, skin pigmentation, sun damage, fine lines, and dark spots for firmer, fuller, brighter, smoother and more lifted skin.

Dr. B. and Dermatologist's Choice featured in WELL + GOOD, "I've been a Dermatologist for nearly 50 years, here's why I *always* recommend glycolic acid over retinol." 

W Magazine, "Target your specific skin concerns with these 5 active ingredients."

Dermatologist recommend to those looking for a complete, easy to use, and clinical-grade solution for firm and smooth skin. 

Skin Type: Combination, normal, oily, and mature.

Skin Concern: Wrinkles, fine lines, dark under eyes, skin pigmentation, sun damage, dark spots, uneven skin complexion, acne.

This kit includes pH Balanced Cleanser (8 oz.), Facial Enhancement Cream (1.7 oz), Ultra Anti-Aging Cream (1.7 oz), Glycolic Peel Pads (4 oz, 50 pads), Pre-Bath Oil (5 oz). 

How to Use

How to Use:


Step 1: Cleanse face and neck with pH Balanced Cleanser. 

Step 2: Moisturize and protect with Facial Enhancement Cream and/or Pre-Bath Oil.


(Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)

Step 1. Cleanse with pH Balanced Cleanser.

Step 2. Tone and treat with the Glycolic Peel Cleansing Pads.*

Step 3: Rejuvenate skin overnight by applying Ultra Anti-Aging Cream to face and neck.*

Step 4: Apply Pre-Bath Oil to full face and body prior to bath or shower. 

*For very dry skin, apply product 1-3 times a week for three weeks to start to allow skin to build tolerance to non-neutralized glycolic acid. If skin becomes dry apply lotion or Pre-Bath Oil over product for a week.

(Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday)

Step 1: Cleanse face and neck with pH Balanced Cleanser. 

Step 2: Moisturize and brighten with Facial Enhancement Cream.

Step 3: Apply Pre-Bath Oil to full face and body prior to bath or shower. Use Pre-Bath Oil on the face and body if skin is dry throughout the day for extra hydration.


No parabens, No fragrance, Certified cruelty free, and made with natural and organic ingredients in the USA.

Glycolic (AHA)- Naturally derived from sugar cane, Glycolic molecules are the optimal size to penetrate the pores to deeply cleanse skin. It promotes exfoliation and rebuilds collagen for fresh glowing skin. 


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