Creams for day and night: what are their differences?

Skin care changes a bit between day and night. The distance between both services is marked by the application of products with formulas for specific times.

Last update: 01 October, 2022

The health of the skin has a lot to do with what you eat, with your habits and with the day and night creams that are part of skin care. On this last point, there is the error of believing that both substances are the same.

If the products require instructions to use them day or night, it is because Only by following these indications will you obtain the desired effects. In the particular case of creams, whether for day or night, they share a moisturizing function.

As explained in a post The University of Tennessee Medical Center, the skin needs daily hydration and regular care. In this way, it stays youthful, blemish-free and healthy. You achieve this end if you choose the cosmetics that respond to the requirements of your dermis and if you apply them at the right time.

What is day cream?

Day creams are substances that contain few active ingredients. As the name indicates, they are formulated for daytime use and intense hydration and nutrition during this period.

In addition, its properties represent an important contribution of vitamins and antioxidants. They prevent wrinkles, smooth and promote elasticity.

The consistency of day creams is more liquid. This, in order to accelerate absorption: They fit very well under makeup.

These are cosmetics that take care of environmental pollution and radiation. Although they are creams that contain a sun protection factor (SPF), it does not mean that they replace the sunscreen.

What is the night cream?

Night creams are cosmetics that you apply so that there is no interaction with sunlight, so that cell regeneration occurs smoothly. These preparations contain acidic ingredients.

Substances carry out recuperative and beautifying work while you rest. Putting these creams on during the day could cause hyperpigmentation due to sun exposure.

Night creams do not have SPF and take longer to penetrate. They are ideal for the treatment of dry skin, with spots and affected by expression lines.

Night creams do not have sunscreen. Therefore, they do not protect against UV radiation.

Main differences between day and night creams

Apart from the time when it is convenient to apply both products, other variations between day and night creams are those that we expose below.


The base composition of day creams indisputably includes SPF. The Foundation Against Skin Cancer highlights that photoaging is responsible for 90% of the visible changes in the dermis and that it derives directly from sun damage accumulated throughout life.

It is the consequence that daytime formulas seek to prevent. To do this, they are made with hyaluronic acid, urea, collagen or vitamin E. For its part, the main ingredients in night creams are active ingredients such as vitamin C and retinol.

Magazine Dermo-Syphilographic Records argues that the dermatological use of vitamin C affects the production of metalloproteinases after multiple exposures to UV radiation. This micronutrient contributes to the skin, preventing the early appearance of signs of aging, pigmentation disorders and loss of tone.

As for retinol, the German Clinic points out that it is an anti-aging ingredient that offers the following advantages:

  • Minimize stains.
  • Promotes elasticity.
  • Reduces wrinkles.
  • Reduce acne breakouts.


In the nights, the skins take advantage of the rest to regenerate. During the day, what they demand is sun protection.

It means that while you sleep, the goals are to nourish and repair. Throughout the day, the purpose of creams is to form a barrier so that water does not evaporate from the skin and thus neutralize environmental aggressions.


Night creams are heavier, while day creams have fewer components And they’re not that thick. It does not mean that one is more powerful than the other, but rather that the textures result from the concentration of ingredients.


During the day, the skin absorbs creams more quickly, considering that they are light substances. On the other hand, at night, the thickness makes the process slower.

Regardless of how long they take to penetrate, spread at the right time, the 2 kinds of creams benefit the dermis.


Day creams are applied in small amounts, gently massaging the skin. At night, you spread them by moving your fingertips in circles on the skin and following an ascending rhythm.

Using the fingertips in circular motions is the proper way to spread night creams. The wide distribution allows its absorption during the night.

What happens to the skin if you reverse the use of day and night creams?

Switching the schedule of the creams has consequences. What happens is that the skin does not receive the benefits it needs at particular times and the fight against the signs of aging becomes uphill.

Remember that these products are of special composition and, if you reverse the order, they will not be effective. Your skin care routine is positive if you approach your goals by separating day and night cosmetics.

The economic aspect is one of the arguments for using the same type of cream in both shifts. It means only an expense. In these scenarios, consultation with the dermatologist about a dual-use product.

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