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Dr. Alpana Mohta Ranka, MD, DNB, IFAAD, is a dual-board-certified dermatologist with over 90 research publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.


How Do Dermatologists Take Care of their Skin at Night? The Secret Is Out!

Updated: 5 days ago

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a dermatologist? Moles? Skin rash? Fungal infection? Or none of the above?

Well, "The Times They Are a-Changin" and dermatologists are no longer just your average run-of-the-mill conventional clinical physicians you see every few months to get that mole checked or that skin tag removed.

Nighttime skincare routine of a dermatologist

Lately, dermatologists have turned into your next best skin care influencers. I am sure most people nowadays consider dermatologists to be these glamorous beings with alabaster skin glowing in their radiance, complete with a halo. Well, it's only half false.

Being a dermatologist, I know the science behind good skin. I am to skincare, what Meera bai was to Lord Krishna, what Bharath was to Ram, what Ser Jorah Mormont was to Daenerys, and what Snape was to Lily Potter!

So, I believe I can give you state-of-the-art advice on what it takes to maintain great skin. But just like all good things, seeing the results of your skincare efforts also takes time.

The best time of the day to develop a skincare routine around is night, at least for all the non-night owls out there. When we sleep, our skin detoxifies and heals itself. Making the most of this self-repair mechanism,

I have built a skincare routine that amplifies this process every night. For the very first time, I, Dr. Alpana, will let you in on my skincare secrets and tell you the four things that I ALWAYS do before I hit the hay every night.

1. The Subtle Art of Double-Cleansing

IMO, going to bed with makeup on is the greatest sin! The crimes you commit against your pores by allowing them to get clogged with an ugly concoction of makeup, dirt, and oil are an unpardonable offense. Over the course of time, this build-up leads to acne and permanently enlarged pores.

Every night I would double cleanse my skin to remove any particles of makeup or pollution that my skin has been exposed to during the whole day.

First, I use a non-foaming cleanser like the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser to remove waterproof makeup and sunscreen from my face. It contains products like cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol. These alcohols must not be confused with your everyday alcohols that tend to dry up the skin. Both cetyl and stearyl alcohols are, instead, hygroscopic and tend to retain water inside your skin, thereby making it soft and well moisturized.

At times I would use oil-based cleansers like the Face Shop Rice Water Rich Cleansing Oil or a cleansing balm for the same purpose.

This is followed by a foaming cleanser like the CeraVe Foaming Cleanser containing ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide. This step cleanses my face of the cleansing oil, balm, and leftover debris.

Although on days when I am not wearing any makeup, I would only use a salicylic acid-based cleanser like the Truderma Facewash or the Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash. Salicylic acid helps tame my oily and acne-prone skin.

After cleansing, I would pat my face with a microfiber towel.

2. Serum to The Rescue

Serums are these elixirs in a bottle that usually contain the highest concentration of skin actives. Often different serums address different skin care concerns. Retinol serum and Glycolic acid serum are the two most versatile serums, which can tackle multiple facets of ageing like wrinkles, dark spots, dullness, and hyperpigmentation.

I would alternate my night-time routine between these two serums, Sesderma Retiage Antiaging Facial Serum and Sesderma Acglicolic Liposomal Serum. Although both agents are very potent, I make sure that I use them no more than twice a week and never combine the two products on the same day.

In the morning, I use a vitamin C serum to give my skin that extra antioxidant boost.

3. Hail Hydra...tion!

Moisturizers have always been the crown jewel of our vanity cabinet. They are simple and oh so effective! They don’t just keep our skin hydrated but also make it soft and supple. In fact, many researchers have concluded that when used regularly in generous amounts, a moisturizer will both prevent and reverse the signs of aging.

Moisturizers drench your skin with the hydration that it rightfully deserves. A moisturizer will fill the microtears in the skin, which could compromise the integrity of the epidermal barrier. It is a must to apply moisturizer every night before you sleep.

Your pick for a moisturizer will depend upon your skin type and concern. While oily and combination skin (i.e. people with both dry and oily areas on the face) will benefit from a gel-based or light moisturizer, dry skin types require a thick moisturizer to seal in all the goodness of the serums applied underneath.

My top pick for an everyday moisturizer is Excela moisturiser for oily and acne prone skin.

4. Some Extra TLC for Eyes and Lips

Eyes are the window to the soul, and eyebags are the anguish of a tired soul. Eyelids and lips are the two most delicate parts of our face and warrant special attention. Eye creams and eye serums are specially formulated and tested to be effective for the delicate under-eye area.

Being an Indian, I am genetically predisposed to developing dark under-eyes. This, coupled with the stress of everyday life and long…long hours of screen exposure, often takes a toll on my already thin under-eye skin. At night I use a retinol eye cream to help rejuvenate the exhausted skin cells. The Sesderma Retiage Eye Contour Gel is my go-to rescue measure.

For lip care, I keep it simple with my Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. This lip mask has been my go-to product for a long time now, and I haven’t faced any issues like dry, cracked, or chapped lips ever since I started using it. The good-old household remedy, petroleum jelly, is also just as effective for night-time skin care.

5. Choose Silk Pillow Covers

You spend a lot of your time (I am hoping at least 8 hours every day), which is about one-third of your life (did you ever think about this?), on your pillow covers. So, please ensure that your pillow cover is of top quality, as that can make a big difference to the health of your skin and hair. Please choose a silk pillowcase.

I hope trying out my nightly skincare routine helps bring a change in your skin for good.

So guys, now that the cat's finally out of the bag, don't go around telling everyone about it. Shhh!

1 Comment

Unknown member
Aug 10, 2022

Wonderful post Alpana ma'am - Vignesh

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