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Wearing SPF to Bed = Do Not Want

By Amalah

Hi Amy,
Just had a quick question. You have mentioned several times that you don’t recommend using a moisturizer with SPF in it as your nightly moisturizer. Is this just because it’s a waste of SPF if you’re not in the sun or are you saying that SPF can actually do harm to your skin at night? For the record, based on your advice I did switch out my moisturizer (Cetaphil SPF 15) with Hope in a Jar and am liking it lots.
Thanks! Liz

Ah yes, so very like me to issue sweeping skincare edicts without explaining myself.
So, SPF clogs your pores. Simple as dat. For those of us with oily or blemish-prone skin, it’s a necessary evil during the day (sun damage trumps zits in the long term, obviously), but it’s best to avoid it in favor of something non-comedogenic at night.
But really, all skin — dry, sensitive, even perfectly normal and balanced — should avoid wearing it to bed, because we all have pores, and all pores can get clogged up and yucky. (SPF can also be irritating for very dry or very sensitive skin, but mostly I’m against it for the pore-clogging business.)
Nighttime is the time to really nourish your skin, and address the unique overnight needs of your face. Think about it. Your face is clean and make-up free, but you’re also not blotting away the excess oil it produces at regular intervals. Maybe you touch your face at night (I always wake up with my hands curled around my chin) or your hair and scalp get oily or maybe you haven’t washed your pillowcase in awhile. When you think about all this stuff, skipping the completely unnecessary sunscreen in favor of something gentle and non-comedogenic is kind of a no-brainer.
So in terms of your product line-up, it’s kind of six of one and a half dozen of the other. The combo moisturizers-plus-SPF are convenient, but you need to buy a night cream or some other stand-alone moisturizer. Or if you have a plain moisturizer you really love, you can add an extra step of a stand-alone sunscreen in the morning, and skip it at night. Or you can get SPF coverage from your primer or foundation or face powder. Pick the combo that works best for you — I do not care. Just promise me you’ll leave the SPF off your face at night. That’s all I ask! That and the occasional phone call! And wear a helmet when you ride your bike! I NAG BECAUSE I LOVE YOU.

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About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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