If You Like Waking Up to Better Skin, Derms Want You to Know These 14 Serums

At this point, we all know that sleep is the key to good health. Getting enough sleep can help boost your immune system, lower your risk for health problems, reduce stress, and more, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It's probably no shock to learn that getting enough sleep can also improve your skin.

One study showed that people who get enough sleep (that's seven to nine hours) have more moisturized skin that's more capable of repairing itself. "Skin has its own circadian clock," says Rachel Westbay, board-certified dermatologist at Marmur Medical. "Different skin processes occur at different times according to this internal schedule. Nighttime is prime time for repairing damage and for rebuilding cells and tissues." She explains that during sleep, your skin essentially goes into renewal mode, regenerating new cells, rebuilding collagen, and repairing damage from environmental aggressors. Overall, your skin repairs itself three times faster while you sleep than it does while you're awake.

Thanks to this, nighttime is the perfect time to apply skincare that aids in that repairing process. Serums can be particularly beneficial since they are potent vehicles to deliver active ingredients to your skin.

What kinds of serums are particularly beneficial at night, and how do I use them?

Consider opting for serums that contain ingredients like retinol to aid cell turnover and nourishing ingredients like to repair the skin's barrier. "Rejuvenating ingredients and serums such as retinol are great to use at night," says Elyse Love, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Glamderm in Manhattan. "In addition, many forms of retinol are broken down by the sun, so they're significantly more effective if used at night. Bakuchiol is a gentler alternative to retinol. It can be used twice a day since it does not make the skin sun sensitive. For those with sensitive skin, barrier repair ingredients are also helpful at night as the skin heals itself. This includes ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, lipids, ceramides."

You can put serums on after any toners or essences, but before any night creams or balms. "Slugging with balm- or ointment-based products can also be helpful for nighttime repair," says Love.

When thinking about what skincare products to use when, it's a good rule of thumb to think about it this way: Nighttime is for repairing, while morning is for protecting. That's why at night, it's best to opt for repairing ingredients like retinols, lipids, and ceramides, while in the morning, it's best to start mixing in topicals like vitamin C and sunscreen to defend against environmental aggressors you may encounter in your day to day life.

I reached out to dermatologists to get a comprehensive list of some of the best serums to use before you snooze. Every single serum on this list is recommended by a derm, so you can rest assured that any one you choose will help you on your journey to the glowiest skin possible when you wake up. Keep reading for the absolute best nighttime serums. 

Best for anti-aging:

Best for discoloration:

Best for oily skin:

Best drugstore pick:

Best for sensitive skin:

Best for texture:

Best for damaged skin:

Best for even tone:

Best for dry skin:

Best for acne:

Best for fine lines:

Best for reactive skin:

Best for barrier repair:

Best all-natural pick:

Next, 11 Products "You Need to Try," According to a Sephora Beauty Director

Associate Beauty Editor

Katie Berohn is the associate beauty editor at Who What Wear. Previously, she worked as the beauty assistant for Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and Prevention magazines, all part of the Hearst Lifestyle Group. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a major in journalism and minor in technology, arts, and media, and earned her master's degree at NYU's graduate program for magazine journalism. In addition, Katie has held editorial internships at Denver Life magazine, Yoga Journal, and Cosmopolitan; a digital editorial internship at New York magazine's The Cut; a social good fellowship at Mashable; and a freelance role at HelloGiggles. When she's not obsessing over the latest skincare launch or continuing her journey to smell every perfume on the planet, Katie can be found taking a hot yoga class, trying everything on the menu at New York's newest restaurant, or hanging out at a trendy wine bar with her friends.