Why not use a cream at night?

Why not use a cream at night?
I come across this question quite frequently: Why should we not use a face cream at night?

Here's why:
A cream is an emulsion made with waxes. This is what gives a cream its consistency and viscosity. It is not liquid at room temperature.

Waxes are hard to define precisely. They are made up of esters. An esters is a chemical reaction of an acid (mostly carboxylic also called fatty acid) with an alcohol or phenol. Natural fats (vegetable oils or triglycerides) are in fact esters of carboxylic acid and glycerol as the fatty alcohol. So basically, natural waxes are close to oils and are beneficial. The only problem with waxes is their viscosity. How you use them is what makes the difference.

Sheep secrete their own wax (lanolin) from their sebaceous glands to protect their skin and wool against the elements. Ducks secrete waxes from their uropygial glands from which they cover their feathers for many functions, one of the most obvious being to waterproof their feathers allowing them to live on waters days on end.

We as humans do not produce wool nor do we live on or in water continuously. Therefore, we should use waxes only as an added physical protection from the external environment. For instance, sailing, high altitude activities, water activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving and even prolonged swimming. In those instances, it is important to protect the skin with a layer of wax. Wax does in fact stay on top of the skin. It does not penetrate, but it does cover the minute folds making you feel like it does penetrate. It does make you skin soft, and it reduces the aspect of the wrinkles without minimizing them (they just don't look as deep because the wax fills in the creases).

All that is nice and dandy, but when it comes to keeping you skin healthy, we come across a small problem.

Waxes do not really clog the pores per se in a sense that they penetrate the pores and cause an obliteration, however, by coating the skin to a waterproof perfection, it also diminishes the ability for the skin to excrete freely its elements. Water from the sweat glands cannot come out since the waterproof wax barrier acts in both directions, if it doesn't let the water in, it doesn't let the water out. The sebaceous glands which secrete the oily parts are slowed down in their attempt to reach the surface and blackheads or comedos may be the result.


Yes you can use wax products (cream moisturizers) during the day to protect your skin from the elements, most specifically if you are engaged in outside activities exposed to such aggressors or hostile environments (heat, weather, rain, water, cold etc..). During the night, avoid using wax products (creams). Use only liquid oil and water, they will combine with your own skin secretions and allow your skin to stay healthier longer. Just wash out the excess in the morning when you wake up. Also, of course never forget to remove any make-up before going to bed. The consequences of leaving make-up on at night are far worse than using waxes.

As for the eye area, that delicate part of the skin everyone talks about? Same thing. You do not need extra protection during the night (unless you sleep outside).

By doing just that, you will slow down the effects of aging and your skin will eventually age slowly with beautiful elegance. Your skin will no longer hide in shame and false pretenses. Your wrinkles will become part of your own entity and character, you will gain power and intelligence, and that... will show!


Paul-Francois Petit