The Anti-Aging Ingredients You Shouldn't Use On Your Skin In The Morning

Nighttime is often considered the most optimal time of the day for skin care. In the evening, your skin finally has the chance to rest, rejuvenate, and reverse the damage caused by environmental pollutants and makeup products, per SkinKraft. However, how you prep your skin in the morning is no less important. Nighttime skincare plays the role of correcting, while daytime skincare protects. During the day, your skin is exposed to a variety of contaminants and harmful UV rays, which results in collagen breakdown and accelerated aging. If you step out of your house during the day with a bare face, it's only a matter of time before your skin turns into ground zero for clogged pores, breakouts, and aging spots.


To equip your face with everything it needs to take on the day, make sure to cleanse, hydrate, and slather broad-spectrum sunscreen before stepping out, Herbal Dynamics Beauty advises. It's also important to remember that not every skincare ingredient that may be used in the evening should also be used in the morning. The reason is that sunlight might compromise certain ingredients and backfire on your skin. When it comes to skincare, some products are better reserved for daytime and others for nighttime. Below, check out some anti-aging ingredients that had better stay out of your morning skincare lineup.


Hydroquinone is a topical skin-bleaching ingredient that helps lighten dark patches by reducing the amount of melanocytes present and stymieing the production of melanin — a substance in your body that produces skin pigmentation. Due to its ability to even out skin tone, hydroquinone is often used in the topical treatment of hyperpigmentation, melasma, freckles, scars, or age spots caused by photodamage, inflammatory acne, birth control pills, or hormonal medicine. "Used in combination with other acne products such as Retin-A, it can help dramatically improve skin complexion," plastic surgeon David Shafer, M.D., tells Byrdie.


According to WebMD, hydroquinone can make the treated skin more sensitive to UV rays and induce an unwanted reaction, such as a rash or a sunburn-like sensation. To minimize irritation, it's better to use the product after an evening facial wash. To maximize the results of hydroquinone, slather ample sunscreen on your face to protect it from glaring UV rays, as well as put on sun protection gear when outdoors.

Retinol and retinoids

A powerhouse anti-aging ingredient, retinol is known for its superb ability to unclog pores, increase skin cell growth, and facilitate collagen production to diminish the appearance of wrinkles and brighten up your complexion. If you have hyperpigmentation, sunburns, or age lines, a retinol facial peel once a month can help your skin improve noticeably. Both retinol and retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that have demonstrated good effects in delaying the signs of aging. The difference between these two is that retinoids are stronger and typically available by prescription only, while retinol can be purchased over the counter.


Although retinol and retinoids can do wonders for your skin, they should be left out of your daytime skincare routine as they can be deactivated by UV rays, skincare scientist Dr. Michele Squire tells Marie Claire. Other types of retinoids, like retinaldehyde, adapalene, and tretinoin, should be used only in the evening and washed off first thing in the morning. In addition, dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe tells Vogue, "Retinol makes your skin more sensitive to UV rays, and sunlight decreases the efficacy of the product." So, if you don't want your costly retinoids-infused tonic to go down the drain, only use the product before hitting the pillow.

Citrus oils

Loaded with vitamin C and antibacterial properties, citrus oils are capable of stimulating skin regeneration and slowing down the formation of fine lines or wrinkles. So, not only can they brighten your complexion and reduce acne scars, but they can also fight inflammation, ramp up your skin's defense, and balance your skin's natural oil. Plus, the sweet aroma of citrus also makes the skin feel and smell fresh.


The problem with citrus oils is that they contain compounds that increase photosensitivity, Young Living warns. For instance, furanocoumarin, an organic chemical compound commonly found in this oil, can cause a phototoxic reaction. According to a study published in Pediatric Secrets, oils of bergamot, lemon, and lime are "the most commonly reported causes of photosensitivity." If used during the daytime, these oils can cause rash, blistering, as well as redness of the skin. Therefore, do not touch citrus oil before sun exposure. However, if you habitually use it in the evening, make sure to wear liberal sunscreen during the day to minimize your risk of photodamage.


Packing a hydration punch, glycerin is the LBD of skincare. Not only can it soften rough spots and prevent acne, but it can also tighten your pores, restore moisture to the skin, and keep aging signs off your face for a long time. Since glycerin is a potent humectant, it is "like a sponge that pulls water to the outer skin layer" and can keep your skin moist for a long time, dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner tells Allure. In addition, according to Dr. Kaustav Guha from SkinKraft, because glycerin is primarily made from plant sources, it is typically non-comedogenic, non-allergenic, inexpensive, and safe to use on dry, oily, and even sensitive skin.


To reap the most benefits from glycerin's moisturizing and emollient properties, however, it's best to use the product at night instead of during the day. This is because it can cause sun sensitivity, resulting in mild itchiness and rash in sensitive skin. Therefore, if you must wear glycerin in the morning, cover your face with lots of broad-spectrum sunscreen afterward.

AHAs and BHAs

When it comes to anti-aging skincare, the list is not complete without mentioning alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). As chemical exfoliants, these substances aid in the removal of dead skin cells from the skin's top layer, softening the texture and smoothing out fine wrinkles. Those with dry or rough skin can benefit from the gentler exfoliating power of AHAs, while those with oily skin might be a good candidate for BHAs, which are stronger at breaking through the pores and clearing out trapped gunks, dermatologist Dr. Loretta Ciraldo tells Cosmopolitan. Glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, hydroxycaprylic acid, and hydroxycapric acid are some common AHA ingredients (via FDA). Some familiar chemicals in BHAs include tropic acid, trethocanic acid, and salicylic acid, per Face Dr.


Since both AHAs and BHAs are exfoliants, they are also sun sensitizers and make your skin more vulnerable to UV radiation, The Skin Cancer Foundation points out. Prolonged exposure to UV rays after using chemical exfoliants on your face can predispose your skin to a burn, rash, or red bumps. Even when you use AHAs or BHAs in the evening, make sure to slather on broad-spectrum sunscreen during the daytime, don protective clothing, and curtail protracted sun exposure to minimize the risk of skin damage.