Your skin recovers at night, which is why your moisturizer of choice is so important. And while there are plenty of options out there, finding the right formula for your complexion requires a little research and understanding of what to look for.

If you have oily or blemish-prone skin, opt for a lightweight, non-comedogenic cream. Or try one with ingredients like azelaic acid, which helps fade hyperpigmentation and dark spots.

1. Water-based

Water-based night creams are better for those with oily skin because they won’t clog pores, which can lead to acne breakouts. They’re also ideal for those who prefer lighter textures, like this gel-cream formula that pairs soothing vitamin B5 (aka panthenol) with hyaluronic acid. It’s free of greasy ingredients, too.

For those who struggle with hyperpigmentation, this product is a game-changer. It’s designed for menopausal skin and helps balance out hormones that trigger breakouts and dark spots, making it a great pick for women with oily-prone skin. It also contains glow-boosting vitamin C and niacinamide, a do-it-all ingredient that makes enlarged pores look tighter, improves uneven skin tone, and strengthens a weakened skin barrier.

While many people with oily skin skip the moisturizing step in order to reduce their oiliness, that’s a bad idea because dryness can trigger overcompensation by your skin and cause more sebum production. This hydrating gel is lightweight enough to use as a moisturizer or as an under-skin treatment. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid and ceramides to hydrate and boost skin’s natural barrier, while also being free of fragrance, sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.

2. Non-comedogenic

When you choose a non-comedogenic night cream, it helps reduce the likelihood of your pores getting blocked which can contribute to acne breakouts. However, you should note that just because a product is labeled as non-comedogenic does not mean it will never clog your pores. This is because everyone’s skin reacts differently to every product.

If you’re someone who is prone to breakouts, it is essential to find a formula that balances the skin’s natural oils. This will help prevent excess sebum production which can lead to acne breakouts and blackheads.

We recommend choosing a light gel-cream textured night cream formulated with ingredients like glycolic acid which will gently exfoliate your skin without irritating it. This will help to unclog your pores and help brighten your complexion while you sleep. Then, you can finish off your beauty routine with a serum that contains vitamin C which will minimize dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

3. Retinol

Retinol is an anti-aging ingredient credited with lessening fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps treat blemishes, fade dark spots (melasma and pigmentation), and shrink pores.

But because this potent ingredient can cause redness and dryness, you want to ensure that your night cream contains hydrating ingredients like shea butter and macadamia oil in addition to retinol. Also make sure to avoid any products that contain harsh exfoliating acids or alcohols.

This dermatologist-approved drugstore retinol is great for oily skin because it includes soothing shea and jojoba oil, plus pore-cleansing salicylic acid to help control oil production. It also uses pro-retinol, a less irritating form of the ingredient that still improves your skin tone and texture. It’s paired with protective vitamin C and barrier-boosting ceramides to minimize dryness, redness, and irritation. Byrdie’s testers found the formula to be rich, but not greasy or heavy.

4. Hyaluronic acid

Hyaluronic acid, or HA, is a water-binding molecule found in the skin. It attracts and holds many times its weight in water molecules, plumping the complexion and creating a naturally dewy look.

It’s also a great ingredient for oily skin because it helps balance sebum levels without stripping the complexion of its natural moisture. In addition, hyaluronic acid is less likely to trigger acne breakouts and is non-comedogenic.

If you have oily and acne-prone skin, look for a skin whitening cream for women with hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid. This lightweight formula absorbs quickly and won’t clog your pores while you sleep. It’s also formulated with salicylic acid, which helps clear excess oil and reduce blackheads and whiteheads.

5. Glycolic acid

Glycolic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (or AHA), which means it helps exfoliate the skin by dissolving keratin, the protein that forms your skin’s outer layer. This removes dead skin cells, unclogs pores and reduces sebum production.

AHAs are water-soluble, meaning they work on the surface of your skin. Salicylic acid, on the other hand, is oil-soluble and works deeper into your pores to target excess oil.

The key to incorporating glycolic acid into your routine is to start slowly. Using it infrequently and reducing the concentration will help you figure out how your skin reacts.

You’ll want to find a non-neutralized glycolic acid product that doesn’t contain any added fragrances or other chemicals that can be irritating. Look for formulas that include clarifying ingredients like niacinamide, brighteners, peptides and growth factors to improve skin function, while minimizing irritation. Also, be sure to choose a product with a high SPF to avoid sun damage.

6. Azelaic acid

Azelaic acid is getting a lot of buzz because it’s a multitasking ingredient that addresses several skin concerns in one go: It helps fight acne, soothes redness and hyperpigmentation, and smoothes the skin.

You can find it in over-the-counter and prescription products, depending on the percentage included. Fusco and Gerstner say that most of their patients can tolerate it, but you should start with a low concentration (like five per cent) and build up your tolerance — and limit use to twice daily, morning and night.

They also note that the acid downregulates the inflammatory response and could potentially make it easier for you to tolerate other skincare ingredients, like retinol. And as we mentioned before, it doesn’t clog pores like a lot of other acids do. It’s derived from natural substances found in grains, such as barley and wheat. It also has a less irritating effect than retinol.