How to Get Clear Skin Overnight

The best ways to get clear skin fast.


Stocksy / Design by Jiaqi Zhou

A good night’s rest has never been more important than the weeks (and days!) leading up to your wedding day. Not only are a solid eight hours of snooze crucial for your well-being, but your skin can reap some overnight skincare benefits, too. Need another excuse to get in the habit of hitting the pillow at a reasonable time? You can maximize your skincare regimen with a bevy of treatments and hacks to get gorgeous skin while your body rests. We enlisted the counsel of dermatologists Lily Talakoub, MD, and Kenneth Howe, MD, as well as celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas to get the secrets on banishing pesky breakouts, fine lines, and wrinkles and achieving smooth and radiant skin.

Meet the Expert

  • Lily Talakoub, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at McLean Dermatology and Skincare Center.
  • Joanna Vargas is a celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salons and Skin Care. She is also the author of Glow From Within.
  • Kenneth Howe, MD, is a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Union Derm.

Read on for expert insight and tips on how to get clear skin fast.

How to Prep Your Skin for the Big Day
Michela Buttignol/Brides

1. Go to Bed With a Clean Face

It starts with the basics, and the foundation of great skin is cleansed skin. “Wash your face with a cream-to-oil cleanser,” says Talakoub. “Exfoliating cleansers can strip the natural barrier of the skin, leaving skin dry and dull. An oil-based or cream-to-oil cleanser is gentle on the skin and leaves the skin's natural barrier unharmed and glowing.” She recommends Comfort Zone Remedy Cream to Oil Cleanser.

2. Try Apple Cider Vinegar

Believe it or not, one kitchen essential can gently exfoliate the most sensitive or breakout-prone skin without the need for harsh scrubbing or a chemical-laden peel. “Raw apple cider vinegar is perfect for any skin type and particularly amazing for people who break out," says Vargas. "It exfoliates, balances the skin, and it also helps calm breakouts and heals them quickly.” She suggests applying a small amount all over your face like you would toner using a cotton round, adding "I would just warn people that the smell is not for everyone!”

Apple cider vinegar is not acidic, so it’s very gentle. "Leave it on the skin as an overnight treatment, and it will make your skin look better in the morning," says Vargas.

3. Use a Sheet Mask Before Bed

Not only do they make for a great Instagram selfie, but sheet masks are great for hydrating skin. So, before you layer on your skincare products for the evening, Howe suggests indulging skin with a heaping dose of extra moisture. “My favorite is the SK-II Facial Treatment Mask, which contains Pitera,” he says. “Derived from the yeasts involved in the fermentation of sake, Pitera is very similar to the natural moisturizing factors of our skin. It enables our skin to better hold on to moisture.” The result? “A more glowing, dewy appearance,” he says.

4. Avoid Salty Foods in the Evening

This is especially true on the nights leading up to the big day, Howe tells us. “If we’re talking about the actual night before the wedding, it can be helpful to avoid highly salty foods as they can lead to puffiness.” He also explains that puffiness under the eyes especially can lead to a tired look. “A de-puffing gel can help take down the swelling," he tells us.

5. Don’t Be Afraid of Oils

If you’re still on the fence about facial oils, consider this more reason to take the leap. “Oils protect the outer layer of the skin and provide rich antioxidants to prevent against DNA damage,” explains Talakoub. She suggests layering an oil under your night cream for optimal results. “Choose [an oil] that is non-comedogenic. My favorites are ones with argan oil, sunflower seed oil, or marula oil.”

6. Don't Skip Vitamin C, Especially Around the Eyes

One of the keys to achieving radiant skin is good old vitamin C. The super-ingredient banishes dark spots and improves skin tone, revealing beautifully glowy skin—and who doesn’t want that? Talakoub reminds us to apply and massage around the eye area for a double dose of great skin. “Apply a brightening eye cream with vitamin C or licorice root extract from your temples to the inner corners of your eyes," she says. "The vitamin C brightens dark under-eye circles while the outward massage helps improve lymphatic drainage, decreasing morning under-eye puffiness."

7. Hydrate

"Dehydration is a lack of water in the skin," explains Vargas. "Dehydrated skin can appear red, inflamed, or irritated and, when pinched, may not bounce back or may tent up in a wrinkly shape or fine lines. You don't have to have all of these—just one can mean dehydration." If drinking water doesn't entice you, Vargas has some suggestions: Green juices offer a tastier alternative that hydrates and encourages lymphatic drainage to de-puff, and chlorophyll has similar effects while also oxygenating the skin. For topical products, look for serums with green ingredients to hydrate and oxygenate, or plant oils to plump the skin, and apply upward to stimulate circulation. Masks with hyaluronic acid, yogurt, or avocado oil can do wonders for dehydration, too.

Track water intake with a large, reusable water bottle, such as a 32-oz. one, and set goals to drink two or three bottles per day.

8. Don't Pop Pimples

We might all technically know this rule, but we'll be the first to admit it can be oh-so satisfying to rebel. So let's take a second to reiterate why you need to fight the urge to pick. Aside from inflaming the area even more (read: making it far more noticeable), you're delaying the healing process and risking permanent scarring from digging your nails into the skin. Instead, Vargas recommends spot-treating with yogurt, as the lactic acid and probiotics naturally calm and heal. "My exfoliating mask is awesome for bringing that glow back to the skin, and it will flatten any breakouts," she adds. "I also love that it evens out pigment in the skin, so you look even and fresh in the AM!" 

9. Absorb Excess Oil

While a dewy complexion is highly sought after, oiliness doesn't always translate in the same lustrous way. Blotting papers may be a convenient tool for absorbing extra oil and instantly mattifying, but you might want to rethink this approach. "They tell the skin to produce more oil, so the opposite of what we want the skin to do when you feel shine," explains Vargas. "Instead use a zinc-based translucent powder sunscreen like my favorite, SuperGoop translucent powder, so the skin is protected. The zinc will help you get a matte finish without creating an excess of oil production."

10. Avoid Touching Your Face

Consider this complexion commandment the golden rule of skin care. "Bacteria and dirt on the hands can lead to inflammation and breakouts," says Vargas. "I would just avoid this at all costs." Despite how well-meaning the manual attention may be, any contact with the skin can not only transmit irritating, sensitizing, or skin-clogging particles directly to the face but also push them into the skin depending on how much pressure is being applied. If you absolutely must touch your face, ensure your hands have been properly cleaned immediately beforehand. 

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