Surprising Ways Your Skin Changes in a Day (and What to Do About It)

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Your energy, your weight, the weather—there are many things that naturally fluctuate throughout the day. And while those highs and lows may make these things seem finicky, it’s actually your body (and in the latter case, the atmosphere) serving very specific functions. The same goes for your skin!

It’s easy to understand your skin’s needs throughout the year as changes can become quite apparent (think itchy winter skin or that wonderful summer glow), but seasonality is not the only thing that causes your skin to change. In fact, it goes through many within one single day! 

We’ll unpack those important shifts plus the best course of action to help your skin look its best from morning to evening.

Your Skin During the Day

From the moment you wake up to about the moment it gets dark out, your skin is doing a very specific job. During the day, the skin is protecting your body from UV exposure, moisture loss, pollution, extreme temperatures and blocking aggressors from entering—not to mention helping you sense the world around you through touch! Yeah, it’s a tough gig.

Technically, it changes from day to night, too, as these are very different environments for your skin. This is thanks to your body’s circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) which helps your skin move from protect and hydrate mode to repair and reset mode.

To learn more about your skin at night and how to help repair it, head here.  

Your Skin Is in Protection Mode

Do you ever feel your skin looks better in the morning? The reason is often attributed to the fact that your skin gets thicker in the morning, as it prepares to protect against stressors throughout the day. And yet, even at its thickest point, our skin is less than a tenth of an inch thick.

There are a couple ways to not only keep that glow lasting all day but also help your skin remain protected. First, antioxidants. These free-radical fighting skincare additions help defend your skin against environmental aggressors and UV radiation’s damaging effects which is at its height during the day. 

We recommend Flavo-C Ultraglican, a supercharged antioxidant serum designed to help protect against oxidative stress and deeply hydrate skin for a natural, radiant glow.

Next, sunscreen. This is your front-line protection against those damaging UV rays that lead to visible signs of skin aging—AKA photoaging. But here’s the thing: it’s not a one-and-done deal; you need to reapply.

That’s because every time you step out for a coffee break, you’re putting your skin at risk. We recommend reapplying every two hours, after washing your face, swimming or sweating from an early gym session. 

Sebum Production Goes Up, AKA Your Face May Get Oily

Whether it’s a reaction to external stressors or to daily difficulties (work emails, traffic, and a never-ending to-do list), stress has a very real—very oilyeffect on the skin. Regardless of the trigger, sebum production peaks in the afternoon. That means it’s very normal to experience that lunchtime shininess at the office. 

If you have oily skin, we recommend reaching for non-comedogenic products (the ones that don’t clog your pores). Also, be sure to use a mild cleanser like Micellar Solution in the morning to rid your skin of nighttime oil accumulation and excess product. 

Your Skin Loses Moisture

From the afternoon to the evening, your skin naturally loses moisture. This is due to transepidermal water loss (TEWL), a very natural process where your skin loses water to the surrounding air through evaporation. Think of it as your skin’s way of regulating its water content.

However, many environmental factors—such as sun exposure, low-humidity climate, wind and more—can exacerbate TEWL. So what happens when your skin loses more water than it can replace? That’s when you’re looking at dry, rough, even irritated or itchy skin.

If this sounds like you, you’ll want to adopt a daily skincare routine for dehydrated skin. Also, feel free to reapply moisturizer, especially after washing your hands or cleansing your face.

Every Day Is a New Chance to Hit Reset

We can see that skincare is not just a blimp in your morning routine but rather a lifestyle with healthy skin at the forefront. Knowing how hard-working your skin is can help you give it what it needs to be robust and healthy, not just in the morning but also throughout long hours of the day, day after day.

And as we can see, while your skin does a lot during the day, it doesn’t need (that) much from you: a tailored morning routine and always, always sunscreen.

References: [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. How does skin work? 2009 Sep 28 [Updated 2019 Apr 11]. Available from:
Matsui M.S. et al. Biological Rhythms in the Skin. Int J Mol Sci 2016
J Biol Rhythms. 2015 Jun;30(3):163-82. Available from:

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Article written and reviewed by:

Editorial Team

Our namesake embodies the spirit of embracing life and all its wonder. As wellness journalists, we explore topics that invigorate the senses and keep curiosity alive. We believe that glowing skin is the result of a healthy body and mind. Weaving beauty with science, we aim to inspire you to live young at every age.

Medical Communication Manager

In addition to ten years as a primary care doctor, Aurora has over 23 years of experience developing and communicating healthcare products, most recently in dermo-cosmetics. She has co-authored many publications in dermatological journals and spoken at international health & beauty conferences. Ref: Colegio de Medicos de Madrid numero 282840102

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