You’ve likely experienced the results of an unrestful sleep on your skin—ie, puffiness, deepened fine lines, dark circles, an overall dullness—all of which you can see immediately in the mirror the next morning. We all know that getting ample sleep is crucial for our health, but sleep also affects our skin dramatically. Next to skincare and diet, good sleeping habits can be the most important practice for healthy, glowing skin—it’s called beauty sleep for a reason! Here's how switching up your nighttime routine could have a transformative result on your skin.
What happens to our skin while we sleep
Your skin has its own circadian clock, so different skin functions kick in depending on the time of day and environmental condition. During the day, your skin is getting exposure to UV rays and environmental damage, so your cells are busy defending themselves. Nighttime is when skin renewal really kicks in. Studies suggest skin cell renewal almost doubles at night, while our natural stress levels (aka, cortisol) fall and natural growth hormones increase, which leads to an increased production of collagen and overall skin repair.
How to get your best skin overnight
Set your bedtime before 11:30pm, and get a solid night’s sleep
It's not just theoretical—research suggests that lack of sleep increases visible signs of skin aging. At night, your skin repairs damage that it has accumulated throughout the day, and the less sleep we get, the less time we have to repair that damage—hello, fine lines, wrinkles, reduced elasticity, hyperpigmentation, etc., etc. What time we actually go to sleep is also important for skin health. Mitosis, the process in which your skin cells divide and renew, peaks at around 11:30pm, and being asleep by then means your repair functions will be working even harder.
Always, always wash your face before going to sleep
We’ve all had those nights when washing your face feels like a Herculean task. But going to bed without cleansing is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. Even if you’re not wearing makeup, your skin builds up a lot of grime and pollution during the day, which can clog pores and leave lasting damage overnight. Plus, the buildup makes it more difficult for your skin to regenerate and naturally shed dead skin cells. Wash your skin with a gentle, sulfate-free cleanser like the Amla Purifying Cleanser.
Use your most active, nourishing skincare at night
The permeability of our skin increases at night, allowing deeper penetration of topical skincare. This is when you want to bring out the actives and also give your skin extra nourishment with antioxidants. Antioxidants like resveratrol and glutathione (found in the Firming Serum) can absorb better at night, helping your skin’s repair process, while in the day, they act more protectively. For those who use retinoids—which should also always be used at night!—new research also suggests that certain antioxidants like resveratrol might enhance its benefits and reduce irritation associated with retinols. Exfoliating is also best kept for nighttime and will help your topicals absorb even better.
Keep your skin well moisturized at night
Along with increased permeability, your skin also loses moisture more easily when you sleep. This leads to drier skin, so it’s important to use occlusives—aka, moisturizers and oils—that trap moisture without clogging your pores.
Try an overnight mask
A good sleep mask is created for what your skin most needs at night. The Complexion Savior mask combines a gentle active, an azelaic acid derivative that helps improve your skin tone and appearance by aiding your skin’s natural renewal process, along with powerful antioxidants that help restore your skin. Based in organic aloe vera, it also creates a hydrating layer on your skin so you wake up with refreshed, plump skin.
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