It’s no secret that sleep is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy mind and body, but did you know that it offers serious benefits for your skin, too? If you’re looking for another reason to start counting sheep a little earlier each night (and stop binging the latest Netflix series), here it is: a good night’s sleep—when paired with the right nighttime skincare regimen—can actually help make your skin look younger and feel more refreshed when you wake up in the morning.
Why is it so important to get a good night’s sleep?
After a long day, sleep is when your body and its cells recharge, reboot and repair. While you get your Zzz’s, your body is busy rebuilding energy reserves and regenerating through cell repair, releasing certain hormones that can help positively impact your immune system. Sleep also offers a much-needed time out for your skin.
While you dream, your skin gets a break from the environmental aggressors it’s exposed to on a daily basis, like pollution and the sun.
Plus, the functional ingredients in your nighttime skincare products don’t have to compete with those aggressors or other barriers, like makeup and sunscreen. Skin’s permeability also increases while we sleep, so applying topical antioxidants or treatments before bed allows their ingredients to absorb more deeply into the skin. Simply put, a good snooze can help increase the effectiveness of your skincare regimen, leading to greater results and bringing new meaning to the idea of “beauty sleep.”
So, what happens when you don’t get enough sleep? Not only do you wake up feeling tired and cranky, but your skin wakes up cranky, too. When skin cells don’t get enough time to fully rejuvenate, your complexion may look (to use the scientific term), blah. By not getting a good night’s sleep, your skin has missed its opportunity to repair damage from the previous day. Also, lack of sleep may cause your body to release excess amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. Over time, elevated cortisol levels can lead to dullness, sagging and fine lines on the skin’s surface.
The Importance of a Night Skincare Regimen
While we can’t get you off to bed on time each night (but keep reading for a few ideas on how to drift off easier), we can help you create an evening skincare routine that will deliver maximum benefits while you hibernate for the evening. You may be asking yourself, “Why can’t I just use the same products I use each morning?” And that’s a good question. What skin needs to protect itself against the onslaught of daily aggressors is much different from what works most effectively while it rejuvenates overnight. This means your morning and evening regimens are as different as night and day. Your daytime products should primarily focus on protecting skin from the sun and free radical damage that comes from the environment around you. Day skin creams tend to contain protective antioxidants and sunscreen ingredients. At night, when your skin can let down its guard, it can focus on cell renewal, collagen and elastin production. Just like you, your skin needs a midnight snack to help encourage and support its natural rejuvenation process.
So, where should you begin? First, decide which skin concern you’d like to address: fine lines and wrinkles, discoloration, dullness, enlarged pores, etc.
While the products you use will vary based on these specific needs, the steps are always the same—cleanse, treat and moisturize.
Cleansing thoroughly removes dirt, makeup, and other impurities to prepare your skin to drink in the ingredients in the products that will follow (you can use the same cleanser you use in the morning).
In the treat step, concentrated ingredients tackle your biggest skin issues, such as lines, spots or sagging. Treatments can also include specialty products such as eye and neck cream. These tend to be serums and lightweight creams that work under your moisturizer, which brings us to your next step. Night creams or moisturizers may also have some active ingredients, but they’re mainly designed to create a barrier on the skin's surface that prevents water loss throughout the night so skin doesn’t look dehydrated when you wake up.
If you’re feeling inspired by what you’ve just read, we’ve done our job! Well, half of it, anyway. The next half is building the perfect skincare regimen for your concerns.
If your complexion issue is fine lines and wrinkles.
Cleanser: No: Rinse Micellar Cleansing Treatment
Aging skin tends to be dry skin—and aggressive cleansing can dry it out even more. This super-gentle cleanser uses no foam and (as the name implies) skips the rinse step, keeping skin’s moisture levels intact during the cleansing process. Simply swipe skin with a cotton pad soaked with the cleanser and you’re done.
Treatment: Cold Plasma Plus+ Advanced Serum Concentrate
A potent multitasker, this serum concentrate tackles the appearance of the nine different signs of aging, ranging from fine lines to enlarged pores. It contains Vitamin C Ester, which is essential for healthy collagen production; copper tripeptides, which help minimize the appearance of fine lines; and omega fatty acids for plump, hydrated skin.
This night cream pairs deep hydration with powerful ingredients. It includes Acyl-Glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant, to help reduce the look of deep creases and lines. It also contains a vitamin F blend, derived from flaxseed, chia seed and macadamia seed oils to deliver rich hydration and strengthen skin’s barrier function as you sleep.
If your complexion issue is uneven skin tone and brown spots.
This cleanser not only sweeps away debris, but it’s formulated with Vitamin C Ester, a potent antioxidant that helps promote a more even skin tone.
With three different forms of vitamin C, along with vitamin E and the potent antioxidant ferulic acid, this is Perricone MD’s most potent vitamin C serum.
Moisturizer: Vitamin C Ester Brightening Overnight Treatment
This night cream works hard to combine skin-evening vitamin C, amino acids (the building blocks of healthy skin) and glycolic acid to exfoliate and dissolve complexion-dulling dead skin while you sleep.
If your complexion issue is sagging skin or loss of firmness.
Cleanser: High Potency Classics Nutritive Cleanser
This gel cleanser preps skin for anti-aging treatments and contains alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), a fatty acid found inside your cells that works to keep skin both supple and youthful.
Treatment/Moisturizer: Multi-Action Overnight Intensive Firming Mask
This one’s special: it’s a mask you don’t rinse off. Formulated with alpha-lipoic acid and DMAE, this super luxe cream helps visibly lift sagging skin. Coconut oil adds deep hydration throughout the night. It’s so rich, it can serve as your treatment and moisturizer in one step.
Now that you have a solid regimen, all you need to do is go to bed. For best results, try to get at least seven hours of shut-eye each night and keep a regular sleep schedule. Even on weekends. Exercising regularly, eating healthy and avoiding caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime can help contribute to a better night’s sleep. And don’t forget to unplug. Turning off the TV, putting down the phone and logging off your computer up to an hour before bed can help you doze off faster.
Beauty sleep sounds like the stuff of fairytales, but there’s actual science that connects getting adequate sleep and healthy skin. And when you give your skin an added nighttime boost with an evening skincare regimen that’s customized to your skin’s specific needs, the benefits are the stuff of dreams. Now go get some rest!