Sleep provides an opportunity for your body to repair and rejuvenate itself. Major restorative functions in the body like muscle growth, tissue repair, protein synthesis and growth hormone release, occur mostly and in some cases only during sleep. The skin is no different in that it renews itself while you are sleeping which means night time is a great opportunity for boosting skin health and for applying targeted corrective products.
The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night for most adults. Less than that can play a role in the development of wrinkles, sagging skin and dark circles under the eyes. Good quality sleep causes the release of the human growth hormone which is a necessary ingredient for collagen production, the protein that gives people shiny hair, strong nails and healthy, glowing skin.
Taking a scientifically-developed nighttime skin repairing supplement that can help to calm can be beneficial for those who struggle with anxiety and falling asleep.
If you do not already have a night-time routine for your skin, we recommend that you should always start with cleansing to thoroughly but gently remove all pollutants, make-up and day products from your skin. This gives your skin a clean canvas for the application of your night products.
The type of cleanser you use would depend upon your skin type but generally err on the side of a more gentle cleanser or Micellar water. Some cleansers can also be left on as a mask for 15-20 minutes before being rinsed off. Some people tend to prefer a cream cleanser and others a gel or foaming cleanser but the main thing to remember is that it must be formulated for your skin type.
Oily skins can use Micellar water as a pre-cleanser before applying your normal cleanser.
Some people like to exfoliate their skins at night with either with fruit acid or enzyme masks after cleansing. A skin appropriate toner is a personal decision and often those with more oily skins like to use a toner before applying their night products.
There are various face masques available to use overnight depending upon your skin type and concern. Some masques are more suitable for the red, rosacea-prone skin whereas the others would be more useful for dry, sensitive skin. If your skin barrier feels compromised, choose a gentle, hydrating masque to sleep with overnight and this can make a big difference to your hydration levels.
Topical Retinol products are usually only prescribed at night because they can make the skin more sensitive to the sun. When introducing a topical Retinol (if you have never used one before), I generally recommend only using it only 3 times a week i.e. Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights initially for 2 weeks. With time, your skin will develop a tolerance to the Retinol and then you can use it every night.
If the Retinol is causing some dryness, redness or flaking of the skin, you can apply a hydrating night cream over the Retinol. A good tip is to let your Retinol absorb before applying a moisturiser over it. Thankfully, these days many Retinol formulations have gentle, encapsulated delivery systems to help minimize any irritation and to hydrate the skin.
Other targeted corrective night products can include growth factors and peptides.
For those with dry and sensitive skin, it is recommended that you use a rich night moisturiser that contains Hyaluronic acid, Niacinamide, Ceramides and Free Fatty Acids.
If you have melasma, you should generally use the targeted, corrective pigment lightening serums or creams at night.
Once the correct night products have been applied to your skin, the next best anti-ageing product to use, is to sleep on a silk pillowcase. Silk is the most amazing natural product in that it prevents wrinkles and sleep lines due to reduced friction between the silk and the skin. Silk is also the exact same pH of the skin (slightly acidic) thus not interfering with the skin’s protective acid mantle. It also absorbs less moisture than cotton pillow slips and other fabrics and your night products tend to not migrate from your face onto the pillow slip.
An added benefit is that it helps to reduce frizzy hair and split ends i.e. bed head making the hair smoother after a night’s sleep. Due to its tight weave, silk prevents house dust mites from entering through the pillowcase. The natural protein in silk, Sericin, impedes the growth of house dust mites and molds and this helps those with allergies to sleep better.
Silk eye masks not only help to cut out any light in a room but they also help to reduce wrinkling around the eye area. Apply a good eye cream after cleansing and allow it to absorb and just before switching off your bedside light, put on your sleep mask to minimize sleep lines around the eyes.
After your 7-9 hours of beauty sleep on your silk pillow slip and with your silk eye mask, I would only recommend a gentle cleansing with Micellar water in the morning to freshen the skin.