Embrace healthy sleep as a way to healthy skin
The skincare industry spends a lot in the form of lotions, fillers, serums, and scrubs. But while we often spend a lot of our time layering and lasering our skin, paying attention to how we treat our skin during sleeping hours shouldn’t be overlooked.
It’s not just for a glow or looking youthful, it’s about maintaining your health in body, mind, and skin for years to come. A few wrinkles never hurt anyone — in fact, they’re usually a sign of happy years lived.
How sleep affects your skin
You can almost immediately tell that getting a poor night of sleep doesn’t do woke-up-like-this wonders for your face. Research even says that one night of poor sleep can cause:
- hanging eyelids
- swollen eyes
- darker undereye circles
- paler skin
- more wrinkles and fine lines
- more droopy corners of the mouth
A study found that two days of sleep restriction negatively affected the participant’s perceived attractiveness, health, sleepiness, and trustworthiness.
So, what seems like an overnight issue could transform into something more permanent.
First and foremost, you should understand that sleep is the time when your body repairs itself. This is true for your epidermis as much as it is for your brain or your muscles. During sleep, your skin’s blood flow increases, and the organ rebuilds its collagen and repairs damage from UV exposure, reducing wrinkles and age spots.
Second, sleep is a time when your face inevitably comes into contact with the elements directly around it for a long time, especially if you’re getting the recommended seven to nine hours each night.
Think about it: Your face against rough, drying cotton for one-third of its existence and being exposed to the sun for two unprotected hours could do a number on the appearance and health of your skin. Here’s what you can do to help give your skin a rest.
1. Get a full night of sleep
The best place to start for your skin — and for your overall health — is to get the recommended amount of rest each night.
The results of poor sleep for your skin are numerous and significant, including:
- skin that ages faster
- skin that doesn’t recover as well from environmental stressors like sun exposure
- less satisfaction with your skin quality
Sometimes you might have an off day but you should average seven to nine hours of sleep. If you’re wondering how to reset your internal clock and catch up on rest, try sleeping in on the weekends.
2. Wash your face before turning in
We’ve established how sleeping is a surefire way to help your skin repair itself: blood flow increases, collagen is rebuilt, and the muscles in your face relax after a long day.
But going to sleep with a dirty face can also harm the appearance of your skin.
Cleansing your face each night is arguably more important than in the morning — you don’t need to use fancy products or scrub too hard. A gentle cleanser to remove dirt, makeup, and extra oil will do the trick.
You don’t want to give the day’s pore-clogging irritants the chance to sink in and do damage overnight. This can cause:
- large pores
- dry skin
- acne outbreaks
3. Use an overnight moisturizer.
Washing your face can dry it out and sleeping can also dehydrate skin, especially if you snooze in a low-humidity environment. While staying hydrated by drinking water can help to some extent what your skin really needs at night is a topical moisturizer.
Again, you don’t need the fanciest product on the market. You just need a thicker cream or oil that can help your skin as you sleep. Another option is to use your day moisturizer and layer petroleum jelly — using clean hands — on top to lock in the moisturize. For a more supercharged product, try an overnight sleeping mask.