WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR SKIN WHILE YOU SLEEP
We hardly need dermatologists to tell us that a poor night’s sleep affects our complexion. Dark circles, droopy eyes, and paleness are all common signs we’ve been burning the candle at both ends. There is a wealth of scientific research showing that sleep is one of the most important factors in restoring and regenerating your skin. But what does that really mean? What happens to your skin while you sleep? Does a lack of sleep cause ageing? We hear you!
Here at Aurelia we understand the critical importance of sleep in supporting skin cell regeneration and overall health and wellbeing. We would like to share with you what happens to your skin at night and what processes take place. We will then look at what steps can be taken to enhance sleep’s nourishing properties, to ensure your skin gets the respite it deserves.
SO, WHAT’S HAPPENING TO OUR SKIN WHILE WE SLEEP?
“Why is it called beauty sleep?” I hear you ask. Well, getting your beauty sleep does exactly what it says on the tin. Sleep is a state that allows the body and mind to rest, recharge, eliminate toxins, and repair cells. This ensures your organs are working to the best of their abilities, including the biggest organ of the body – the skin. For the skin’s surface to appear smooth, toned and youthful, skin cells must receive appropriate nutrients, hydration, and hormonal regulation. Diet, exercise, and a supportive and regenerative skincare routine all contribute to giving your skin what it needs to look it’s best. But sleep also has a crucial part to play, and there are several reasons why…
EPIDERMAL BLOOD FLOW INCREASES
Blood flow to the different layers of the skin increases during sleep, meaning skin cells are flooded with oxygen and nutrients. This means skin cells receive the support they need to regenerate and restore, and pallor and dullness is prevented. When we are sleep deprived it’s common that dark circles can become more prominent under the eyes. Although age, genetics and diet also play a role in this discolouration, increased pallor and skin dullness contribute. This is because tiny blood vessels can be seen even more clearly beneath the delicate, thin, under-eye skin when our skin is not at its most radiant.
HORMONAL REGULATION TAKES PLACE
When you are asleep, special hormones are released systemically throughout different phases of your sleep cycle. Although these hormones also have other functions, they contribute to rejuvenating your skin and aiding its own repair processes. When these hormones are not in balance, they have been shown to increase the signs of ageing and reduce skin integrity.
Here we will briefly introduce 3 of these hormones and their functions:
1. SOMATOTROPHIN (AKA HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE)
Somatotrophin is released during sleep and aids skin cell regeneration and restructuring. It’s also key for accelerating wound healing, and research shows that its production directly affects dermal structuring. There is even evidence that Somatotrophin reduces the development of wrinkles and sagging, and it is now being used by dermatologists synthetically.
Melatonin is commonly taken as a supplement to aid sleep for those who have difficulty drifting off. But Melatonin is also an anti-oxidant, which means it helps your body fight off free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms that interact with cellular components and cause a cascade of damage to cellular structure. Although free radicals can be produced naturally within the body, there are plenty of environmental factors that introduce them to the skin. These include air pollution, cigarette smoke, and UV rays. Melatonin offers vital anti-oxidising skin support during the night as it helps neutralise these free radicals. This prevents further damage (such as wrinkles and lines) from occurring, and helps to preserve a youthful glow.
Most of us will have heard of Cortisol and its contribution to perpetuating the stress response within the body. High levels of cortisol damage collagen, an important structural protein for keeping skin cells healthy. Less collagen production equals a loss of elasticity and hydration. This in turn leads to sagging and less-youthful looking skin. Not getting enough sleep pushes the body into its fight-or-flight mode, and cortisol levels climb. It’s not just the amount of sleep that’s important but also the quality of the sleep we get. When we enter into the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep phase, cortisol levels significantly reduce. This gives the collagen in our skin cells the opportunity to replenish and rebuild.
SKIN PERMEABILITY INCREASES
Studies have shown that during sleep the temperature of the skin rises due to increased blood flow. This causes increased permeability of the skin barrier, which means moisture and water are lost more rapidly during the night. This is otherwise known as transepidermal water loss, and it is a natural process and isn’t harmful. This does however mean it’s super important to have a big glass of water first thing in the morning to help rehydrate your skin. This increased permeability also provides the ideal opportunity to lock in moisture and other regenerative products over night. There’s a reason that night creams, oils and treatments really are a wonderful way to enhance the skin’s natural repair processes… More on that to come!
That’s the heavy science part out of the way! Now let’s take a look at some practical steps in enhancing and supporting the nourishing benefits that sleep offers our skin.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
So, cutting to the chase – how many hours sleep does your skin need? For the optimum health and wellbeing of your whole body (skin included!), most experts recommend 7-9 hours per night. Of course this varies from person to person, with teenagers needing more sleep and older adults requiring less. That being said, continued sleep deprivation puts us into a dangerous sleep deficit. This not only dulls our complexion and accelerates the signs of ageing, but also increases our risk of developing multiple chronic diseases. It’s also not just the amount of beauty sleep that’s important but the quality. If you aren’t in full resting mode then important repair and renewal processes for optimal glow can’t take place.
CLEANSE THOROUGHLY BEFORE GOING TO BED
Going to sleep with a face full of pollution, oil and grime from a busy day is really bad news for your skin. Any pore-clogging pollution will sink in to the skin over-night, and the skin’s increased permeability means this does even more damage. Over-night break-outs and flare-ups can really get going and pores can enlarge if your skin isn’t cleansed daily before bedtime. Using a gentle and protecting cleanser to remove daily make-up and grime is the first step in ensuring your skin gets the best rest.
We recommend using our Miracle Cleanser because to put it simply, it really is a miracle! It lifts impurities with ease, leaving your skin perfectly cleansed without any drying or stripping. Your skin microbiome is supported as it delivers concentrated organic botanicals to nurture and revitalise tired skin. Finally, it infuses your skin with our unique probiotic complex PROTIDA™, that works deep within the skin before bedtime. Probiotics help combat the damage cycle triggered by the days exposure to pollution and stresses, and helps maintain equilibrium. Our anti-oxidant rich cleanser comes with its very own silky-soft, organic, bamboo muslin too. Meaning you can buff away the day’s troubles with total ease and tranquillity.
LOCK IN MOISTURE OVERNIGHT
Transepidermal water loss that occurs overnight means your skin needs a hefty dose of hydration to keep it supple and smooth. Using a night time moisturiser is a great start. Night creams are often heavier than day creams and need ample time to soak into the skin. This thick coating ensures your skin gets the deliciously deep nourishment it deserves.
You can take this one step further by adding a luxurious night oil for real over-night intensity. Try our Cell Repair Night Oil, abundant in divine botanicals that seep-in fatty acids, anti-oxidants and omegas while you snooze. It helps to combat oxidative stress caused by free radicals, meaning your morning skin is intensely hydrated, regenerated and luminous. It is of course also infused with the protective power of our 3-strain probiotic complex.
For those wanting to really push the boat out, try our super indulgent Overnight Recovery Mask. This delicately fragranced and deeply replenishing concoction of distilled essential oils, rich shea butter and probiotics will soothe any dryness or irritation. This mask is ideal for weekly use during the cold winter months when skin is extra sensitive and prone to chapping. It provides deep-cellular damage prevention with pure restoration and ultimate hydration. Wake up to smoothed, toned, and glowing radiance that shines perfectly from within.
GIVE YOURSELF A GUA SHA FACIAL MASSAGE
Just as our bodies accumulate tension and stress, so do our faces. Throughout the day many of us may unconsciously chew the inside of our cheeks, furrow our brow, or clench our jaw. This tightens all the tiny muscles and connective tissues throughout our face and neck, which restricts circulation under the skin. This not only causes tension headaches or neck pain, but the reduction in optimal circulation can cause bloating, dullness, and sagging.
Queue the Gua Sha facial! Derived from traditional Chinese medicine, the Gua Sha treatment involves massaging a precious stone in an upward motion over the skin. This firm yet comforting movement promotes tissue and lymphatic drainage, resulting in lifted, smoothed and brighter skin. Fascial knots and connective blockages are easefully kneaded, meaning Gua Sha even supports with headaches. Puffiness or bloating that can occur overnight from fluid build-up is reduced, allowing the skin to naturally drain away impurities. This stimulation encourages blood-flow to the skin’s surface and results in skin cells receiving a boost of nutrients and oxygenation. What’s more, a Gua Sha facial can be performed at home on yourself. This means you can invite a mindful moment of self-care and ritual into your bedtime routine, complementing sleep’s restorative qualities.