We all know the proverbial concept of beauty sleep. But what if I told you it’s more than just a myth? In fact, it’s long been proven that beauty sleep is a phenomenon with real-life implications. While we sleep, our muscles regenerate, and so do our organs, our immune system, our hormones, and, yes, even our skin!
Between about 11pm and 6am, our epidermis (the outermost layer of our skin) is actively regenerating, which means that old cells are replaced by new ones. Just prior to this regenerative phase, between about 9 – 11 pm, the barrier function of our epidermis is weakened, which makes our skin uniquely absorbent and thus extra-receptive for skin care.
In order to perfect this natural process, it is recommended to supply the skin with nurture and care in the evening to facilitate and support this regenerative cycle. Today I’d like to share some of my personal routines with you, and show you how I take care of my skin at night.
Nigh-Creams and Overnight-Masks
While our morning cream is ideally light and protective of UV radiation, dirt and other environmental factors, our night-cream can be more fatty and richer of various active ingredients. Remember, not every cream does the same job. It’s important that you address your individual skin, your particular constitution, while also taking into account the climate you move in, the season, as well as the time of day. At night, the skin undergoes important re-generational processes, during which the skin repairs and bolsters up damaged cells. For that reason, night-creams often contain not only vitamins and minerals, but also calming ingredients, which specifically address these regenerative processes and support them. The right enzymes, for example, can stimulate damaged areas and support the repairing process. Pro tip: the best way to apply night-creams is by gently tapping them onto your skin – with the added benefit that you’ll stimulate the blood circulation in your face.
In addition to the nightly dose of night-cream, treat your skin to overnight masks once or twice per week. Since we barely move during our sleep, which also means we barely sweat, the hours of golden slumber are the perfect time for your skin to effectively absorb active ingredients.
Cleansing and Exfoliation
No matter how tired you are at night, there’s one thing you should never forget before going to bed: make sure to thoroughly clean your face and the area around your eyes. Make-up residue, built up dirt from the day and tallow all clog up your pores -and the result are blemishes on the skin. A thorough cleansing is absolutely crucial to prepare your skin for regeneration. Moisturizing lotions are ideal, especially products that don’t dry out your skin. You may want to apply the products you use with a facial brush. In addition, I recommend glycol-acid based (5%) facial toner two or three times a week. Such products clear all greasy zones in a flash, unclog your pores and exfoliate your skin. The effect is that all the nurturing products you subsequently apply will be well absorbed by your skin.
The right eye-cream is at least as important as the right night-cream. A word of warning at this point: never use facial cream under your eyes! This particular area is not inly much more sensitive than surrounding patches of skin, it has also fewer skin layers than the rest of the face. For that reason, I strongly recommend you only ever use oil-free creams that are as natural as possible under your eyes.
The skin on the lips needs extra care and protection, especially in winter. The skin on your lips is extremely thin, which makes it particularly susceptible to temperature changes and fluctuating humidity. I, for my part, have long integrated proper lip-care into my daily beauty-routine in the evenings. My experience is that classic lip balm simply is not enough. I recommend exfoliating your lips about every other day with a peeling to remove old and lose skin. You can then treat your lips to some rich balm, which your skin can absorb overnight to nurture and moisturize your lips.
Neck and Cleavage
With all the necessary focus on your face, don’t forget to take good care of your neck and cleavage on a daily basis. Once again, the skin on your neck and cleavage is thinner than in other parts of your body, and thus very sensitive. There is barely any subcutaneous fatty tissue and few sebaceous glands, and for that reason the skin dries out rather quickly. Moreover, your neck is in constant movement during the day, so proper care is in order, and the hours of rest are ideal for the absorption of nutrients on this part of the body as well.
With all that said, the best care in the world is of not much use if you’re not well bedded. Silk is ideal for a good night’s sleep, as it does not withdraw humidity from your body and hair. The material is simply perfect to avoid crumpled skin and split ends. And there’s another advantage to silk: it is anti-bacterial and anti-fungicide, and thus automatically helps prevent pimples and blemishes.