Sleep is a glorious time for your whole body and especially your skin. During the day your skin is in defense mode, working hard to protect you from UV light and environmental toxins. When you sleep your skin switches into regeneration mode. While your sleeping, your skin renewal rate almost doubles, the production of collagen rises, and cell damage including UV-induced damage is reversed. For optimal skin health, it's important to recognize habits related to sleep that actually may be hurting your skin.
Not Getting Enough Sleep at the Right Time
Sleep needs very throughout a person’s lifespan. Teenagers need 9- 9.5 hours of sleep nightly, but on average only get around 7 hours. Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. While it is important to get enough hours, when it comes to skin it is especially important to get sleep during the peak hours of your skin’s “regeneration mode”. Skin renewal during sleep peaks from 9:00 PM to midnight and is part of your body’s natural sleep and wake cycle called the Circadian Rhythm.
Not Setting Your Skin Up for Renewal While You Sleep
Have you ever heard that sleeping with your make-up on ages your skin 7 times faster? This is because you’re losing that beautiful “regeneration mode”. When you go to bed with pollutants, sweat (yes, we sweat even when we are not working out), excess oil, makeup, sunscreen, etc. your skin is still on the defensive trying to protect itself. Taking the time to do a thorough cleanse and applying products that contribute to cell renewal such as retinoids & alpha hydroxyl acids as well as extra hydration sets your skin up for a night of beauty rest. If you have problem skin, this is especially important as you can aggravate your condition and worse, not stay clear as skipping your nightly clearing routine catches up and leads to breakouts.
Not Thinking About Your Pillowcases
Your precious face is pressed up against your pillowcase every night for hours! Your skin spends too much time snuggled up with the fabric of your pillowcase not to take a second look at what you could be doing to optimize your sleep surface.
-Change them often- Pillowcases should be changed weekly and if you are acne prone try to change them every other night. This does not mean a whole new pillowcase- flip it inside out, turn it over, just make sure your face is sleeping on a clean surface.
-Use Hypoallergenic Laundry detergent and avoid fabric softener/drier sheets. Often called “Free and Clear” and in a white bottle. Laundry detergent without fragrance or other common irritants should be used to wash pillowcases and really anything that comes in contact with the delicate skin of your face.
-Switch to silk. Silk pillowcases are better for your skin for a couple reasons but primarily related to the absorbent nature of cotton and linen. Water loss from the skin is increased at night and sleeping on a cotton surface increases this process contributing to skin dehydration. Not only do cotton pillowcase absorb your skin’s water but also the precious products you put on it. Silk pillowcases help ensure the products you put on your face before bed stay on your face. If you really want to up your skin game, pillowcases infused with copper oxide have been shown in double-blind studies to reduce wrinkles and improve skin texture. For acne prone skin pillowcases containing silver, which is antibacterial have also been shown to be helpful.
Take your sleep seriously and your skin will thank you!
Christina Brown, LE & Certified Acne Specialist