What Happens to Skin Overnight?

Although you might think you’re being kind to your skin with a good daily routine and regular SPF application, it goes through so much on a daily basis with late nights, makeup, poor eating choices and pollution, that the extra care it needs at night is non-negotiable. If you ever suffer from poor or broken sleep, then chances are your skin will look worse; missing those vital hours can increase levels of inflammation and stress hormones, slowing down healing and repair systems.

What happens when we sleep?

Overnight is when skin is at its most active and able to repair itself. Between the hours of 11pm - 4am is when the majority of skin turnover and regeneration happens, so it’s vital to pay attention to what you put on your skin at night and also how much sleep you get. When you sleep, the cells work hard to repair any damage incurred throughout the day, as well as perform important reparative jobs ready for the day ahead. In addition to general cell maintenance, the hours after dark are when most of your collagen production happens. As well as being a vital component of a firm, healthy skin structure, collagen is the protein in skin that’s responsible for a juicy, supple texture and appearance.

Choose the right skincare

Before applying any night-time skincare it’s important to cleanse your face properly. Not only will you be removing makeup and grime accumulated during the day, you’ll be banishing pore-clogging pollutant particles that cling to skin, causing tiny micro tears and inflammation.

To help give your skin the best possible chance to repair itself, it’s important to feed it with the right active ingredients that will work effectively and synergistically with its own repair systems. If you don’t already, think about including a retinol in your overnight skin arsenal. Best used at night so as to reduce the amount of photosensitivity caused by daylight, retinol is a derivative of vitamin A and is the gold standard skincare ingredient that dermatologists recommend for improving cell turnover, skin texture and signs of ageing. If you've not used it before it can have the potential to irritate skin, so start by using a low dosage infrequently and build up to more regular use.

If your skin is prone to feeling tight and dry look for skincare that’s packed with ceramides which will comfort and hydrate compromised skin. Made up of lipids that are found naturally in the skin, ceramides help reinforce the skin’s protective barrier, preventing moisture loss and giving it a more cushioned feel. For skin that lacks vitality, including a hyaluronic acid serum in your night-time routine will go a long way to infusing it with moisture and getting its glow back. A skin plumping wonder ingredient suitable for all skin types and conditions that can hold up to 1000x its weight in water, hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring molecule that declines with age. Facial oils are a great option if you have skin that's constantly thirsty, plus their natural texture makes them good for facial massage which will go a long way to improving circulation and blood flow and keeping skin healthy. Those that are loaded with anti-inflammatory ingredients and antioxidants will also help repair any oxidative damage incurred during the day. Finally, if your skin is really suffering, try out one of the myriad sleep masks or treatments available, which are typically formulated to be higher in active ingredients to reflect what is happening within your cells as you sleep. Simply add on top of your nightly serum or moisturiser or underneath your oil to lock in the goodness.

Heal with your breath

As well as opting for the right hardworking active ingredients, get into the habit of deep breathing right before bed to help improve the condition and health of your skin. Deep and effective breathing flushes excess carbon dioxide from our body, bringing instead a nutrient-rich supply of fresh oxygen, which helps improve circulation in the skin, re-energise the cells and reduce the impact of stress.