Some days, we know we’re not getting the best quality (or length!) of sleep that we need every day. While our bodies recharge at night, our skin does too! Board certified NYC dermatologist Dr. Kaleroy Papantoniou explains that during sleep, we heal, restore and eliminate toxins from the skin. (See a previous post on her expertise here!)
Dr. Papantoniou explains that during the first three hours of sleep, your body will start producing the human growth hormone (HGH) from the pituitary gland and as we age, this hormone is necessary in order to maintain youthful and radiant skin. Without this hormone release, your skin cannot be repaired from daily damage and starts the aging process.
The middle two hours or sleep is when melatonin is increased. Melatonin is responsible for regulating your circadian rhythm (which tell you when to sleep or wake!) but also help to act as an antioxidant that helps protect the skin from being exposed to damaging free radicals.
Within the final three hours, (during active REM sleep!) levels of cortisol decrease and the skin’s temperature also drops to its lowest point which help to allow muscles to relax and become immobile… giving skin its deepest recovery!
9 Ways to Get True Beauty Sleep!
- Supplement your sleep
As we age, our bodies naturally produce less melatonin which affect our skin’s ability to repair itself at night (since we’re getting less sleep!). If falling asleep is becoming more difficult, it may benefit from taking a natural melatonin supplement or topical with melatonin to help combat those decreased hormone levels. Melatonin works best if taken around 30 minutes before going to bed and helps to increase the depth and duration of restorative sleep which accelerates and optimizes the skin’s repair cycle. (Note: please check with a healthcare professional before supplementing your diet with melatonin)
- Cleanse twice
Removing all traces of makeup is crucial! Dr. Papantoniou advices to take a cue from Korean skin care and wash your face twice using the “double cleansing” method. This means that you must use an oil-based cleanser to remove your makeup (oil breaks down the waxes and polymers much better than just soap & water!). I love using coconut oil for this step… make sure you’re precise with your eye makeup! (Use a Q-Tip if needed!) Then, use a gentle non-soap cleanser to get rid of leftover reside.
During the day, your skin battles a lot of things from UV rays to pollution. At night, there’s less damage control to do, so beauty products used at night may actually be more effective! Applying night creams to clean skin in the evening is the best time to soften your face as well feel soothing and relaxing as you get ready for bed.
- Put on a sleep mask
I love overnight sleeping masks and Dr. Papantoniou agrees! The skin undergoes more cellular repair during sleep and can actually be more receptive to products at this time. She recommends using an overnight mask a few times a week.
- Keep your hair off your face
Pulling your hair back into a loose ponytail or wrap will prevent the hair’s natural oils from rubbing off on your skin which is especially important if you’re prone to acne break outs!
- Get the right pillowcase!
Dr. Papantoniou suggests trying out a smooth silk or satin pillowcase as these fabrics prevent trauma to skin and can reduce the probability of your skin forming lines and wrinkles whille you sleep since harsher cotton fibers can actually accelerate the development of permanent creases. Don’t forget to change and wash your pillowcases at least once a week!
- Rejuvenate with a retinoid
I love retinoids. These vitamin A derivatives are key to youthful-looking skin! Use an over the counter cream or serum that contains retinol and use every other night until your skin becomes more tolerant before using daily. Don’t forget to use sunscreen as your skin becomes more sensitive (you also don’t want to undo your hard work!)!
- Apply eye cream
Applying an eye cream will make all the difference if you have problems with eye bags or puffiness after you wake up. Gently apply the cream around your eyes (on the orbital bone!) and make sure you stay hydrated during the day! This can help prevent water retention as well as combat sodium intake during the day so that you don’t wake up puffy!
- Mind your sleeping position
I know it’s hard, but train yourself not to sleep face down! This habit can definitely cause premature wrinkles and creases around the face.
About Dr. Papantoniou
Dr. Kally Papantoniou is a Cosmetic Dermatologist, Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology. She specializes in Injectables, Lasers, Body Contouring, Surgical and Medical Dermatology. Dr. Papantoniou is also a clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Health Center in New York City. She applies expert techniques and the newest technologies to treat her patients. Dr. Papantoniou focuses on providing her patients with the highest level of care, with special interests in natural and healthy alternatives to treatments and disease prevention. Connect with Dr. Papantoniou via Ttwitter @DrPderm or her website www.DrPapantoniou.com