How To Fix Your Skin While You Sleep


Sleep is great. It’s restorative, balancing, and very necessary for functioning, socially responsible humans. But while you’re passed out from your overactive social life, your skin is putting in work. Things like rapid cell turnover and collagen regeneration, thanks to increased melatonin levels (which acts as an antioxidant) and lower cortisol levels (bye, stress).

Now, this is automatically going to happen if you're getting your doctor-recommended 8 hours a night. That said, there are certainly things you can do to help the process along. Things that, in the long run, will make your skin work harder for you and your efficient self. Time is money, money is power, power is pizza, pizza is knowledge. Let's go.

First things first, wash your face before you go to sleep. Yeah, it may be three in the morning and you’ve had a few, but sleeping in makeup means that you’ll also be sleeping with a bunch of free radicals on your face. Free radicals are pollutants that build up on your skin over the day from stress, smoke, diet, alcohol, and living in a major metropolitan area where even the air you breathe is trying to kill you. Why do you care? Because these free radicals break down healthy proteins like collagen in your skin, which, over an extended period of time, can lead to premature aging and you leaning into your mirror being like, “Who?”

There's no time like the present to engage in the double cleanse. Use a micellar water, cleansing oil, or balm (I’m living for Erborian’s Solid Cleansing Oil right now) to rid your skin of makeup, and then go in with your more targeted treatment cleanser to make sure every last scrap of the day is off your face.

Then, a targeted overnight serum is going to help speed up cell turnover. I’ve been using DNA Renewal’s DNA Regeneration Serum, which has a high concentration of plant-based EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor( to fight all the damage that occurs during the day and has a watery texture that’s a perfect post-cleanse step. On top of that I squeeze out a pump of Kypris’ Moonlight Catalyst, which uses herbal alternatives to retinoids to exfoliate and speed up cell renewal. Plus, it’s aesthetically pleasing.

Retinoids are a key ingredient in any nighttime skincare, plant-based or otherwise. Because retinoids chemically exfoliate your skin, they speed up cell recovery and have you waking up with baby soft skin. They also increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight when used during the day, so nightime is ideal (SPF in the morning, obvs). Rodial’s Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Night Cream is a great two-birds-one-stone product for this. There's the serious, heavy metal name, for one, plus retinol and moisturizing hyaluronic acid that work in tandem to cure all your problems. Well, maybe not all your problems. But close enough.

—Amelia Sabra

Photo via Getty.

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