By now, we all know that hitting the sack is beneficial not only for one’s well-being, but also complexion. Getting adequate sleep aids in the proper functioning of our body’s organ systems, including the skin – the largest organ of all. As one snoozes, new collagen is produced to keep our complexion firm, elastic and resilient. Blood flow gets a boost, so nutrients can get to the skin faster, and the skin then focuses on repairing itself instead of defending against the sun and free radicals as it does in the day. In other words, catching enough Zs ensures that one wakes up the closest to looking princess perfect.
So what happens when we don’t? According to Dr Audrey Tan, consultant dermatologist at Thomson Specialist Skin Centre: “Sleep deprivation and other forms of chronic stress may alter the health of our immune system, and affect the production of key components that provide structure and integrity to our skin, particularly collagen and elastin.”
More bad news for those who keep late nights: Sleep deficiency causes puffy eye bags, itchy skin and dryness due to the slowing of cellular regeneration and repair, says Dr Eileen Tan, dermatologist at Eileen Tan Skin, Laser & Hair Transplant Clinic. She adds: “Increased inflammatory cells in the body can also lead to an increase in the breakdown of dermal collagen and hyaluronic acid. These cumulative effects can lead to an increase in wrinkles and pigmentation.” Whoever said snoozing means losing?
It explains the rise and increasing popularity of skincare formulated to work at night during slumber. According to doctors, the most basic of such products usually boast active ingredients such as antioxidants (to repair daytime free radical damage), vitamins A and C (to even out skin tone), and moisturising agents like glycerine and hyaluronic acid (to soothe, hydrate and prevent moisture loss). Most of the latest, though, are even more souped up, going beyond classic creams and serums.
Take Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Intensive Recovery Ampoules. Created using what’s dubbed dual-action ChronoluxAI technology, it helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, while strengthening skin against future environmental damage.
If your sleep-related skin concerns stem from the lifestyle you lead (party people, listen up), Clarins’ Skin Boosters work as concentrates to be added to existing creams and lotions. They can be used in the day, but the Repair Booster, in particular, contains mimosa tenuiflora extract to soothe and strengthen skin. Using it at night means it’ll synergize with skin’s natural repair function, making it more efficient.
Then, there are the overnight masks that seal in skincare for greater efficacy. Laneige’s latest version of its Water Sleeping Mask comes with an added lavender scent to promote sleep. It also promises to purify and repair skin, hydrating it for a smooth, supple complexion. To fight dark under-eye circles and puffiness, there’s also its Eye Sleeping Mask that hydrates and boosts circulation around the delicate eye area.
Such innovations are meant to ensure that one wakes up glowing, but when you put them on also matters. It’s a popular beauty belief that the optimal time for skincare application is between 9 and 11pm, when skin is primed for absorption. Both doctors agree that sleeping before midnight is a sound idea, with an average of eight hours of uninterrupted snooze being the ideal. To achieve that, there’s a whole range of products that help to induce sleep.
Aromatherapy Associates’ Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil comes with camomile, vetiver and sandalwood scents to ease stress. After that, when skin is still slightly damp, try L’Occitane’s Aromachologie Relaxing Body Cream. Infused with lavender, bergamot, mandarin, sweet orange and geranium essential oils, this shea butter moisturiser not only leaves skin velvety smooth, but also aids in calming.
And before you lay your head down, try This Works’ Sleep Plus Pillow Spray. It boasts spheres made of suspended droplets of lavender, vetiver and wild camomile essential oils that release a relaxing scent while you toss and turn. Yep, it’s “motion activated”. After all, while good skin might be hard to achieve, good sleep shouldn’t.
#1: This Works Sleep Plus Pillow Spray, $51
#2: Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil, US$58 (S$82), www.net-a-porter.com
#3: Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Intensive Recovery Ampoules, $196 for a bottle of 60 ampoules
#4: L’Occitane Aromachologie Relaxing Body Cream, $71
#5: Laneige Water Sleeping Mask – Lavender, $42
#6: Laneige Eye Sleeping Mask, price unavailable
#7: Clarins Repair Skin Booster, $65
Photography Vee Chin, assisted by Sherman See-Tho Styling Imran Jalal Hair Annie Tay/Paletteinc, using La Biosthetique Makeup Manisa Tan, using Nars Model Alica/Mannequin Top & Skirt Chloe
This story first appeared in Female’s May 2017 issue.