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While you were sleeping

A good night’s kip (and a fab night cream) can take years off you…

Getting a good seven to eight hours sleep every night is essential for your health. Not only does it boost your energy levels, but it also improves your mood, concentration, brain function and even your complexion.

When you’ve been burning the candle at both ends, it definitely shows as your skin can break out, your eyes can get puffy and red, and a lack of sleep can cause depression, anxiety and irritation.


What goes on during sleep
‘Most of the body’s rebuilding work is done [overnight] and skin is fortified and revitalised’, says Janet Pardo, vice president of product development for skincare company, Origins.

During the night, growth hormones are released in the body, which help with the repairing of skin tissues and cells. During sleep, your skin is rejuvenated a number of ways. And as it’s not exposed to UV rays from the sun, smoke or other pollutants, this means that skin can concentrate on the renewal process.

Also, the lack of facial muscle movement during sleep means that lines and wrinkles are not being formed, which helps to smooth the skin. This is why it’s beneficial to lay on your back, because crease marks can develop on your face when lying on your side or stomach. Creases can smooth out instantly when you’re young, but as you get older they stay for longer, as collagen and elastin fibres of the skin naturally weaken.

Miracle night creams
Taking good care of your skin every night is as important as moisturising it during the day, especially once you hit your 30s. A night cream is different to a day cream, so don’t apply your day moisturiser to your face at night. The rich formula of a night cream contains nourishing and anti-ageing ingredients that help encourage the production of collagen and elastin fibres and help to increase the cell renewal process. A night cream also helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and age spots, and improves suppleness of the skin.

Unlike a day cream, it doesn’t contain SPF, because protection from the sun is not needed during the night.

‘Applying night cream just before you go to sleep means your skin will benefit most when the absorption of nutrients is at its peak,’ explains cosmetologist Colette Haydon. ‘Your cream should be nourishing, but not thick. You can gauge if it is the right consistency by feeling your skin 15 minutes after application – you should still be able to feel the slip of the cream, but not otherwise be aware of it,’ says Colette.

Here comes the science bit…
Retinoids, derived from vitamin A, help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and brown spots, and tightens the skin. Best used at night as sunlight degrades them.

  • Peptides are small fragments of proteins, which help skin to repair and stimulate the production of collagen.
  • Hyaluronic acid helps to hydrate, smooth and soften skin, and diminish wrinkles.
  • Antioxidants protect against free radicals.
  • AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) such as lactic, citric and glycolic acid improve skin texture, and help unblock pores.
  • Vitamin C brightens skin.
  • Vitamin K combats under eye bags.

Nicky says…‘Your skin rejuvenates overnight – kind of like a snake shedding its skin. Although this process slows down as we get older, it still happens if you’re asleep before 1am – a good reason to curb the night life, get a solid seven to eight hours’ sleep and make the most of nature’s anti-ageing routine.’

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