The Night Shift: Restore Your Skin While You Sleep

“Beauty sleep” isn’t just a marketing term. As soon as you shut your eyes, your skin cells go to work, repairing damage and restoring your complexion. We asked the experts to find out what really happens after dark, and which products we should be using to get the most out of our nighttime regimen.

While you're sleeping: Skin loses moisture

The temperature of your skin drops .9 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Throw in a dry or overheated room, and you’re most likely waking up to a tight, dehydrated complexion. Dr. Debra Jaliman, author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist, recommends using a P.M. moisturizer that contains ingredients that bind water to the skin—like hyaluronic acid and glycerin. You'll find both in derma e®’s Hydrating Night Crème with Hyaluronic Acid. The fast-absorbing formula softens and helps skin retain moisture without being the least bit greasy.

While you're sleeping: Cell turnover speeds up

While you’re sleeping, newly generated skin cells at the bottom of your epidermis are busy pushing their way to the surface. “You must remove dirt and makeup to allow the dead skin cells in the pores to move up and out,” says dermatologist Mary Lupo, MD. Look for a cleanser that exfoliates without zapping moisture, like BENTA BERRY’s G-1 Exfoliating Facial Cleanser. This creamy but gentle cleanser buffs away dead skin with finely ground apricot seeds, and also contains the brand’s signature botanical complex of burdock, jasmine, and mandarin to regulate oil production.

While you're sleeping: Damage is repaired

And you think you’re busy—during the day, your skin is constantly fighting off free radicals caused by UV rays and pollution. At night, your skin does its best to repair this damage. Since time is on your side, your products also get the chance to work more effectively. “Our metabolic rate slows while asleep and therefore free radicals decrease,” Dr. Lupo says. “As a result, antioxidants are not spent as quickly and can build up a reservoir effect.” Enhance the repair process by layering on an antioxidant-packed face oil like Caudalie’s Polyphenol C15 Overnight Detox Oil—it’s loaded with antioxidant grape seed that promotes cell turnover and the removal of toxins while you sleep.

While you're sleeping: You're shielded from the sun

The best time to apply Retinoids like Retin-A is before bed because they dramatically increase cell turnover, making skin much more susceptible to sun damage and burning. Retinol is also “highly unstable to light and will not give the full benefit if used in daylight,” according to Dr. Lupo. Dark spots correctors can also work harder at night, when UV rays aren’t triggering skin cells to produce more melanin. Try adding a lightening serum like dr. brandt® dark spots no more to your bedtime routine. The formula includes stabilized vitamin C, olive leaf extract, and zinc PCA to combat free radicals and prevent the production of melanin. It also contains a lightening peptide—hello, brighter skin!— and a pomegranate enzyme to stimulate cellular renewal. Always layer your products from thinnest to thickest: cleanser, serum, moisturizer, then face oil. Sweet dreams.

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