Healthy Living

The Keys to Beauty Sleep

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, proper sleep is the true secret to healthy-looking skin. The study shows that sleep deprivation can be detected by the look of the face. Photos of sleep-deprived people, shown to the participants of the study, were rated as less attractive and healthy, and more tired. Susan H. Weinkle, MD, dermatologist in a private practice in Bradenton, Fla., and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the University of South Florida, explained that less sleep results in mental and physical fatigue, which shows quickly on the face.

The best time to replenish the skin and develop healthy, glowing beauty is during the night. Proper care of the skin during the night provides anti-aging benefits. The skin is stressed by a multitude of factors in the daytime, including sunlight, pollution, and the changing temperatures. “Night provides the time for the skin to recuperate from the trauma of the day”, says Amy Derick, MD, dermatologist in a private practice in Barrington, and clinical instructor of dermatology at Northwestern University.

Many people do not get adequate sleep, according to a report from The National Sleep Foundation, which says that only a quarter of Americans get eight hours of quality sleep per day.

Some of the best tips for taking care of the skin before bed include:

  • Skin cleansing – It is important to remove makeup, especially mascara, before going to sleep. Gently wash the skin with a mild cleanser or use a soft cloth. Fresh skin allows the penetration of moisturizers and creams. This cleansing should be part of your regimen, just like brushing your teeth at night.
  • Hydration - Use appropriate moisturizers to keep the skin well hydrated, especially on the areas around the lips and eyes. If there is puffiness around the eyes, opt for moisturizers with caffeine.
  • Topical retinoids – Topical retinoids, such as tretinoin, or products containing retinol, work better in the night, as they are light sensitive. They are very effective in lightening brown spots, thickening the epidermis, and making skin look more young. They also stimulate the production of collagen, preventing aging of the skin.
  • Vitamins and supplements – People who lack proper sleep often end up with dark circles under the eyes. A study has shown that applying under-eye cream containing vitamin K and retinol reduces the circles considerably.
  • Sleep position – Sleeping regularly in one position may cause the formation of sleep lines on the forehead and around the sides of the mouth and chin. Try to sleep on your back to prevent the formation of facial lines.
  • Sleeping in a comfortable environment – Have a humidifier in your bedroom, especially during the dry winter months when the heater is on. This prevents drying of the skin, as it adds extra moisture in the room. Opt for cotton clothes, as it helps to keep the skin more hydrated when compared to polyester varieties.
  • Home remedies – simple home remedies like scrubs made of oatmeal and dandelion tea bags reduce puffiness around the eyes. Joanna Czech, an esthetician in New York City, suggests using a combination of oatmeal, flaxseed, and hot water as a healing mask in the night.