Beauty sleep: It's real!

Skin works hard overnight to repair itself

Published On: Oct 16 2011 09:50:07 PM EDT   Updated On: Jul 07 2011 02:48:09 AM EDT
Woman sleep, sleeping

From PureMatters.com

Did you know that while you rest overnight, your complexion works hard to repair itself? Studies show that cell turnover is eight times faster at night, softening wrinkles.

But there's more to the magic of the night. Hormonal changes boost blood flow to the skin, brightening it overnight. Skin temperature is higher too, so age-fighting potions seep deeper for better results.

On the flip side, as anyone who's pulled an all-nighter can attest, the consequences -- pasty-looking skin and dark circles -- aren't pretty. "Even worse, not getting the recommended eight hours increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which may slow collagen production, promoting wrinkles," says Jyotsna Sahni, MD, a sleep medicine doctor at Canyon Ranch in Tucson. To take advantage of your skin's own natural healing process, follow these beauty-sleep tips.

Make a sink stop. Washing your face plays two important roles: It removes damaging dirt and makes your night cream work harder. Anti-aging treatments can penetrate deeper on a clean surface. For dry skin, look for a creamy cleanser; for acne-prone or oily skin, a gel formula. If your skin is sensitive, wait 10 minutes after cleansing before applying anti-agers.

Rejuvenate with a retinoid. These derivatives of vitamin A are key to youthful-looking skin. "But because exposure to sunlight can deactivate their potency, it's best to apply retinoids at night," says Patricia Farris, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University School of Medicine.

Overcome your fear of the dark. In one study, women who applied an under-eye cream containing vitamin K and retinol every night for 12 weeks saw their dark circles improve 33 percent.

Apply a mega-moisturizer. Due to a nighttime increase in temperature and water loss, extra hydration is a must, says Jenny Kim, MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine and dermatology at the UCLA School of Medicine. For the best results, look for a cream with the superhydrators hyaluronic acid or glycerin, which attract water to the skin. The extra dose of softening also makes wrinkles less noticeable in the morning.

Convert to sleeping on your back. Lying on your stomach or on the same side every night can etch permanent sleep lines into your skin. If you can't adjust, switch to a satin pillowcase; the silky texture prevents crinkles.

Raise your head. Stack a few pillows beneath your head to avoid puffy eyes. If you keep your head above your heart, fluid won't accumulate in your face.

Get help from a humidifier. Dry, hot air sucks moisture from skin. A humidifier puts water in the air, for soft and supple skin. And its gentle hum just might act as a white noise machine to help you sleep -- a beautiful thing.

For more healthy living news and features, visit PureMatters.com -- and don't forget to stop by the Pure Matters Shop for all your vitamin and supplement needs.

Source: Pure Matters http://www.purematters.com/healthy-body/beauty-skin-care/beauty-sleep-its-real