Everyone knows that a good night's sleep will do wonders for both your body and mind, but were you aware that the effect that rest has on our skin is strangely similar? Unless you have been living under a rock the last number of years, then I am sure you've come across the explosion of overnight beauty products, sleep masks and face treatments all marketed to work while you snooze. Never one to miss out on the latest trend, I have been indulging in, and relishing, sleep masks and serums designed to beat the signs of fatigue and revitalise lacklustre skin.
Skin experts are of the consensus that skin cells regenerate faster while we're sleeping. Subsequently, this means that the products we choose to apply at this time will work harder and have the potential to make all the difference. During the day, our skin incurs damage due to exposure to environmental pollutants and UV rays, it is this daily attack, in addition to biological ageing, that contributes to dehydration, loss of radiance, rough skin texture and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. However, while we sleep, our skin is programmed to regenerate and renew, our blood vessels dilate, and this allows an increased flow of nutrients and oxygen to our skin, stimulating the removal of toxic cellular products and kickstarting collagen synthesis and elastin production. Applying creams to your skin before you slumber will support this natural process, guaranteeing you maximise the bodies ability to regenerate by giving it the ingredients it needs when it needs them.
"During the sleep cycle, your body is regenerating itself and repairing the damage that has occurred to the cells during the day. We need to encourage this repair process as much as possible, and I don't just mean by eating the right foods, but applying good night creams will also help,"
"The body is trying to repair and rehydrate at night, so when you sleep well, your skin will be well hydrated, plump and youthful. When you don't sleep well, you begin to see fine lines as the skin gets dehydrated, you may also notice dark circles under the eyes." continued Dr Murad.
So, whether you want to fight sun damage, rehydrate the skin or minimise pigmentation, there is an overnight treatment that has been designed to help. Rather than just a fad, overnight rejuvenation is here to stay and has some solid science to back it up. We break down the main skin concerns and give you our pick of the best treatments.
Pre-wedding planning can be extremely stressful, with most couples reporting feeling high levels of anxiety in the weeks and months before the big day. All this pressure will no doubt take a toll on skin, with the first signs presenting as a lacklustre complexion prone to dryness and inflammation. When the body is experiencing periods of high stress, it will increase the production of adrenaline, which in turn stimulates the eccrine glands. Eccrine glands are responsible for producing sweat, and the increased production of sweat will lead to dehydration should the lost water not be replaced. If you couple this with the fact that skin already loses water three times faster during the night compared to the day, then you can expect dry, rough skin that lacks life. This is particularly the case if you find reaching for those 8+ glasses of water a day more of a chore than a joy.
As someone that regularly suffers from high levels of stress and drinks anything but a glass of water, my skin can, at times, be less than glowing. Recently, I have found myself reaching for Murad's Night Fix Enzyme Treatment (€69 murad.co.uk), an overnight skin treatment that works together with the body's circadian rhythm to treat the signs of sleep deprivation including dryness, dullness, dehydration and fine lines. To be used over your regular nighttime moisturiser, it is a booster treatment that works.
Alternatively, Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate(€44, debenhamns.com) is an oldie but a goodie and has a cult status for a reason. Used alone, or under a moisturiser, this paraben-free, mineral-oil free blend of botanical and essential oils is formulated to replenish the skin's lipid barrier while you sleep. It smells fantastic and feels incredible on the skin, leaving your complexion looking refreshed and feeling silky soft. I find the scent divine, a light lavender luxury, applying to skin feels luxurious, like an at-home spa treatment. For ultimate rehydration, I layer this product applying under my regular moisturiser and sealing it all using Murad's Night Fix Enzyme Treatment.
A wonder product, retinol works to brighten skin, smooth roughness, alleviate acne, reduce pigmentation and lessen fine lines and wrinkles. Used daily, your skin will look and feel rejuvenated. It is important to remember that retinol can be extremely irritating when first introduced to your routine; it is best to start by using a low percentage product applied only every second or third night. SkinCeuticals Retinol collection contains some of the highest concentrations of pure retinol on the market, and with a step-up suite available (.3%, .5% and 1%) skin tolerance can be built gradually for optimised correction. Another star retinol comes from Irish brand Pestle & Mortar; their Superstar Retinoid Night Oil (€76, pestleandmortar.com) is formulated using two types of retinol in a base of cold-pressed, organic and steam distilled oils. Working to balance oil production, the product will stimulate collagen production and refine the skin's surface without irritation. I like to use this oil year-round, as my skin benefits from the retinol but avoids any associated irritation.
Oxidation of the skin results in the production of free radicals, these molecules have a surplus electron (free), which they try tirelessly to get rid of, and this by seeking the closest molecule to which to attach. In their search to offload this electron, they are likely to connect to vital and sensitive molecules such as proteins, fats even our genetic material – DNA. As soon as free radicals combine with another molecule, it will attack and harm it, turning it into a free radical too. In turn, this kickstarts a chain reaction of destruction, which ultimately will increase the rate of non-biological ageing. Environmental aggressors, such as pollution and UV light, are known to increase the presence of free radicals on the skin's surface. Introducing an antioxidant into your skincare routine will help prevents cellular damage by giving the free radical something it can easily combine with resulting in its neutralisation. Vitamin C is an excellent antioxidant and should already be part of your daily routine. Helping to fight fine lines and wrinkles, it smooths texture and helps prevent premature ageing. Combine your everyday use with a specific product designed as an intensive nighttime treatment and ensure maximum results. IMAGE Vital C Hydrating Overnight Masque has a bouncy gel-like consistency and a delightfully zesty scent. Apply at bedtime and wake fresh-faced. Best used 2-3 times per week in place of your regular moisturiser.
-- Dani Farrell