We humans spend nearly a third of our lives sleeping – or at least we should. Despite the guidance to get at least seven hours of sleep each night, many Americans are sleep deprived; the CDC suggests that 1 in 3 adults regularly get too little sleep.
Even if you’re someone who feels great after just five hours of sleep, getting too little cuts short your body’s opportunity to rejuvenate, repair and grow. Studies have shown that when the body is at sleep, numerous beneficial processes increase, including protein synthesis, the release of growth hormones and cellular regeneration.
A 2013 clinical trial led by Dr. Elma Baron demonstrated the relationship between poor sleep quality and signs of skin aging. Researchers found that sleep-deprived women showed increased signs of premature skin aging– including fine lines, uneven pigmentation and slackening of the skin– and a decrease in their skin’s ability to recover from damage, including that from sun exposure. In another study, researchers found that sleep-deprived people are perceived by others to be less healthy and less attractive than well-rested individuals.
In light of this information, you can understand why the term “beauty sleep” is hardly a misnomer. Getting at least seven hours of sleep each night is key to improving the health and aesthetics of your skin.
After you’ve checked off that box, it’s time to fortify your night face routine. While our body naturally does the heavy lifting in terms of regenerating skin tissue and repairing damage, by implementing a thorough (yet simple!) night skin care routine, you improve your body’s ability to do its job.
It’s important to understand that price tag doesn’t dictate if a night cream or other product for use in a night skin care routine will be beneficial to your skin. Rather, it’s the ingredients that you should analyze. Among the ingredients we recommend in a night skin care routine are:
- Peptides: Peptides are chains of amino acids that stimulate the growth of key skin proteins, encourage skin healing and remodeling, and smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea and others help to fight free radical damage in our skin. (Free radicals break down beneficial skin proteins, causing the signs of aging.)
- Alpha-Hydroxy Acids: Alpha-hydroxy acids, like glycolic acid (our top pick), thins the skin’s keratin layer to amplify the skin’s natural rejuvenation response, which becomes less efficient as we age. (Read more about alpha-hydroxy acids and their important role in an exfoliation practice.)
- Aloe Vera: While Lexli’s therapeutic base of organic, pharmaceutical-grade aloe vera makes us partial to this ingredient, the fact is that aloe vera skin benefits are well documented. Aloe helps to reduce inflammation and accelerate the healing of skin tissue.
So what should a night skin care routine look like? Here’s our recommendation:
- Properly wash your face with a gentle, pH-balanced cleansing lotion.
- Apply a leave-on glycolic acid exfoliator. Wait several minutes for product to penetrate.
- Apply a peptide serum formulated with antioxidants to face and neck.
- Apply a firming eye cream formulated with peptides and antioxidants.
- Finish with a rich, hydrating night moisturizer that is formulated without sunscreen to lock in moisture and help to soften skin.
If you’re just starting a night skin care routine, it’s important to keep your expectations realistic. It often takes eight to 10 weeks to begin noticing skin improvements. Consistency is key. Most importantly, make sleep a priority!