Maybe you’re familiar with Manhattanhenge? It’s a summer tradition in New York, when the sunset aligns with the grid of Manhattan’s streets (sorry, you just missed it). It’s the apex of a whole summery season of rooftop drinks, late-night summer dinner parties, and the longest beach days. All this can mess with your schedule if you’re a consistently early riser—but consider adjusting. Here’s a reminder of the huge benefits of quality shuteye.
Nighttime is the skin’s most important time to regenerate since it doesn’t have to spend all of its energy fending itself from daily aggressors like UV exposure, pollution and the likes, says Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD, a board certified dermatologist and a clinical instructor at the University of California, San Francisco. On the flip side, some wrinkles actually form on your face while you sleep thanks to repetitive sleep positions that can cause creasing, says Lisa M. Donofrio, MD, an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine.
With this in mind, here’s the best nighttime skincare routine, approved by dermatologists, that maximizes the anti-aging benefits of beauty sleep.
1. Prep and prime your skin for nighttime rejuvenation.
“Night time is the best time for your body to repair the skin and the cellular systems,” says Badreshia-Bansal. When you’re at rest in the comfort of your protected home, you skin is shielded from environmental stressors like sun exposure and pollution. This means that your skin is actually working less, freeing up energy to focus on undoing any damage that occurred during the day. The best skincare routine to support this natural process: “Wash your face every night to rid the oils, dirt, and makeup that can clog pores,” says Badreshia-Bansal. Use a cleanser that contains an exfoliant to slough away dead skin. Our pick: Clarisonic Sonic Radiance Cleansing System, $249, or add a pinch of Jillian Wright Complexion Perfection Skin Brightening Boosting Powder, $75, to you favorite cleanser. Then follow-up with an anti-aging cream that contains retinol, which helps regulate cell turnover to prevent fine lines and wrinkles and repair sun damage. Ask your dermatologist for a prescription strength formula, such as Retin-A or Renova. A good over-the-counter option: Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid Plus Retinol Brightening Solution, $88. If you have dry skin, you may need to layer a moisturizer on top as well, says Badreshia-Bansal.
2. Adopt a wrinkle-free sleeping position.
Some people develop lines from squinting, smiling, or smoking. Others get wrinkles from sleeping. “Certain people form ‘sleep lines’ in areas from lying in the same position that continuously deforms your skin in the same place night after night for many years,” says Donofrio. The most common places these creases appear: the sides of the face and the forehead. (Basically the places that get smushed down on a pillow.) If you always sleep on your right side, consider alternating with your left. Better yet, sleep face-up. Sleeping on your back can alleviate any facial scrunching or bunching against a pillow and, according to Donofrio, it can also minimize pooling of fluid in the lower eyelids that causes puffy morning eyes. Still worried? Sleeping on a slick pillowcase such as one made of silk or satin may help create fewer crease-induced wrinkles. (No study has yet to demonstrate this, but it can’t hurt.) And there’s also the Juverest Sleep Wrinkle Pillow, $179, which encourages back sleeping and, for side sleepers, holds most of the pressure away from the face with its stair-step design.
3. Make sure you get enough zzz’s every night.
Of course, wrinkles don’t only occur because of how you sleep. New research shows that crow’s feet and the likes can also develop and deepen because you simply aren’t getting enough sleeping. In this study at Cleveland’s University Hospitals Case Medical Center which was funded by Estée Lauder, researchers found that people who were sleep deprived had more fine lines, less elastic skin, and greater pigment unevenness. They also had a harder time recovering from stressors to the skin such as sunburn, taking about 30% more time to heal than people who slept well through out the night. So, when you’re tucking in for a night of rest, be sure your alarm is set a good 7 to 9 hours in the future.
WORDS: Jessica Cassity
IMAGE: via Wildfox Let’s Sleep In Eye Mask as seen on Ashley Benson