BEAUTY sleep. WE all know that getting adequate rest is good for the skin.
But did you know that it’s not just about getting your eight hours a night?
While good uninterrupted sleep is important, what we do before and during sleep also has an impact on how skin looks and feels in the morning.
Our sleeping habits, what we eat or drink just before bedtime and the skincare products we use at night all have an effect on whether we wake up looking fresh and youthful or tired and haggard.
While sleeping positions don’t cause wrinkles, some positions and sleeping habits worsen or exacerbate the formation of both dynamic and static wrinkles, especially as we age and skin loses its youthful elasticity, says Dr Sutina Nordin, founder and principal aesthetic physician of En-hanze Medical Aesthetics Centre.
Some people, for example, do things such as frowning and grinding their teeth in their sleep which can exacerbate dynamic wrinkles.
Examples of these include “crow’s feet” around the eyes, or the horizontal lines known as glabellar lines on the forehead which furrow when we frown.
As our skin ages and loses elasticity, these dynamic wrinkles start to become more permanent.
Dr Sutina explains that as our skin begins to age and lose elasticity (starting from the 30s), we have to be more mindful of how we sleep so as not to worsen our wrinkles.
“As we age, our faces become slightly less symmetrical and always sleeping on one side may exacerbate that.”
On the other hand, sleeping face-up on your back can reduce pressure on the skin folds and maximise the gravitational effect, slowing down the formation of wrinkles and also reducing morning puffiness and bags under the eyes.
The appearance of puffiness around the eyes (sometimes called eye bags) is a major concern for many women because it makes them look tired, haggard and aged.
Dr Sutina says puffiness around the eyes is caused almost exclusively by fluid build-up around the eyes.
The eye bags or puffiness are usually most noticeable immediately after waking up due to fluid not being able to drain away when one has been in a horizontal position.
Sleeping with your head slightly elevated may assist in draining some of the fluid away but if your eye bags persist, then it’s likely there might be other underlying causes such as hormonal fluctuations or diet and lifestyle habits.
Besides sleeping positions, our bedtime routines also play a role in determining how skin looks and feels in the morning.
Avoiding alcohol or foods that are high in salt just before turning in for the night is a wise decision as these can cause fluid retention and puffy swelling around the eyes.
In addition to adversely affecting the quality of sleep, consumption of alcohol also dehydrates skin.
“Often, if you compare two women of the same age – one who has been drinking alcohol every night and one who has not been drinking – you are likely to see a massive difference in skin quality. There will be more wrinkles from dehydration damage on the woman who drinks regularly.”
Dr Sutina says one should not eat just before bedtime either.
Ideally, there should be a space of at least two hours and preferably four or five hours between your last meal of the day and bedtime.
This enables the body time to digest food as well as to wind down for bed. A full stomach can be uncomfortable to sleep with and this affects the quality of your sleep.
And sleeping with make-up on is a big mistake. No matter how tired you are, make the effort to cleanse your face before bedtime.
Dr Sutina stresses that not only can make-up clog pores and cause acne, it can also trigger unpleasant reactions such as a rash (allergic contact dermatitis).
If you have dry skin and sleep in an air-conditioned room, it is also advisable to hydrate your skin before bed with a good hypoallergenic moisturiser.
Regular hydration of the skin can help slow down the signs of ageing. If you set your bedroom air conditioner at a low setting (too cold), you might actually cause your skin to dry out and lose moisture, which can encourage the formation of wrinkles.
For individuals with sensitive skin, this lack of moisture in the skin can also trigger unpleasant skin conditions such as eczema.
A humid room, on the other hand, can help maintain and perhaps even increase moisture levels in your skin. Unfortunately, it can be uncomfortable to sleep in.
Dr Sutina says to balance things out, it’s best to apply a good moisturiser before bed and drink sufficient water so skin does not dry out at night regardless of the temperature you prefer in the bedroom.
STAY RADIANT IN THE MORNING
TIRED of looking like something the cat dragged in every morning?
Here are some of the tips which beauty experts recommend to step out of bed looking and feeling radiant from top to toe.
1. For a fresh, dewy look, choose anti-ageing night creams that contain hyaluronic acid as it’s known to be able to draw moisture into the skin and smoothen out fine lines or wrinkles.
2. Night creams tend to be heavier than day creams or lotions but be careful to select a product that isn’t too rich as this will clog pores and lead to breakouts. About 15 minutes after application, just when one is ready for bed, the cream should feel like it has disappeared into the skin.
3. Some beauty experts recommend storing skincare products like eye creams or toners overnight in the fridge so they can be applied cold onto the face in the morning. This is believed to help reduce puffiness and give a “wake-up” call to the face.
4. After waking up in the morning, sit up and rapidly blink your eyes for a short while. Some experts say this simple technique can reduce the appearance of morning puffiness and eye bags.
5. Try adding a few drops of aromatherapy oils to your bath before bedtime. Lavender or ylang ylang are known to promote relaxation and deeper sleep so you wake up with rested skin.
6. Try to avoid exercising immediately or just a short while before going to bed as this will get the brain over stimulated or active and the body temperature to rise, making it more difficult to wind down.
7. It’s recommended to change your pillow case frequently as it’s the place where dead skin cells, sebum and bacteria gets deposited and not having a clean surface to rest your face will precipitate skin conditions.
8. Pillow cases should be changed every week or more often while pillows every two to three years. Some women also switch from cotton to satin pillowcases to promote better comfort and improved sleep which benefits skin.
9. If you have long hair, plait it into a loose braid or tie it into a loose bun before you go to bed to avoid waking up with horrendous bedhead that just spoils your day.
10. Don’t forget your hands and feet. Always apply a good hand cream so you can wake up to soft, moisturised hands. For the feet, use a foot cream or petroleum jellyto prevent cracks and dry hard skin and cover them with socks before going to bed.
POPULAR BEDTIME SKINCARE PRODUCTS
NIGHT creams, masks and serums give skin an overnight boost so one can wake up with soft, hydrated skin.
Here are some of the popular bedtime skincare products:
1. Laneige Water Sleeping Mask
This mask works to detox, revitalise, moisturise and brighten skin, all while you go into deep sleep with the help of its Sleepscent technology. It comes in a light gel texture that is ideal for bedtime comfort. A new limited-edition Water Sleeping Mask Lavender is also available to encourage relaxation and promote deep sleep.
2. innisfree Whitening Pore Sleeping Pack
Wake up to bright and clear skin with this product infused with tangerine peel harvested fresh from Jeju Island in Korea.
This pack contains six types of citrus flavonoids and is able to even out and brighten irregular skin tones, lighten dark spots and smoothen skin texture for spotless, radiant skin. It also accelerates the natural skin exfoliation process overnight.
3. Sulwhasoo Radiance Energy Mask
This product purifies the skin during the night. It’s infused with precious White Jade, the rarest form of jade that is known for its skin-purifying effects, health benefits, and as a symbol of noble beauty.
It helps relieve skin from environmental stress such as dust particles and pollutants and draws out impurities from the skin during the night.
4. Kiehl’s Dermatologist Solutions Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate
This skincare product uses quinoa husk extract for an effective anti-ageing overnight treatment. It offers accelerated cell turnover, refined texture, improved skin tone evenness, and softer, more radiant skin.