Woke up with an angry spot gracing your face? We’ve all been there. In fact, it serves as an important reminder that our skin is still working away overnight. Whether you arise first thing looking radiant and rested or dehydrated and exhausted, our skin has ways of making it clear to us that, during the eight hours of sleep we’re supposed to enjoy every night, it continues to function.
But interestingly, the way it functions is different. “Our skin works very differently at night than it does in the morning,” says Anita Sturnham, MD, a GP specialising in dermatology and the founder of Decree skincare. And the good news is the changes our skin goes through at night are mostly universal, meaning there are actions that we can all take to prevent skin upset overnight and ensure we wake up glowing.
“It’s important to have a more targeted strategy when we’re treating our skin with our p.m. products,” Sturnham adds. Below is everything you should know (and use) to help aid your skin overnight and wake up with a glowing complexion.
First and foremost, it’s important to load your skin up with hydration before bed. “The very top layer of our skin, the epidermis, opens up at night, making it more prone to transepidermal water loss, meaning water is lost more readily from our skin,” says Sturnham. It is therefore important to give your skin as much nourishing hydration as possible before you hit the hay.
Containing Nordic birch sap and pure Arctic spring water, this super-hydrating face cream is surprisingly refreshing and lightweight. If your skin is in need of a nourishing pick-me-up, look no further.
This stuff means business. Not only is it wonderfully sensorial and calming to use, but it also contains a supercharged blend of glycerin, vitamin E and nourishing oils to plump skin and deliver a radiant glow.
If you’re not a fan of rich creams, this lightweight oily elixir might suit you. It smells like lavender to help you drift off, and it is also jam-packed with squalane and fatty acids to keep skin hydrated all the way through the night.
While our skin might be more prone to dryness and dehydration throughout the night, that’s not to say our oil-producing glands aren’t also doing their thing. “Our sebaceous glands become sluggish overnight. They product a much stickier, concentrated sebum, so our pores are more prone to congestion,” says Strunham.
On top of congestion, we might also see pigmentation arise overnight. “Melanocytes, which are our pigment-producing cells, act like soldiers in the day to block aggressors from damaging our DNA. At nighttime, they are kind of worn out and need to be recharged,” she adds. Ensuring melanocytes are healthy will help stop damage that could lead to hyperpigmentation.
This lightweight serum really does target it all. Containing apple stem cell blend, alpha-arbutin and a retinoid, it addresses existing pigmentation and fine lines. Expect to wake up with a more even-looking skin tone and a smooth, radiant complexion.
If you’re concerned about dark spots and pigmentation, this night cream has you covered. Using a trio of exfoliants, including powerful glycolic acid, it works to boost glow and reduce the appearance of dark spots overnight. Plus, it’s soothing and moisturising enough for sensitive skin types.
While retinol might be largely considered the best damage reverser around, this night cream gives the powerhouse ingredient a run for its money. Containing a blend of AHAs (that’s alpha-hydroxy acids) and bakuchiol, it targets signs of ageing and dark spots while delivering optimum moisture.
Few nighttime skincare products come as highly regarded as this one. A luxurious face oil, it manages to calm and soothe tired skin while also delivering a powerful dose of retinoid to help reverse the day’s damage overnight.
A cult best seller for a reason, this serum also contains AHAs (which, by the way, are best used at night to minimise sun-sensitivity risks) to exfoliate and restore glow. Plus, it’s chock-full of glycine saponin to help aid hydration and hyaluronic acid production.
The key to a waking up to a good skin day is getting a good night’s sleep before. Therefore, any skincare product that can help aid your night’s sleep is sure to only help the cause. “If we’re stressed after a frantic day, our cortisol levels may be high in the evening. Our skin responds to this with inflammation and reduced ability to repair itself,” explains Sturnham.
Like 12 hours of sleep in a pot, this facial cream is a total dream. It smells spa-like with a lavender-and-chamomile scent that will have you nodding off in a matter of minutes. But on top of that, it’s also full of cica, ceramides and hyaluronic acid to plump, hydrate and soothe skin in the most calming of ways.
Okay, so this one might not be for your face, but let’s not forget that we shouldn’t be neglecting the skin on the rest of our bodies either. Impressively, this body moisturiser contains not only This Works’s iconic Sleep Plus scent (which will literally put you into a fairytale-esque slumber) but also retinol to boost glow and 2% CBD to soothe and calm.
Speaking of CBD, this face cream contains a healthy dose of it to calm irritation and soothe angry skin at the end of the day. Along with hyaluronic acid and rose-hip seed oil, your skin will be soothed, glowing and silky-soft come morning.
During the night, our cells go into repair mode, and it’s important to give our skin the ingredients it needs to make the most out of this process. “Fibroblasts, which are our collagen-making cells, and keratinocytes are quite hyperactive at night,” says Sturnham. “Giving them the right building blocks they need, in terms of ingredients like peptides, stem cells and vitamin A, will help fast-track the repair process,” she adds.
This oil-based serum is renowned as being one of the most efficacious overnight skincare products around. It is full of antioxidants to protect, soothe, smooth and aid repair. Plus, the texture is lightweight, silky and generally joyous to apply.
Again, full of antioxidants, this night cream not only calms redness and soothes stressed skin at the end of a long day but also works to strengthen the skin’s natural barrier overnight so that it’s fighting fit come morning.
Few brands do calming beauty quite like Elemis, and this creamy oil is right in line with the brand’s track record. It contains peptides to support the skin’s natural repair and renewal processes, and taking a moment to really massage this stuff into skin before bed will calm your mind and have you waking up with a restored glow.
Next up, the cult moisturisers Meghan Markle, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and J.Lo actually use.