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How does sleep affect your skin?

Everything you need to know about your nighttime routine

Pippa HarmanCo-Founder Renude
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How does sleep affect your skin?
Written byPippa HarmanCo-Founder Renude
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Sleep plays a crucial role in the health of your skin. Whilst you sleep, your body repairs itself, so not having enough can have a negative impact on your skin. The hormone responsible for accelerating your skin’s repair and regeneration is called HGH and kicks in whilst you’re sleeping. Having enough sleep will help your skin repair itself, preventing skin aging, dark circles and inflammation. [1]

What happens to your skin when you sleep?

  • The first two to four hours is when a person experiences their deepest sleep cycle. During this cycle, growth hormones and collagen are produced in high quantities.
  • The following two hours is when a person experiences the REM cycle. This is also when antioxidants are produced which eliminate toxins that can cause damage to your skin.
  • The remaining two to three hours of sleep is when a person reaches their lowest core body temperature. During this stage the restoration and repair process throughout your body continues.

Other studies also suggest that sleep helps keep your stem cells healthy. Which is significant considering stem cells help your body regenerate new tissues and that includes your skin cells.

How much sleep should you have a night?

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults rest for seven to nine hours each night, but the individual should pay attention to how they feel [2]. These hours are crucial for the skin to repair itself and it’s also when your skincare is most likely to have an impact. 

Incredibly, your skin actually absorbs around 15% more of what you put on it at night than during the day. Hence our night time routines tend to include more steps or active ingredients, usually the active ingredients in night cream have been specifically chosen to work most effectively in this thicker formula and in conjunction with your skin’s nightly process.

What happens to your skin when you don't get enough sleep?

A lack of sleep can have a serious impact on a wide range of things including your hormones, stress levels, and even your eating habits. All things we know can have an effect on our skin too! If you don't get enough sleep, your skin can become quite dry, develop a dehydrated texture and even cause breakouts.

People who don’t get enough quality sleep also show more signs of skin ageing. These signs included fine lines, uneven pigmentation and wrinkles [3]. Further studies found that those who do not get enough sleep reported droopy eyelids, redder eyes, darker under-eye circles, and paler skin [4].  

Why should I use a different type of moisturizer at night time?

In our reparative sleep state, skin can be more receptive to certain products. This is because on average our skin temperature gets slightly warmer, making the skin and pores more permeable. Applying night cream can help your skin get the maximum benefits from their active ingredients. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Hydrating - A night cream will keep your skin hydrated overnight, helping you to wake up looking fresh faced. With a night cream, your skin becomes wonderfully smooth and supple. If you have acne or breakouts, the temptation is to dry out your skin. However, it needs soothing and moisturizing too. Doing this at night is the way to get the best balance.  

Renude Favourite: Bioderma Hydrabio Gel Cream 

  • Soothing - Your face has quite a tough job protecting itself from the sun and other pollutants during the day [5]. A night cream can help to calm and soothe your skin overnight so that any redness or irritation is banished while you sleep. This helps to ensure that, by morning, you have an even skin complexion. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, or commuting in a busy built-up city, your skin will thank you for the TLC in the evening. 

Renude Favourite: SVR Sensifine Nutri-baume

  • Firming - Night creams often include the active ingredients that aid the repairing process, think hyaluronic acid, vitamin A and peptides. If you are looking for a product to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines that are more notable when collagen is depleted, using a night cream to boost your collagen production will help your skin to look plumper and firmer. 

Renude Favourite: Neostrata Dermal Replenishment Cream

In addition, applying night cream with a strong upward motion helps to stimulate blood circulation, helping to eliminate toxins and promote the skin’s natural healing and cleansing process.

Hero ingredients often used in night cream 

Niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and rosehip oil are all common ingredients in our night cream. Niacinamide is a vitamin B3 and works with your skin’s natural ability to improve complexion, banish dullness and tighten pores. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant and locks in any moisture to the skin and helps to reduce the signs of aging. Rosehip oil is rich in vitamin C, boosting collagen production and reducing inflammation. 

How to use your night cream

  • Use your chosen cleanser first to remove dirt and excess sebum following the day. 
  • Unless using a humectant treatment step beforehand, ensure your skin is dry before applying night cream. 
  • If you are using a treatment step such as an acid or a serum, allow a minute or so for the product to settle before applying your night cream.
  • Use an upward and circular motion to massage the cream into your skin. The massage is an important part of boosting absorption and circulation. 

The best way you can help your skin is by following your full skincare routine at night, double cleansing if recommended - and definitely if you’ve had make up on all day. 

Take our skin health quiz as a first step in receiving your personal routine and even book in to speak to one of our aestheticians at a time that suits you.


All of the Ways Your Sleeping Habits Can Impact Your Skin (

How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? | Sleep Foundation

Sleep Deprivation Linked To Aging Skin, Study Suggests | HuffPost UK Post 50 (

Cues of Fatigue: Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Facial Appearance - PMC (

The Truth About What Your Skin Really Does at Night (

Best night cream 2023: 18 overnight moisturisers that really work | Marie Claire UK

Pippa HarmanCo-Founder Renude
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