You’re all probably familiar with the hallmarks of a bad night’s sleep – you wake up feeling groggy, disorientated and confused. You stumble towards the bathroom and yes, there’s the physical evidence – tired, puffy and dark eyes!
Your immediate reaction might be to reach for your concealer, quickly followed by a strong cup of coffee, but sometimes this just isn’t enough. That’s why today I’m here to uncover the truth about ‘beauty sleep’, and what it can do for ageing skin.
Is beauty sleep real?
The answer to this question is easy: absolutely, especially if you’re trying to prevent premature ageing! Sleep gives your body a chance to regenerate and repair, helping to remove impurities and excess fluids from your body – for instance, did you know that while you sleep, your brain is able to detoxify your body 10 times faster than when you’re awake?
Your body also uses this time to produce more collagen, an essential structural protein that is vital for ageing skin. As you age, you start to lose collagen which can affect the appearance of your skin, leaving it weaker, more prone to irritation and it may also take longer to recuperate from damage. As your age, your skin will also rely increasingly on a steady influx of antioxidants and nutrients to help combat the free-radical damage responsible for premature ageing.
Fortunately, as you sleep your microcirculation receives a bit of a boost, ensuring your skin is getting a healthy flow of oxygen and nutrients. However, this can all change when sleep deprivation enters the picture.
If you stay up too late or have trouble sleeping, not only will you be left feeling shattered and exhausted for the rest of the day, your skin will suffer too! Firstly, your production of collagen will be inhibited, which will result in skin that’s weaker and thinner. You also have to consider that your hormones might be affected, especially if your circadian rhythm is thrown out of balance.
The hormone you need to worry about most is cortisol, an inflammatory stress hormone that exists in a delicate balance with melatonin, the sleep hormone. Normally, cortisol is released gradually as your sleep cycle ends, helping to give you the boost you need to spring out of bed in the morning.
Whether it’s the stress of having a poor night’s sleep, or a combination of poor diet and anxiety, cortisol can be released as part of your fight-or-flight instincts. When this happens, your body will prioritise your short-term survival meaning that many bodily functions, such as filtering impurities or excess water, will get overlooked causing any excess fluid to gather in the tissues under your eyes – hello tell-tale bags!
Your blood vessels will also dilate during times of stress so that nutrients and oxygenated blood can be redirected away from your skin towards organs like your heart and lungs, which can help you to escape a potentially life-threatening situation – goodbye antioxidants and nutrients! And, as an added bonus, since the skin under your eyes is so delicate, these dilated blood vessels are visible, forming those dark circles that we all know and despise.
So to summarise, your skin will lack the antioxidants necessary for fighting the signs of premature ageing, becoming more prone to inflammatory reactions, less able to produce collagen and more susceptible to dark circles and puffiness – not good!
How to get rid of those dark circles!
I know I’ve certainly had my share of late nights and early starts and I’ve always noticed that my skin appears redder and more prone to itchiness the next day. There’s definitely something to be said for getting your allotted 8 hours a night, but sometimes this just isn’t always feasible and the delicate skin under your eyes will suffer for it.
Choose your concealer carefully!
When it comes to ageing skin, the make-up you choose is extremely important as the wrong brand can deprive your skin of essential oils, emphasising the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. That’s why I’d always recommend a natural brand that keeps harsh chemicals and parabens far, far away from their products!
PHB Ethical Beauty are, as their name may suggest, a pioneering ethical beauty company that specialise in handcrafted skincare and beauty products. New to Jan de Vries, PHB impressed us with their passion for plant-powered and compassionate products that aim to ‘improve your skin, your health and your wellbeing’ - you won’t find any phthalates or abrasive toxins here!
Their Cream Concealer Stick is surprisingly ideal for ageing skin, rather than masking dark circles, it utilises a range of nourishing, skin-boosting ingredients to help treat them. Rich coconut helps to provide plenty of moisture and essential fatty acids restore your skin’s natural elasticity. Jojoba oil and argan oil help to soften your skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines whilst fighting the free radicals responsible for premature ageing!