10 Things Your Skin Does While You're Asleep 😴

We’ve all heard about “beauty sleep,” but few of us are aware of the wild journey our skin cells go on while we snooze.  ✈️Several studies show that between 11pm  and midnight our skin goes into full makeover mode. 

"That's when cell mitosis—cell division that renews and repairs skin—is at its peak, whether you're asleep or not," says New York-based dermatologist Dennis Gross, MD. "This is when cells need nutrients the most, and when their anti-aging benefits have maximum impact." 

Keep scrolling to see the 10 things your skin is up to at night and how you can take advantage of your sleep for a complexion that looks and feels refreshed.  

Girl stretching after waking up in the morning


1 – Your skin loses moisture

Skin sebum excretion peaks at midday, and there is less sebum (oil) production at night, according to Sonoa Au, MD, of Advanced Dermatology, P.C., who is based in Brooklyn. Overnight, when you don't have a protective layer of natural oils on your skin, you lose more water. Losing water from the skin is called trans-epidermal water loss, and it happens toward the end of the day and into the night. This is where moisturizing is crucial. Try pressing a drop of Midnight Shift on your skin before bed. The Jojoba coupled with sunflower oil🌻 and delivers moisture and locks in hydration throughout the night, plumping up fine lines and wrinkles.

2 - You're giving skin a break from stress

When you get quality sleep, you're not facing the things that cause cortisol (the stress hormone) levels to surge during the day. That also means that if you short yourself sleep this week, it's going to show up on your face. "It's important to respect the sleep-beauty connection," says Dr. Gohara, MD at Yale New Haven Hospital and Fellow of American Academy of Dermatology. "Not sleeping increases your cortisol levels and puts your skin in a pro-inflammatory state." Poor sleep will cause your skin looks sullen, and you may experience puffiness around the eyes if you're retaining water. If you're not sleeping well, you can read up on 3 Sleep Tips for Tonight😴

Bedside table with fresh flowers, alarm clock, facial oil, crystals

3 – You can protect yourself from breakouts

Stress can mess with the protective outer layer of skin that keeps moisture in and bad stuff like bacteria out, according to the results of a recent animal study. "If you're under a lot of stress, it can cause inflammation, which can lead to get acne," says Dr. Au. "That's the association between constant stress and the reaction of your skin," she says. So when you're in a calm resting state and sleeping, your body isn't experiencing those inflammatory fluctuations that may lead to breakouts. 

4 – You're giving your skin an environmental break

During the day, oil and pollution form a film on your skin, making it difficult for it to breathe and restore itself. "At night, there's no environmental stresses, pollutions, no cigarette smoke, no big changes in temperature, and you're not wearing makeup," says Dr. Au. "All of these things happening at night mean your skin has more time to rest and rejuvenate."

5 – Your body produces precious proteins

Early in the nighttime sleep cycle, people typically have a surge in growth hormone. This period of deep sleep, stages 3 and 4 sleep, contributes to what people call “beauty sleep” as secretion of growth hormone helps repair and rebuild body tissues like muscle and bone. Many of the body’s tissues also show increased cell production and slower breakdown of proteins during deep sleep. Since proteins are the building blocks needed for cell growth and for repair of damage from factors like stress and ultraviolet rays, deep sleep is truly “beauty sleep.” 


Girl sleeping with 'brb' silk sleeping eye mask on


6 – Your collagen rebuilds

Contrary to what bodybuilders might want to believe, injections of growth hormone are more effective at stimulating collagen formation than preventing muscle atrophy. This suggests that naturally occurring growth hormone during sleep also plays a big part in maintaining collagen matrix, and hence the appearance of youthfulness. ⭐️When rats are deprived of sleep, one of the early physical indications the show up is lesions on the skin. Good and adequate sleep is important to the integrity of the skin.

7 – Your cell turnover speeds up

While you’re sleeping, newly generated skin cells at the bottom of your epidermis are busy pushing their way to the surface. “You must remove dirt and makeup to allow the dead skin cells in the pores to move up and out,” says dermatologist Mary Lupo, MD.

8 – Your immune system is strengthened

Often, factors such as stress and pollution aggravate skin conditions. When we sleep, our immunes systems are strengthened, and our skin has time to heal. Increased inflammatory response shows up with lack of sleep such as increased acne breakouts, increased skin sensitivity, increased allergic contact dermatitis reactions, and increased irritant dermatitis. All the more reason to catch some beauty sleep.

Girl in tank top and shorts sleeping on bed

Photo Credit: Pinterest

9 – Your skin temperature changes

When you sleep, your skin becomes slightly hotter and slightly more acidic, says Dr. Au. "Those factors contribute to slightly drier skin. That's why dermatologists often recommend putting on a heavier cream at night, but it depends on your skin type." If you have oily skin, she adds, you don't want to put on something that's too thick because it could cause acne or cysts. 

10 – Your creams 

Whether you're applying dark spot fading creams (hydroquinone) alone or with retinoids (tretinoin), make sure you're doing that before you go to bed, suggests Dr. Au. During the day, you're in the sun, UV light causes an increase in melanin production, which results in pigment changes and darker color, counteracting what the products are designed to do. To help products soak in, consider switching to a non-absorbant silk pillowcase, as common cotton pillowcases are highly absorbent drawing away your nourishing creams and oils.