The idea behind “How To Prevent Acne While You Sleep” was actually inspired by a pretty cool company using technology to keep skin clear in bed, which I’ll talk about more below. Since trying their product, I have gotten motivated to revamp my entire night routine. Believe it or not, your bedtime habits and routine have the ability to greatly impact your health and consequently your complexion. The term beauty sleep is used for a reason. This is a time when your body can finally rest from the day’s activities both physically and mentally, so winding down and prepping yourself for these important hours will help you feel and look your best when you wake up. What you topically put on your skin, your quality of sleep, and even what you’re sleeping on, all have the potential to to either cause havoc to your skin or nourish it.
These are my bedtime tips that since implementing have done wonders to my energy and stress levels, and of course my skin- keeping it behaved and looking better than ever.
Tips For How To Prevent Acne While You Sleep
Always Wash Your Face Before Bed
This may seem obvious but there’s more that goes into caring for your facial skin than just soap and water. I’m not a fan of washing with conventional cleansers as they can strip natural oil from your face causing your skin to overcompensate and produce more oil. Instead I recommend using the oil cleansing method. If you feel like this causes you to break out, try oil cleansing without using castor oil. This makes a big difference for some people. Alternatively, I also use this Aloe- Herb facial cleanser from the Annmarie Gianni line, who I adore! I personally use this after removing my makeup using the oil cleansing method. I also use this alone when I travel as it’s more convenient. The Aloe-Herb facial cleanser leaves your skin feeling clean without any dry or stiff effect. Follow up with a toner, like this Neroli Toning Mist made with a base of aloe vera juice to help soothe and hydrate skin before applying a serum or moisturizer. Lastly, remember to do all this as soon as you can before bed. If you know you’re just going to be relaxing at home for the rest of the night, start your routine early. The longer and more often you’re able to let your skin breathe and repair by applying the good stuff, the faster your skin can heal.
Apply High Quality Facial Oils an Hour Before Heading To Bed
This is the last part of your facial routine, and my favorite. Since I’ve been using plant oils on my face, I’ve seen my skin transform. There’s really nothing better you can expose your skin to than high quality fats loaded with antioxidants. No matter what your skin type, there’s an oil out there perfect for you. These are my favorite facial oils here, but I also tend to blend oils together as some are a bit drier while others hydrate more. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what your skin loves. Most importantly, make sure you apply these at least an hour before getting into bed to allow full absorption of the oils into the skin, otherwise you’ll just be sending all this goodness to your sheets and pillows and the effect won’t be as pretty on them.
Sleep On a Clean Pillowcase
Remember that really cool company I was talking about before? Well, they have reinvented the pillowcase to create a product called SleepClean. “Each SleepClean Pillowcase is manufactured with specially treated Silver Ions to inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria.” Conventional pillow cases accumulate dirt, dust, and bacteria, contributing to new breakouts and encouraging current acne to stick around. This is not what you want your face snuggling all night. “Silver Ions have the ability to break through the bacteria cell wall, disrupt respiration, and stop reproduction. Simply put, the bacteria (acne) is destroyed as soon as it comes in contact with silver ions.” Pretty cool right? I tried SleepClean for over a month and am thoroughly surprised with the results. My skin has been behaving better than usual. I haven’t had crazy outbreaks, despite my stress levels and eating out more often than I typically do. I was sure that a week before I started menstruating that I would get my usual outbreaks, but even then I slept through this period without a single pimple. Coincidence? I’m not too sure. I’m a science geek, but also put a lot of value into clinical experience, and so far my n=1 experiment has sold me. Oh, and in case you’re wondering if there’s weird silver threading that’s going to poke you in the middle of the night, don’t worry. SleepClean is normal, soft, and no different than any other high quality material you would expect to be cuddling, with the bonuses that it’s also hypoallergenic, non-toxic, non-sensitizing, and non-irritating. Try it for yourself here.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain that makes us sleepy, allowing us to rest deeply and get that much needed beauty sleep. It naturally rises at night so we can fall asleep and decreases in the morning to wake us. However, there are a few things that can reduce melatonin synthesis, a large one being light exposure. This can make it difficult for one to rest fully and possibly lead to sleep issues, all depending on the duration and intensity one is exposed to light at night. (1, 2) One study examined melatonin responses to room light vs. dim light in 116 research volunteers studied in the laboratory under a fixed sleep- wake schedule (8 h asleep, 16 h awake). This was found to be the result:
“Exposure to room light before bedtime, a common practice in modern society, may inhibit melatonin production and, as a result, alter physiological processes regulated by melatonin signaling. Here, we report that exposure to electrical light between dusk and bedtime strongly suppresses melatonin levels, leading to an artificially shortened melatonin duration and disruption of the body’s biological signal of night.”
Therefore, be proactive and revamp your sleeping quarters so that it’s pitch black with no light seeping through. That goes for TV and LED alarm clocks, as well as anything else that can transmit light and disturb your melatonin production and sleep. The easiest way to do this is to invest in a comfortable sleep mask. I’ve gone through my fair share of sleep masks and this one is by far my favorite, being hypoallergenic while still being soft and comfy, and most importantly blocks out ALL light. Many eye masks are not fitted to the face so can still allow light in, but this one here works like a charm, and it’s perfect to travel with.
Avoid Electronics 2-3 Hours Before Bedtime
Ideally this would actually be after the sun goes down, but I find this a bit unrealistic, especially in the winter months when our days are shorter. Believe it or not, the biggest impact on our sleep cycle is light, both natural and manmade. Our circadian rhythm, which is also referred to as our “body clock”, is a 24-hour cycle that signals us when to sleep and stay awake. Light (again) is largely responsible for regulation of this cycle. Studies show that when the circadian rhythm is interrupted it may lead to many health issues beyond sleep problems, such as weight gain, mood swings, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Blue wavelengths which boost attention, reaction times, and mood are the worst to be exposed to at night as these suppress melatonin levels the most. It’s not a coincidence that blue light is found in all our night time toys from TV, computer screens, labtops, Ipads and even smartphones. (3) I know what you’re thinking, well crap right? I especially understand how impossible this can be and therefore don’t expect anyone living in the modern world to just shut off (although kudos if you can!). Enter the blue light blocking goggles. Yes this is a real thing, and no they are not Google glass. I’ll be honest, these blue blocking goggles are not the most attractive thing I’ve worn, but they do work! These guys have been shown to be pretty effective at reducing and even eliminating blue light effects at night, allowing a person to sleep better with normal melatonin levels in tact.(4) You’ll be wearing these at home after the sun goes down (TV watching, Instagraming, Facebooking, Pinteresting…) so you don’t have to worry about anyone seeing your new fashion statement.
Say what? It’s what I hum when I start to feel the slightest hint of inflammation on my face, ie, emerging pimple. It’s my no worries mentality because I have the ultimate natural homemade zapper on hand. Seriously, I love my manuka honey, and this recipe I came up with is legit for over night results.
Get to Bed Around 10:30
Ok, so this is one that I struggle with the most. I’m a night owl and have been my entire life. I’ve convinced myself I’m just wired this way, as some of my best work and productivity occurs after 8pm (another reason I can’t live without my blue light blocking goggles). Bottom line, the earlier we get to sleep, the more likely our bodies will stay within our biological time clock (our circadian rhythm) to reap the benefits as discussed above, and the more time we have to activate our parasympethetic system, which is necessary for rest and repair. Sleep time is when our bodies detox more efficiently so we don’t want to skimp on this. It’s also interesting to note that in Traditional Chinese Medicine there is an organ clock which represents the time of the day when each organ is working most effectively and has the most energy. Obviously the science here differs much from typical western medicine, however, I find this to be very true for myself in where my symptoms lie when I am not getting enough rest. The liver and gallbladder are the two that are effected most from 11am-3am for us night owls.
The following is taken from naturopathicbynature.com:
11pm-1am Gall Bladder: Physically, the gallbladder stores and excretes bile, but emotionally, it is in charge of self-esteem and decision-making. If you’re not sleeping by this time, you are depleting your gall bladder’s energy stores, which over time, can lead to poor self-esteem, poor judgment, or difficulty digesting fats.
1-3am Liver: The liver’s role is to store blood for menstruation and to get us through the day. If you’re not sleeping at this time, you can quickly become deficient, especially if you are female because of the importance of blood for menstruation (even for those going through menopause). The liver is also emotionally connected to anger. You may find that you wake up between 1-3am if you have repressed anger or long standing resentment. Symptoms of liver imbalances include irregular menstruation, anemia, chronic fatigue, and headache.
Try implementing some or all of these recommendations and see how you’re body reacts, both in your skin, mood, and energy. Remember, your skin is a reflection of your overall health, so we need to address the whole body to see long term improvements in our skin.
Do you have any other tips for getting a better nights rest, or favorite bedtime routines that can prevent acne? Share below!
Never miss a post! Sign up for the Wise Roots newsletter to continue to work on healing your skin and improving your health.