You work on the clock and recoup at night, but did you know your skin does, too? The idea that skin operates within a 24-hour cycle and does different things during the day and at night, a.k.a. circadian biorhythms may sound far-fetched (can your skin really tell time?), but it’s a well-studied phenomenon. Here, we’ll take a look at what the research says, and tell you how to use the right skincare ingredients to get the most of your body’s biorhythms by applying treatments at the right time of day.
First, what exactly are biorhythms?
As we mentioned, circadian biorhythms are the rhythms the body follows based on a 24-hour cycle. This biorhythm is controlled by a master clock in the brain. It’s how your body knows to do things like sleep at night and wake when the sun rises. It also regulates appetite, blood pressure, and hormone levels, among other functions. “The pineal gland, an endocrine gland in the brain, makes melatonin, which is best known for modulating our circadian rhythms,” says Avnee Shah, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Melatonin levels rise at night (that’s what makes you sleepy) and are lowest during the day. But the hormone doesn’t just promote sleep. “It’s been found to suppress UV skin cell damage, and allow for wound healing and hair growth,” she says. Research has shown that circadian biorhythms also play a role in transepidermal water loss (TEWL), the process by which skin loses water, cell turnover, blood flow and temperature.
Timing is everything: Using biorhythms to get better skin
Knowing that skin performs different functions during the day and at night allows us to use topical skincare products at optimal times, says Dr. Shah. During the day, skin goes into protection mode, she says. Sebum (oil) production goes up, skin permeability is lower, and thickness is greater, which means aggressors can’t get in as easily. “This makes sense as we are bombarded by reactive oxygen species all day long through sun exposure and the environment,” says Dr. Shah. To aid in the protective process, this is when you want to apply topical treatments that include antioxidants, which protect against skin-damaging reactive oxidants and free radicals. Sun protective ingredients and sunscreen filters to guard skin against UV damage are also essential.
“During the night, skin goes into repair mode where skin cell proliferation and repair peak,” says Dr. Shah. Skin temperature and blood flow increase, which means skin is more permeable. It also means it loses more moisture at night.” Luckily, this is when skin penetration is found to be the highest as well, allowing topical moisturizers and actives to be more readily absorbed,” she says. To maximize skin’s repair mode, you want to use topicals that include reparative ingredients. For example: DNA repair enzymes to fix any damage incurred by UV light during the day, topical retinoids work to neutralize free radicals and boost collagen production, and protein in the skin that keeps it firm and smooth. Peptides also help rev up collagen. This is also the time to apply topical anti-inflammatories, as skin tends to be drier and more sensitive at night, says Dr. Shah. And thicker moisturizers can help protect against the increased moisture loss (TEWL).
Skincare around the clock
So, what does an ideal skincare routine look like based on skin’s circadian biorhythm? Here, find your ideal moisturizer and treatment products for day and night.
Morning skincare routine
Step 1: Balance Pour Moi Hydrating Balancer
This lightweight moisturizer keeps skin hydration levels at optimal levels. It’s an oil-free formula, so it won’t feel heavy on skin at a time when your natural sebum production is at its highest.
Step 2: Treat: Pour Moi Black Serum
This contains antioxidants to ward off free radical damage, as well as ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, ethylhexyl salicylate, and butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, three powerful ingredients that help to defend against UV damage by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering the rays.
Step 3: Moisturize: Pour Moi Day Cream
Each of the climate-smart moisturizers are scientifically formulated to help your skin adapt, repair and protect itself in your climate’s conditions. Using it’s Geo-Hydradynamic Complex, it keeps skin hydrated, balanced and nourished no matter what climate you’re in.
Find all three products in our climate specific 3-Step Systems.
Evening skincare routine
Step 1: Treat: Pour Moi White Serum
Time-released retinol and peptides work to boost collagen production, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while humectants such as glycerin help skin retain moisture.
Step 2: Moisturize: Pour Moi Climate-Smart Night Cream
This cream helps promote repair with a mix of peptides and time-released retinol. Mega-moisturizers such as Squalane, Lecithin, Shea butter, and Pour Moi’s Geo-Hydradynamic Complex all help maintain skin’s moisture levels while you sleep, off-setting the increase in TEWL that happens at night.
Products formulated for day and night are not a clever marketing ploy; they’re based on the science of skin’s biorhythms and work to support the natural processes that skin goes through during the day and at night to keep skin looking healthy and youthful.