Sleep&Skin

Sleep & skin questions for Dr Stefanie Williams

Q1: How important is a good night’s sleep for having great skin?

A: A good night sleep is very important for when it comes to our skin. With increasingly hectic lifestyles, it is easy for us to become stressed through a lack of sleep, and stress can play a major part in our skin health. Persistent high levels of stress hormones such as cortisol can for example contribute to overproduction of sebum and inflammation, hence aggravating acne in somebody prone to breakouts. Furthermore, cortisol contributes to collagen degradation and premature ageing. So it is really important to ensure that you are getting a good nights sleep on a regular basis, ideally 7 to 8 uninterrupted hours each night.

Q2: Is cleansing before we go to bed very important for skin health?

A: It is very important to get into the habit of a good bedtime skincare routine and cleansing your skin before going to bed is an absolute must. Our skin comes under immense stress every day, for example as a result of exposure to harmful free radicals, not only from sun exposure, but also urban pollution. My biggest tip is to never, ever, ever go to bed without removing your make-up and washing your face thoroughly (cleanser suitable for your skin type plus water, not just wet wipes!). As pollution chemicals have a tendency to stick to your skin and even enter your pores, they can be hard to get off though. So if you have spent the day in a polluted city like London, you may want to consider two cycles of face washing in the evening or using a Clarisonic brush with your cleanser, which will cleanse your skin more thoroughly.

Q3: Is there a ‘perfect’ nighttime skin care regime we should all follow?

A: There isn’t a regime to suit everyone, as a skincare regime should be tailored to your skin type, any skin issues and also lifestyle. Generally though, your evening regime should start with thoroughly washing your face with a cleanser suitable for your skin type. After cleansing, the evening is a perfect time to use a ‘repair’ cream to support skin regeneration and repair over night. Examples of skin regeneration ingredients are retinol or retinaldehyde (i.e. vitamin A derivatives). These are the gold-standard over-the-counter ingredients to boost collagen production and aid skin regeneration.