Reverse Aging While You Sleep

Although I make it a firm rule to never go to bed with makeup on, I admit that sometimes it's a struggle to find the energy for a nighttime skin care regimen instead of just collapsing into bed. (I think this is a sign that I need more sleep....) Especially since starting to work at Truth In Aging, however, I've learned that that struggle is definitely worth it, since the nighttime hours work a special kind of magic for your skin.

While You Were Sleeping

At night, you may be sound asleep, but your skin isn't — it's in repair mode. During sleep, new skin cells grow and replace older cells, growth hormone is released, cortisol levels decrease and blood supply and metabolic rate increases. A good night's sleep also contributes to a healthy immune system. (source)

Because your skin regenerates itself as you sleep, it's the ideal time to apply skin care products, since the nourishing actives will be best absorbed and put to work. Also, certain anti-aging ingredients, such as retinol and AHAs, can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun or even turn toxic when exposed to sunlight. Therefore, nighttime application for such products, is a must.

It's easy to see the benefits of sleep — when you don't get enough of it. A perpetual lack of sleep will leave your skin looking dull, and result in dark circles and eye puffiness. Aim to get a good seven to nine hours a night.

Your Nightly Routine for Beautiful Skin

Cleansing is the first and most important step. Tempted to just hit the sheets and wash up in the morning? Consider this: Not only are you preventing your skin from breathing and healing itself, but you are also allowing the day's dirt and toxins to penetrate your skin overnight. What's more, makeup can become impacted in pores, clogging them and leading to inflammation and breakouts. Find the right cleanser for your skin type, and use a makeup remover for waterproof makeup (S.W. Basics Makeup Remover ($14.00) is a gentle, all-natural one to try).

Once your skin is clean, it's time to apply a specialized moisturizing serum or night cream. Since they focus on hydration and repair, night creams tend to be richer and heavier than day creams. Packed with highly concentrated anti-aging actives, these powerful skin treatments will deliver targeted benefits to your skin while your skin is at its most receptive.

10 Recommended Night Workers:

Prana SpaCeuticals Restore Nightly Moisturizer ($68) — Ingredients such as marigold extract, avocado oil and shea butter hydrate and soften dry, dull skin while ubinquinone, alpha lipoic, lactic and glycolic acids repair sun damage and diminish fine lines. TIA member Christina loves that it "doesn't feel heavy, yet its deep moisturizing can be felt immediately."

Arcona Overnight Cellular Repair Complex ($58) — Repair is the name of the game with this cream, which neutralizes free radical damage and stimulates collagen production while it deeply hydrates. Heavy-hitting anti-agers include antioxidants and fatty acids from resveratrol, black currant oil and ursolic acid. TIA member Kelly says it leaves her skin "dewy and feeling like satin."

Mukti Age Defence Night Serum ($91) tackles dark spots and hyperpigmentation with its potent skin-lightening formula. Natural exfoliators, botanicals, antioxidants and amino acids help correct age-related damage and even out skin tone. After using the serum for 3 weeks, TIA member Rebecca found that her face "looks healthy, fresh, glowing and SPOT FREE!"

Snowberry Cellular Regeneration Night Cream ($104) fights free radical damage, moisturizes and soothes skin with an antioxidant-packed formula that contains marine glycoproteins, ubiquinone, Wolfberry, pomegranate and tomato extract. TIA member Erica finds that "Its lovely rich texture is comforting and moisturizing."

Skin Nutrition Night Cream ($75) gives you a nighttime dose of antioxidant therapy with its proprietary blend of super-berry extracts and vitamins. Rich and hydrating, its helps to even skin tone, minimize pores and fade wrinkles. TIA member Ann says "Waking up in the morning after using this the night before, I always look refreshed and younger."

La Vie Celeste Day & Night Restorative Face Cream ($65 in the shop) reduces sagging skin, fine lines and wrinkles with the antioxidant R-lipoic acid and the peptide ChroNolin. Its plentiful moisturizing ingredients include apricot kernel oil, shea butter, olive leaf extract and sodium hyaluronate. TIA member Cel says "It's the perfect weight, rich enough to moisturize but without feeling at all greasy."

Skinfinite Platinum PM Cream 1% Retinol ($79 in the shop) works its nighttime magic with a special time-release delivery system that helps repair UV damage, restore collagen and regenerate cells. Hydrating ingredients, including sodium hyaluronate, ceramides and glycerin, counter the drying effects of retinol. TIA member Donna reported that "After about a week or two my skin started to exfoliate and my complexion was noticeable improved."

BRAD Biophotonic Ultra Elastin Sculpting Firming Cream Complex ($195 in the shop) hydrates, brightens and firms skin, improving skin tone and texture with peptides, glycolic and lactic acids, coenzyme Q10 and botanical oils. TIA member Kimberly says "Some nights when I am exhausted, I skip my serums and just use this. I can say my face looks just as firm and moisturized the next morning and I don't feel guilty for skipping my serums."

Eslor Active Night Cream ($95 in the shop) — With ingredients such as Matrixyl 3000, ginseng extract, sea buckthorn oil, peach kernel oil, almond butter, carrot oil, squalane and hydrolyzed soy milk protein, this intensive moisturizing formula helps restore suppleness and firmness to crepey skin while preventing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. TIA member Janet says "I've never used anything that made my skin as moist and supple! I can't believe how different my neck feels."

Lumavera Glycolic Night Cream ($80) is a lightweight nighttime treatment with glycolic acid that exfoliates and refines pores without damaging delicate skin. Heavy-hitting peptides and plant stem cells, along with grapefruit and tangerine extracts, work to refine skin's texture, even out skin tone, and firm skin. Since she's been using this night cream, TIA member Sofia has "been noticing firmness of my skin and a more even tone and less wrinkles."