It's so important to cleanse your face in the evening before bed, even if you aren't wearing make-up. "A lot of bacteria and dirt has collected on your face during the day," says Becky Sturm, founder of StormSister Spatique. "That's 12+ hours of stuff sitting on your skin that's then collected in your pillowcase for six to eight hours of sleep over how many days until your pillowcase is replaced. Think about it."
Cecilia Wong, founder of Soie Aroma Skin Care Salon in NYC, believes simplicity is the key:
- Use a cleanser and lukewarm water to wash off the make-up, oil and dirt accumulated on the skin.
- Exfoliate using a warm wet washcloth in circular motions. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells and gives your skin a healthier, glowing appearance.
- Mist toner to close pores and refresh skin.
Busy working mom Heidi N. makes a habit of removing her makeup as soon as she gets home from work and admits, "I cook dinner with a clean face and wearing comfy jammies!"
Apply night cream
Your skin is drier and more vulnerable to irritation at night than it is during the day, says dermatologist Amy Derick. "Be sure to take care of your skin at night by applying a moisturizer before bed." Some of the products -- retinol, alpha hydroxy acid -- that help rejuvenate the skin are made ineffective by (or can be dangerous in) sunlight. Applying these helpful products at night gives you the full benefits of their ingredients.
Hit the dry spots
Use a rich moisturizer on dry areas such as legs, knees, elbows, heels and décolleté. For particularly dry areas, especially hands and feet, apply Vaseline and cover with cotton gloves or socks. Stefani B. likes the natural approach: "I have aloe plants all over the bedroom and squeeze on some of its healing power every night before bed."
Slip into something more comfortable
Research suggests that choosing cotton pajama fabric instead of polyester decreases the perception of coldness at night and increases the measurable hydration at the top layer of the skin, says Derick. Comfy pjs will help your skin stay softer! "The most comfortable things to wear to bed," says mom-to-be Courtney L., "are my husband's white cotton t-shirts and boxers."
Lose the ponytail
Wearing your hair in a ponytail to bed increases the risk of hair breakage, says Derick. To avoid messy bedhead, try using satin pillowcases. Or do what Irene R. likes to do. "Before bed each night, I put a whole bunch of braids in my hair," says Irene. "Make them small and tight so you don't need rubber bands." You'll wake up with a trendy, toussled coif!
Fluff up your pillow and sleep on your back
To avoid developing deep facial lines from pillow pressure, sleep flat on your back, says Derick, but keep your head elevated with at least one pillow so fluids don't settle in and cause puffy morning eyes.
Get some zzz's…
"I'm very interested in knowing how much sleep my patients get since this factors into the skin's health and appearance," says Derick. Lack of adequate rest stresses the skin and interrupts the restoration process that occurs throughout the night. Think of nighttime as an opportunity for your skin to heal and rejuvenate. Take advantage of those sleeping hours and let your skincare products do their work while you get your rest.