You've probably heard a little on the topic of nighttime repair and the multiple functions in your body that activates when the day turns into night. Well, while your body takes the beating during the day (trying to protect itself) with a slew of toxins, UV damage, stress, and fatigue, the functions that make everything work in our skin begin to break down. So how does the body get rid of all the damage? Yep. Night repair.
When the sun goes down, your mind and body switch into an active regeneration mode – repairing daytime damage and activating the production of substances that protect and renew. A process that, surprisingly, we don’t know a whole lot about is sleep and our circadian rhythm that control these processes for repair. When we talk about the circadian rhythm, we are referring to the 24-hour physiologic, metabolic, and behavioral rhythms that our body goes through each day. And there's a control tower; the central nervous system. Greatly influenced by light, dark, and the environment around us, the circadian rhythm regulates pathways in the body (including the skin) by transcribing circadian genes and their proteins. As soon as they're active certain processes kick in to regulate things like repair and blood flow. So what are some of the things that happen during these cycles?
Here’s what happens:
- The brain clears out waste products like amyloid beta (a substance associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease).
- Production of protective brain cells called oligodendrocytes ramps up.
- Memories are consolidated to enhance problem-solving and creativity.
The skin also contains circadian clock genes that, when active, can keep these functions at homeostasis:
- Transepidermal (through top layer of skin) water loss
- Keratinocyte proliferation
- Skin blood flow
- Skin temperature
- Melatonin, known for its antioxidant (a.k.a. anti-aging) properties, is produced at night.
- Levels of the stress hormone cortisol fall during sleep, which helps skin repair daytime damage.
- The body makes more collagen, which minimizes fine lines.
- More human growth hormone is released, increasing muscle mass and strengthening the skin.
Early in the nighttime sleep cycle, people typically have a surge in growth hormones. Meaning, that skin cells regenerate faster at night than during the day. Cell division happens throughout the day, but peaks around 2 am (around when you're at your deepest sleep). This is literally renewal and rejuvenation during sleep.
So what happens when the circadian rhythm goes, well, off-rhythm? From what we know, the disruption of the circadian rhythm has been the basis for a variety of dermatological conditions. Studies have shown that UV exposure can continue to damage the DNA of the skin, even in the dark! In the study, they demonstrated that the repairing mechanisms in skin cells plateau at night.
More understanding of the circadian rhythm and the role it plays in the skin’s health will help doctors and skin professionals (like us!) provide better treatments for both lifestyle damage (like stress and UV exposure) and the timing of application of those treatments. We should also tell you that optimal skin health is highly (like really highly) correlated with adequate sleep — something at the office we rarely get.
What does this mean for our nighttime repair products like the Dark Circle Undereye Set? It so happens that the ingredients included in the formula were actually inspired by this process (go figure). The formula was engineered to improve regeneration and repair from UV exposure and other lifestyle habits we enjoy so much. Interested in learning more? Find out how one of our top solutions to lifestyle habit damage can be part of your nighttime repair.