As the clocks go forward this weekend, giving us an extra hour of daylight in the evening and marking the start of the British summer, we look at the impact of our circadian rhythm on our skin. Losing one hour of sleep may not seem like a big deal, but your body's internal clock, or circadian rhythm, is no longer in tune with the external clock.
Many of us lead super busy lives and if you are anything like me you are always running against the clock to pack another thing into your schedule, but it can take its toll on the skin.
You may have noticed that your skin is shinier at lunchtime or repairs itself best during the night: it is because of the circadian rhythm, your skin cells own internal clock system. If you wonder what that exactly means and how to work with it to optimise your skin’s health, you’ve come to the right place.
Circadian Rhythm: What is it?
The circadian rhythm is our internal 24-hour clock that coordinates the physiological and behavioural functions of our body with our environment. It regulates important functions such as hormone levels, body temperature, blood pressure, metabolism and sleep: it tells us when to wake up and when to sleep – when we have the most energy and when we have the least.
Yet, our circadian rhythm can be altered and impacted by our lifestyle. When there is a temporary mismatch between our external environment and our internal biological clock, as it is the case with jet lag, too many late nights or insomnia, the whole rhythm is under stress and trying to adjust. This has long term damages, as it speeds up the skin’s ageing process.
How to Tune Up Your Skin's Clock
Often called the ‘sleep hormone’ as high levels help you fall asleep; melatonin plays an important role in our circadian rhythms. It helps your body to relax and fall asleep easier. At approximately 7.30 am, our melatonin secretion stops and at about 9.00 pm, melatonin secretion starts in preparations for quiet time before sleep.
Lack of sleep can play havoc with our circadian rhythms and melatonin levels. A good pre-sleep routine is crucial to our physical wellbeing and long-term mental health. If you fly a lot or don’t sleep enough, it is great to find some special time to have quiet time. Creating a good restful - you time space is vital.
Emerging research is also showing that there are optimum times to take vitamins based on our circadian rhythms. The 4 fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K are all best taken am on a full stomach where they can be absorbed more rapidly.
Chronobiology is the study of the effects of our circadian rhythms on our health. Everything from our mood, weight and skin can be impacted by these natural rhythms. Understanding how our skin behaves in relation to these rhythms is helping us to understand how we can create products and apply them to deliver superior improvement in the skin’s health.
So, How does my Skin's Clock work?
Your skin cells function to their own circadian rhythm, meaning that your skin goes through different stages within 24 hours and reacts differently depending on the time.
Have you ever noticed how some skin types have the lunchtime skin shine? During the day, the skin tries to fight against environmental aggressors such as UV rays and pollution. As a result, it gets thicker and produces more sebum to help protect itself from their damaging effects. Sebum production peaks at midday and for those skin types prone to acne, it might be helpful to ensure you apply your B vitamins rich serum and Radiance Firming Facial Oil at lunchtime or before you head out for the day. Our recent study showed that using Radiance Firming Facial Oil twice a day can help reduce the presence of porphyrins which are acne indicators.
At night, your skin transitions from ‘protect’ to ‘repair’, explaining why sleep and an adapted night-time skincare routine are essential to skin’s cellular regeneration.
Water loss and blood flow are highest at night. All skin types can benefit from using a mineral-rich mask at night. The magic mineral team for skin in our Probiotic Multi-Mineral Repair Mask are Zinc, Iron, Magnesium and Copper.
Zinc plays a vital role in the skin’s integrity and structure and accelerates its healing which is particularly important for acne-prone skin. Iron fasten the skin’s natural repair mechanisms whilst Magnesium lower cortisol production and is important in hormonal imbalances. It also helps reduce stress and aids improved sleep pattern. Copper plays a vital role in reducing reactions to products and improving skin’s resilience. Our Probiotic Multi-Mineral Repair Mask is designed to do all the work on repairing your skin and bringing it to optimal health while you get the zzz’s you need. The perfect sleep mask.
The skin is also hotter and more acidic at night and as a result, may react more readily. In addition, your skin releases more cytokines, which increase inflammation. Designed to help those sensitive and reactive skin types, our Relax range is formulated with a synergistic blend of anti-irritants including ginger and bisabolol. If you’re prone to show sensitivities at night, the Relax Hydrating Peptide Serum followed by the Relax Calming Moisturiser with soothing lavender can be the first steps to calming sensitive skin prone to redness, flare-ups and itchiness.