How to sync your skincare routine to your skin’s circadian rhythm

We all know that the body is regulated by a global circadian rhythm, also called a 24-hour biological or circadian clock. Depending on the time of day or night, the body knows what it needs to do to control our hormones, metabolism, and to regulate our sleep and appetite. This global rhythm is regulated by the brain, but interestingly the skin also has its own internal clock which governs biological responses following this 24-hour rhythm[1].

By understanding our skin’s circadian rhythm, we can mould our skincare routine to optimise our skin’s rebuilding and repair processes to maximise the efficacy of our skincare and our skin cycle!

At various times of the day, it is working on different processes. In the daytime it is working on protecting itself from UV light, blue light and things like air conditioning and pollution, all of which can accelerate the ageing process[2]. This activity peaks between midday and 3 pm. The skin’s sebaceous glands are also highly active in the morning with their activity peaking around midday. Cortisol levels are also high so skin may experience more redness and inflammation in the morning.

How can you support your skin’s AM rhythm?

You can support your skin in the AM by providing it with high-dose antioxidants and botanicals designed to protect and nourish the dermis whilst reducing free radical damage. Some of our favourites include Broccoli Extract and Lespedeza Capitata, botanical plant extracts clinically proven to protect the skin from blue light and environmental pollution whilst also resynchronising the skin’s body clock if it is out of balance. You will find both extracts along with antioxidant-rich St Mary’s Thistle and Kale Extracts in the Edible Beauty Broccoli Blue Light Revitalise Serum.

To control over-active oil production and skin redness and sensitivity during the day, use calming botanicals such as Chamomile, Calendula along with Hyaluronic Acid for oil-free and calming hydration. You will find these in Edible Beauty’s Botanical Water Gel. Using an orange floral water spritz in the morning and lunchtime will provide further balancing action – you will love our No.2 Citrus Rhapsody Toner Mist for the cocktail of fruit extracts along with Niacinamide and Birch Water for this.

Protecting your skin with a natural SPF50 if spending time outside is critical – Edible Beauty’s Basking Beauty SPF50 Sunscreen provides natural sun protection without the greasiness of many zinc-based sunscreens and contains the added benefit of age-defying Rosehip and Kakadu Plum.

How can your support your skin’s PM rhythm?

The evening is the key time for the skin to repair, regenerate and boost collagen production.

During the evening, our skin is more warm and therefore more able to absorb hydrating nutrients – but on the flip side is also at risk of trans-epidermal water loss[3]. To combat water loss and make the most of the skin’s ability to drink in skincare, use active serums including Hyaluronic Acid and Plant Collagen. We love  Plant Collagen Plumping Serum for the Hyaluronic Acid and plant-based collagen support that it provides to the skin. Lock in skin moisture with a restorative cream containing Vitamin E (effective at repairing skin cell DNA) and also ceramides which work to restore and rebuild the skin barrier preventing water loss overnight.

In addition to needing to support skin hydration, our skin is busy repairing DNA damage from the day (and from any sun exposure) and is also attempting to boost collagen production. To further support these efforts, we recommend using a natural retinol which enhances skin repair and turnover along with Squalane, a nourishing oil which restores depleted fatty acids and can penetrate the skin dermis for efficacious hydration. You will find both Squalane and phyto-retinol in Edible Beauty’s Beauty Reset Drops.

At about 9 pm in the evening the hormone melatonin, begins to rise. This hormone is touted as a beauty hormone, as not only does it help us to feel sleepy, it also works to counteract damage to the skin during the day from aggressors like UV and pollution and helps our skin to repair itself. The other hormone that kicks in is HGH (human growth hormone) and this can assist with the skin’s repair and cell regeneration process. Cell production is really ramped up during the hours of 11 pm and 4 am with cell production doubling and even tripling during this time. You really do want to ensure you are getting enough sleep before midnight as your skin will suffer without this shut eye.

Minimising exposure to blue light is also important in ensuring that our skin’s melatonin production is not being interrupted. Removing electronic devices from your room (including your mobile phone and laptop) and trying to avoid blue light exposure at least two hours before sleep is critical. As demonstrated by a 2014 Harvard research study comparing the effects of six and a half hours of exposure to blue light with exposure to green light of comparable brightness. The blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long[4].

By paying attention to our skin’s natural body clock and recognising the skin’s natural body clock, we can make our skincare work harder for us and ensure we are waking up to clear and beautiful skin! We cannot underestimate the importance of sleep in our skin cycle so if you take away anything from this article it is ensuring that you are getting enough shut eye for your skin to restore and repair itself.

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[1] Ukai H, Ueda HR. Systems biology of mammalian circadian clocks. Annu Rev Physiol. 2010;72:579–603.

[2] Lyons AB, Moy L, Moy R, Tung R. Circadian Rhythm and the Skin: A Review of the Literature. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2019 Sep;12(9):42-45. Epub 2019 Sep 1. PMID: 31641418; PMCID: PMC6777699.

[3]Firooz A, Zartab H, Sadr B, et al. Daytime changes of skin biophysical characteristics: a study of hydration, transepidermal water loss, pH, sebum, elasticity, erythema, and color index on Middle Eastern skin. Indian J Dermatol. 2016;61(6):700. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.193707

 

[4] Harvard Health. Blue light has a dark side. Published July 7, 2020.

 

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Anna Mitsios

Adv. Dip. Naturopathy. Adv. Dip. Nutrition. B.Com (Honours)

Anna is a certified naturopath and nutritionist and founder of leading Australian natural skincare and wellness company, Edible Beauty Australia. Anna has been featured in various publications including Mind Body Green, Women’s Health and Allure. She is committed to the natural transformation of her client’s skin using proven botanicals, nutrients and herbal formulations, both on the inside and out.  

Anna’s career began in the corporate sector, where she specialised in corporate finance and private banking for over ten years working in Sydney and New York for a large Australian bank. Anna’s career change was sparked by her own health journey, following a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes at 18 years of age.  Her diagnosis triggered her intense study of botanicals and nutrition to manage auto-immune condition and assist others in attaining optimal health. Anna’s naturopathy career has included working as a naturopath within a reputable natural fertility clinic in Sydney, within a pharmacy and health food store and running her own naturopathy practice. 

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