Scottish Daily Mail

Want the perfect complexion? Listen to your skin’s body clock!

- by Rachel Carlyle

WE ARE used to the idea that we have a 24-hour body clock which tells us when to wake, sleep, exercise and eat. But research now shows each skin cell in our body has its own daily clock — governing everything from when it’s most oily, dry or red to when it’s most likely to get spots or feel itchy.

‘It’s a new and emerging science but an exciting one,’ says dermatolog­ist Dr Anjali Mahto at the Cadogan Clinic, who looked into the latest research for her forthcomin­g book The Skincare Bible.

‘It has a number of implicatio­ns. It may be better to time chemothera­py for skin cancer at a particular time in the skin cell cycle, treatments for eczema may be better at a certain time of day and targeted strategies can be made for skin ageing.’

But there’s no reason you can’t get ahead of the game and start timing your skincare now. Here’s how . . .

6am: Your skin cells are waking up. There are more this morning than there were last night — they’ve spent the night multiplyin­g in the base of your skin’s outer layer, the epidermis.

You may notice your face looks puffy. It’s just a build-up of fluid from seven or eight hours of lying down, says Dr Nigma Talib, an anti-ageing skin specialist who counts Sienna Miller and Penelope Cruz among her clients. ‘You’ll get more lymphatic flow within a few minutes of getting up, and gravity ensures puffiness goes away.’

Help it on its way with gentle facial massage, says Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr Davis Nguyen: put two fingers in each cheek hollow and massage your cheeks upwards, then pinch along your jawline.

7am: From your skin cells’ point of view, you will never look better than this: skin is at its newest first thing in the morning. Blood flow is at its lowest (so you look paler now than later in the day) and oil production hasn’t started.

8am: Your skin is activating its defences to prepare for the sun, wind and pollution it will face in the day ahead. Its natural barrier — which stops toxins getting in and moisture getting out — is at its peak. You can extend its performanc­e by using an antioxidan­t cream in your morning regime, to act against toxins.

9am: Make sure you’ve applied sunscreen before you leave the house, even in winter. The UVA rays that cause wrinkles and ageing are consistent all year, so choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen which means it will protect you against UVA as well as UVB.

Be extra careful on sunny mornings, as a study showed the same dose of UV light caused more inflammati­on and skin damage in the morning than the afternoon.

10am-11am: Studies show this is the time women think their skin looks its best. Your cells might be a few hours old, but moisture levels are rising, so skin is plumped, lines are less visible, and oil production is still fairly low.

Noon: If you’re stressed, your skin will know about it. Stress causes the adrenal glands to produce the hormone cortisol, which can cause inflammati­on and redness in the skin, and trigger oil production.

‘Stress can show on your skin in as little as 15 minutes,’ says Dr Talib. It can also cause dryness.

‘Cortisol decreases hyaluronic acid, which is a natural moisturise­r, and chronic stress impairs the skin’s barrier, leading to water loss,’ says Dr Harold Lancer, the Beverly Hills dermatolog­ist Victoria Beckham swears by. 1pm-2pm: Your skin will thank you for eating a lunch rich in protein, healthy fats and fibre. ‘A good soup provides the skin with hydration,’ says Dr Talib. ‘An excess of carbs and sugar will leave the face bloated and grey.’

Drinking water is important. The skin loses around a litre of water a day and moisture loss speeds up as the afternoon wears on. 3pm-4pm: Oil production is at its peak, because of higher levels of androgens, male hormones, in your body. ‘That’s when your T-zone gets shiny and make-up starts to slip,’ says Dr Mahto. Oil also clogs hair follicles and encourages bacteria growth, so you’re most likely to get a spot now, especially if you touch your face with hands that have spent the day touching keyboards, door handles and anywhere else that harbours bacteria.

‘I never touch my face during the day. It’s the number one way you get spots,’ says Dr Talib. 5pm: This is the best time to exercise as far as skin is concerned: even 30 minutes of activity boosts blood circulatio­n, supercharg­ing cell regenerati­on and removal of toxins.

One study showed those who did moderate to vigorous exercise three times a week had the skin of someone ten to 20 years younger. 6pm: Commuting gives your skin a second dose of pollution — and it coincides with your skin barrier starting to break down, so toxins find it easier to penetrate. Use an anti-pollution spray to boost your natural defences. 7pm-8pm: Tempting as it is, don’t hit the bottle after work. Your skin is prone to reddening

around now as blood flow to skin increases in the early evening, and alcohol inflames the skin as well as dehydratin­g it, which is why wrinkles may look at their worst now. ‘Your skin loses water through the day, making lines more visible,’ says Dr Mahto.

9pm: Your skin’s natural barrier will be more permeable over the next few hours. It’s the perfect time to exfoliate, as it removes dead skin cells and sends signals to produce more cells overnight.

‘evening exfoliatio­n is best as removing the top layers of dead skin will make it easier for night cream to penetrate,’ says plastic surgeon Dr Anthony Youn. 10pm: After exfoliatin­g, apply a face mask, as the removal of dead skin will make it more effective. However, skip it if you’re prone to itchiness — this is when your skin will feel most irritated, as blood flow to the skin peaks in the evening, making skin hotter, and skin’s defences are low. Midnight: Skin continues to lose water overnight, so make sure you’re slathered in moisturise­r before you hit the sheets. Skin is

most permeable now so will absorb more of the active ingredient­s in your night cream.

1am: While you sleep, stem cells in the bottom layer of the epidermis create new skin cells. ‘These stem cells are most active late at night — at this time, the cells are more likely to have “peace”, without being disturbed by the need to defend against environmen­tal aggressors such as sunlight,’ says Dr Stefanie Williams from London’s eudelo skin clinic. 3am: Make sure your bedroom isn’t stopping you getting a full night’s sleep. Keep it at a comfortabl­e temperatur­e, with no blinking lights from technology. A study at Case Western University in Ohio showed women who slept badly had premature skin ageing. 5am: You can’t see it yet, but if you’ve been lying on your face or side, you’ll have creases that could become wrinkles. ‘A crease on any given day won’t have an effect but creasing in the same way night after night can make them permanent,’ says Dr Youn. If you don’t want to wake up with new lines, use a silk pillowcase.

 ??  ?? MIDNIGHT Skin absorbs moisturise­r best while you sleep 1am MIDDAY
Stem cells deep in the epidermis get to work creating healthy new skin Relax. Stress can cause your skin to redden 10am
Moisture levels are rising, disguising your lines — enjoy the...
MIDNIGHT Skin absorbs moisturise­r best while you sleep 1am MIDDAY Stem cells deep in the epidermis get to work creating healthy new skin Relax. Stress can cause your skin to redden 10am Moisture levels are rising, disguising your lines — enjoy the...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom