Have you ever noticed your skin seems to look its best of a morning? Or that you’re most likely to look a little oily after lunch? Perhaps you’ve wondered if it’s your imagination, or if your skin really might somehow seem to have more fine lines and wrinkles of an evening? If you’ve said ‘yes!’ to any of these, you’re not imagining it; what you’ve noticed is your skin’s circadian rhythm.

What is the circadian rhythm?

Circadian comes from two Latin words; circa which means around or about, and diem which means day. Basically it’s a process or rhythm which all the cells in our body go through in about a day. In humans it is believed this rhythm takes about 24 hours and 11 minutes to cycle through; the same length as a solar day.

Each and every cell within our bodies has a circadian rhythm and it’s all controlled by our internal biological clock. It can also be affected by light.

Our cells are adaptive, so our brain monitors the presence of light and dark and will then adapt if there is a change. If you’ve travelled across time zones, it will adapt with time. That adjustment time is thought to be why we can end up with jet lag.

What this means is the presence of light at the wrong times can impact on our circadian rhythm, making your body think it needs to adjust, which can put your whole system out of whack. We’re not just talking about daylight here either; blue light from phones, TVs and computers is also a culprit.

Does my skin have a circadian rhythm of its own?

Yes! Each and every cell in your body has a circadian rhythm; it impacts on everything from your skin to your hormones and your moods. What this means for your skin is that at different times of the day, different processes are occurring. Timing everything from your product application through to your sun exposure with your skin’s circadian rhythm can help to keep it looking and feeling its best.

So… what’s happening at what time?

During the day, your skin thickens and is producing extra sebum to help protect it from the sun and environmental aggressors; this peaks between midday and 3pm. It’s also working hard on repairing any damage which has occurred to its DNA. Due to these factors, as far as your skin is concerned, the afternoon is the best time to be exposed to UV as it has its extra defences prepared, and it’s repairing any damage caused more quickly than other times. Please don’t think this means you can skip the SPF though; it’s always necessary! It just means your skin is going to deal with the rays a little better than other times.

Of an evening, your skin’s barrier has become a little more permeable, meaning that it’s letting things through more than at other times. This means products are going to be able to get into the skin more effectively and have more of an impact. Unfortunately though, it’s not just the good and nourishing things that can get through; it’s toxins as well. Your skin’s cell renewal processes are also peaking at night.

Late night and early in the morning your skin is working hard to make new cells and replace the old, dead ones. Oil production is normally lowest at this time and your barrier remains quite permeable, which can also mean that water loss increases. For those of us who suffer from eczema, it’s the permeability of the skin’s barrier at this time which can lead to flare-ups.

DNA repair and blood flow also increase overnight, leading to a boost in hydration levels; this is likely the reason your skin might seem to look its best mid-morning.

How does blue light affect my skin’s circadian rhythm?

Blue light, which sits next to UV on the light spectrum, slows your body’s production of a hormone called melatonin. It’s this baby which signals our brains that it’s time to go to sleep. That’s why so many experts advocate abstaining from screens before bed; to stop the blue light they emit from messing with your whole body’s rhythm and your ability to get to sleep.

It’s not just your ability to sleep though; it can wreak havoc on your skin cells’ circadian rhythm, meaning they’re not doing what they’re supposed to be doing when they should be.

Furthermore, it has been proven that blue light degrades collagen and can increase skin pigmentation. We don’t know about you, but this knowledge certainly has us thinking twice about spending too much time scrolling through Insta at night when our skin’s barrier is at its most permeable and letting those collagen degrading rays in even more than usual. Eeek!

Read more about blue light and its impact on your skin.

Harness your skin’s circadian rhythm with Beauty Sleep

Alpha-H’s Beauty Sleep Power Peel harnesses the fact our skin cell renewal rates increase significantly overnight, and works to boost its ability to produce collagen, eliminate free radicals and encourage healthy cell production.

Because the skin’s barrier is most permeable at this time, Beauty Sleep Power Peel’s active ingredients are readily accepted into the skin, working with maximum efficiency to exfoliate, hydrate and rejuvenate the skin.

The results? Even if you’ve had so little sleep that you feel as if you’re running purely on triple shot long blacks, your skin will have you looking like you’ve been catching a solid 8 hours every night.