Have you ever noticed that your skin looks better are certain points in the day? It may look glowing in the morning, a little oily at lunch time and with more fine lines and wrinkles during the evening. No, you’re not imagining it, this is your skin’s circadian rhythm so lets find out more about it…
What is the circadian rhythm?
From the Latin words circa, which means about or around, and diem with means day, Circadian means the process or rhythm which the cells in our body go through throughout the day. It’s believed that this cycle takes around 24 hours and 11 minutes, which is the same length as a solar day. Each cell in the body has a circadian rhythm and this is controlled by our biological clock and sometimes by light. The presence of light at the wrong time can affect our circadian rhythm as it can make our body think it needs to adjust, therefore putting your whole system out of sync and this can be caused by daylight or blue light from phones, computers and television.
Does everyone’s skin have an individual circadian rhythm?
Absolutely. Because each cell has its own rhythm, it impacts everything from how your skin looks to your mood. What this means for your complexion is that at different times of the day, different processes are occurring which is why it’s so important to time everything from your sun exposure to when you apply specific products.
How does blue light affect it?
Blue light rays slow your body’s production of melatonin, the hormone that tells your brain that it’s time to go to sleep. This is why we’re advised to stay off our phones and computers before bed as it stops the blue light that they emit from throwing off our whole body’s rhythm. Not only can it affect our body’s, but it can really disrupt your skin cells’ circadian rhythm. Research shows that blue light also degrades collagen and increases skin pigmentation, so maybe skip scrolling through Instagram when your skin barrier is at its most pentratable.
What happens at what time?
During the day: Our skin thickens and produces more sebum to protect it against environmental aggressors and UV damage. It’s also getting to work on repairing any damage that has occurred to its DNA. Because of these factors, midday to 3pm is the best time to be exposed to UV rays as your skin will have extra protection in place and will be able to repair damage quicker than any other time of the day. However, you still need to apply an SPF!
In the evening: The skin barrier will be more permeable and your cell renewal process is peaking. This means that products are going to be able to penetrate the skin more effectively and provide the best results. However, it’s not just the goodness of our favourite products that can get through: it’s toxins as well.
Late night and early morning: Overnight, your blood flow and DNA repair will increase to boost hydration levels, hence the glow when you first wake up. In the morning, your skin will be working hard to make new cells and replace the old, dead ones. Sebum production is usually at its lowest during this time which means your skin barrier will still be quite permeable with an increase of water loss.