Our biological clock scans our day. The modern man is more and more distant from his natural rhythms. His activity doesn’t follow the cycle of seasons anymore.
Actually, all living beings are driven by biological rhythms that depend on changes between light and dark.
Chronobiology studies how our body keeps changing in a time span of 24 hours. Our internal clocks regulate our body temperature, blood pressure, hormones production, concentration and appetite. These processes follow a rhythm of about 24 hours called circadian rhythm. The alternation of awake and asleep phases influences the urine production, the protein values, electrolytes and hormonal levels. There’s a time for everything, and our body has a very special clock. In the morning, for example, the level of insulina is the lowest during 24 hours, but at 12-12:30 our digestive system works better. Our body temperature increases in the morning to stimulate the cerebral activity and decreases in the evening to induce relaxing. The cortisol levels are higher in the morning to give us the necessary strength to fulfil all of our activities.
Who regulates the “ticking” of our biological clock is a group of cerebral cells located in the hypothalamus, so-called suprachiasmatic nucleus.
Information on external light come from photosensitive cells located in our retina. Such information have repercussions on the inner clocks of other organs.
Basing on these clocks, some moments of the day are more favourable than others to perform certain tasks – or get the best results from a diet, for example.
Many nutritionists and sportsmen are aware that our body is more receptive to certain nutrients at certain hours of the day. So, when on a diet, not only what we eat is important, but also when we eat it.
Also the time when a medication is taken may play an important role on the therapy success. Our skin makes no exception, it’s driven by our inner clock as well.
Beauty treatments with clock in hand
Day/night rhythms influence the behaviour of our skin during 24 hours. It’s useful to know the biologic clock of our skin, so we can intervene with the right product at the right moment. Optimizing the natural functions of our skin aims at obtaining the most of its beauty. Researchers managed to identify the clock genes. Some of them are more active by night, some others by day. Using the right product at the right moment allows us to obtain the best cosmetic results. Chronobiology suggests the ideal time slots to use certain cosmetics.
Let’s look at the skin activity during 24 hours
Biological clock in the morning
5 to 7
Our skin slowly wakes up. Micro-circulation is reduced, our skin is swollen, it can absorb and receive little. It has just finished the intense work of night regeneration. A good cleansing is important to remove all cells that flaked apart. Our skin is pale, so we need to apply more foundation than necessary and too much blush to colour our cheeks.
7 to 13
With the passing of hours, our body temperature increases. The biological clock stimulates the awakening, and the blood circulation increases. Towards 10 our skin looks beautiful and shiny. It appears turgid and elastic. In these hours the cortisol level gets up and the immune defenses get down. So our skin would be more vulnerable to viruses, bacteria and fungi, if protection measurements weren’t put in place. In fact, our body is wise: the cell cohesion of the horny layer increases, along with the sebum production, to fortify the barrier. This reduces the make-up endurance, but what’s important, it has a protective and bacteriostatic function. The maximum production of sebum occurs between 11 and 13, when we should adjust our make-up. Naturally, afternoon make-up will last longer.
Suitable products for this time slot
Our skin is exposed to many environmental risks. Sun, wind, pollution, free radicals may damage the delicate cells of our skin. So we must protect it with:
– cosmetics containing antioxidants such as vitamins A and C. They contrast the production of free radicals, responsible for the breakage of collagen fibers that causes wrinkles,
– hydrating creams containing substances that prevent water from evaporating by forming a protective film on our skin.
Biological clock in the afternoon
14 to 18
In the early afternoon our biological clock stimulates the production of endorphins (they decrease the perception of pain and make us more euphoric).
It’s the best moment to undergo painful treatments such as laser, epilation, wax and filler injections. The best time of the day to undergo aromatherapy treatments or choose a perfume is between 17 and 18. After this time the micro-circulation increases and our skin starts preparing for its intense night work.
Biological clock in the night
21 to 1
When the sun goes down, our skin starts peeling in a physiological way. It’s time for regeneration. From 21 to 5-6, the cells or our body and skin becomes very active. During our sleep the body temperature decreases, while the growth hormone (GH) production increases, thus stimulating the cell proliferation.
This is the right time for a deep cleansing. We can use exfoliators based on alpha and beta hydroxy acids that facilitate the physiological peeling. It’s the right time for some facegym excercises too! they will surely help our skin tone up and get ready for the night cosmetics.
1 to 3
This interval of time registers the highest peak of GH production. Which corresponds to the maximum renewal of our skin. According to our inner clock, this is the time of our deepest sleep. And, according to the traditional Chinese medicine, it’s the liver time: the time of spring and innovation. In fact, it’s fundamental to sleep during these hours, especially if we want to get younger! Repairing agents get started to fix the DNA that got damaged by day. Scorias and toxins are eliminated. New cells replace old ones. The flow of blood and lymph increases to enable our cells to receive nutrition to complete their actions. The skin permeability increases, the blood vessels dilate, oxygenation raises and hydration drops.
Evening is the right time to dedicate the highest attention to our skin. By night the skin permeability increases, so all night treatments are absorbed better and work better. So, before going to bed, let’s apply regenerating treatments, nutrients and anti-age products on our skin!
But cosmetics may not suffice. If our natural circadian rhythms are disturbed, our skin won’t manage to rest and regenerate effectively from the damages of the day. New cells are not produced in time to replace old and damaged ones, scorias increase and toxins pile up, by confering a lifeless and aged look. A low quantity of sleeping hours can influence our skin conditions and its good state.
Understanding the circadian rhythms of our skin is helpful to prevent aging. Developing a beauty routine allows us to give and do what necessary, when necessary.
So, if we want to remain young, we must go to bed at least before midnight. Maybe the Sleeping Beauty had discovered the true secret of beauty… such a long and restorative sleep!