Beauty Sleep Is Actually a Thing, Says Dr. Pimple Popper

Beauty Sleep Is Actually a Thing, Says Dr. Pimple Popper

It's not just a figure of speech — and it can be a game-changer for your skin.


3 minute read

With so many trendy treatments and tried-and-true skincare staples (we’re looking at you, retinol), it can be easy to overlook one of the most crucial elements of any nighttime routine: sleep. One of the most effective tools in our skincare arsenal, a proper night’s rest can make a world of difference to your skin health.

Here, dermatologist and SLMD Skincare founder Sandra Lee, MD (aka Dr. Pimple Popper) explains why beauty sleep is so important — and offers her tips for making the most out of your nightly slumber.

How does sleep help your skin?

We’ve gone into detail about how your skin regenerates at night — but in a nutshell, here are a handful of critical processes that go on while you’re getting quality shuteye, according to Dr. Lee:

  • Repairing and renewing: The skin's regeneration rate increases, allowing for the repair of daily environmental damage.
  • Producing collagen: Vital for skin elasticity and strength, helping to reduce the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Balancing hormones: Helps regulate stress hormones like cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels can exacerbate skin conditions such as acne and eczema.
  • Enhancing blood flow: Improves circulation, which is essential for delivering nutrients and oxygen to the skin.
  • Reducing eye puffiness and dark circles: Poor sleep can lead to paler skin and fluid retention, highlighting these issues.

Dr. Pimple Popper's Beauty Sleep Picks

Dr. Pimple Popper’s beauty sleep tips

#1 Follow a consistent nighttime skincare routine

“Wash your face morning and night to make sure to clear away any impurities that build up during the day, and in the morning to reveal fresh, new skin cells,” says Dr. Lee. “Also, incorporate a retinol product which will help slow the breakdown of collagen and simultaneously encourage rapid skin cell turnover.”

SLMD Skincare to try: Salicylic Acid Cleanser, Retinol Resurfacing Serum

#2 Moisturize adequately

Since transepidermal water loss (TEWL) increases during the night, it's crucial to use a moisturizer or night cream before bed — even if you have oily or acne-prone skin. This will help counteract the natural increase in moisture loss your skin experiences while you sleep. Opt for products tailored to your skin type, rich in ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and squalane to lock in moisture and support the skin’s barrier function.

SLMD Skincare to try: Facial Moisturizer w/Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer, Hyaluronic Acid Serum

#3 Sleep on your back

Over a lifetime, the average person spends somewhere around twenty years sleeping — so it makes sense that your sleeping position will impact your skin. Sleeping on your back prevents the face from being compressed against the pillow, which can contribute to wrinkle formation. If you prefer sleeping on your side, opt for a silk or satin pillowcase to reduce friction and the potential for skin irritation and wrinkles.

#4 Maintain a cool, humid environment

Skin loses more moisture in a dry environment, says Dr. Lee. Use a humidifier in your bedroom to maintain optimal humidity levels, which can help keep your skin hydrated. Also, keeping the room cool can enhance your sleep quality and prevent overheating, which can aggravate skin conditions like eczema.

#5 Reduce nightly screen time

Minimize exposure to digital screens before sleep. The blue light can disrupt sleep patterns, impacting skin health. Adequate rest promotes skin repair and can lessen stress-related skin issues like acne and premature aging.

#6 Avoid late meals

Eating earlier in the evening supports better sleep and digestion, benefiting your skin, notes Dr. Lee. It helps prevent sleep disruptions, regulates hormones affecting skin health, and reduces the risk of late-night sugar spikes that can exacerbate skin conditions like acne.

Dr Sandra Lee

Dr. Lee's Last Word

Our overall health is a critical part of our skin health — and part of that is getting a good night’s sleep. I tell patients to stick to a skincare routine (like cleanse, treat, moisturize), and also to help your skin rejuvenate and repair itself by making sure you get adequate rest.


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