How to look less tired


Feeling sleepy now the clocks have gone forward? Read on to discover how the right skincare products can disguise multiple signs of fatigue.

Why is sleep important?

Most people are aware that inadequate sleep can accelerate the ageing process. But getting enough sleep isn’t always straightforward. Most adults need between seven to nine hours’ sleep a night. However, according to Formulate Health, nearly half the UK has trouble falling asleep at least once a month. And almost one in five adults have trouble falling asleep every single night.

Getting to sleep in the first place is only part of the problem. Disrupted sleep, poor sleep quality, or even waking up too early can also affect the way we look and feel. That’s because not all sleep is the same. There are several key stages, including light, deep and REM (Rapid Eye Movement). REM sleep – the stage associated with dreaming – is thought to stimulate the areas of the brain that learn, make and retain memories. It plays a vital role in emotional processing, and healthy brain development. Deep sleep is important for growth, cellular repair and immune system maintenance. In other words, we need sufficient amounts of each key stage to stay healthy and happy.

Even a small disruption can have a big effect on your sleep patterns. For example, yesterday was the beginning of British Summer Time, which means the clocks went forward one hour on Sunday morning at 1am. While most of us welcome this change – which helps us get more sunlight during the day – “losing” even that one hour can significantly upset our natural sleep rhythm.

How does sleep affect my skin?

The most obvious way lack of sleep affects the skin is around the eyes. Dark circles, puffiness and redness are the most common fatigue-related concerns. Too little sleep is often associated with too much cortisol (the stress hormone). Excess cortisol can cause blood vessels to dilate, trigger inflammation and increase oil production, all of which can lead to breakouts. Conversely, too little sleep can also disrupt our pH levels, which in turn can lead to dryness, dullness, and lines and wrinkles looking more pronounced.

Then there’s the collagen issue. An essential structural protein, collagen keeps our skin looking plump and youthful – think of it as scaffolding for your face. When levels decline, skin starts to sag, loosing firmness and elasticity. Sleep deprivation can affect the production of collagen and disrupt the general renewal and repair process.

Successful sleep strategies

Prevention is always better than cure, so the best way to look less tired is to get a good night’s sleep. While this is often easier said than done, it’s well worth persisting with certain tried-and-tested strategies. For instance, a regular bed-time, gentle exercise, dietary tweaks (e.g. limit caffeine and alcohol consumption) and cutting down on screen time can all make a big difference to the amount of sleep you regularly manage to get.

Strategies like this can be especially helpful in terms of mitigating the effects of ‘losing’ an hour when British Summer Time starts. If possible, try to spend some time outdoors every day this week, to reap the benefits of all that natural light, and don’t be tempted to try to make up for the ‘lost hour’ by sleeping in. A consistent sleep routine is the best way to help your body adapt and re-set your circadian rhythm.


Which skincare products can help me look less tired?

There are plenty of ways in which the right skincare products can make you look less tired. First of all, make sure you cleanse properly, morning and evening. Removing all traces of makeup, dirt, oil and impurities will help to keep your complexion clear and prep it for any subsequent treatment products.


We like SkinCeuticals’ Gentle Cleanser. Suitable for all skin types, especially dry and sensitive, this creamy, emollient-rich formulation gently but thoroughly deep cleanses skin, leaving it nourished and hydrated. For oily, combination or spot-prone skin we recommend Avant’s Blue Volcanic Stone Purifying & Antioxidising Cleansing Gel. Brimming with anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant extracts, the mild, non-drying formulation removes all traces of oil, dirt and makeup without stripping skin.

Tired skin is often dull-looking skin. Restore your natural radiance with an exfoliating acid toner. AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids) break down the bonds between surface skin cells, allowing them to be shed more easily. In addition to exfoliating, acids can also stimulate collagen production, reduce excess oil production, and improve your skin’s ability to retain moisture.


Emma Hardie’s Exfoliating Brightening Tonic is an excellent option to improve skin clarity and tone. Pomegranate enzymes work to remove dead skin cells and trapped bacteria, while Sytenol A enhances elasticity and firmness. The formulation also includes Bakuchiol, a vegan alternative to Retinol (Vitamin A), which can deliver a wide range of anti-ageing benefits.

Eye products to camouflage fatigue

Lack of sleep tends to be especially obvious in the eye zone, which is often the first area to show signs of premature ageing, regardless of how much rest you’re getting. The skin around your eyes is thinner, more sensitive, and has fewer oil glands than the rest of your face. In addition, some people are simply more genetically prone to eye issues such as dark circles or puffiness.

An eye product that incorporates SPF is a great way to protect this delicate area from UV damage and photo ageing. In fact, we should all be wearing daily sunscreen all year round, whether we’re sleeping well or not. SkinCeuticals’ Mineral Eye UV Defense incorporates broad-spectrum SPF30 sun protection that’s safe to use on the entire eye area – including the lid – as its non-migrating formula won’t run into your eyes. This formula includes Jojoba Oil to moisturise and strengthen the skin barrier, and even includes a flattering tint.


If your tired eyes are in need of some serious TLC, look no further than Swissline’s award-winning Cell Shock Magic Eye Mask. This quick-fix hero product works fast to transform the eye area, refreshing, de-puffing and erasing signs of fatigue and lack of sleep. The innovative formula includes 5% Niacinamide, one of the most effective skin brighteners available. Other key ingredients include Hyaluronic Acid, to increase hydration, and the Cell Shock collection’s signature Cellactel 2 Complex, which boosts vital skin functions to lift, repair, smooth and firm.

Swissline’s Cell Shock Magic Eye Mask can be used in three different ways: as an instant eye brightener; a smart “concealer” to blur imperfections; and a night-time eye mask.

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