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Hair & Beauty Mistakes You're Making While You Sleep

Experts say you should be sleeping between seven and nine hours each night (via Sleep Foundation). So making sure you don't make any beauty mistakes during that time can really pay off in the long run. After all, that is approximately a third of your day, and after years and years, that time adds up.

Plenty of people might be surprised to find out that you could actually be dehydrating your skin, and causing wrinkles, allergic reactions, and a crazy amount of hair breakage — all while you're deep asleep and dreaming of Chris Evans (don't worry, we all do it). Luckily, you can implement some easy changes to ensure your shut-eye is actually "beauty sleep" and not your biggest beauty enemy.

And while these tips will help you look your best when you wake up, a lot of them will also improve your overall physical and mental health, which should always be your first priority anyway!

You sleep on a cotton pillowcase and don't change it frequently

A common beauty mistake people make at night is not sleeping on silk or satin pillowcases. Both options are ultra-soft and don't pull on the skin or hair at night. This might seem insignificant at first, but considering that most people sleep approximately eight hours per night, the time your face and hair spend on your pillow adds up. "We get 'crush wrinkles' from sleeping on our side/face, so we may get less of those when sleeping on silk," Dr. Neal Schultz, a New York City-based dermatologist, tells Good Housekeeping.

Divya Sabanayagam, the co-founder of DryFix, further explains to Vogue how silk can benefit your hair. "A silk pillowcase is ideal for resting your head, as the usual cotton options are extremely rough on your hair and can cause knotting and further breakage. A silken surface allows individual strands of hair to remain separate, thereby reducing tangles and knots," she says.

People also don't change their pillowcases frequently enough. "Our skin is our biggest organ. Maintaining skin hygiene is vital if we want to have good skin health and to avoid breakouts," Oksana-Georgia M, a skin expert and senior practitioner at Skin+IQ clinic, tells Refinery 29. "I'd certainly recommend changing your pillow case at least two to three times a week. This will help prevent breakouts and congested skin."

You go to sleep with wet hair

It's no secret that heat damages your hair, which is why many of us decide to let our hair air dry. However, if you're someone who washes their hair at night and then ends up falling asleep with it wet, you're not really doing yourself a favor. Per Healthline, sleeping with wet hair is bound to increase breakage. "Hair is at its weakest when it's wet. The main risk is breakage of hair when tossing and turning while sleeping," New York City dermatologist Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, says. "This is particularly an issue if hair is braided or in a tight updo, which adds more tension to the hair shaft." Besides breakage, Dr. Mudgil notes that sleeping with wet hair can also lead to a fungal infection of the scalp, which can cause dandruff or dermatitis.

"It should only be slightly damp and definitely not completely wet," Divya Sabanayagam explains to Vogue. "Sleeping with completely wet hair damages the follicle and causes breakage, so you'll want to blast it with the hairdryer to dry out 70% of your hair or let it naturally dry till it's just a little damp," she says. If you're guilty of sleeping with wet hair, that is definitely one habit you should consider breaking.

You don't always take off your makeup before bed

Not removing your makeup at night will result in inflamed skin and clogged pores, even if you only do it occasionally. "If you don't cleanse your face, dirt and dead skin cells are not removed," celebrity dermatologist Dr. Annie Chiu tells Good Housekeeping. "They stay on the skin, clogging pores and leading to chronic inflammation in the form of pimples." If this happens frequently, your skin will end up aging more quickly. "Dirt and makeup trapped against your skin cause environmentally-induced oxidative damage. This leads to a breakdown of the skin barrier and prematurely ages your face," Chiu adds.

Apart from not cleaning their skin before bed, some people wait until bedtime before doing it. However, the wait is entirely unnecessary. The best thing you can do for your face is clean it as soon as you get home. "If you don't wash your face right away, then you're spending an unnecessary 4 to 8 hours in pore-clogging makeup," clinical assistant professor of dermatology Tyler Hollmig, M.D., tells Prevention. Besides, if you wait until right before you go to bed before doing your nighttime skincare routine, you may lose the benefit of your products. "Our skincare isn't doing much good on our pillowcase," dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman tells Wirecutter. "So limiting that absorption and friction allows our skincare products to work harder for us."

You sleep in a tight hairstyle

If you routinely put your hair up in a tight bun or braid before bed, you might notice a lot of hair breakage — especially around your hairline. "Tying your hair tightly can damage your hair roots and cause traction alopecia. Hence, you need to wear your hair in a loose ponytail or braid, which does not apply much pulling force on your scalp," Dr. Zeel Gandhi tells Vedix.

However, a lot of hair breakage happens when you're sleeping with your hair down, as you unconsciously move your head on the pillow. Because of this, it is essential to protect your hair by putting it up in a loose hairstyle. "Never go to bed without tying your hair up (for long hair), as loose hair can tangle," celebrity hairstylist Fallon Toni Chavez tells Byrdie. "Removing tangles later can cause breakage," she says. Some of the best protective hairstyles for bed include a loose bun, a loose braid, or a low ponytail (via Cliphair).

You use the same skincare products as the morning

While there is nothing wrong with using the same skincare products in the morning and evening (with the exception of applying SPF in the morning), if you do that, you're missing out on an opportunity to give your skin some extra TLC. "You can go with a heavier oil at night, compared to lighter products in the morning that go better under makeup," naturopathic doctor Tess Marshall, N.D., tells MbgLifesyle.

Of course, don't overdo it, but using heavier products that will stay on your skin for longer and give it deeper hydration is always a good idea at night — especially since sleep will eventually dehydrate you. "It has been shown that skin hydration levels tend to decline in the afternoon and into the evening, making a moisturizer before bed an important part of your skincare routine," Joshua Zeichner, M.D., the Director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, tells Everyday Health.

You use your phone right before falling asleep

This definitely sounds like something parents tell their teenage children, but being on your phone before bed is not only bad for your mental health, but it also heavily affects your sleep and skin. "Not getting enough sleep gives people a tired, dehydrated look and often requires makeup to be worn much longer than is ideal, leading to clogged pores and acne," Tyler Hollmig, M.D., clinical assistant professor of dermatology and director of laser and aesthetic surgery at Stanford Health Care, tells Prevention. You shouldn't use your cellphone, computer, or any other electronic device at least half an hour before bed, according to Sleep Foundation, but if you can, extend that time even more.

And aside from the fact that you won't sleep well, using your phone at night can also cause wrinkles, believe it or not. "It's dark, you're holding your phone up to your face, and you're squinting to see the screen," Mona Gohara, M.D., a Women's Dermatologic Society member, explains to Prevention. Of course, doing this once every now and then won't leave permanent marks, but if you squint at your phone every night for 10-20 minutes, that is bound to result in some facial lines.

You don't have a nighttime routine

By now, it's clear that poor sleep can lead to bad skin, which is why working on your sleep routine will make your life better all around — and it will also make your skin healthier. "Having a nighttime routine is a form of self-care. It can help calm the body and prepare for sleep," naturopathic doctor Tess Marshall, N.D., reveals to MbgLifestyle. "Getting adequate sleep is very important for skin health and a natural glow, especially as you age."

If you don't already have a functioning sleep routine, consider creating one. According to "Get Sleep," a resource from the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, having a regular sleep schedule increases the amount of sleep you get every night while also improving the quality of your sleep. Consider leaving one to two hours before bed for your sleep routine, which can include anything that helps wind you down, such as taking a shower or bath, drinking a cup of tea, doing yoga, or reading a book. Of course, keep in mind that your sleep routine should be phone-free time.

You don't sleep on your back

Another sleeping mistake that's adding years to your face may actually be your sleeping position. The healthiest position to sleep in is on your back, as it prevents you from smushing your face against your pillow, which can cause wrinkles. "These lines often appear in parallel along the temples, around the eyes, the lateral cheek area, and around the mouth," dermatologist Kachiu Lee, M.D., tells Dermstore. It's also difficult to even out the length of time you lay on one side versus the other, so Dr. Lee adds, "People who have been sleeping on the same side for years often have noticeably more 'sleep lines' on the side that they sleep on."

If you're guilty of side-sleeping, consider training yourself to sleep on your back. According to dermatologist Dr. Ava Shamban this will also help your neck be less wrinkly as you won't be scrunching your head down (via Dermstore). Apart from wrinkles, sleeping on your back will also minimize morning puffiness. "Oftentimes we wake up with our face puffy or swollen," dermatologist Dr. Sameer Bashey tells Dermstore, "especially in the areas of the upper cheek and around the eyes. This is significantly minimized when people sleep on their backs with a pillow underneath their necks. When you lie down on any particular area or side of the face, fluid can pool in those areas and give the impression that those areas are more swollen — which, of course, is temporary."

Article written by Jelena Aska

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