Whether the result of a red-eye, a night spent shutting down the bar or simply a restless mind, we all lose sleep. And while we try our best to pound lattes and power through the day, our faces betray us. Oily skin, under-eye bags and other such telltale signs of exhaustion advertise our poor sleep to the masses.
But simple tricks can help eliminate these superficial clues and trick others into believing you’re well rested. “After a night on the town or a sleepless night, the main things you’re going to see are the result of fluid retention in certain areas and generally dehydrated skin,” says AAD board certified dermatologist Amy Newburger. “And there are easy ways to mask those issues.”
Here's how to save face after little or no sleep.
1. Scrub the shine away
One of the most obvious side effects of poor sleep is an oily face. The reason? According to Newburger, when you’re anxious or out on the town, “you’re going to have a shift in hormone production which stimulates the oil glands.” Also, she wisely notes that when you stumble home from the bar, you’re simply less likely to hit the sink.
To reduce the sheen, Newburger recommends washing your face with a cleanser that contains salicylic acid. “This will give you a gentle chemical exfoliation and also get rid of a lot of oil that still is remaining in the pores,” she says. If you want to go the extra mile, apply a pore cleanser mask, such as Neutrogena’s Pore Cleanser Mask. While it doesn’t contain salicylic acid, “it contains clay derivatives such as kaolin which are excellent at reducing oil.”
2. Control eye puffiness with caffeine
Much like other hints of a sleepless night, those bags beneath your eyes are the result of fluid retention. The effect is more obvious, as the skin beneath your starers isn’t attached to any bone.
The solution: caffeine. “Caffeine is an excellent diuretic for the skin,” says Newburger. “And using an eye cream that has caffeine will allow a lot of fluid to removed from the superficial portions of the skin.” Newburger likes Revaléskin’s Eye Serum, but says any eye cream that lists “coffee berry extract” as an ingredient should set you right.
We also like Keihl’s Facial Fuel Eye De-Puffer, which comes in a lip balm-like package that’s easy to apply during the day.
BONUS TIP: Don’t have any caffeine eye cream handy? Head for the cupboard and grab some caffeinated tea bags. Toss them in the fridge and, once they’re cool, place them over your eyes for a DIY de-puffer.
3. Deflect light from your face
Yes, you need to moisturize once you’ve scrubbed your face and attended to your eyes. The right cream will add moisture back to your skin, reducing the puffiness that results from water retention. But for an added defense, Newburger also recommends opting for a blur cream. “What these do is they scatter light from your face,” says Newburger, who compares the effect to standing in front of harsh, front-facing lighting and complexion-complementing side lighting. “They scatter the light so you don’t see haggard creases and shadows as much.”
For a standard moisturizer, Newburger is a big fan of Neova’s Day Therapy, which contains copper peptides to help iron out the outer portion of the skin to conceal creases. As for a blur cream, try Lancomme’s 1-Minute Blur, which applies quickly and deflects light to help you look ready for the day.
Men should look for standard, SPF-loaded moisturizer such as Jack Black’s Double Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20.