What Your AC Is Doing To Your Skin While You Sleep Isn't Great, According To Dermatologists
By the end of a long day, there's usually not much that can keep me from falling asleep almost immediately. But during the hottest summer months, I find myself continuously tossing and turning unless my air conditioner is running at full blast. Although there's no need to resign yourself to a life of leaving sweat shadows on your sheets, understanding exactly what your AC is doing to your skin will help you keep your face glowing, without (hopefully) having to sacrifice the one thing that actually lets you get a good night's sleep.
Look, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but according to Dr. Heather Rogers, dermatologist and founder of skincare brand RESTORE, leaving your AC on while you sleep is a surefire way to make your skin drier overnight. "Air conditioners pull moisture from the air to reduce humidity," she tells Elite Daily in an email. "When air is dry, it pulls water from your skin, which dries it out."
The drying effect of AC could be a problem for you, especially if you already have dry skin to begin with, says Rogers. "Skin has to maintain its water level to look good, but also to heal," she explains. "If you are cranking the AC when you sleep, you need to coat your skin with a thick moisturizer to protect it from losing water all night long." Dr. Rogers recommends mixing RESTORE healing balm with your regular daily moisturizer to make sure your skin stays soft all night long.
While using a nighttime moisturizer is key, it's also important to understand how your specific skin type reacts to different moisture levels. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ted Lain tells Elite Daily that your skin might be naturally oily enough that you only need a lighter product for bedtime protection. "For normal to oily skin," he says, "a serum works well to hydrate and protect, while those with more dry complexions would benefit from a lotion or cream."
Regardless of your skin type, though, you can never be too careful when it comes to your complexion, right? That's why dermatologist Dr. Hadley King suggests trying out some soothing creams to combat some of the moisture-stripping effects that can happen when your AC is running all night long. "To combat the drier air, you need to use emollients to keep the moisture in your skin," she tells Elite Daily over email. "Products like Aquaphor healing ointment and Eucerin professional repair lotion are great for this." She adds that it could also be helpful to wash your face before bed with a mild soap, such as the classic Dove beauty bar, which doesn't completely strip your skin of its natural oils.
But don't let the AC warnings scare you off enough to suffer through the suffocating summer heat. Besides cancelling out the drying effects with moisturizers, there are plenty of dermatologist-recommended options for keeping your summer night cool. One easy swap is to keep the sweat away at night by turning on your ceiling fan if you have one, Dr. Rogers recommends. Using a ceiling fan is much better for your skin, she tells Elite Daily, because it cools you down without removing water from the air. Depending on just how muggy your bedroom gets, a little air flow might be just enough to help you fall asleep.
Another tip for both protecting your skin at night and keeping it cool is to give a silk pillowcase a try, says Dr. Lain. "Natural fabrics, such as cotton or silk, cause less irritation to the skin, especially if the skin is already dry or inflamed," he explains. Plus, the airy fabrics will keep your face feeling cooler than a heavier pillowcase would.
Crank up the AC (or better yet, the ceiling fan) to make sure you don't lose any of those crucial hours of sleep, but remember to use a moisturizing mask first!