Why the Best Time to Address Sun Damage Is While You Sleep

Why the Best Time to Address Sun Damage Is While You Sleep

Written by: Matigan King


Published on: August 4, 2022

It makes a certain sort of sense that the best time to address sun damage is at night, when the sun itself is taking a breather. Of course, the smartest sun-damage strategy is to prevent it in the first place—avoid overexposure to the sun, wear a hat, and smooth on mineral sunscreen every day (and take vitamin D3 while you’re at it). But when, despite our best efforts, the signs of sun damage—from dark spots and uneven skin tone to wrinkles, rough texture, dullness, and oversize pores—show up on skin more than we’d like, the science points to the benefits of overnight treatments.

  1. Our newest sun-damage superweapon is designed to work at night, while you sleep, for a number of reasons: Just as our muscles repair themselves while we rest, so, too, does our skin, and we were excited to take advantage of that natural skin-repair function. Cell division and protein synthesis (vital for healthy skin) peak during sleep, as does the rate of healing damaged tissues. Blood pressure and body temperature may be lower, creating an ideal environment for increased cell renewal. Molecules that control the sleep-wake cycle, like melatonin and adenosine, are also thought to help with inflammation and regeneration.

    We designed GOOPGLOW Dark Spot Exfoliating Sleep Milk with a time-released AHA to work with the natural skin-repair functions already going on overnight; we also boosted the formula with moisturizers and skin-soothing ingredients that further treat the skin at night. There’s even a new ingredient that helps tamp down irritated-looking skin—a remarkable feature in such an active serum.

  2. goop Beauty GOOPGLOW Dark Spot Exfoliating Sleep Milk, goop, $98/$89 with subscription

    goop Beauty
    GOOPGLOW Dark Spot Exfoliating Sleep Milk
    goop, $98/$89 with subscription


The results are dramatic: Sleep Milk is clinically proven to improve the look of dark spots (including age spots, sun spots, and surface spots), skin tone, and skin brightness without irritation. And while the results are noticeable right away—you wake up with dewy-fresh, plumped, soft, totally hydrated-looking skin after one use—they build visibly over time, too.*

While the time-released AHA is pretty unique (and allows for a high-acid serum to feel much gentler and more moisturizing on skin), the notion that the best time to treat skin is just before going to bed applies to some of our all-time favorite products.

Overnight Masks

You can leave on a nourishing face mask all night for concentrated, targeted treatment, or once a week, just before bed, swipe on a super active peel pad.

  1. Powerful Acid Peel

    GOOPGLOW 15% Glycolic Acid Overnight Glow Peel, goop, $125/$112 with subscription

  2. Totally Moisturizing and
    Great to Leave On All Night

    Tammy Fender Restorative Radiance Masque, goop, $195

  1. Clark’s Botanicals Deep Moisture Mask, goop, $75

    Clark’s Botanicals
    Deep Moisture Mask
    goop, $75


  2. Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Mask, goop, $95

    Tata Harper
    Hydrating Floral Mask
    goop, $95


  3. Follain Ultra Hydrating Mask, goop, $34

    Ultra Hydrating Mask
    goop, $34


Night Creams and Oils

Lock in moisture while you sleep with a rich, nutrient-dense face cream or oil.

  1. We Use This Supercream as Night Cream (and on the Plane, Too)

    GOOPGENES All-in-One Nourishing Face Cream, goop, $98/$86 with subscription

  2. Made to Work with Your Circadian Rhythm

    Furtuna Skin Fior di Luna Nightly Renewal Cream, goop, $285

  3. Antioxidant-Packed for Lift

    Caudalie Resveratrol-Lift Firming Night Cream, goop, $69

  4. Smoothing and Moisturizing
    for Fine Lines

    Lavido Age Away Night Cream, goop, $49

  5. Brilliant for Sensitive Skin

    Augustinus Bader Soothing Cream, goop, $280

  6. Overnight Face Oil

    Balmyard Beauty Moonlight Lover Facial Oil, goop, $95

Superpowered Serums

Serums deliver a highly concentrated dose of ingredients, and while they hydrate, they’re never heavy or occlusive.

  1. Made with

    goop Beauty GOOPGLOW Dark Spot Exfoliating Sleep Milk, goop, $98/$89 with subscription

  2. Ultimate Hydration

    Dr. Barbara Sturm Night Serum, goop, $310

  3. For Collagen-Boosting and Nighttime Aromatherapy

    De Mamiel First Fix Serum, goop, $216

  4. For a Morning Glow

    Kora Organics Noni Night AHA Resurfacing Serum, goop, $74

    For Breakout-Prone Skin

  1. True Botanicals Clear Repair Serum, goop, $140

    True Botanicals
    Clear Repair Serum
    goop, $140


  2. Hero Cosmetics Mighty Patch, goop, $13

    Hero Cosmetics
    Mighty Patch
    goop, $13


Lip Masks

Steeping lips in nourishing ingredients and deep moisturizers leaves them plump and smooth by morning. Both of these formulas are made with a bit of exfoliant, too.

  1. Super Hydrating

    Alpyn Beauty Willow & Sweet Agave Plumping Lip Mask, goop, $28

  2. Ultrarich

    ILIA Lip Wrap Overnight Treatment Mask, goop, $26

Consider an overnight hair treatment, too

Smooth GOOPGLOW hair serum on before bed and wrap your hair in a towel and your hair will shine like you can’t believe after being washed the next morning.

  1. Nourishing Shine-Inducer

    goop Beauty GOOPGLOW Restore + Shine Hair Serum, goop, $48/$44 with subscription

  2. Microfiber Hair Wrap

    Aquis Lisse Luxe Hair Turban, goop, $18

*Based on an eight-week third-party clinical study of 30 women between the ages of 35 and 65.

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