10 Ways to Get More Beautiful While You Sleep

Consider it a spa treatment that happens while you sleep. Top beauty and health experts offer tips for improving your hair, skin, and nails while your mind and body go on autopilot. Pick one bedtime ritual, and you can wake up with whiter teeth or clearer skin.

1. For healthier hair...

Before going to bed, brush your hair with a natural boar-bristle brush, suggests Eva Scrivo, a hairstylist and salon owner in New York City. "It's the best hair treatment because it distributes the oil from your scalp down the hair shaft, nourishing your hair in the process," she says. If your scalp or hair is very dry, however, before brushing, apply a treatment with rich essential oils. Or, if your scalp is naturally oily, comb hair with a botanical tonic that balances oil and dryness and strengthens weaker strands.

Related: Rehab Your Hair from Harsh Summer Sun

2. To brighten your smile...

For cleaner teeth, dentist Marc Lowenberg of Lowenberg & Lituchy in New York City suggests mixing about a teaspoon of baking soda with several drops of hydrogen peroxide to form a paste, and then brushing with it at night. "The mixture gently removes surface stains," he says. If you want to whiten your teeth, use a kit with a paint-on application. "Strips are great for perfectly straight teeth," he explains. But the paint-on versions get inside all the nooks of teeth that are a little crooked."

3. To diminish a blemish...

If you see, or feel, a doozy of a pimple coming on, cleanse your skin, then smooth a blemish treatment over the spot and any areas prone to breakouts. "Benzoyl peroxide is the gold standard when it comes to treating pimples," says David J. Leffell, a professor of dermatology and plastic surgery at Yale University School of Medicine. The ingredient kills bacteria, promotes healing, and is offered in up to 10 percent solutions (the most potent). However, what makes benzoyl peroxide good (its potency) also makes it bad: Adult women are often sensitive to the ingredient. So try a milder 5 percent benzoyl peroxide treatment. Or use salicylic acid, a gentler ingredient.

4. To limit lines...

Sunlight breaks down the active ingredients in many skin-care creams, so nighttime is ideal for using a treatment with retinol, one of the few clinically proven skin-smoothers. Since retinol can be irritating, apply a pea-size amount every third night for two weeks to get used to it. Then work up to applying it every other night. Retinol accelerates the renewal of skin cells. As a result, flaking is natural and sun sensitivity can occur (so wear sunscreen daily). If your skin is very sensitive, try a niacinamide cream. "Niacinamide is an agent that's mild on the skin. It improves skin texture and reduces redness," says Arnold Klein, a professor of dermatology and medicine at the University of California Los Angeles.

5. To even out skin tone...

Blotches and dark spots are often caused by sun damage (from years of sun exposure) and by hormone changes due to pregnancy or birth control pills. To get rid of a patch, apply a hydroquinone cream each night for three months. For even results, smooth the cream over your entire face. Natural ingredients, such as soy, also brighten skin but can take longer to work.

6. For softer lips...

The secret to moist lips is regular use of an emollient balm. Unlike other parts of your face, your lips don't have oil glands, Baumann says. So slick on a salve.

Related: 5-Minute Workouts to Do Right Now

7. For smooth skin...

"Your skin actually loses water while you sleep," says New York City dermatologist Doris J. Day, author of Forget the Facelift (Avery/Penguin USA; 2006). Before hitting the sheets, cover your body with a rich lotion.

8. To soothe sore muscles...

If you overdid it during Spinning class, try massaging overwrought muscles. Massage warms the muscle and increases blood flow, which helps remove the lactic acid that's responsible for the pain.

9. To soften hands...

A night of sleep is probably the longest you go without washing your hands, which depletes skin of natural moisture. Take advantage of the break by slathering on an ultra rich hand moisturizer.

10. For smooth feet...

Feet take a lot of daily abuse. To get them soft and callous free, use a lotion with lactic acid, which sloughs off dead skin cells. Coat feet with the creamy salve before bed.

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