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Brief Published: 6 Jul 2017

Circadian Rhythms Drive Beauty Innovation


As wellness attitudes continue to drive product development and marketing across retail categories (see The Business of Wellbeing), clever brands are exploring nuanced health avenues. In beauty, the circadian rhythm or body clock is inspiring expert skincare.

US brand Circadia has developed a range that works around the skin’s natural nighttime circadian rhythm of renewal and repair. Based on research suggesting that skin cells have a separate clock mechanism to that of the body (which controls the sleep-wake cycle, hormone release, and body temperature), Circadia’s products aim to help the skin’s own circadian rhythm, which manages its recovery, cell renewal and hydration levels.

By understanding these rhythms and identifying when the skin will be under the most stress and when repair is needed, the products can be more efficient at preventing premature ageing and damage. During the day, the skin works to shield itself from environmental aggressors such as pollution and UV rays. In the afternoon, the skin can become dehydrated from trans-dermal water loss, and in the evening the repair mechanisms are activated. 

“People are becoming more interested in their health, overall wellness and the way their body works and responds,” Stylus heard from Rabbia Aslam, clinical director of London-based HC MedSpa beauty clinics. “Knowing what we know, circadian-driven skincare should be incorporated into our regimes and made an everyday part of life.”

Products from Circadia’s range include a cleanser (which washes away impurities and leaves an invisible veil of antioxidants on the skin), a vitamin C serum, and a skin brightener for uneven pigmentation. Accompanying the comprehensive 15-piece range is a moisturising pillowcase made with a patented 22,000-microthread weave to help prevent sleep lines and moisture loss overnight. 


Luxury UK spa brand Elemis has also launched its Peptide4 Night Recovery Cream-Oil, similarly inspired by the body’s inner clock. The formula contains perilla seed oil and night-scented stock oil, a new superbotanical cultivated by and exclusive to the brand that’s rich in Omega 3, vitamin E and antioxidants. 

The hybrid product works to limit trans-epidermal water loss in the night, helping the skin and complexion appear healthy, nourished and revitalised upon waking. “It does the night shift if you like, leaving skin rebalanced, restored and replenished. This is beauty sleep in a bottle,” says Noella Gabriel, co-founder of Elemis.

In an independent user trial, 100% of testers said their skin looked well rested, felt and looked healthier and more nourished, and the visible effects of stress on their skin such as fine lines, wrinkles, and dryness were diminished after using the product.

For more on beauty, wellness and the science of sleep, see The Business of Wellbeing: Beauty 360.