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A Breakdown Of What Your Skin Goes Through Every Day

From the moment we wake up to the time we go to sleep (okay first, we binge a few episodes of 90 Day Fiancé), our skin goes through a lot.

Pollutants. Toxins. Stress. The gang’s all there!

“The skin is the largest organ of the body and is a reflection of your health and well-being,” says Dr. Howard Sobel, Owner of Sobel Skin, New York City's Premier Med-Spa & Dermatology Practice. “Free radicals cause inflammation of the skin and cause damage to the skin cells.” 

Don’t let time tick away on your skin. We spoke to two dermatologists to figure out exactly what your skin is going through in 24 hours. Plus, their best tips on how to protect it.

6 a.m.

It’s early when you wake up, but hopefully you’ve clocked in 7-8 hours of sleep. That’s because everything you’ve heard about beauty sleep is true: Your skin goes through renewal mode while you sleep, says Dr. Sobel.

“While cells repair and rebuild at all stages of sleep, the majority of cell turnover and regeneration occurs during the deep REM sleep,” he says.

You might also be surprised to learn that the skin loses the most moisture while you’re asleep, explains Dr. Sobel.

“Overnight water loss contributes to your skin being its driest and the barrier can be impaired,” he says. To remedy this, be sure to use a hydrating body moisturizer before dozing off. You should also down your first glass of water soon after you wake up to replenish fluids.

what skin goes through in 24 hours

7 a.m.

After you’ve had your morning cup (or two) of coffee, it’s time to step in the shower. But before you crank that dial to hot, consider this: “Hot water strips the skin of moisture even if you moisturize right after,” says Dr. Sobel.

He recommends cooling things down by having a lukewarm shower or bath.  

You’ll want to put your moisturizer on right afterwards while the skin is still damp. “Damp skin better absorbs the moisturizer and locks it in for a longer time,” he says.

8 a.m.

Now that you’re showered, already drank one glass of water and you’ve got All Too Well (Taylor's Version) playing, it’s time to start your morning beauty routine.

If you didn’t remove your makeup the night before (oops), do so now since your skin will look and feel its best when products are applied to a clean canvas. Plus, it’ll feel so good to cleanse any oil that developed overnight, says Dr. Lisa Stirling, MD, a Board-Certified Dermatologist and a Medical Advisor for eMediHealth.  

Since you’re about to head out the door where it’s free-radical city (things like UV radiation, pollution, and toxins, says Dr. Stirling), you’ll want to protect your skin. This is where vitamin C serums come in, since they’re chock full of antioxidants that your skin is craving. You’ll also want to hydrate the skin with a hyaluronic acid serum or moisturizer.

The sun doesn’t have to be out to affect your skin, so be sure to always apply sunscreen.


If you’re having trouble making sunscreen a habit, Dr. Sobel recommends a tinted SPF moisturizer. With it, you’ll be accomplishing two skincare goals in one.

This is also a good time to use toner and exfoliate your face. “It rid of the top dry layers of dead skin cells and brings new, fresh skin cells closer to the surface,” Dr. Sobel tells Lively. Dr. Stirling recommends using it around two times per week.


12 p.m.

By now, you should be a few glasses of water deep.

Depending on what experts you talk to, the goal is to drink 8 to 10 glasses per day or half you bodyweight in ounces of water to keep yourself hydrated, says Dr. Sobel.

Vital Proteins Collagen Water can help you reach your hydration goals, as they come in several delicious flavors, such as Peach White Tea and Strawberry Lemon. Each bottle contains 10g of collagen and 3g of sugar or less. Or, reach for Vital Proteins Hydration** + Collagen, the only electrolyte powder on the market that combines 5g of grass-fed, pasture-raised collagen, 880mg of electrolytes and 1g of functional sugar per serving for effective* hydration that complements your routine.** Just open, pour & add to cold water for a daily recharge.

collagen water

Whether you’re at lunch or close to it, this is the perfect time to do any necessary touchups. “Use face wipes to blot your face if it feels too oily,” recommends Dr. Sobel.

Dry instead? Keep a face mist stored at your desk (or wherever you work) so you can give you skin a quick moisture fix.

A quick note on any products used throughout the day: Dr. Sobel says to avoid ones with alcohol base, fragrances or preservatives, as they can cause irritation and dryness. 

5 p.m.

Having healthy, radiant skin is so much more than just the products you’re applying. It’s also about the kind of foods you’re eating.

“Dinner should include water-rich fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, apples and cucumbers to help keep the skin hydrated and also work to release powerful free-radical fighting antioxidants,” Dr. Sobel tells Lively.

sleep collagen shot

9 p.m.

Jumping into bed without completing your nighttime skincare routine may feel tempting, but it’s super important to take the day off first. This includes oils, pollutants and makeup, says Dr. Lisa Stirling. For this, turn to your handy makeup remover and make sure you’re using the right one.

“If you have oily skin you can use a glycolic cleanser. If you have a breakout spot treat with sulfur or salicylic acid,” explains Dr. Sobel.

You should then apply a retinol or retinoid to “repair damage and promote cell turnover,” says Dr. Stirling.

Regardless of whether you have dry skin or not, you should end your p.m. skincare routine with a moisturizing night cream.

All that’s left to do from there is take your Vital Proteins Sleep Collagen Shot™, Sleep Gummies or Blueberry Moon Milk Collagen Latte™. Soon, you’ll be drifting off into a well-deserved beauty sleep.

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