Sleep Deprivation and Skin Aging
The consequences of poor sleep quality on your skin aren’t just a short-term and may in fact have a greater impact on skin function and ageing than first anticipated. Researchers at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center have found that poor sleepers show greater signs of skin ageing and are slower to recover from environmental impacts such as UV damage and skin barrier disruption.
Commissioned by Estee Lauder the study involved 60 pre-menopausal women between the ages of 30 and 49 with 50% of participants considered poor sleepers. The results show statistically significant signs of intrinsic ageing (due to internal factors) in poor sleepers using the SCINEXA skin ageing scoring system, including fine lines, uneven pigmentation, slackening of skin and reduced elasticity. There was no difference in extrinsic ageing, which relates primarily to sun exposure, however it was shown that poor sleepers had a slower recovery from sunburn indicating less efficient resolution of inflammation.
In addition, good sleepers have a 30% higher moisture recovery than poor sleepers, which is an indicator of skin damage repair time. In real terms this means that the skin of poor sleepers is more likely to be dehydrated and have increased sensitivity to topical agents, including any products that disrupt the skins protective layer.
I have previously written (here) about the effects of poor sleep worsening the outcome of skin conditions such as eczema and dermatitis, however this research shows definitively that ongoing poor quality sleep can increase signs of skin ageing and slow repair time in those with healthy skin as well.
So the message, if your skin is stressed look to the deeper cause and if you think that poor quality sleep is contributing, it is worth doing something about it (sleep lifestyle recommendations here). Bottom line, if your skin is stressed, you are stressed!