We’ve all heard of the saying ‘needing your beauty sleep’, and so it won’t come as a surprise to learn that sleep deprivation can cause both short and long-term damage to the skin and complexion.
Most of us will recognize the familiar dark circles, or ‘bags’ under our eyes that appear after just one night of poor sleep. This is caused by our blood vessels dilating. Our eyes also become puffy, and our skin takes on a sallow appearance. If this continues over a period of more than a few weeks, the effects could become permanent.
Sleep deprivation has a direct impact on the skin’s elasticity. An improper sleep pattern leads to excessive stress, which causes the body to produce more of the hormone cortisol. This hormone breaks down the protein in the skin that keeps it elastic and smooth. This means that over time as the skin loses its elasticity, wrinkles and fine lines will appear, and dark eye circles will become more prominent and longer lasting.
Not getting enough sleep negatively affects the moisture levels in your skin, and lowers your pH level. This means that skin is more likely to become dry, irritated and more prone to breakouts. This is also why it is recommended to put apply moisturizer before you go to sleep, to lock in the moisture.
Studies have shown that chronically poor sleep is associated with increased signs of intrinsic aging and ability to recover after sun exposure.
Prolonged lack of sleep can lead to diminished skin barrier function, which leaves you at greater risk of skin cancer.