Being sleep-deprived is associated with skin changes such as fine lines, pigmentation changes, reduced elasticity and collagen production, dehydration, changes in pore size and skin texture, and changes to blood flow to the skin. These changes are mediated by the body’s stress axis, which associates lack of sleep with stress (causing the stress hormone levels to rise).
Your skin is constantly exposed in one way or another to natural light, which can result in UV-related damage to skin cells. These damaged cells undergo repair at night, without adequate sleep this repair remains unfinished.
Studies looking at good sleepers show fewer signs of ageing skin (fine lines, uneven pigmentation and reduced elasticity), better skin barrier recovery, better recovery post sun exposure, and better perceptions of appearance and physical attractiveness when compared to poor sleepers.
Lack of sleep can result in reduced blood flow to the skin. Blood delivers important nutrients and removes impurities, as well as aids absorption of treatments applied to the skin. Applying active ingredients at night in the hope that they can solve skin problems associated with lack of sleep therefore might be counterproductive, as the ingredients may not be absorbed as well if you are not sleeping optimally!
Image by Engin Akyurt