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Exactly What a Lack of Sleep Does to Your Skin

We all know what lack of sleep can do to a person’s mood, but what about the effect it can have on your skin?

While you sleep, your body repairs and then prepares itself for the day ahead. When it’s robbed of its ability to do that, your body returns the favour by robbing you of the ability to leave the house without a paper bag over your head. Okay—chances are it’s not that bad. But sleep deprivation really can impact your skin’s health dramatically, and it’s important to know what issues might arise when you skimp on your beauty sleep. Here are five signs to look out for. 

5 Surprising Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Skin

1. Dark circles and eye bags

Caused by fluid retention, puffy bags under the eyes occur when tired skin retains water in an effort to stay hydrated. Meanwhile, the dark circles that appear when you’re exhausted are courtesy of the blood vessels under the skin around the eyes dilating from lack of sleep. The skin around your eyes is exceptionally thin, making both the puffiness and darkened colour even more noticeable.

2. Lack of collagen growth 

While you sleep, your skin produces new collagen. Collagen growth is extremely important as it prevents wrinkles and sagging and premature ageing. But when you deprive your body of sleep, there’s an increase of matrix metalloproteinases, which is a group of enzymes responsible for accelerating collagen and elastin breakdown. This ultimately speeds up the ageing process - and let's be honest no one wants this.

3. Dry and dehydrated

Most of us keep a glass of water next to the bed for when we wake up in the morning parched. That’s because your body is dehydrated, which can be heightened by other elements like alcohol consumption or hot sleeping environments. When it comes to your skin, sleep deprivation decreases the moisture levels of your skin and lowers your complexion's pH levels. On top of that, if you aren’t sleeping enough, there's a good chance you aren’t giving your night cream enough time to seep in and work its magic, either.

4. Affects speed of wound healing 

For many, it's normal to attack a pimple right before bed, only to find yourself full of regrets as you nurse the spot with a wad of toilet paper.

The good news is that if you get a solid 8-9 hours sleep, your skin will be able to repair itself and you'll likely wake up with a much better looking imperfection. However, if you’re not getting much sleep, your immune system becomes depleted, drastically decreasing the power of the wound healing process whilst also raising the risk of developing an infection. Healthy tissue is paramount for wounds to heal, and essential tissue growth happens while you snooze.

5. Acne and inflammation

Remember naively thinking bad skin was only a teenager’s problem? Ah, those were the days. If, like most of us, you’re still dealing with breakouts and blemishes well into your adult life, your sleep routine could be to blame.

Lack of sleep affects your immune system, paving the way for inflammation, redness and breakouts to flourish. Other inflammatory skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis and rosacea also rely on a healthy immune system to help restore balance and speed up the healing process.

If you are concerned about your health or wellbeing, your first port of call should be your GP, who will be able to advise a correct treatment plan.

Did you know you could also be oversleeping? This is exactly what happens to your body when you get too much sleep.

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