2. Too little sleep may make your skin age more quickly
Researchers have found that quality of sleep has an impact on the aging and function of the skin. The study revealed that study participants who had poor sleep experienced an increase in signs of skin aging and recovered slower from various environmental stressors like skin barrier disruption or ultraviolet radiation.1✅ JOURNAL REFERENCE
It was conclusively proven that insufficient sleep correlates with accelerated aging of the skin as well as a reduction in skin health. Women who are sleep deprived exhibit signs of premature aging of the skin and a reduction in the ability of the skin to recover after exposure to the sun.
Skin functions as a protective layer from external stressors like toxins in the environment and DNA damage from the sun. The study’s goal was to establish whether the function of the skin, as well as appearance, is also affected by the quality of sleep, which is essential to the growth as well as renewal of the physiological and immune systems of the body.
The study included sixty 30 to 49-year-old pre-menopausal women, with 50% of them qualifying in the category of poor quality sleep. The distinction was made based on average sleep duration and a standard sleep quality assessment questionnaire.
The study also included a visual skin examination and a number of non-invasive skin tests which included skin barrier disruption and exposure to UV light. Participants also completed a sleep log for 1 week for quantifying sleep duration.
Statistically significant differences were found between participants who had good quality and poor quality sleep. Making use of a skin aging scoring system called SCINEXA, participants who had poor quality sleep exhibited an increase in signs of intrinsic skin aging which included uneven pigmentation, fine lines, skin slackening, and elasticity reduction. A higher score indicates an appearance that’s more aged.
The average score for those with good quality sleep was 2.2 as opposed to 4.4 for those with poor quality sleep. No significant difference was found between the two groups in signs of extrinsic aging such as sunburn freckles and coarse wrinkles.
Good quality sleepers were found to recover more efficiently from skin stressors. Sunburn recovery was slower in those with poor quality sleep, with redness staying higher for more than 72 hours, suggesting that there is less efficient inflammation resolution. A TEWL test was made use of at different points in time to establish the skin’s ability to function effectively as a barrier against loss of moisture.
Good quality sleepers had a 30% higher recovery compared to poor quality sleepers 72 hours following a skin barrier stressor, which demonstrates that the damage is repaired quicker in good quality sleepers.