Is 'Beauty Sleep' a Myth?

A study demonstrated that poor sleepers had slower recovery from a variety of environmental stressors, such as disruption of the skin barrier or ultraviolet (UV) radiation as well as increased signs of skin ageing. Poor sleepers also gave worse self-assessments of their own skin and facial appearance. (•Research team, led by Elma Baron, MD)

“Sleep deprived women show signs of premature skin ageing and a decrease in their skin’s ability to recover after sun exposure. Insufficient sleep has become a worldwide epidemic. While chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to medical problems such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and immune deficiency, its effects on skin function have previously been unknown.”

Dr Baron, Director of the Skin Study Center at University Hospital Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio and Associate Professor of Dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Beautiful Skin Begins With A Good Night's Sleep

Skin functions as an important barrier from external stressors such as environmental toxins and sun-induced DNA damage and the researchers were keen to examine how skin function and appearance might be impacted by sleep quality, which is vital to the growth and renewal of the body’s immune and physiological systems.

The study, commissioned by a major skincare brand, involved 60 pre-menopausal women between the ages of 30 and 49. Half of participants were experiencing poor sleep quality.

Skin ageing and function was assessed using visual evaluations and participation in several non-invasive skin challenge tests including UV light exposure and skin barrier disruption. Additionally, participants filled out a sleep log for one week to help researchers understand their sleep patterns.

Faster ageing

There were statistically significant differences in the skin of between good and poor quality sleepers. Using a common skin ageing scoring system, poor quality sleepers showed increased signs of intrinsic (caused by internal factors alone) skin ageing including fine lines, uneven pigmentation and slackening of skin and reduced elasticity. The researchers also found that good quality sleepers recovered more efficiently from stressors to the skin. Recovery from sunburn was more sluggish in poor quality sleepers, with erythema (redness) remaining higher over 72 hours, indicating that inflammation is less efficiently resolved.

Losing moisture

The skin’s ability to retain moisture was also examined. In measurements 72 hours after a skin barrier stressor (tape-stripping), the recovery of good quality sleepers was 30% higher than poor quality sleepers demonstrating that their skin repairs the damage more quickly.

Women most at risk

Women, as we have previously reported, are particularly at risk from sleep disorders and the exhaustion that comes from continual multi-tasking, can do more than just make you look older. 

A spokesperson from a major skin care brand commented, “We see these findings as yet another way we can direct our scientific research toward the real needs of our customers who want to look and feel their best. Paying attention to body/mind connections may well help manufacturers make more efficient skincare products.

And at wild azur, we certainly agree with that!


This article was adapted from Natural Health News