5 Ways Lack of Sleep Is Aging Your Skin
You know that getting enough ZZZs is essential for many aspects of your health.
But let’s be honest:
Despite this knowledge, most of us tend to neglect sleep.
And while a single sleepless night might wreck a few following days, you can quickly get back on track with some effort. Continuous lack of sleep, on the other hand, takes a heavier toll on your health, and your skin is one of the organs that suffer the most.
Let’s take a look at the most common skin issues related to the lack of sleep.
#1 Dark Circles and Bags Under Your Eyes
Probably the most common — and most noticeable — symptoms of staying awake all night long or sleeping for several hours less every night are dark circles and bags under the eyes.
Both of these unpleasant symptoms actually have a single cause.
Our bodies have a lymphatic system, a network of vessels and lymph nodes that produce lymph. Lymph helps our body flush the metabolites out. Besides, the lymphatic system can create a cellular pathway to clear your head from waste. That’s why it’s incredibly important to sleep well, especially the night before important events where you will need to be able to think clearly.
But let’s get back to the skin.
Since the activity peak of the lymphatic system falls on night hours, you just prevent it from doing its job and disrupt your fluid balance. This disruption, in turn, causes blood vessels under your eyes to dilate — and say hello to eye bags and dark circles.
If you’re going to go to bed late, keep a couple of spoons in the freezer. In the morning, you may take them out and place under the eyes for a couple of minutes. The cold will narrow the blood vessels and make them less noticeable.
#2 Acne Outbreaks
Along with wrecking your fluid balance, sleep deprivation can play havoc with your hormonal system.
Many scientists agree that everything that comes out of our normal lifestyle is perceived as stress by our bodies. And pulling an all-nighter instead of getting the required hours of sleep is definitely one of those stressful scenarios.
So, what happens during stress?
Our bodies produce increased amounts of stimulatory hormones that create a ‘fight-or-flight’ response. One of the stress hormones, cortisol, is the most common trigger for acne and outbreaks, especially if your skin is prone to them initially.
And here’s the trickiest part:
It’s not only about increased cortisol levels. It’s also about the behaviors they provoke, such as consuming more carbs, falling asleep with makeup on, neglecting skin hygiene, etc.
Obviously, the longer you are sleep-deprived, the more pimples you will see in the mirror.
#3 Dull Skin and Dehydration
Those who stay without sleep for days quickly begin to look like they are a couple of years older. That’s because, during sleep, your body not only restores energy levels but also repairs itself on cellular levels. Here’s what your skin does during the night:
- restores the lipid barrier;
- maintains healthy pH levels;
- accumulates antioxidants and nutrients;
Lack of sleep doesn’t allow these processes to happen. So, your skin becomes imbalanced, and you might see the oily shine or flaky cheeks even if you had a completely healthy skin before.
Plus, the lack of nutrients and antioxidants can make your skin look grey and dull, which also adds some age to your look.
Increased cortisol levels can impact collagen integrity and make you more prone to wrinkles and the loss of skin tone.
Collagen is crucial for skin structure and elasticity. When it breaks down, your skin becomes thinner, and, as a result, the aging signs become more pronounced.
Of course, rapid aging won’t happen after a single all-nighter, but you still have to keep this in mind if staying up late has become a part of your everyday life.
#5 Redness and Pigmentation
Besides nourishment, our skin also needs to defend itself from different damaging factors. Today, we live in a polluted world, and this means a lot of oxidative stress. We get exposed to free radicals everywhere, but the most overpowering of them is solar radiation. UV rays can do a lot of unpleasant things to our skin, such as:
- premature aging;
- melanoma and other types of skin cancer.
Along with using sunscreen throughout the year, you need to sleep well to help your skin restore itself and slow down the oxidative damage.
What Else Can You Do To Treat Your Skin?
As you can see, sleep and skin health are tightly connected. So, next time you have skin problems, instead of purchasing another tube of facial cream, you may just revise your sleeping schedule.
However, with a holistic approach, you can help your skin even more. Try these recommendations, and premature aging won’t bother you in the nearest future:
- Stay hydrated. Getting enough water will prevent you from dry and dull skin and help your skin cells maintain the lipid barrier.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Eat more whole foods and watch out for possible allergens, such as dairy or nuts, as they can also result in outbreaks or inflammation.
- Choose proper skincare. Know your skin type (if you don’t, consult with a dermatologist) and choose suitable products with natural components.
- Do not hesitate to reach out for professional help. If your skin problems still persist after you’ve established a sleeping schedule and followed through other recommendations, maybe your condition requires medical attention. A specialist can prescribe treatment based on thorough examination and can help you get glowing and healthy skin.