Beauty tips: 5 ways poor sleep makes your skin look lousy

There are lots of ways your overall skin complexion can be compromised – too much sun, hydration, poor diet, lack of exercise, wrong skincare regimen, unhygienic practices and, yes, lack of sleep.

Up to about your mid-20s, your glowing, youthful complexion hides a multitude of sins. You may think your skin is impermeable to harm. But guess what? The damage is hidden underneath.

And as you get older, the process of skin cell regeneration starts to slow down, and the damages slowly manifests as signs of skin ageing.

So it’s important to know about all of the factors that can influence the health and vitality of your skin. Here are the top 4 reasons why lack of sleep is bad for your skin and complexion:

1. Lack of sleep drives up stress hormones.

Sleep and stress have a two-way relationship. We all know that anxiety can create sleep problems. Lesser known is that lack of sleep can also drive up stress.

You know what happens next. Cortisol level shoots up, skin collagen breaks down, and you see the damage manifest as dry, rubbery skin.

These effects were observed in a 2014 study looking at the ‘brain-skin connection‘ and how how chronic stress can have a detrimental effect on skin ageing. In their findings the researchers observed that there is “no proven medical treatment that can either prevent or treat stress-induced or exacerbated skin conditions or skin aging.

So, the next time you start thinking that the best moisturizer for dry skin will rescue your skin from damage caused by staying up until the morning after, think again.

2. Lack of sleep drives down your immune system.

Many studies have found that sleep deprivation suppresses immune system function. And when your immune response is low, it is less able to protect the body, including your skin, from microorganisms just waiting for that exact opportunity to attack and establish a parasitic condition.

If you’ve been diagnosed with chronic, lifelong skin issues such as contact dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema, you probably already know this to be true.

With a poor immune system, you are more likely to contract other diseases as well, most notably, cardiovascular diseases. So it’s up to you whether or not to compromise your skin and overall health in exchange for that 15-days of straight overtime pay.

3. Lack of sleep causes the skin to age.

In a 2013 study commissioned by Estée Lauder that involved women with ages ranging from 30 to 49, researchers found out that the poor sleepers were more prone to manifesting various signs of skin ageing, while those who regularly have sufficient sleep were more likely to resist it.

Just like any other cell in your body, your skin cells take advantage of when you are asleep to repair and rejuvenate your skin. More detailed explanation of this in the succeeding section.

4. Lack of sleep deprives your body of repair and rejuvenation.

The body reaches a state of equilibrium state when you sleep. Your cells use this opportunity of low energy expenditure and channel it to faciliate cellular repair and rejuvenation. That’s why getting enough sleep is critical in keeping your skin, body and even your mind healthy and well.

To illustrate this point, a 2104 study published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Dermatology examined water loss and the perceptions of skin appearance of 60 women.

The study concluded that good sleepers are better able to cope with intrinsic causes of skin ageing, have better protective skin barrier, and are more satisfied with the way they look.

Hyaluronic acid and peptides in your cream can have beneficial effects to your skin. None, however, will come even close to the rejuvenating power of sleep.

5. Lack of sleep causes you to gain weight and develop saggy skin.

You know how even the best moisturizer for dry skin wouldn’t be able to help your skin from sagging, right? When you gain weight, your skin eventually becomes loose.

Chronic lack of sleep triggers your body to compensate for sleep loss by producing more ghrelin, a hunger hormone that tells your brain that you are hungry.


Your skin can benefit from countless beauty products but, if it is significant, long-term improvement you want, nothing beats the power of sleep.

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