As it turned out, even one night of insufficient sleep reduced the skin’s moisture levels significantly. And the longer they were sleep deprived, the drier their skin got and more damage to barrier function was caused. The first night with 50% sleep reduced also caused increased flaking, reduced shine and opacity, the appearance of redness and increased depth of wrinkles! The texture of the skin, meaning predominantly the appearance of fine lines, remained mostly unchanged after the first night, however, fine lines manifested prominently after the 4th night of sleep deprivation. Skin elasticity, quite unexpectedly, decreased very significantly, more so than other parameters and the longer volunteers went on insufficient sleep, the more their skin elasticity decreased!
Research has once again confirmed the importance of adequate sleep both for general health and for the skin. Normal sleep duration can vary from person to person, optimum being the amount of sleep after which one feels fresh and rested. It should be pointed out as well, that negative skin changes were happening in women who usually sleep very well, which sadly means you can’t stock up on good sleep or catch up on sleep during weekends. Sure, we’ve all had days and sometimes long periods of time when adequate sleep is impossible (new mums, we feel for you!), but unless it is unavoidable don’t subject yourself to lack of sleep. It is the foundation of well-being along with nutrition and exercise. If it did happen and you want to reduce the damage done to your skin, give it some extra care!
For one, if you don’t sleep well, you need to be extra careful in situations when potential skin damage is involved, including high-intensity aesthetic treatments. Most likely, your recovery after laser resurfacing and chemical peels will take longer than average. Certainly, some experiments should be avoided. For example, currently quite popular facial taping can lead to irritation and skin damage in people with insomnia significantly worsening the skin’s health and look.