The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Skin


Sleep is beyond necessary to repair and restore your body. When a good night’s sleep is hindered, you will look significantly more fatigued—and your skin will suffer. In fact, sleep deprivation can affect the overall texture of your skin, contribute to fine lines and wrinkles, may cause acne and under-eye circles. 

How Lack of Sleep Affects Your Skin

Lack of sleep interferes with your circadian rhythm, also known as your internal clock. Throughout the night, your circadian rhythm signals your body to release the hormone vasopressin, so your kidneys retain fluid as you sleep. Sleep deprivation disrupts your circadian rhythm and interrupts signals for water retention, which contributes to dehydration. This can lead to flaky, dry skin, which amplifies the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Multiple studies show that individuals who sleep six or fewer hours each night have up to a 59 percent higher risk of dehydration compared to those who sleep seven to eight hours. Other side effects of sleep deprivation include reduced skin elasticity and enlarged facial pore size. 

The Link Between a Lack of Sleep and Acne

Aside from causing dehydration, a disruption of your circadian rhythm can also contribute to acne. Sleep deprivation leads to an abrupt physical or biological change that translates into a chemical imbalance, triggering what is known as “occasional acne” or blemishes caused by a lack of sleep. Failing to get enough sleep also restricts your ability to regenerate skin cells, leading to blocked pores or mini pustules. Without cell turnover, skin looks dull and lackluster.

Signs of Skin Aging and Sleep Deprivation

A recurring lack of quality sleep can also accelerate intrinsic aging, or the effect outside factors have on the aging of your skin. Poor sleep negatively impacts the ability of your skin’s barrier to recover from outside stressors, like water loss or exposure to UV rays. Good sleepers have a 30 percent greater barrier recovery compared to poor sleepers, who also experience diminished skin barrier function and lower satisfaction with appearance.

Similarly, a lack of sleep can emphasize existing fine lines and wrinkles, adding to signs of skin aging.

Learn to Give Your Skin What it Needs

You can drink a gallon of water a day and lather on tons of high-quality skincare products, but nothing can replicate the benefits of a proper night’s sleep. If you have been suffering from sleep deprivation and your skin has been paying the price, book a virtual consultation with me to learn how to give your skin what it needs.