While you might think that a lack of sleep isn’t doing much damage beyond increasing your the bags under your eyes, it turns out there’s quite a bit of research and science behind the concept of beauty rest. Sleep is when some of the most important internal — and epidermal — recovery takes place!
While you shouldn’t fully abandon your daytime skin care routine in favor of getting more zzz’s, there are some easy ways to amp your skin-sleep relationship for morning results!
So, how does sleep affect your skin?
Research has shown that one night of poor sleep can cause:
- hanging eyelids
- swollen eyes
- darker undereye circles
- paler skin
- more wrinkles and fine lines
- more droopy corners of the mouth
A 2017 study found that two days of sleep restriction negatively affected participant’s perceived attractiveness, health, sleepiness, and trustworthiness.
Sleep is the time when your body repairs itself. This is true for your epidermis as much as it is for your brain or your muscles. During sleep, your skin’s blood flow increases, and the organ rebuilds its collagen and repairs damage from UV exposure, reducing wrinkles and age spots.
So, here are 3 steps to help you sleep your way to better skin:
- Sleep on your back or use a cotton or even silk pillowcase
It makes sense that the position your face is in while you sleep (for one-third of your day!) matters to your skin.
So sleeping on a rough surface can irritate your skin and compress your face for long hours at a time, resulting in wrinkles. While most wrinkles are caused by the expressions we make while we’re awake, wrinkles on the face and chest can result from sleeping on our stomachs or sides. An easy solution to this is sleeping on your back.
If you prefer to sleep on your side, get a skin-friendly pillow. A satin or silk pillow minimizes skin irritation and compression while copper-oxide pillowcases may reduce crow’s-feet and other fine lines.
- Elevate your head
Elevating your head has been proven to help with snoring, acid reflux, and nasal drip — all issues that can disturb the quality of your sleep, and therefore your skin. In addition, it can help reduce bags and circles under your eyes by improving blood flow and preventing blood from pooling.
Elevating your head while you sleep can be as simple as adding an extra pillow, adding a wedge to your mattress, or even propping the head of your bed by a few inches.
Evening primrose oil boosts your body’s stores of skin-nourishing GLA (a fatty acid your skin can’t produce on its own). GLA is necessary for ideal skin structure and function. As the skin can’t produce GLA on its own, researchers believe taking GLA-rich Evening Primrose Oil helps keep skin healthy overall. Evening primrose oil helps improve your skin’s:
- fatigue resistance
Acne: Evening primrose oil is thought to help acne by reducing skin inflammation and the number of skin cells that cause lesions.
Eczema: Eczema is an inflammatory skin condition. Some countries have approved evening primrose oil to treat it. If you suffer from eczema or other forms of atopic dermatitis, it may be caused by a deficiency of GLA.
Here are the best B vitamins to consider when trying to improve the condition of your skin.
- B3: Vitamin B3 contains anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful in the treatment of acne. It can also inhibit the formation of sebum, again reducing the possibility of acne or bacterial infections
- B5: B5 can act as a humectant, meaning that it can retain water and keep your skin hydrated, decreasing your chances of developing dry, flaky skin
- B6: B6 can inhibit the formation of sebum, limiting the oil on the surface of our skin and reducing acne symptoms
- B12: People who are deficient in B12, such as sufferers of anaemia or thyroid conditions often find that their skin becomes pale or discoloured. This is because vitamin B12 is important when it comes to skin pigmentation, making it useful for keeping your skin looking bright and healthy. It also heals your skin too, although a recent report indicated that too much B12 can cause acne.
Known as the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ vitamin D has been linked to a variety of skin conditions, such as psoriasis, acne and eczema, with lowered levels of the nutrient often exacerbating symptoms or increasing your risk of contracting the skin complaint.
Acne is another skin condition that can be associated with vitamin D deficiency.
If you lack vitamin D, it can place your immune system under stress prompting a reaction from our sebaceous glands which may start to produce more sebum, making our skin oilier and worsening any existing acne symptoms. When your immune system is weakened, it also makes it easier for you to contract a bacterial infection, again affecting your symptoms of acne.
As you enter your thirties and forties, your body produces less and lower quality collagen. One of the visible signs of this is in your skin, which becomes less firm and supple and more vulnerable to damage such as dry skin and the formation of wrinkles.
Several recent studies show that supplementing collagen may help slow signs of skin ageing by reducing wrinkles and dryness, increase skin elasticity and help it better hold onto moisture.
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