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How does sleep affect your skin?

You've probably heard that today is the winter solstice, which is important to me because it means today is the shortest day/longest night of the year. If you're anything like me, you may find it hard to accomplish anything tonight. When it gets dark so early, all I want to do is sleep. My motivation levels significantly drop. Of course, working for an online dermatology company, I couldn't help but wonder how additional sleep would affect my skin.

Turns out, sleep does affect your skin. The simple fact is the body repairs itself and recovers when you sleep. So anything less than the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night will likely affect your skin and your appearance.

Why Your Skin Needs Sleep

Here are a few important skincare reasons to get your beauty sleep each night:

Get a complexion that glows

Sleep deprivation leads to a decrease in blood flow to the skin around your face. Without catching enough ZZZs, your skin can look dull or ashen, and you can say goodbye to those rosy cheeks. In addition, the body's hydration rebalances while you sleep. Therefore not getting enough sleep results in poor water balance, which equals puffy bags under your eyes, under-eye circles, dry skin, and more visible wrinkles.

Slow down the aging process

In deep sleep stages, growth hormones increase, which allows damaged cells to be repaired. Nights with little sleep mean you won't hit deep sleep phases and allows daily small breakdowns to accumulate (instead of being reversed). All this leads to premature signs of aging – reduced skin elasticity and fine lines. Check out this study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine that found just one night of poor sleep promotes "biological aging" in adults.

Prevent skin conditions from worsening

The severity of inflammatory skin conditions (like acne or psoriasis) can increase because poor sleep can lead to increased stress hormones in the body. In many cases, this shows up as increased acne breakouts, increases skin sensitivity, and increased allergic contact dermatitis reactions. To make things even worse, increased inflammation can decrease the body's ability to regulate the immune system. Not only does this lead to getting sick more frequently, but it also leads to flare-ups of immune-related skin diseases like eczema or psoriasis.

See a Dermatologist Today

In some cases, worsened skin conditions can lead to increased itching, which further disrupts sleep. This creates a vicious cycle that has skin conditions and sleep quality increasingly worsen together. If you want to seek care for a skin condition quickly, board-certified dermatologists at are available 24/7/365. Simply create a free account, answer a few questions about your medical history and upload photos of your condition. You'll receive a diagnosis and personalized treatment plan within 24 hours on average. In addition, any necessary prescriptions will be electronically sent to your preferred pharmacy.