Skin And Sleep: Everything You Need to Know

We all know that a good night’s rest goes a long way towards helping skin look amazing. Seriously - think about how your skin looks after a good night’s rest compared to when you’ve slept poorly. It’s a huge difference, right? In some cases, it’s almost like you’ve aged overnight - and that’s pretty close to the truth. 


To understand exactly why our skin is one of the first things to suffer from poor sleep, we need to look at the effects of lack of sleep on the skin and just what skin does overnight!

Skincare Problems Related to Sleep Deprivation

Negative effect of dryness on skin illustration

Most people underestimate the effects that a lack of sleep has on skin, but if you’re not sleeping as much as you should and some of these sound too familiar, it’s probably a good idea to take a long hard look at your sleeping habits!

Dark, Puffy Under Eyes

This is the first one that most people think of - because it’s definitely one of the first that appears. There are actually two reasons why lack of sleep causes panda eyes. Without rest, the undereye area doesn’t circulate blood as well as it should. This causes a build-up of fluid (causing puffiness) and blood, causing the dark shadows underneath your eyes. 

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Foreo Iris Eye Massager | $179
In the meantime, an eye massager like this can help soothe away puffy eye bags.

Dry & Dehydrated Skin

We’ve touched in the importance of the skin’s natural moisture barrier, and it’s definitely something that doesn’t remain unaffected by sleep cycles. 

The problem with lack of rest is that it’s associated with dysfunction of the moisture barrier, causing even more water loss than normal according to Dr Debra Jaliman, assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

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Declaré Probiotic Firming Anti-Wrinkle Concentrate | $159
Skin probiotics aren’t just good for anti-ageing - they help reinforce your moisture barrier for skin that’s plumper and more moisturised.

More Breakouts

A weakened moisture barrier doesn’t just make skin drier - it also leaves it vulnerable to breakouts. Weakened by lack of sleep, your acid mantle isn’t able to defend itself as well from acne-causing external irritants, leading to more breakouts. Lack of sleep may also spike cortisol, aka the stress hormone - another sleep deprivation related cause of breakouts. 

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Foreo Espada | $199
This pimple-zapping tool uses the power of blue light therapy to kill acne-causing bacteria.

Looking Older Than You Really Are

We all know that looking well-rested usually means you look brighter and more awake - but don’t underestimate how much of an effect it can have on how old (or young) you look. The effect here is a two-in-one.

First, dehydrated skin tends to look slightly more wrinkly because it has less water in it to plump it up (this is why humectant skincare makes skin look younger!). Secondly, a lack of sleep puts stress on your entire body. Avoiding stress is crucial to ensuring you don’t look a few years older than you are - studies have found that there’s a link between chronic stress and skin aging.

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Lancôme Advanced Génifique Concentrate | $305
A powerful concentrated serum that helps to reduce the signs of ageing - even while you sleep.

These happen just by not allowing your skin enough time to renew itself overnight. However, other than getting your 8 hours of beauty sleep, you can take advantage of your skin’s natural circadian rhythm. First, let’s take a look at what your skin does while you’re getting some shut-eye.

What Your Skin Does Overnight

Did you know that skin can actually behave differently at night compared to during the day? Just like the rest of our bodies, our skin relies on a combination of environmental cues and internal cues to know what to do. 

Skin Becomes More Permeable

This means that water (and skincare ingredients) can pass through the upper layers of the skin more easily than in the daytime. It’s a double-edged sword - it means that water can escape skin more easily (in a process called trans-epidermal water loss). 

However, studies have found that it means skincare ingredients absorb into the skin more readily and are able to benefit skin faster when used at night compared to the daytime - so think about which of your skincare you want to prioritise!

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Elizabeth Arden Line Erasing Retinol Ceramide Capsules | $190
Using a retinol serum overnight could make it even more effective on your journey for younger-looking skin.

Skin Repair Processes Peak

Just like your body rests and repairs itself while you sleep, skin does too. In fact, your skin’s repair processes reach their highest point overnight - while you’re sleeping, your skin is working hard to repair damage from the day, whether that’s from UV exposure or even repairing minor wounds in the form of breakouts and pimples. By not sleeping enough, skin doesn’t get a chance to repair itself - so it’s crucial that you get some beauty rest.

Declare Probiotic skin solution product image on white background

Declaré Probiotic Multi Regeneration Cream | $149
This moisturiser pumps up skin’s rejuvenating powers with probiotics for healthy, ageless skin.

Blood Circulation is Boosted

Studies have also found that blood flow to the skin increases at night compared to the daytime, boosting skin-repairing processes. Ensuring that your skin has a constant supply of healthy, oxygenated blood stops any blood or fluids from pooling and creating those signature sleep-deprived puffy eye bags and dark circles. 

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Sisley Supremÿa Yeux | $365
This supreme anti-ageing eye cream boosts circulation - just in case you still need a bit more help reducing eye bags!

Sebum Production Decreases

Depending on your skin type, this could be a plus or a minus - but it’s a good reason why night creams tend to be so much richer and heavier than their daytime counterparts. They need to prevent any water loss overnight, plus make up for lost sebum production so you don’t wake up with dry, flaking skin. 

Declare 5 secrets night cream product image on white background

Declaré Stress Balance 5 Secrets Night Cream | $149
Replenish any lost moisture overnight with this balanced, nourishing cream.

Now that you know how poor sleep affects your skin (and how sleeping well benefits it) we’re sure you’ll be getting a full night’s rest! To figure out the best skin care routine for your skin type, check out our skin quiz.

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Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne is a passionate beauty writer with over 10 years of experience. She’s incredibly keen on all things skincare, makeup and cosmetics, with a fingertip on the pulse of the latest global beauty trends at all times.

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