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Myth Busters

Your Sleeping Beauty. Not just a fairy tale

Posted on: September 14th, 2017 by Dr. Jennifer Herrmann

Sleeping Beauty was onto something. Although we are all aware of the effects of a poor night’s sleep—poor concentration, irritability, foggy fatigue—too little sleep also reeks havoc on your skin. Dark circles, eye bags, fine lines and wrinkles? Even the best topical products can’t reverse signs of aging like a good night of shut-eye can. In a recent study, participants who got at least 8 hours of good quality sleep compared to those who were sleep-deprived appeared not only healthier and less tired (obviously!), but also more attractive by grading observers.

So what are the benefits of sleep?

Growth Hormone Glow

When we sleep, growth hormone peaks and initiates cell and tissue repair. New skin cells regenerate to replace old ones, leading to more radiant glowy skin. And growth hormone stimulates collagen production and prevents protein breakdown, keeping the skin firmer and younger. Without time to produce fresh cells and fix yesterday’s damage, you’re practically welcoming accelerated aging when you don’t sleep.

Less Cortisol, More Collagen

When we skimp on sleep, our bodies release more of the stress hormone called cortisol. Although cortisol heightens your senses during an acutely stressful event, cortisol shifts energy from a restorative to a defensive mode. In the skin, excess cortisol means collagen synthesis stalls and individual collagen fibers become stiff. Skin becomes dull and develops fine lines and wrinkles. And because cortisol also increases inflammation, too little sleep can flare up acne, rosacea and eczema.

Antioxidant Protection

Sleep also allows time for the body to rev up production of protective antioxidants that combat both external and internal molecules called free radicals. Free radicals damage collagen, elastin, and the entire healthy skin machine, so reducing their number is key.

Blood flow Brightness

When we pull that all-nighter, blood flow tends to pool in the skin, especially under the eyes where it worsens dark circles and bags. Sleep encourages balanced circulation and increased oxygenated blood flow, which leaves skin looking healthy and bright.

So, will a good 8-9 hours restore you skin completely? No, but it’s an essential start and if combined with other cosmetic treatments will help keep natural results lasting longer. Check in with one of our board certified dermatologists to get your skin looking its best!

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