Study links lack of sleep, poor skin quality

August 5, 2013

A new study links skin problems to poor sleep quality.
A new study links skin problems to poor sleep quality.

They call it "beauty rest" for a reason. A new study conducted by researchers at University Hospitals Case Medical Center has found a link between lack of sleep and poor skin quality. The clinical trial was commissioned by beauty giant, Estée Lauder and presented at a dermatology meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland this spring.

Discovering the link
Researchers evaluated the skin of these individuals and also conducted several "non-invasive skin challenge tests," such as using UV light exposure to determine skin quality. They then gave each study subject's skin quality a rating, and those with skin that looked older received higher marks.

Individuals who reported good quality of sleep were able to recovery from skin stress easier than those who didn't sleep well. They also found that poor sleepers took longer to overcome sunburns, and they had an average skin rating more than two points lower than those who were able to get a good night's sleep regularly.

What's more, quality of sleep seemed to also have an impact on body-mass index. Only 23 percent of good quality sleepers were deemed obese, but for poor quality sleepers, that figure sat at 44 percent. Those who slept well also rated themselves as more attractive, while poor sleepers had a lower perception of self-attractiveness.

"This research shows for the first time that poor sleep quality can accelerate signs of skin aging and weaken the skin's ability to repair itself at night," said Dr. Daniel Yarosh, who was involved with the study. "These connections between sleep and skin aging, now supported with solid scientific data, will have a profound effect on how we study skin and its functions."

Easier said than done
Unfortunately, as anyone who suffers from sleep problems knows, it's not exactly easy to change your nighttime habits. On top of that, if you've been a bad sleeper for most of your life, your skin may have already suffered irreversible damage. Fortunately, plastic surgery may be able to help you reduce some of the signs of premature skin aging that have resulted from your inability to get proper shut-eye. Microdermabrasion and laser skin resurfacing can help treat fine lines and blemishes that result from sun exposure, for example. If you feel that you are unable to lose weight because of your sleep habits, it may be a good idea to discuss the option of liposuction with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

The mission of the Aesthetic Society includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Aesthetic Society, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to

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