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Sleeping beauty – is the concept of ‘beauty sleep’ really a thing?

Published: Thu November 22, 2018
Categories: The Myth Minx

You may be surprised to learn that the skin changes from lack of sleep can fall into both categories – both short and longer term changes.

It’s long been told the effect good quality sleep has on our whole body and total wellness, but the skin implications are often much less explored. Myth Minx wants to start with the short term skin changes you may already be experiencing and not realising are down to a lack of (quality) sleep. 

Recent skin changes checklist

Have you noticed that as the hours you sleep per night start to reduce there is a noticeable increase in any of the below? 

  • Puffiness
  • Dehydrated skin
  • Dull looking, lacklustre complexion
  • Dark under eye circles (from poor circulation)
  • Reactive or more sensitised skin conditions
  • Increased acne breakouts

These changes can occur for a number of reasons, including:

1) Hormone production - Good quality sleep is needed for the production of certain hormones particularly growth hormone – without this the skin cannot heal and repair as effectively producing  a more dull and lacklustre complexion

2) Elimination - While we sleep, excess fluid and waste products are removed; this will have a direct impact on those puffy eyes that appear after a night of poor sleep. This occurs because the excess fluid that resides near the skin (ready to be transported and excreted by the bladder) isn’t removed efficiently. The eye area has the least amount of fat compared to other areas of the face so the fluid retention becomes more obvious here.

3) Hormone suppression – When we sleep between the hours of 11pm and 2am the hormone cortisol is suppressed. This is a stress hormone that when increased can exacerbate acne breakouts and increase skin sensitivity. Cortisol production can be increased by up to 37% after missing out on 4 hours of sleep. 

4) Circulation and oxygenation - is improved while we sleep allowing the skin to have a radiant and vibrant skin tone but also staving off the dreaded dark under eye circles that can appear due to poor circulation. While we sleep our skin experiences increased 
circulation and oxygen flow. With this comes, nutrient delivery and the efficient removal of waste products. The vast majority of skin healing and repairing takes place while we sleep. So if our sleep quality or quantity is reduced this will impair these processes from taking place.

5) Immune function - Lack of sleep will increase the tendency for reactive skin conditions as the skins immune cells will not operate optimally having an effect on our skins natural barrier function. If our barrier function becomes impaired we can be susceptible to conditions such as eczema and dermatitis or simply dehydrated skin.

The long haul

After it’s all said and done, it can be difficult to mask the effects of ongoing poor sleep, not just initially but especially in the long run. How you ask? It’s simple, hormonal disruption. 

While we sleep our body produces hormones. Hormonal imbalances (or low levels of hormones such as oestrogen) can accelerate the ageing process. Constant poor quality sleep can actually accelerate the appearance of premature ageing as the skins ability to heal and repair becomes impaired. When we do not have sufficient sleep the body releases more cortisol (a stress hormone) – in larger amounts cortisol can break down collagen, meaning the skin will not feel as smooth and elastic. High cortisol levels can greatly impact the skins texture, density and elasticity, giving way to lines and wrinkles. Couple this with another hormone (Human Growth Hormone) being reduced – which affects overall skin health, healing and repairing, resulting in a more frail skin tone.

How to (help your skin) bounce back after a lack of sleep 

If your skin is becoming more sensitised and reactive as a result of lack of sleep, consider using low intensity skin care products, rather than exceptionally active, high intensity products. 

Be mindful that lack of sleep will increase your cravings for all things caffeine, sugar and refined carbs. While these all may seem like a great idea for an instant fix, in the long run they will increase reactivity in your skin and also accelerate the ageing process (not to mention reduce the likelihood of a restful night’s sleep the following night). 

To offset skin changes that can occur due to a lack of sleep, feeding the complexion with skin nourishing ingredients is vital. Skinstitut Rejuvenate 15 and Repair Balm are both suitable options possessing a wide range of skin protective antioxidants, botanical vitamin A (to repair the cellular DNA) and also copper peptides to assist in skin healing and collagen production. 

Skinstitut Rejuvenate 15 is suitable for all skin types and conditions it can even be used around the eye area to help target puffiness (especially when partnered with Eye Believe serum). For added nutrient replenishment try spritzing Multi-Active Mist underneath your Rejuvenate 15 daily to infuse water soluble vitamins (B3 & C) and restore hydration (with Hyaluronic acid). With added Licorice extract this can also assist with the microcirculation in the promoting an overall brightening effect on the skin. 

Repair Balm has some similar actions as Rejuvenate 15, as it uses botanical vitamin A and copper peptides to heal and repair. However, these vital ingredients are housed in a richer base which is restorative for impaired and sensitised skin or dry, 
prematurely aged skin. The addition of ginger extract will also encourage circulation to promote a more lustrous and radiant skin tone. 

Sleep soundly,




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