Like millions of people across the world, having healthy, flawless skin is something we all want to have. From our daily routines of cleansing, toning and moisturising to more beneficial treatments such as laser dermabrasion or resurfacing, keeping our skin clear takes time and commitment. But beyond cosmetics and treatments, are there things we can do in our day-to-day life that can have a positive impact on our skin’s health and appearance?

Over the next three weeks we are going to be looking at ways we can change aspects of our everyday life so that we can help our skin look fresh and radiant in addition to the ‘conventional’ ways we keep skin healthy.

This week we look at the impact sleep has on our skin.

Lack of sleep can cause your skin up to all types of problems, including rashes, acne, worsening of rosacea, and the more predictable issues such as tired looking, sallow skin. As we get older, a good sleep regimen is necessary to maintain a good skin tone and healthy, clear and luminous skin that ‘glows’.

Unfortunately, as we age, lack of sleep affects us more deeply and shows more prominently on our faces- lacklustre complexions, dark circles, fine lines and, in more extreme cases, rashes and eczema. Progressive loss of cellular water may be one reason sleepless nights affect our skin more visibly as we age. Water retention is key to keeping skin moisturized and supple, which can translate to fewer lines and a smoother complexion.

What Is Happening When We Sleep?

During hours of sleep, cortisol and insulin production inversely peak so that collagen 1 production is accelerated. Collagen 1 production firms the epidermal/dermal junction so evaporation is reduced and water retention is maximized, he adds.

Conversely, lack of restful sleep suppresses the immune system, which can lead to skin-related problems, such as rashes. The most important thing you can do for your skin may be getting a great night’s sleep. The ideal amount ranges from six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, time enough to move through the five phases of sleep.

As the body settles into the fourth and deepest stage of rest- often called Delta Sleep (which precedes REM, the last stage of sleep)- growth hormones peak and initiate cell and tissue repair. Limited or restless sleep can cut into this crucial restorative process. Intermittent waking sleep is nowhere near as beneficial to skin health.

Holistic Beauty

Increasingly, experts are looking at beauty holistically. When skin benefits from enough sleep, products and treatments work more effectively to provide better results. You cannot treat the skin as an isolated organ, you must consider factors that affect the whole person. It is more beneficial to look at factors attributing to your skin rather than mask the dullness with makeup or temporary cosmetic fixes. When the skin looks lifeless and sallow, and you have dark circles around your eyes, you can use makeup as a temporary fix or address the underlying issues, such as sleep deprivation for a more permanent solution.

Perhaps one of the simplest ways you can improve your skin’s appearance. Get an early night and it won’t just be you that feels more awake- your skin will too.