As clichéd as the notion of beauty sleep might sound, make no mistake about it, it’s real. You can cleanse, tone and exfoliate to your heart's content, but if you aren’t getting a blissful night’s slumber, your skin could be paying for it in the form of exacerbated acne. But, we're a generation that never switches off and unwittingly loves to burn the candle at both ends, so just how plausible is the idea of a peaceful eight-hour sleep every night?
It goes without saying that most of us aren’t getting the recommended eight hours of shut-eye every night that we should, so it's no surprise to learn that the inundated stress of everyday life is taking a heavy toll on our skin. After all, science has proven time and again that as we sleep our body goes into repair mode, working furiously to repair damage to skin tissue and cells caused during the day.
“Stress can impair cell rejuvenation and also aggravate acne. With significant stress, we get a release of a whole number of stress hormones such as catecholamines and neuropeptides. These hormones cause an increase in sebaceous glands which increases oil production.” says specialist dermatologist Dr. Ritu Gupta from Platinum Dermatology Skin Specialists.
“The release of stress hormones causes blood vessels to dilate which increases blood flow. Increased blood flow stimulates oil production. If individuals are more stressed than they are likely to sleep less or receive a poorer quality of sleep which can then become a vicious cycle. If you’re stressed, you’re not going to sleep well. A good night’s sleep is important for our bodies in a whole host of ways but a good night’s rest and reduction in stress levels will help the body repair itself faster.”
Of course, any seasoned beauty reader knows the importance of a diligent moisturising regime. The skin is the body’s largest organ and, aside from sleep, constantly needs hydration and moisture to repair itself. Although we would never refute the importance of hydrating gels and creams, it might be time to step away from those facial serums and oils.
“There are a variety of products that contain external oils, such as coconut oils and nut oils, which are not good moisturisers. These types of oils sit on the surface of the skin and don’t get in between the skin cells — all they do is block the skin cells. If you have acne-prone skin using such types of oils is only going to worsen the condition of your skin.” Dr. Gupta advises.
It’s safe to say that those of us with acne-prone skin will do everything in our power to prevent our faces from looking shinier than what they already do. In that quest to refrain from looking like an oil-slick, we more often than not avoid daily and nightly moisturising treatments in the hopes of keeping the oils at a bay. However, if dryness and inflammation go untreated for a prolonged period of time it can lead to a buildup of clogged pores and exacerbate existing acne even more. So, invest in a high-quality moisturiser made for acne-prone skin and don't skip this step.
The bottom line? No amount of product can work it's magic like the power of a seven to nine-hour slumber. Now, please excuse us while we go catch some z's.