Sleep deprived skin: can it be fixed?

Skin Education | 


5 min read


Good sleep can be hard to come by. We all know it’s important, but sometimes we just don’t have the time. Many of us are painfully familiar with the effects of a restless night on how we feel, but have you realised how big of an effect it can have on how we look? 






So, what does sleep do for our skin?



Just like we are, our skin is highly dependent on our circadian rhythms, our sleep cycles. During these, skin repair and renewal peaks. At night, while we are (in a perfect world!) asleep, we recover. 

While we rest, our natural antioxidant gradient and protective oils (lipids) are replenished, helping to fix damage from UV rays, free radicals, harsh treatments, and even the physical effects of our mental stress, which we know can affect our skin. On the days we lack rest, our skin can suffer from greater free radical damage, hydration-loss, and even increased dullness. This study found that ‘good sleepers had 30% greater barrier recovery compared with poor sleepers’. 


Here’s the thing: sleep is essential. We are by no means advocating for less sleep. But, we’re only human. We do understand that some sleepless nights once in a while are inevitable. And, you are not alone in this: 35% of American adults get less than 7 hours of sleep per night, reports the Sleep Foundation



So, here are some ways to bring your skin back to life after nights like these, and to lessen the damage they’ll cause you. 

Our favourite ways to repair sleepless skin:


1. Hydration

When your skin barrier’s stores of protective lipids are depleted, your skin loses more hydration. Incorporating humectants like Hyaluronic Acid, Glycerin and our favourite Beta-Glucans to support your skin by helping to absorb water from its surroundings. This absorption supports skin barrier function, resulting in the plump glowiness we all covet, and which just might make it look like you caught an extra hour or two of sleep. 


2. Exfoliation

When our skin barrier lacks oils, our skin compensates by producing excess sebum to protect us from environmental damage. This results in a risk of clogged pores and breakouts. Exfoliating acids like Mandelic and Dioic Acid help us to shed dead skin cells. Salicylic Acid penetrates the sebum, leading to clarified pores and reduced appearance of blemishes. Exfoliants are a great way to reduce the added risk of breakouts caused by restless nights.


3. Retinoids

Sleep deprivation causes bodily stress, which results in the production of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. In turn, cortisol breaks down structural proteins such as collagen and elastin in our skin, leading to the development of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinoids help to normalise skin cell turnover rate, thereby preventing collagen and elastin degradation This very directly helps us to combat the effects of sleep deprivation and stress. Note: always apply Retinoids at night as they are unstable under sunlight!


4. Peptides

Peptides are the building blocks of proteins like collagen and elastin. They work synergistically with Retinoids to relieve the side effects of stress and bad sleep, and to support the skin barrier, increasing skin firmness. These multitaskers also help to hydrate and moisturise the skin, keeping it protected from environmental factors.


5. Eye care

Lastly, puffy eye bags are the telltale signs of sleep deprivation. Have you seen those cool cucumber slices placed over the eyes during facials? The coolness of the cucumber actually helps to depuff. Cucumber also provides deep moisturisation to the fragile skin around the eyes. Our Pro Resilience Serum contains Cucumber Extracts and is completely safe for delicate skin. Apply it under the eyes on puffy-eyed mornings for an awake, refreshed look and let those wrinkle reducing peptides kick in over time!




Sleeping enough may be the best thing we can do for ourselves and our skin. But when this isn’t possible, that’s okay. There are still actions you can take to ensure a healthy and happy skin barrier. We hope these tips will help you keep your skin feeling good, even on days when you’re not. 🤗




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