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Is there a connection between sleep and acne?

You need a number of things in order to not only survive but thrive. You also need a few things to help prevent acne from occurring. One thing that is good for thriving in general and preventing acne specifically is getting enough sleep.

Have you been asking yourself, “Is sleeping good for acne?” Yes — sleep is absolutely essential to the regulation of your body’s functions. During its rest period, your body renews and refreshes many aspects of your being, including your overall immunity and ability to resist all kinds of diseases.

When you lose sleep on a consistent basis, it can contribute to chronic health issues such as a lowered immune system, damaging changes in your hormonal output, and even a complete collapse of your body’s health.

Another set of chronic conditions that can arise as a result of sleep loss are skin problems like acne. Read on to discover the connection between sleep and acne!

Image used with permission by copyright holder
By Boyloso/Shutterstock

Is there a proven connection between sleep and acne?

For a long time, the jury was out on this question. There wasn’t any scientific research that showed clear and direct evidence that a lack of sleep causes acne. However, there has been a lot of research, which shows that getting enough sleep absolutely helps your body to do the following:

  • Reduce stress hormones.
  • Promote healthy oil production in the skin.
  • Promote the healing of wounds in the skin (acne lesions are actually small wounds).

In other words, while there isn’t direct evidence that a lack of sleep causes acne, most experts believe that getting enough sleep can sure help prevent it, if not outright eliminate it.

In fact, experts on the subject recommend getting at least eight hours of sleep every night when possible.

What exactly does science say?

Just by how your body feels when you don’t get enough sleep, you can tell that a lack of sleep isn’t exactly healthy. On the same token, when you get enough sleep, you usually feel pretty good.

The same holds true for people who suffer from acne. When they get enough sleep, they feel better in general, and some also feel their acne condition improves. For example, a peer-reviewed study published in JAMA Dermatology showed that people with acne who experience emotional stress sleep less and have more severe outbreaks of acne.

In fact, the only thing they felt was worse than not enough sleep was overwhelming stress.

Image used with permission by copyright holder
By Irina Boriskina/Shutterstock

How does a lack of sleep cause acne?

Today, studies have shown that a lack of sleep is a direct cause of inflammation. When you don’t get enough sleep, pro-inflammatory cytokines in the blood increase. This causes inflammation. In fact, your body’s overall inflammatory condition gets much worse when these cytokines increase in your blood.

When inflammation increases in your body, you can develop various autoimmune disorders. Acne is an outward manifestation of that inflammation.

It’s common sense that if you want healthier skin and less overall inflammation, you need a proper amount of sleep.

Hormones are affected negatively by lack of sleep

When you don’t get enough sleep, it can negatively impact hormone production. In turn, your hormone production affects your glucose metabolism, which could cause insulin resistance over time, and which some research shows may be related to acne development.

Stress, fatigue, and acne

Lack of sleep causes an increase in the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis that controls stress hormones. Too much of these in your system can negatively impact all kinds of things, from your mood to your skin.

When your body is full of negative stress hormones, it creates toxins that impact your skin’s health. Acne is just one result.

Summing up

If you’ve ever asked yourself a question like, “How come when I wake up my skin looks good?” then you’ll be pleased to know that it’s due to some of the health benefits of sleep that we discussed above.

Getting enough sleep can increase the healthy production of skin oil, correct hormone imbalances, reduce stress, and promote your body’s overall ability to heal wounds and lessen inflammation.

When you don’t get enough sleep, the exact opposite occurs, and acne could result.

At the end of the day, there’s a reason they call a good night’s rest “beauty sleep.”

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Will Blesch
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Blesch is a copywriter, content writer, and someone passionate about anything that lets him discover more about this…
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