Study finds poor sleep habits may lead to aging skin

A new study finds that poor sleep quality could contribute to signs of aging.
A new study finds that poor sleep quality could contribute to signs of aging.

People spend a lot of money and time trying to fight off the signs of aging. The condition of the skin can sometimes be the most telling, thanks to wrinkles, sun spots and other undesirable blemishes that betray our age. Recently, researchers at the International Investigative Dermatology Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, presented a study that found that those who have trouble sleeping may be more likely to develop these skin issues than those who regularly get their nightly eight hours of rest.

The link between sleep and skin
A group of 60 pre-menopausal women participated in the study, half of whom were determined to have poor sleep quality based on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Researchers also used a variety of non-invasive tests to measure their skin quality, looking for things like evidence of UV light exposure and coarse wrinkle formation. Finally, participants kept a "sleep log" for one week to further illuminate their nighttime habits.

Comparing the skin quality tests of these patients, researchers were able to determine a number of surprising differences in the two groups of women. Those who had trouble sleeping at night were far more likely to have uneven skin pigmentation, fine lines and reduced skin elasticity, which causes skin to sag. Together, these attributes create a more aged appearance. On top of that, poor sleepers had a harder time recovering from sunburn, and it was also found that their skin was less adept at maintaining moisture.

Sleep also seems to influence body mass index According to the study results, 23 percent of good-quality sleepers were determined to be obese based on their BMI, but that figure jumped to 44 percent for those who had trouble getting shuteye.

What can be done?
If you're a poor sleeper, you know how difficult it can be to overcome this problem. Individuals who have had trouble resting at night may already have damaged their skin and thus appear older than they actually are. Fortunately, plastic surgery can help. There are a number of procedures that can tackle the issues outlined in this study.

For example, a facelift can reduce coarse and deep wrinkles on the face, while finer lines and blemishes resulting from sun exposure can be treated with microdermabrasion or a chemical peel. Those who find that they can't lose weight with diet and exercise alone may want to speak to a plastic surgeon about liposuction surgery.