A study released on today by University Hospitals Case Medical Center and Estée Lauder Companies Inc. shows that people who don’t get enough sleep at night are more likely to have poorer skin health and skin that ages more quickly.
Preliminary results of the clinical trial, which took place at UH’s Skin Study Center in 2012 and was paid for by Estée Lauder, were originally shared at the International Investigative Dermatology Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland in May.
Researchers say the study is the first to conclusively demonstrate the link between lack of sleep and skin damage.
We all know that constant all-nighters for school or work leaves us looking haggard the next morning. And more and more evidence is showing that a good night’s sleep is essential for our health. Skimp on it and you’re at risk for high blood pressure, gaining weight. If you don’t get good quality sleep, you could be susceptible to metabolic diseases, gastrointestinal orders and other conditions.
With an interest in seeing if lack of sleep damages one’s skin, Estée Lauder’s research division turned to UH.
Sixty women, all pre-menopausal between ages 30-49, were in one of two groups – good sleepers and poor sleepers (those getting less than five or fewer hours), as measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.
Among the study results:
*The intrinsic age score (natural aging) for poor quality sleepers was twice as high as that for good sleepers. The higher the age, the more evidence of fine lines, loss of facial skin elasticity and other signs of aging.
*While there wasn’t any significant difference in the two groups in terms of extrinsic aging (damage to the skin from external factors such as smoking and the sun), the skin of good quality sleepers recovered more quickly from environmental stressors to the skin such as sunburn.
*Poor sleepers showed a higher rate of water loss in the skin, an indication that the skin’s ability to act as a barrier may be damaged.
Not surprisingly, the women who got enough sleep had a better self image than their sleepy counterparts. Of the study participants, poor quality sleepers were more likely than good quality sleepers to be obese (44 percent vs 23 percent).
“We think that poor sleepers are holding onto inflammation a lot longer,” said Dr. Elma Baron, director of UH’s Skin Study Center and the principal investigator of the study.
“We want that skin to be restored.”
Baron, who also is associate professor of dermatology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, has collaborated with Estée Lauder on previous skin studies.
“We don’t know how long it would take before someone’s [skin] can recover from [the damage caused by] being a poor sleeper,” Baron said. “We definitely want to restore the skin health. We just don’t know how long it would take for these physiological changes.”
When asked what new products are being developed based on the findings at UH, Estée Lauder’s executive director of global research and development-skin biology declined to provide details.
“Over the years we have become an expert in products that help remove internal damage in the cells,” said Dr. Nadine Pernodet. “We’re going to do more related research.”