In a first-of-its-kind clinical trial,
physician-scientists at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center found
that sleep quality affects skin function and ageing. The recently completed
study, commissioned by Estée Lauder, demonstrated that poor sleepers had
increased signs of skin ageing and slower recovery from a variety of
environmental stressors, such as disruption of the skin barrier or ultraviolet
(UV) radiation. Poor sleepers also had worse assessment of their own skin and
research team, led by Primary Investigator, Elma Baron, MD, presented their data
this spring at the International Investigative Dermatology Meeting in
Edinburgh, Scotland in an abstract titled "Effects of Sleep Quality on
Skin Aging and Function".
study is the first to conclusively demonstrate that inadequate sleep is
correlated with reduced skin health and accelerates skin aging. Sleep deprived
women show signs of premature skin ageing and a decrease in their skin's ability
to recover after sun exposure," said Dr Baron, Director of the Skin Study
Center at UH Case Medical Center and Associate Professor of Dermatology at Case
Western Reserve University School of Medicine. "Insufficient sleep has
become a worldwide epidemic. While chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to
medical problems such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and immune deficiency, its
effects on skin function have previously been unknown."
functions as an important barrier from external stressors such as environmental
toxins and sun-induced DNA damage. The research team set out to determine if
skin function and appearance is also impacted by sleep quality, which is vital
to the growth and renewal of the body's immune and physiological systems.
involved 60 pre-menopausal women between the ages of 30 and 49, with half of
participants falling into the poor quality sleep category. The classification
was made on the basis of average duration of sleep and the Pittsburgh Sleep
Quality Index, a standard questionnaire-based assessment of sleep quality. The
study involved a visual skin evaluation and participation in several
non-invasive skin challenge tests, including UV light exposure and skin barrier
disruption. Additionally, participants filled out a sleep log for one week to
quantify sleep duration.
researchers found statistically significant differences between good and poor
quality sleepers. Using the SCINEXA skin aging scoring system, poor quality
sleepers showed increased signs of intrinsic skin aging including fine lines,
uneven pigmentation and slackening of skin and reduced elasticity. In this
system, a higher score means a more aged appearance. The average score in the
good quality sleepers was 2.2 versus 4.4 in poor quality sleepers. They found
no significant difference between the groups in signs of extrinsic aging, which
are attributed primarily to sun exposure, such as coarse wrinkles and sunburn
researchers found that good quality sleepers recovered more efficiently from
stressors to the skin. Recovery from sunburn was more sluggish in poor quality
sleepers, with erythema (redness) remaining higher over 72 hours, indicating
that inflammation is less efficiently resolved. A Transepidermal Water Loss
(TEWL) test was used at various time points to determine the ability of the
skin to serve as an effective barrier against moisture loss. In measurements 72
hours after a skin barrier stressor (tape-stripping), the recovery of good
quality sleepers was 30% higher than poor quality sleepers (14% vs. 6%)
demonstrating that they repair the damage more quickly.
poor quality sleepers were significantly more likely to have a higher Body Mass
Index (BMI). For example, 23% of good quality sleepers were obese compared to
44% of poor quality sleepers. Not surprisingly, self perception of
attractiveness was significantly better in good quality sleepers (mean score of
21 on self evaluation) vs. poor quality sleepers (mean score of 18).
research shows for the first time, that poor sleep quality can accelerate signs
of skin aging and weaken the skin's ability to repair itself at night,"
said Dr. Daniel Yarosh, Senior Vice President, Basic Science Research, R&D,
at The Estée Lauder Companies. "These connections between sleep and skin
ageing, now supported with solid scientific data, will have a profound effect on
how we study skin and its functions. We see these findings as yet another way
we can direct our scientific research toward the real needs of our customers
who want to look and feel their best."