Young girl putting cream on her face

Nearly 85% of people suffer from acne at some point in their lives. Generally associated with puberty, acne can in fact strike at any age. We now have evidence that lack of sleep contributes to adult acne, and skipping a few hours of sleep every night could be sabotaging your efforts to get rid of your pimples.

What is Acne?

To understand how lack of sleep can affect acne, let’s look first at what acne actually is. Acne is a skin condition characterized by the clogging and inflammation of sebaceous glands in the skin. This clogging then leads to the infamous pimples and blackheads that are so common in teenagers.

Acne is generally caused by hormonal shifts such as those occurring during puberty. In both males and females, a rise in the production of androgen hormones (testosterone) during adolescence often causes the sebaceous glands to become overactive and produce too much oil. This extra sebum accumulates, leading to bacterial growth, inflammation and pimples.

Besides the increase in androgen hormones during adolescence, other factors can contribute to the appearance of acne. Certain drugs such as cortisone can cause an acne-like reaction, while hormone replacement pills can trigger hormonal imbalances that lead to acne. Oil-based cosmetics can clog skin pores and cause inflammation. Androgenic steroids used in the bodybuilding industry wreak havoc on testosterone levels and often result in severe acne.

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Does Lack of Sleep Cause Acne

Lack of sleep can have various adverse consequences such as daytime fatigue, decreased vigilance, obesity, hypertension – and potentially acne.

Sleep deprivation acts on various hormonal mechanisms that can worsen acne in people of all ages. Despite this, it is unlikely that lack of sleep alone causes acne in individuals who have no other risk factors. However, when combined with factors such as genetics, a poor diet, a humid climate, pregnancy or menstruation, sleeplessness can trigger the acne even if you normally are not prone to the condition.

Will Better Sleep Improve Acne?

You probably already knew getting adequate sleep is essential for your health. However, sleep isn’t important just for your health– there are a lot of other implications to sleep such as acne. Getting enough sleep is essential for the regulation of normal biological mechanisms – both your skin condition and your overall health are affected by a delicate hormonal balance.

If you suffer from acne, your skin may improve if you simply get enough rest every night. You can get tips on getting a better night here on Sleep Centre.

Other Acne Solutions

Aside from getting the recommended amount of sleep every night, a few other tips can help you stay acne-free:

• Wash your face twice daily with a gentle non-drying facial cleanser (such as CLEAN & CLEAR® ESSENTIALS® or AVEENO® ULTRA-CALMING® Cleanser) and pat dry with a clean towel. Avoid soap, dirty towels, scented products and harsh cloths.
• Use a good moisturizer – look for the label “non-comedogenic”, which indicates that it will not cause acne.
• Try an over-the-counter anti-acne product that contains salicylic acid.
• Adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes adding more fruits and veggies to your diet, cutting down on junk food, drinking more water and doing 30 minutes of exercise every day.
• Use a good sunblock, preferably with an SPF factor over 30, at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Once again, quality is important, and make sure to look for an oil-free non-comedogenic formula.