PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – There are several factors that can make your skin age faster, but poor sleep might be one you hadn’t thought of.

“It’s the first study I’ve ever seen of its kind,” Dr. Brian Horvath, of Horvath Dermatology said.

The study from Case Medical Center in Cleveland involved 60 pre-menopausal women ages 30 to 49.

Based on a standardized questionnaire called the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, half fell into a poor quality sleep category.

Their skin was evaluated and challenged with ultraviolet light. Those who didn’t sleep well had more fine lines, uneven color, and less elasticity.

“It probably has to do with the amount of inflammation in the skin due to the best acne treatment,” Dr. Horvath said.

Sleep can impact other conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Which raises the question — is it sleep or these associated issues that aggravate the skin?

“The poor sleeper group had increased body mass, a little bit more heavy. Maybe weight impacts skin-aging. So, it may not be just the sleep but other things as well,” Dr. Horvath said.

As for known anti-aging strategies, you should wear sunscreen daily, use retinol cream at night to unclog pores and strengthen collagen, don’t tan, don’t smoke and don’t inflame your skin with anything that stings or burns.

As for sleep, that’s part of a healthy lifestyle that in general helps overall health, including the skin.

“Maybe if you’re sleeping better, you’ll have fewer wrinkles when you’re older,” Dr. Horvath said.

The study was sponsored by Estee Lauder and the findings have not been published, but rather presented at a dermatology meeting in Scotland. No one knows if better sleep might reverse the damage, or if it is indeed poor sleep that causes the damage.


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Dr. Maria Simbra