Are late nights wreaking havoc on your skin?

Coping with haggard skin, dark circles, and the looming threat of pimples? They may well be reminders that you have been staying up too late. Burning the candle at both ends will show up on the skin eventually, and you’re not going to like it.


Beauty sleep matters. Here’s why

The jury is out on exactly how many hours of sleep you need every day. But there are three good reasons for getting in the full eight hours. 

  • Reason 1: As you drift off to sleep for the night, the pituitary gland jumps into action. Over the first three hours of sleep, the gland secretes a growth hormone called somatotropin. This hormone repairs your complexion as you snooze. Too little somatotropin may leave your skin looking older.
  • Reason 2: During the next two hours of sleep, the body produces melatonin, a hormone with antioxidant properties. Melatonin safeguards the complexion from the damage caused by unstable atoms known as free radicals. Through its action, melatonin curbs the effects of aging. 
  • Reason 3: In the final stage of your eight-hour sleep cycle, you enter Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. This is when the level of the stress hormone cortisol begins to dip. The muscles relax and the production of a protein named collagen increases. Collagen works hard to minimize fine lines and promote skin suppleness throughout the REM stage.


Why your skin hates late nights

Scrimping on sleep is never good for the body, and the signs are immediately visible on your face. Here’s how to tell if your skin is telling you to catch some more z’s. 

  • Your skin feels dry. Too little sleep will leave your skin feeling dehydrated, mess up the natural pH level, and affect the protective skin barrier. If it’s party season, there’s no harm in downing a few cocktails. Just remember that alcohol could leave your complexion feeling even more parched.
  • Your skin looks dull. Skip out on a full night’s sleep and you miss out on the REM cycle. With no REM sleep, cortisol levels don’t go down, collagen repair does not happen, and your complexion loses its glow and smoothness. Blotchy and sallow skin the morning after may also be due to poor blood circulation.
  • You are breaking out. High cortisol levels trigger inflammation, which is
    bad news for your skin. Too much cortisol interferes with the skin’s ability to regenerate naturally. It also leaves your skin more sensitive and prone to acne.
  • You have dark under-eye circles. Dark circles and puffy eyes are tell-tale signs that you haven’t been sleeping properly. Poor blood circulation and fluid retention are aggravated by too little sleep, and the effects show up in the delicate area under your eyes.
  • You have fine lines. Not enough shuteye coupled with high stress levels can damage the collagen in your skin. If you are chronically sleep-deprived, the breakdown of collagen can lead to skin that sags and wrinkles.


Fight the skin damage that late nights are causing

Yes, insufficient sleep wreaks havoc on your complexion. No, that doesn’t have to be the end of it. Get ready to regain your supple, smooth, glowing skin two basic tactics.

  • Get a good night’s sleep. That’s the best solution to repairing skin
    damage from late nights. Finding it hard to get yourself to bed early? Fix a daily bedtime and follow it diligently. If you can’t get sleep, consider if your everyday habits are to blame: 
    • Blue light from your mobile phone could be messing with your sleep. Make it a rule that you won’t bring electronics into the bedroom.
    • Smoking, exercising, or drinking coffee close to bedtime could also throw your sleep cycle out of whack.
    • Feel stressed and anxious at bedtime? Try to wind down first by meditating, reading something light, or listening to soft music.
  • Care for your complexion. When the hour is late and you’re tired, it can be tempting to skip your nightly skincare routine. But for the sake of your complexion, don’t do that. Instead, commit to a quick and uncomplicated late-night regimen:


Late nights are often unavoidable. Whether it’s work pressure or a night out with pals, you can’t always give all-nighters a miss. Just don’t let late nights become a habit. Your skin will thank you for it!







Disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a recommendation or for diagnostic purposes. Please consult your dermatologist or doctor before acting on any of the information provided here.