Total sleep deprivation has a visible impact on subjective facial appearance. However, there is a lack of knowledge on how moderate sleep restriction objectively impairs skin quality and facial aspect.
Twenty-four healthy good-sleeping women, aged 30-50, volunteered for this study on the impact of sleep restriction (SR) on their facial skin. SR was limited to 3 hours per night for 2 consecutive nights. We assessed the following parameters at the same time of day, before and after SR: sebumetry (Sebumeter SM 815), hydration (Corneometer CM 825), trans-epidermal water loss (Tewameter TM 210), biomechanical properties (Cutometer MPA 580), pH (PH-meter 900), desquamation quantification (D-Squameter and microscopy), and image analysis (ColorFace – Newtone Technologies). We also obtained skin samples (swab) for malondialdehyde quantification (MDA).
We observed that some skin parameters are significantly associated with SR in both the morning and afternoon, including: lower hydration (p<0.001), increased trans-epidermal water loss (PIE) (p<0.001), and decreased extensibility (Uf; p =0.015) and elasticity (Uv; p<0.001) of the skin. The average pH decreased from 4.8 (±0.2) to 4.7 ± 0.4; p<0.001.
For face photography, brightness and saturation also significantly decreased with SR in mornings and afternoons (p<0.001 for all tests).
Finally, we observed a significant decrease in free cells after desquamation associated with SR (p<0.001 for all tests). SR was also associated with significantly increased MDA levels (p<0.001 for all tests).
Two nights of SR significantly altered the skin and facial appearances in our test group of typically good-sleeping women.