New mother Lynsey stays awake to show what 36 hours with no sleep does to your skin

THE term “beauty sleep” exists for a reason – and skipping just one night’s worth really could damage your skin.

Consultant dermatologist Dr Anton Alexandroff adds: “And a few bad nights in a row could leave you with dark circles and increased wrinkles.”

We challenged mum-of-three Lynsey Hope, 39, to stay awake for 36 hours, taking regular selfies, to see how her face changed.

Here is her diary of what happened.

HOUR 1: DAY 1, 6am

With three kids under the age of six, including a seven-week-old baby, I’m no stranger to a lack of sleep.

I took the first selfie just after I got up with the kids and already hated the bags under my eyes.

My skin looked red and I had a few spots.

HOUR 4: 10am

After a shower and a light coat of make-up, my face looked a bit brighter and the spots and bags were less visible. I felt sprightly and awake.

I was fairly happy with my complexion and didn’t feel there were too many wrinkles, given that I’m nearing 40. I had a glass of water and a cup of coffee, as usual.

HOUR 8: 2pm

Still looking fairly awake in this one. I’d been out for a walk with the kids and did a seven-minute workout in the garden.

Getting outdoors seemed to make my skin look clearer.

Spots and wrinkles seemed less noticeable than when I’d first woken up.

HOUR 13: 7.30pm

After getting two of the kids to bed, I washed my face again and slapped on some moisturiser. I was still feeling quite awake.

I’d been drinking water throughout the day to keep my skin hydrated and had a cup of tea and some chocolate after dinner to try to give me the energy to get through the night.

HOUR 18: Midnight

I’d usually go to bed around 10pm and the extra couple of hours while everyone else was in bed gave me time to catch up on a few jobs at home and watch a bit of telly.

I started to feel sleepy around midnight so I splashed my face with cold water to try and keep myself awake.

HOUR 22: DAY 2, 4am

I was feeling extremely sleepy and had to keep washing my face to stay awake. I fed the baby around 3am, as usual.

Looking in the mirror, I felt my skin looked horrendous.

The dark circles were worse than usual and I looked much older than my 39 years.

HOUR 25: 7am

I was grateful when the kids woke up so they could distract me from my tiredness.

I had a shower, put on a light coat of make-up — which hid a multitude of skin problems — and prepared myself to face the day, on zero hours’ sleep.

HOUR 28: 10am

Considering I’d been awake for so long I surprisingly felt better at this time than I had in the early hours.

However, I was feeling incredibly hungry. I had a bowl of cereal around 6am and by 9am I needed a slice of toast.

I had some fruit and yoghurt just after 10am and still felt starving. I had my usual morning coffee too.

HOUR 31: 1pm

I ended up eating lunch before midday. I tried to be healthy, eating chicken and salad, but I ended up cracking open a tube of Pringles.

It felt like I had the hangover munchies, though I’d had nothing to drink.

HOUR 33: 3pm

The tiredness has really kicked in and was much worse than the usual slump that I have mid-afternoon.

I don’t often get much sleep anyway with a new baby, but clearly even a few broken hours makes a massive difference to how you feel and look.

I felt incredibly lethargic and this showed in the severe dark circles under my eyes.

My eyelids felt so heavy. I had a can of Coke and a Wispa chocolate bar to try to perk myself up.

HOUR 36: 6pm

Words cannot express how much I hate this photo.

I could barely keep my eyes open, my bags were horrendous and my skin was both red and pale in places.

I definitely had more spots than I did when I woke up the previous morning — and I’ve still got three kids to get to bed.

As soon as they are all fast asleep, I think I’ll be out like a light.

Why no rest is wicked

SLEEP deprivation can suppress the immune system and damage our skin, argues consultant dermatologist Dr Anton Alexandroff.

He says: “Not getting enough sleep can have a huge impact on your skin.

"It leads to the release of stress hormones, which can be very damaging to your skin.”

Here, Dr Anton explains the effects.

  • SKIN TAKES LONGER TO HEAL. “If you are tired, cuts, scratches and bruises will all take longer to clear.”
  • SKIN CONDITIONS WORSEN. “If you suffer from spots, acne or rosacea, or a condition such as eczema or psoriasis, flare-ups are likely if you don’t get a good night’s sleep.”
  • RAPID SKIN AGEING. “We all know smoking and sunlight age the skin. But too little sleep can also lead to wrinkles. You will experience more fine lines, saggy skin and you might develop age spots and blemishes.”
  • DARK CIRCLES WORSEN. “Dark circles will appear around the eyes and these can be very difficult to treat. The only thing most dermatologists advise is more sleep.”
  • GREY COMPLEXION. “Your skin will become dehydrated and this will make it look less plump and beautiful. Your complexion may change. Often, people start to look a little grey or their skin is darker or redder. Again, this is because the skin is dehydrated.”
  • HAIR SHREDDING. “This can also be a problem. It’s a condition called telogen effluvium and this can get worse if you are stressed and not sleeping. You might lose hair from your head, your eyebrows or eyelashes.”
  • FACIAL WEIGHT GAIN. “We tend to eat more when we are tired and we eat less healthily. You might grab fatty or sugary snacks to perk you up and this can lead to weight gain all over the body, but also on the face.”

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