So the clocks turned back and we all got another hour of sleep. Guess what? That’s good for acne.

Lack of sleep is a huge physical stressor. It’s not just mental stress that can aggravate acne. Physical stress like overworking, overexercising, and undersleeping can also increase the symptoms of acne. Getting your eight hours, or however much sleep your body requires, is a great way to help keep your skin in check.

Working the night shift: Dr. Fulton, one of my big heroes in acne research has said in his classes, “I can get pretty much anyone cleared up, unless they work the night shift.” His comment has always stuck with me. While I have not had lots of experience with people who work the night shift, if his experience is correct, it is not just the amount of sleep that is important, but also when we sleep. Science has named our internal biological clock the “human circadian rhythm”. Melatonin levels rise sharply at night and fall during the day. Our hypothalmus and much of the rest of our bodies are hardwired to produce a natural rhythm of sleep and wakefulness.

So if you or someone you know works the night shift and can’t seem to clear up, this may be something to think about.


Leave a Reply

  • Amira

    I had a my second test in neurobiology covered the same info, about melatonin and the hypothalamus. Do you know which gland secretes the melatonin? lol…this is the nerd in me.

  • Paul

    Hey Dan, I have a question for you, are there any specific time at night that we should sleep?

  • Dan

    Amira, I don’t know which gland it is. Sorry.

    Paul, I also don’t know the answer to your question.

    If you guys find the answers out, please post them here!

  • admin

    I think it’s the pineal gland.

  • Amira

    thats correct! the pineal gland. I was just bored and thought i’d see if anyone knew

  • D

    Is there research data on what % of acne prone people get affected by lack of sleep? I have been working night shifts since August. I go to sleep sometimes around 4 am or 5 am and will have to wake up by 10 am for the day. I might get slight flareups on my forehead, but my eyes definitely took a toll. I look like junkie during the day. LOL


    I think this is a great article to post Dan. I think I saw this article you posted before, and if so, that good idea for the repost because I don’t think people understand how important sleep is! When I first went on the regimen a year and a half ago my skin looked amazing, however, six months after going on the regimen I started to go out four or five nights a week and I would function on little sleep. While my acne was still pretty non-existent, I could tell that there was a noticeable difference from when I first started the regime. Now that I go out less and sleep more my skin is looking better so I know exactly what you mean in the article.

    Thanks Dan!

  • CosmoSkinCareSolutions

    Oh my goodness– the other thing about sleep that can affect your skin is how clean your pillowcase is! Think about it, if your pillowcase is dirty (hasn’t been changed in over a week) you are resting your face for hours and hours and hours upon dirty, oily, contaminated surfaces. (The fabric of most pillowcases is absorbant, and is absorbing the oils from your hair and face, dead skin cells that slough off while you slumber, dust and grit in the air, and who even knows what else.)
    You can take the best care of your skin possible during your waking hours, and then unknowingly sabotaging all your hard work by placing your pristine pores on filfthy surfaces for prolonged periods of time.
    For literal “beauty rest,” I recommend changing pillow cases at LEAST once a week.

  • Anna


    I have been working nights for 11 years, and been using the products for two years. Honestly the only real problems I have is when I don’t follow the regimen as instructed! And no I don’t get as much sleep as I need it just comes with the territory, but if I do what I am supposed to do my face looks great, and I couldn’t be happier than that!

  • Pesky

    Hi all,

    I have suffered from acne all my adult life (now 39) and last year developed insomnia due to work pressures. I had a major relapse/flare in early Nov 09 and in the preceding month had been surviving on 3 or 4 hours a night of restless sleep. Stress and lack of sleep are a definite factor in my view and I guess your immune system takes a hammering at such times as I have had chest infections/colds over the christmas period up until now. Advise to everyone is try to get your life/work balance right. I have not and I have paid the price!

  • Night Shift Worker

    I recently took a job at a hospital on night shift. I have NEVER had a problem with my skin. since working nights I am 33 years old and have the skin of a teenager going through puberty! I have tried different kinds of products and having no success.. I was glad to come across this site and realize what the real problem is. I am switching to day asap.

  • Anonymous

    Hi! I am working night shift at a hospital from 7pm to 7 am. And I got a very bad acne. I have never had acne before. Few weeks ago I took vocation for 1 month. I went to bed at 9 pm and got up at 6-7 am without alarm clock. My acne went away completely! Now I am back to work and after 2 weeks of night shift my acne is back. I am waiting for my turn to get on day shift ASAP!

  • Former night shift worker

    I had mild to moderate acne, then I took a summer job at Wal-Mart doing the 4pm-1am shift. I usually got to bed at 4am, five days a week. My acne turned severe, and I got new types of acne that I didn’t know existed until I read about all the types on this site. After summer, I quit and it became a lot better, although the scars are still there.

  • shigella

    hi guys! I have overcome my pimles and breakouts last year. although there are still few but that is due toolack of sleep and make up sometimes. I know that i get easily have pimples but i easily get rid of it using proper hygiene and complete sleep. but the problem is i will now start to work as a call center agent nxt week. and il be in night shift 10pm-7am. i have no choice. what will i do? lease help me.

  • shift worker for 2 years

    Don’t do shift work causes so many issues….I got left with severe scarring