Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

No Lie: Why You Really Do Need Your Beauty Sleep August 4, 2011


Is beauty sleep a myth or a reality?  If you chronically do not get enough sleep will that affect your looks?  Here’s what the experts have to say on the subject.

Getting enough sleep is an integral part of Dr. Amy Wechsler’s 9 day plan to destress and look good as she outlines it in her book The Mind-Beauty ConnectionAccording to Wechsler (page 69):

Sleep is free cosmetic medicine, pure and simple.  When people ask me what’s the one thing that will make the biggest improvement in how a stressed-out person looks, I say sleep.  Nothing exacerbates stress and a haggard appearance like exhaustion.  As you may be able to attest from experience, sleep deprivation can make you cranky, depressed, and negative  It can make you overeat, over-caffeinate, and ditch workouts because you’re just too tired.  How much sleep should you get?  Although seven to eight hours a night is the average goal, don’t ever assume you’re average.  If you don’t wake up refreshed or you feel sleepy during the day, you probably need more pillow time, even if you’re getting seven hours or more. 

Lack of sleep will directly affect your looks.  According to the April 2011 issue of Allure:

What women doesn’t fantasize about getting enough sleep every night?  Getting seven to nine hours (the average number an adult needs) helps prevent the following:

Sagging Skin

“Blood pressure is hight when you’re awake, and this causes fluids from your blood vessels to leach into your skin and stretch slightly,” says Darrell S. Rigel, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City.  “Over time, skin stays stretched.  When you sleep, fluids in your face are absorbed into the body, but if you never get enough sleep, the fluids never fully reabsorb.”  The effects are especially noticeable around the eyes, where skin is thinner.

Permanent dark circles

The same fluids that cause puffiness also deposit red blood cells in skin, which stay there “and show through skin as permanent circles,” Rigel says.


“Skimping on sleep stresses the body, which triggers activation of the proopiomelanocortin gene,” says dermatologist Leslie Baumann.  “It causes the body to produce excess pigment that can appear as light brown speckles or spots on your face.”


For tips on how to help yourself get a good night’s rest look up the following:


Lip Balm Lessons August 1, 2011

Can’t live without your lip balm?  Turns out there is a scientific reason for that.  And what exactly is lip balm made of that makes it do what it does?  This post will attempt to answer those questions.


Lip Balm Basics


First created at the turn of the 20th century by Dr. Charles Fleet, all lip balms share the same purpose – to moisturize and protect the lips.  Lip balms vary in formulation but typical ingredients include petroleum, shea butter, lanolin, and natural oils in order to prevent water loss from the lips.  Some lip balms contain ingredients like menthol and camphor which feel tingly when applied; these ingredients are actually mildly antiseptic and help soothe chapped and irritated lips.

One little tip – according to Dr. Amy Wechsler in her book The Mind-Beauty Connection (page 116) you should avoid lip balms with the ingredient phenol (Blistex, for example, has that ingredient) since phenol strips the top layer off your lips which then just dries your lips out instead of protecting them.

Lastly, during the day you want to make sure that your lip balm has spf in it.  Our lips do not naturally have any sun protection in them so you always need to protect your lips from the sun with spf protection.

Two of my favorite lip balms are:  Glo Mint Balm (with spf 15) and Dermalogica’s Renewal Lip Complex.  My go to nighttime lip moisturizer is Aquaphor Healing Ointment – it’s cheap and really works.


Is Lip Balm Really Addictive?


Ever feel like you can’t live without your lip product?  Do you feel the overwhelming need to reapply your lip balm continually throughout the day?  It turns out that there is a scientific reason behind this feeling.  The website The Beauty Brains does a great job at explaining this issue:

Skin signals for new cells

Skin is a very complicated organ with multiple layers. The top layer, the stratum corneum, consists mainly of dead, dried up cells. As those cells die and flake off, they send a signal to a deeper layer skin (called the basal layer) to produce fresh skin cells. This is a very simplified description of the process called cellular turnover. (Contrary to what you might have thought, “cellular turnover” does NOT refer to switching your mobile phone plan.)

Lip balm slows down the signal

When you apply lip balm, you’re creating a barrier layer that prevents, or at least retards, the evaporation of moisture from the inner layers of skin. Since the top layer isn’t drying and flaking off as much, the basal layer never gets the signal to produce new cells.

Your skin has to catch up

But when you stop using the lip balm, all of a sudden your lips dry out and your basal layer has to hurry up and start producing new cells. But since your lips already feel dry again, you add more lip balm which once again tells the basal layer “hey, everything’s fine up here on the surface – we don’t need any more new skin cells.”

The cycle repeats

But of course, once that application of lip balm has worn off and there are no new plump, moist skin cells to replace the ones that are drying out, your lips feel dry again and you have to add more lip balm. Etc. etc. etc. Get the picture? That’s why you feel addicted to lip balm – you’ve “trained” you body to rely on it!


Sources and Further Reading:




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