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Sleep and Acne: The Hidden Connection

Updated: Jun 29

Acne, a prevalent skin condition, often plagues individuals beyond their teenage years. While various factors contribute to its onset, recent studies have highlighted the potential link between sleep, the gut microbiome, and acne. This article aims to elucidate this connection, offering insights for those battling with acne and seeking holistic approaches to manage it.


Woman sleeping on a bed with grey bedsheets

Acne: More Than Skin Deep

Acne is not just a superficial skin issue. It's an inflammatory condition that can be influenced by internal factors, including gut health and sleep patterns.

The Gut-Brain-Skin Axis

The gut-brain-skin axis suggests a mechanism where emotional states (like stress) can alter gut microbiota, leading to inflammation and subsequent skin conditions like acne. Sleep, a crucial factor in stress regulation, plays a pivotal role in this axis.

Sleep and the Microbiome

1. Sleep's Influence on the Microbiome and Acne: Chronic sleep disruptions have been shown to alter gut microbiota, inducing systemic inflammation. Such inflammation can exacerbate skin conditions, including acne.

2. Microbiome's Influence on Sleep and Acne: The gut microbiome not only affects the host's digestive, metabolic, and immune functions but also regulates sleep and mental states through the microbiota-gut-brain axis. An imbalance in the gut microbiome, termed dysbiosis, can potentially disrupt sleep patterns and worsen acne.

Nutrition's Role

1. Sleep Habits and Dietary Choices: Sleep duration can influence our food choices. Reduced sleep often leads to poor food choices, increased energy intake, and potential gut dysbiosis, which can further aggravate acne.

2. Dietary Patterns Affect Sleep and Acne: Dietary habits can also influence sleep quality and skin health. For instance, a high-fat intake is linked to sleep disturbances and acne flare-ups, while a Mediterranean diet is associated with better sleep and clearer skin.

Practical Advice

1. Prioritise Sleep: Ensure you're getting adequate and quality sleep to maintain a balanced gut microbiome and reduce acne breakouts.

2. Mind Your Diet: Adopt a balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, and fish. Avoid high-fat foods and irregular eating habits that can exacerbate acne.

3. Seek Professional Help: If you suspect gut dysbiosis or persistent acne, consult a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance on probiotics, skincare routines, or other treatments.

Schedule a consultation today and start your acne recovery journey today.


The intricate relationship between sleep, the microbiome, and acne underscores the importance of a holistic approach to skincare. By understanding and addressing the underlying factors, one can pave the way for clearer, healthier skin.

This blog post was medically reviewed by Dr Summer Zhang.


  1. K. Schrom, S. Ahsanuddin, M. Baechtold, R. Tripathi, A. Ramser, E. Baron. (2019). Acne Severity and Sleep Quality in Adults

  2. J. Skacel, N. Dalkner, S. Moerkl, K. Kreuzer, A. Farzi, S. Lackner, A. Painold, E. Reininghaus, M. Butler, S. Bengesser. (2020). Sleep and Microbiome in Psychiatric Diseases


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