How to Spot Tired Skin

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How to Spot Tired Skin

How to Spot Tired Skin

We’ve all woken up from a bad night’s sleep to see (and feel) the telltale signs of exhaustion written on our complexion. Good news: if your skin looks tired, you have the option to brighten up your appearance with a few high-performance skincare heroes.

In this article, we’ll discuss five signs your skin is tired, as well as how you can address these signs with skincare and lifestyle changes.

5 Signs Your Skin Is Tired

When you wake up tired, you’ll likely be able to see the physical effects of fatigue on your face. Here are five things that can contribute to a tired-looking appearance.

Dark Circles

The skin under your eyes is very thin, with many blood vessels under the eyes. When you’re low on sleep, the skin can get pale and cause the blood vessels to become more visible. This can lead to dark, purple-looking circles underneath the eyes.

You can also get dark circles by looking at screens and staying indoors too long. Anything that strains the eyes or causes the skin to get pale can cause these dark circles to appear. Other causes of dark circles under the eyes include smoking, drinking, and stress.

Keep in mind that while exhaustion can cause dark circles, it takes more than one or two long nights to cause them to show up. Often, you might see dark circles after multiple sleepless nights.

Puffy Eyes

If you’ve gone too long without sleep, you might also notice your eyes look puffier than normal. This can often be because exhaustion can cause the blood vessels to expand, which can cause fluid to build up more in the eye area. Plus, it's often more noticeable in the eye area than in others because the skin is already so thin.

However, puffy eyes alone don’t always indicate a lack of sleep. It’s generally normal to have puffy eyes right when you wake up, as liquid tends to accumulate in the eye area overnight. However, normal puffiness should go down as you wake up.

Other causes of puffy eyes include eating salty foods, allergies, drinking alcohol, and genetics. If your puffy eyes are due to lack of sleep, you may also notice redness.

Fine Lines

You might think of fine lines as signs of aging, but they can also be signs that you need to get more sleep. Exhaustion can affect your immune system when you don’t get enough sleep. Not only can this cause you to get sick more easily, but it can also affect your skin’s collagen production.

Collagen is the protein that helps your skin hold its structure. As collagen levels decrease, your skin may appear less firm and elastic, resulting in fine lines around your eyes and mouth.

Dull Skin

Your body’s circadian rhythm controls your skin’s natural repair mechanism. While you sleep at night, the skin’s blood circulation increases to raise body temperature and transport materials to help repair damaged skin.

This can cause you to wake up to dull-looking skin that may even cause breakouts. Going to bed late may even contribute to dry skin, which tends to show more fine lines and look more dull.

Oily Skin

If your skin is feeling or looking more oily than normal, it could signify exhaustion and stress. Your skin produces more sebum or natural oils when cortisol is high, which can contribute to blemishes and a slick, shiny appearance. 

However, breakouts can also be caused by some skincare conditions, improper skincare products, and not exfoliating properly.

What Causes Tired-Looking Skin?

When you’re trying to rejuvenate tired-looking skin, it’s important to consider what can cause your skin to look tired in the first place. While a lack of sleep is one common cause of dark circles and puffy eyes, many other factors can cause these symptoms.

The causes of tired-looking skin include:

  • Dehydration
  • Dead Skin Cell Buildup
  • Lack of Moisture
  • Stress
  • Environmental Factors
  • Diet
  • Age
  • Smoking

How Can You Brighten Tired-Looking Skin?

If you want to brighten your appearance and refresh your skin tone, here are a few steps you can take:

  • Resurfacing: For concerns like dead skin cell buildup, dark spots, and fine lines, resurfacing serums like our Resurfacing Compound can help revitalize the skin by incorporating ingredients like vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and stabilized retinol.
  • Moisturizing: Make sure your skin is properly moisturized by using a heavy-duty skin moisturizer like The SUPER Intensive Face Oil, which attracts moisture and locks it into your skin.
  • Using a Gentle Cleanser: It’s important to use a gentle cleanser that will support and nourish the skin’s moisture barrier, such as The MANTLE Skin Conditioning Wash.
  • Applying Eye Cream: An eye cream like The RETURN Eye Concentrate targets the appearance of dark circles, puffy eyes, and fine lines to help refresh the appearance.
  • Wearing Daily Sunscreen: Sunscreen protects the skin from the effects of UV light and photaging. The Multimodal Defender Broad Spectrum SPF 30 uses zinc oxide to block UV light, blue light, and even infrared light from reaching your skin. It also contains vitamin C to neutralize free radicals, hyaluronic acid, almond oil, and AHAs to gently exfoliate the skin and address the appearance of existing sun damage.
  • Exercising: Exercise increases healthy blood flow which can support healthy circulation, which can help the skin have more color.
  • Managing Stress: You can manage stress by prioritizing sleep, making time for self-care, and practicing mindfulness.
  • Eating a Healthy Diet: Make sure your skin gets the nutrition it needs by eating foods with plenty of vitamins and antioxidants, such as fresh fruit and vegetables.

The Bottom Line

If your skin is tired, you might notice signs like dark circles, puffy eyes, fine lines, dull skin, and oily skin. However, lack of sleep is only one of many possible causes behind this exhaustion. These signs can also be caused by dehydration, dead skin cell buildup, and environmental factors.

Luckily, you can brighten tired-looking skin with products like resurfacing serums and moisturizers, as well as lifestyle changes like eating a nutrient-rich diet and getting more sleep. To learn more about skincare, visit the U Beauty Blog.


Dark circles under eyes Causes | Mayo Clinic

How To Prevent Puffy Eyes | Consumer Reports

Beauty Sleep: How Quality Rest Impacts Appearance | The Sleep Foundation

Brain-Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation and Skin Aging | PMC

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