Recently, Married at First Sight star Mishel Karen caused a bit of a stir this week when she revealed her “extreme” beauty routine. Among the elements in her routine, she includes BOTOX ® Cosmetic injections, teeth whitening, and working out with a personal trainer.
However, what most people found most surprising was her use of CPAP as part of her beauty routine. People didn’t believe that this could help contribute to a more youthful appearance. There are several clinical trials that confirm this result.
Rejuvenating Treatment: What the Research Says
One 2013 Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine article looked at patients who used CPAP for two months, finding that 68% of people surveyed found that people looked more alert after they had been using CPAP. 67% said that people looked more attractive after using CPAP, and 64% said they looked more youthful after treatment.
Another more recent study looked at the effect of CPAP treatment on perceived age. People were asked to rate photographs of patients either before or after sleep apnea treatment and assign them an age. Overall, observers rated patients significantly younger after treatment than before treatment, by an average of 6 years! On average, people were rated 48 years old after treatment, compared to 54 years old before treatment. In more detailed analysis, adherence to CPAP, and how severe sleep apnea was before treatment were linked to greater age reductions.
How Treating Sleep Apnea Makes You Younger
So why does treating sleep apnea help you look younger? It relates to several of the impacts of sleep apnea. One of these aspects is stress. When you have sleep apnea, your body experiences periodic oxygen shortages, which force the body to awaken to resume breathing. Not only do these shortages stop breathing, but they stress the body, which releases cortisol in response. A stress hormone, cortisol can negatively impact your skin because it breaks down collagen and other proteins that help your skin maintain its youthful elasticity. This increases the tendency for wrinkles to form.
In addition, sleep apnea keeps you from getting enough sleep at night. This makes you look less attractive, less healthy, and more sleepy, according to studies of sleep deprivation.
Does It Have to Be CPAP?
However, you shouldn’t let Karen or anyone else tell you that CPAP is the only way to treat sleep apnea or get the benefits of treatment. Karen is right that CPAP can help people to look more youthful, but when we look at the reasons why sleep apnea makes you look older, we can see that any successful sleep apnea treatment can achieve the same effects. If CPAP works for you, then it’s great. But for some people, it’s not a good fit.
In fact, for some people CPAP can cause skin problems that undo much of the appearance benefits. For people who don’t like or can’t use CPAP regularly, oral appliance therapy is a good alternative.
Instead of forcing air down your throat to keep your airway open, an oral appliance repositions your jaw, which keeps your airway open while you sleep. This helps you breathe better and sleep more soundly, so you can enjoy the beauty benefits of sleep apnea treatment.