Wrinkles aren’t just created by facial expressions. In fact, the way you sleep could be having the biggest impact on lines and wrinkles. But the good news is changing your sleep position can reduce and prevent many common lines.
One of the effects of aging is the development of lines or wrinkles. And it’s important to understand the most basic difference between the two main types of lines that form on your face and body. These lines are called dynamic or static, depending on how they’re formed.
Dynamic wrinkles (aka expression lines) are created by muscle contractions during expressions of emotion. Over time, facial expressions like frowning, smiling, pursing the lips or squinting, eventually leave lasting frown lines, crow’s feet and smile lines. Minimally invasive cosmetic treatments like Botox can reduce muscle activity, letting the skin’s normal repair processes gradually smooth out the expression lines.
Sleep wrinkles are a great example of static lines, as they’re not caused by muscle movement, but by repeated compression of the face against pillows, while sleeping on the side or stomach. Initially, the skin bounces back from being compressed overnight, with the lines smoothing and disappearing during the day. But with the loss of collagen and elasticity that comes with aging, lines on the face, neck and cleavage deepen and stay visible throughout the day.
Botox can’t treat sleep wrinkles, as they’re not caused by muscle contraction. Dermal fillers can treat some cases of sleep wrinkles, but the ongoing ‘smooshing’ of the face against the pillow each night means results are temporary. So rather than the expensive upkeep of having regular filler injections, it’s better to stop sleep wrinkles in their tracks.
What causes sleep wrinkles?
Sleeping on one’s side causes marks and vertical creases to appear on the face and chest. This position also reinforces and deepens vertical expression wrinkles like frown lines and lines around the mouth area. If you sleep on one side more than the other, you may notice that the wrinkles forming are not symmetrical – and are becoming more obvious on the side you sleep on.
If you sleep on your stomach, you may notice forehead wrinkles forming. Sleeping on your side or stomach can also scrunch the chest, damaging the skin in the delicate décolletage area, creating vertical lines, or a distinctive ‘V neck’.
The solution to sleep wrinkles
The only way to prevent sleep wrinkles is to stop sleeping on the side or stomach. Easier said than done, if side or stomach sleeping is the habit of a lifetime. You may struggle to learn to fall asleep on your back, or find that you still wake up on your side anyway.
The Back Sleep Pillow – the result of seven years’ research into the science of back-sleeping.
The benefits of back-sleeping make it worthwhile persevering though. Some of the cosmetic benefits are not only fewer wrinkles, but a more rested looking face, including reduced puffiness, less noticeable under-eye bags, and fewer breakouts. Of course, better sleep itself is also vital, as this is when skin repairs itself.
Once the face, neck and décolletage aren’t being compressed each night, the skin’s own repair processes will begin to soften out the texture and appearance of sleep wrinkles, while preventing new ones from forming. Cosmetic skin treatments like dermal fillers, skin needling, peels, fractional lasers etc. also become more effective and last longer. And the sooner you start back-sleeping, the sooner you’ll begin to see a difference. So why wait?
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